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Can a SM ban OA elections?


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#41 qwazse

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:54 PM

Many thanks to all here, you have been more help than you know. My son asked if I knew of other troops nearby, so I guess he is considering a move too. He turns 18 in about 15 months, did Philmont last summer with this troop, so leaving his buddies can not be an easy thing for him. If I'm honest about it it isn't easy for me either. Well gotta go, there is a different troop meeting that starts in 24 minutes

Transfers only cost $1, and I'm told scouts are friendly.
Of course, being worthy of his new peers will take time. But, if he's up front about his situation, and a little humble about the fact he's serving a new troop in hope of election, and he does indeed serve cheerfully, I'm sure the boys will support him.

As for you, in general, fences can be mended. Folks just need a little time. Keep in mind that your son will be watching how you comport yourself and talk about this situation to others. I would suggest doing that in a way that shows everyone in a good light -- even if in the face of stark disagreements. (The meek shall inherit the earth, etc ...)
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#42 perdidochas

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:49 PM

Many thanks to all here, you have been more help than you know. My son asked if I knew of other troops nearby, so I guess he is considering a move too. He turns 18 in about 15 months, did Philmont last summer with this troop, so leaving his buddies can not be an easy thing for him. If I'm honest about it it isn't easy for me either. Well gotta go, there is a different troop meeting that starts in 24 minutes

I'm with quayzse. If the boy is a worker rather than a shirker of work, the boys in the new troop should accept him. The good thing is that it's not like the old days, when only a certain number of boys in a troop could be elected to OA.
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#43 Be_Prep

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:52 AM

I find it sad that a SM has made the troop about "him" rather than the boys. OA can be a great service organization and a positive extension to the overall scouting experience. Oldscout448, I am glad that you supported your son's decision to present his case to the SM. Like life, the egos of individuals can become a hindrance to successfully completing anything. The decision to move troops may be the right step here. When I was a young scout, I was faced with a similar decision and, ultimately, moved to a different troop to get away from autocratic dictates. :-)
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#44 Oldscout448

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

just to tie up loose ends... Son passed his BOR for star last night, and promptly told them he was quitting. Effective 9:00pm. He didn't make a big fuss about it, but all the older scouts know why. He plans on joining a nearby troop that his older brothers belonged to lo these 11 years ago. I guess I'll tag along, Ya just gotta do what you love, and the scouting bug bit me hard a long time ago. I hope I'm not to old to help out a bit. I'm pretty proud of my son tonight
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#45 Oldscout448

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:02 PM

O yes, We thanked the SM for all he hours and work he had (and has) given the scouts. and parted on as good terms as possible. He really thinks having no OA is best for the troop. I still think he is 180 degrees wrong but it;s not worth getting into a barn burning vendetta over. I suspect a number of scouts may be looking for some changes as well
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#46 Oldscout448

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:07 PM

I find it sad that a SM has made the troop about "him" rather than the boys. OA can be a great service organization and a positive extension to the overall scouting experience. Oldscout448, I am glad that you supported your son's decision to present his case to the SM. Like life, the egos of individuals can become a hindrance to successfully completing anything. The decision to move troops may be the right step here. When I was a young scout, I was faced with a similar decision and, ultimately, moved to a different troop to get away from autocratic dictates. :-)

Welcome to the "campfire" Be_Prep! always room for another. I guess some scoutmasters were never told that the word scout master is like unto school master. to wit a teacher, a mentor, a friend, not the lord and master of all scouts, sad
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#47 sst3rd

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:36 PM

Old448, Thanks for the update. Sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders. I'm glad he knows that he can always find another program that better fits his wants and needs. Maybe others will follow. I like the fact he made his decision and set a good example. Our district has a few hard headed Scoutmasters that refuse to give the OA program a chance with the Troops that they serve. It happens. Moving forward, sst3rd
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#48 IM_Kathy

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 12:11 AM

as a SM I like to promote OA. We hold elections, we try our best to make sure a troop campout is NOT the same weekend as an OA event (but sometimes it does happen). The way I look at it if a boy is eligible, I feel is ready for the Ordeal, and the scout is willing to be put up for a vote then let's have the vote. If the boy is voted in and becomes an arrowman then leave it up to that boy what he does with the lodge. Just the same we do with troop - a boy can be a member of the troop and still decide what parts he wants to be involved with. Last year we had 4 eligible and all were elected in. This year we will for sure have 2 eligible and possibly a 3rd depending on getting first class before the election. My son just turned 18. He's still an ordeal member as conflicts in his schedule have kept him from getting to a weekend for brotherhood, but he is hoping to get it with me either on a special brotherhood weekend or at the next fall fellowship (Spring conclave falls right around graduation and he's graduating this year so that is out) And since he got his ordeal before me though he was the alangomat for my group due to my medical issues he'd like to get brotherhood at the same time as me which I think is nice. Anyway, he's not that active with OA due to his schedule, but his dues have been paid every single year since becoming an arrowman.
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#49 PA Scoutmaster

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 05:14 PM

As a SM without OA experience, I had mixed feelings. The elections in our troop were absolutely a popularity contest, with guys getting in that barely showed up for troop events and never did any service. Other guys that helped out with every service project and Eagle Scout project were getting left out. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I finally realized that even with the OA election team explaining what the OA is all about, the young scouts all look at the guys who are eligible and vote for the oldest, the biggest or the funniest. PLC decided a couple of years ago to start using a printed ballet instead of just having scouts write names on a blank sheet. The ballet showed rank and troop position, along with total nights camping in the troop. Suddenly the slackers weren't getting voted in (as much) and the newer brothers have been more likely to be active in the lodge.
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#50 sst3rd

