Jump to content

Unit refuses to hold elections


Recommended Posts

I have not been following this thread.

But as a Troop Leader for over 20 years, I have heretical opinions,  so I am told, on the election of scouts to the OA.

Time and again, the elections have been held at our Troop when senior scouts were then engaged in athletic activities, newbie scouts were the only electors, and the senior scouts were not elected.  Without exception those senior scouts earned Eagle Rank. But never elected to the OA.

So, to you OA oriented folks, I humbly suggest that Scoutmasters be allowed to ADD names of worthy scouts to the list of "elected" scouts.

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 138
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Let me preface my comments by saying that as a youth, I was a Brotherhood member of the OA, and in my senior year was simultaneously SPL of my troop and editor of the Lodge newsletter, so I know from

As I recall my days in OA, the Scoutmaster begins the process by developing a list of scouts who are qualified for election, based on rank, # of nights camped, and last but not least, "Scout Spirit". 

My problem with OA today is that the program drivers (adult sponsors) don't plan a program where the activities practice growth toward the honor of serving others and camping. As a scout in the 70's,

Posted Images

3 hours ago, jscouter1 said:

This might be slightly off topic for this, but if I am considering option #3 right no. Does anyone think that another troop would take offense if I do a dual membership thing just to join the OA?

As @scoutldrstated, you do not "join" OA, you are elected by the members of your troop.  In order for someone to be elected, the scouts in the troop should know that person well.  Were I still a youth member I would be leery of voting for someone who dual registered for no other reason than to use our troop to gain election to OA.

If becoming an Arrowman means that much to you, I would either try to convince your SM that being elected to OA is not going to cause you to neglect your troop, and therefore allow an election to be held.  If that cannot be accomplished you have to look at the possibility of leaving your current troop and transferring to another unit.  If you choose that option, be aware that a unit may only have one election per year.  I many areas those elections may have already be conducted, so you would have to wait until next election cycle, by which time the scouts in the new unit should know you well enough to decide whether or not they want to elect you.  I hate to bring up the negative aspect, but understand that not all scouts who are eligible for election or who would like be elected are chosen by their troop.

What ever decision you end up making, I wish you well in all of your scouting endeavors.

 

3 hours ago, jscouter1 said:

This might be slightly off topic for this, but if I am considering option #3 right no. Does anyone think that another troop would take offense if I do a dual membership thing just to join the OA?

As @scoutldrstated, you do not "join" OA, you are elected by the members of your troop.  In order for someone to be elected, the scouts in the troop should know that person well.  Were I still a youth member I would be leery of voting for someone who dual registered for no other reason than to use our troop to gain election to OA.

If becoming an Arrowman means that much to you, I would either try to convince your SM that being elected to OA is not going to cause you to neglect your troop, and therefore allow an election to be held.  If that cannot be accomplished you have to look at the possibility of leaving your current troop and transferring to another unit.  If you choose that option, be aware that a unit may only have one election per year.  I many areas those elections may have already be conducted, so you would have to wait until next election cycle, by which time the scouts in the new unit should know you well enough to decide whether or not they want to elect you.  I hate to bring up the negative aspect, but understand that not all scouts who are eligible for election or who would like be elected are chosen by their troop.

What ever decision you end up making, I wish you well in all of your scouting endeavors.

 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

As @scoutldrstated, you do not "join" OA, you are elected by the members of your troop.  In order for someone to be elected, the scouts in the troop should know that person well.  Were I still a youth member I would be leery of voting for someone who dual registered for no other reason than to use our troop to gain election to OA.

If becoming an Arrowman means that much to you, I would either try to convince your SM that being elected to OA is not going to cause you to neglect your troop, and therefore allow an election to be held.  If that cannot be accomplished you have to look at the possibility of leaving your current troop and transferring to another unit.  If you choose that option, be aware that a unit may only have one election per year.  I many areas those elections may have already be conducted, so you would have to wait until next election cycle, by which time the scouts in the new unit should know you well enough to decide whether or not they want to elect you.  I hate to bring up the negative aspect, but understand that not all scouts who are eligible for election or who would like be elected are chosen by their troop.

What ever decision you end up making, I wish you well in all of your scouting endeavors.

 

As @scoutldrstated, you do not "join" OA, you are elected by the members of your troop.  In order for someone to be elected, the scouts in the troop should know that person well.  Were I still a youth member I would be leery of voting for someone who dual registered for no other reason than to use our troop to gain election to OA.

If becoming an Arrowman means that much to you, I would either try to convince your SM that being elected to OA is not going to cause you to neglect your troop, and therefore allow an election to be held.  If that cannot be accomplished you have to look at the possibility of leaving your current troop and transferring to another unit.  If you choose that option, be aware that a unit may only have one election per year.  I many areas those elections may have already be conducted, so you would have to wait until next election cycle, by which time the scouts in the new unit should know you well enough to decide whether or not they want to elect you.  I hate to bring up the negative aspect, but understand that not all scouts who are eligible for election or who would like be elected are chosen by their troop.

What ever decision you end up making, I wish you well in all of your scouting endeavors.

 

Thank you so much for your input, as of right now I couldnt leave my current troop it just means to much to me. Its not unheard of in my troop for scouts to switch troops because of disagreements with our SM. If I did dual membership and spent time getting to know the scouts, camp, going to meetings, and service projects I feel I might have a chance at election, but wouldnt it be odd if I had no rank advancment in my newer troop?

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SiouxRanger said:

 

So, to you OA oriented folks, I humbly suggest that Scoutmasters be allowed to ADD names of worthy scouts to the list of "elected" scouts.

 

I kind of agree. Neither of my sons was interested in it, but some very fine scouts I know were. What I observed is that it was a popularity contest, with scouts getting votes not because they were good scouts, but because they were more fun to be around. That often included questionable behavior. Sometimes the scouts that were better leaders were less popular because they weren't as much fun -- they were running around trying to make things work with maybe a pointed word when others had ditched their responsibilities. I think there needs to be some mechanism that adjusts for this phenomenon. 

Edited by yknot
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jscouter1 said:

Thank you so much for your input, as of right now I couldnt leave my current troop it just means to much to me. Its not unheard of in my troop for scouts to switch troops because of disagreements with our SM. If I did dual membership and spent time getting to know the scouts, camp, going to meetings, and service projects I feel I might have a chance at election, but wouldnt it be odd if I had no rank advancment in my newer troop?

It would not be odd at all.  In fact, if you dual register, one Troop should be designated as primary, and they would handle all of your advancement.  Both Troops putting in advancements for you would potentially cause problems.

If you dual register, explain to the gaining new Scoutmaster the situation you are in with your other unit regarding OA.  Explain that you still feel loyalty to your old, and will support both Troops.  Don't say that you are there just to get in the OA.  If you told me that, I'd be inclined to turn you away.

Just tell the new Scoutmaster that you are curious about the OA, and you wish to have the opportunity to see what it is all about.  You do not have that opportunity in your current Troop.

Finally, you have to ask yourself, "What if I am not elected to OA by the members of the new Troop?"  You have to be OK with that eventuality, and continue serving.  It might take years before you are elected...

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Having been a member of the OA for a long, long time, and having seen how sausage is made, I understand where @SiouxRanger and @yknot are coming from...

I have, in the past, not approved some Scouts to stand for selection. (This is a SM prerogative.)   They took it pretty hard, but they were the ones with a trend of questionable behavior and sporadic (at best) participation.  They did not change behavior, but the message was clear.

I also think we should change the verbiage from "election" to "selection."  It is not an election.  An "election" implies multiple candidates and only one wins.

The OA selection ballot should list candidate names with YES or NOT YET boxes next to each one.  Check one. 

To be selected, you have to get 50% of the votes cast.

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Having been a member of the OA for a long, long time, and having seen how sausage is made, I understand where @SiouxRanger and @yknot are coming from...

I have, in the past, not approved some Scouts to stand for selection. (This is a SM prerogative.)   They took it pretty hard, but they were the ones with a trend of questionable behavior and sporadic (at best) participation.  They did not change behavior, but the message was clear.

I also think we should change the verbiage from "election" to "selection."  It is not an election.  An "election" implies multiple candidates and only one wins.

The OA selection ballot should list candidate names with YES or NO boxes next to each one.  Check one. 

To be selected, you have to get 50% of the votes cast.

I think selection should be more in the form of nomination, like you get a minimum three votes recommending and nominating you for the honor. The 50% is kind of the problem. 

As far as an SM having an ability after the fact to prevent a candidate, who has been elected by peers, to pursue OA, that is very problematic in certain places. You'd get threatened by a team of lawyers if you did that in any of the communities I'm in, and council would not back you. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, yknot said:

I think selection should be more in the form of nomination, like you get a minimum three votes recommending and nominating you for the honor. The 50% is kind of the problem. 

As far as an SM having an ability after the fact to prevent a candidate, who has been elected by peers, to pursue OA, that is very problematic in certain places. You'd get threatened by a team of lawyers if you did that in any of the communities I'm in, and council would not back you. 

Agreed, never after the fact...  in order to be on the ballot, the SM must approve each candidate...says so in the eligibility criteria, third bullet:

https://oa-bsa.org/about/membership

At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, and hold one of the following ranks corresponding to the type unit in which they are being considered for election: Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery rank, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.

emphasis added

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a late comer who did not even read all; however, one can be involved in both OA and the unit (I did). The unit should provide a good program which attracts older scouts, too. The OA where I am now provides service to our district and individual units. providing a win win situation. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the nomination process because it worked in my troop. Scouts knew the other scouts better than the adults in my troop. It was never a popularity contest in my troop. Every time I disagreed with the scout vote and started asking questions I was corrected.

The biggest problem was that the scouts had long memories. If you were a butt it would take a few years to change that perception.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MattR said:

I like the nomination process because it worked in my troop. Scouts knew the other scouts better than the adults in my troop.

I'm confused. Your troop was nominating Scouts to then be elected? Or are you calling the election a nomination process? There really is no nomination other that the SM approving of they being eligible and then a vote. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

I'm confused

As we all are. Election doesn't make you an OA member, completing the ordeal does.

As said before  the term election isn't very accurate.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, MattR said:

As we all are. Election doesn't make you an OA member, completing the ordeal does.

As said before  the term election isn't very accurate.

Agreed.

Permit me to add that not everyone elected even attempts to complete the ordeal.

  Last weekend we had 36 candidates at the ordeal,  out of 49 that were elected.  Which is the usual percentage.

Always wondered why roughly a quarter of those selected never come.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

Agreed.

Permit me to add that not everyone elected even attempts to complete the ordeal.

  Last weekend we had 36 candidates at the ordeal,  out of 49 that were elected.  Which is the usual percentage.

Always wondered why roughly a quarter of those selected never come.

Around here, two reasons primarily:

1) Our local lodge does little to nothing in the way of community service or service to units.  It is all about internal lodge or OA functions, and providing a labor pool for setting up/taking down tents for Summer Camp  (poorly at that, I might add)

2) Another activity that they feel they have no time for.

We have very good success with our youth, because I make it clear that there is NO EXPECTATION (from me) of service to the lodge upon becoming an Ordeal member, and to not listen to anyone who tells them differently 😜

Ordeal membership is a part of our unit program to recognize honor campers and to promote camping.  If you choose to participate in lodge events, that is your call...

There IS AN EXPECTATION that you will continue to serve the Troop, even if you choose to go "all in" for the OA .  An Arrowman's first duty is to his unit.  Those who chose you need you.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

Permit me to add that not everyone elected even attempts to complete the ordeal.

I think this is a really important observation, and I would take it one step further — scouts who are eligible don’t want to stand for election. Both represent part of OA’s “membership market” that are opting out.

As someone who came back to Scouting after a long absence, I think the main issue is OA actually articulating what it is and why Scouts would want to join.  I was elected very late in my youth Scouting career, so I didn’t actually have much calendar time to do much more than go through the Ordeal.  So when I came back to Scouting, I didn’t think of OA as much more than “Scouting’s Honor Society.”  

As a result, when an another adult leader asked me (when we were talking about Scouts not wanting to stand for election) “Why would they want to become a member of OA?” I had no ready answer.  The communications I’ve gotten from the Lodge have focused on (1) service opportunities, often with somewhat short lead times and (2) invitations to register for things like Conclave and NOAC because they will be “great” and “fun.”  So nothing that I could readily deploy in any convincing way… and really it made me realize I didn’t have any answer to that question.  

For the first category of activities, the service opportunities actually seem to be hurt by being limited to OA, and don’t increase the cache of being in the Order. … if the camp needs lots of maintenance, it seems like outreach to units more broadly would actually be helpful… “come camp this weekend with no camping fees, and help get your camp ready for summer.”  For the latter category of events, I don’t know what I’d expect if I did go to one of the OA events… beyond vague promises of “fun and fellowship.”  Given that, it doesn’t surprise me that OA isn’t something scouts jump at joining (and the potential scouts aren’t even getting that much information about what being in OA actually involves.)

I really think OA needs to rethink what the goals of its program are, and figure out how to (for lack of a better term) “market” that to its potential members.  It doesn’t seem like “honor society” is enough to sell itself to them, and while lots of Scouts are open to the idea of cheerful service, ideally the service that OA is involved in should be more than just opportunities to be free labor to Council or camps.  

Maybe through OA you get trained in ways that let you do service in more arduous circumstances (e.g., think doing more after a natural event in your area than just handing out water bottles?).

Opportunities to serve in different places (requires coming up with funding to support that, since I expect even the multi hour drive to our Council camp is going to be a barrier for many Arrowmen and women to come help with the cleanup effort in a few weeks, etc.)

It really has to start with thinking about the OA not as something that needs no explanation because “every scout should be honored to be elected” but something that we have to explain to them why they should want to be a part of.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...