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:33 PM

PA Scoutmaster, The last requirement for a Scout to be eligible for an OA Election, is the Scoutmaster's approval. That's where you get rid of " the oldest, the biggest, or the funniest." You need to have a serious conversation with each qualified Scout about their future commitment to the Troop with the addition of being a member of the OA, and then make that decision. I've had approved candidates remove themselves from the election, because they wanted their Scout time to be with the Troop, and didn't have extra time for the OA. That's a mature choice. There's always next year. Thanks for your service. Make it mean something. sst3rd (former SM, always OA)
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#51 Oldscout448

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:18 AM

As a SM without OA experience, I had mixed feelings. The elections in our troop were absolutely a popularity contest, with guys getting in that barely showed up for troop events and never did any service. Other guys that helped out with every service project and Eagle Scout project were getting left out. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I finally realized that even with the OA election team explaining what the OA is all about, the young scouts all look at the guys who are eligible and vote for the oldest, the biggest or the funniest. PLC decided a couple of years ago to start using a printed ballet instead of just having scouts write names on a blank sheet. The ballet showed rank and troop position, along with total nights camping in the troop. Suddenly the slackers weren't getting voted in (as much) and the newer brothers have been more likely to be active in the lodge.

Hmm, a printed ballot you say..... I like it.
Just found out the JASM of sons new troop is the chairman of elections in our local chapter, I'll see if that's an idea he can run with
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#52 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 01:09 PM

The issue here has nothing to do with the OA, it's a SM who does not understand how a Boy Scout Troop works. Your actions, and that of the scouts, should be to correct the actual issue. Once the troop is back on the correct course, I have no doubt there will be elections. Cause and effect
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#53 Hitawtunhe

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 09:30 PM

The minute that Boy Scout Troops become political, is the minute that they become a disservice to their youth. This all needs to be brought up at a committee meeting with all members present.
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#54 EagleJCS

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 11:30 PM

Funny thing is, we have a similar issue in our troop, but it isn't the SM, it's the BOYS! They don't want any part of OA. The adults do NOT speak ill of the OA either, but the boys won't openly tell us in BORs why they don't want to go to the ordeal when they are elected. A few years ago, at a Pack event, I chatted with some of the Lodge officers who wondered why elected boys from our Troop don't attend the ordeals, or otherwise show any interest in the OA. Eventually the SM told me that the some of the boys, once elected and inducted, would attend chapter and lodge meetings and basically be ignored; would sign up for committees and never be called, etc. It's the BOYS in our troop who don't want the OA, which is what I told the Lodge folks. Naturally, I got "yes sir"ed to death. The boys talk to each other, and there is an overall ill will toward the Order! The OA Lodge has a serious Public Relations problem with our scouts and THEY need to fix it!! They've made no attempt to do so in the past few years. None. So, the SM goes through the charade of letting them hold elections each time (when they bother to show up), no boys attend Ordeals, and the Lodge is apparently happy with that. Fine and dandy. They have their signed papers as another notch in their belts for "Quality Lodge" or whatever. Did I mention that one of our scouts is also the Lodge Chief? The past two OA Representatives appointed by the SPL have done nothing to promote the OA because the boys don't want to hear it. I do feel that the thirty minutes of Troop time could be better spent, though.

P.S. The scout in our troop who is the Lodge Chief? We rarely ever see him. It's been that way for about 2 years.

When I was inducted into the local lodge as a scout, I put my name on the list for several areas in the lodge requesting help. Never got a call or a letter (this was in the pre-internet days) to follow up. Most of the lodge officers and active members were from one or two districts in the council, just not the district my troop was in. (This was before the concept of chapters was introduced).

Fast forward 15 years, and a council and lodge merger, and the same was still true. After becoming an adult leader, I decided to try volunteering with the OA lodge again (thinking that maybe with the merger, things would be more open), and sought to seal my Brotherhood. Imagine my surprise when there were still only a couple of districts – one of them the same as years before - providing most of the lodge leadership (youth and adults). Apparently since I was an unknown in the lodge, I was once again not asked for my assistance for helping with the lodge or the chapter, even though I was active on my district’s training team. I guess you could say I have since become one of the ‘sash and dash’, choosing to provide my service at the unit level.

In the 1990's, one of our scouts actually became Lodge Chief. A couple of years later, we had a Troop OA Rep, then no one entered the OA for several years. When I was SM (10 years ago), I tried to get the lodge to do unit elections, but couldn't get anyone to follow up my attempts at contact. I finally had to contact the Field Director at the council office to get the lodge unit election coordinator to respond. We finally got elections a couple of years ago - 5 years after my initial attempt. I try to encourage the Scouts in my unit to consider having elections again, but they don't see any reason to.
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#55 Oldscout448

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:50 PM

Final update: OA election night in scoutson#4 's new troop, he's in!!! whoo hoo! Must call older sons tell them to clear decks, for the Ordeal ceremony in a few months! Now deep breath, must focus on working with the ceremonies team as an coach, not a dad. ( Took the job a few weeks back) sst3rd is there a forum for team trainers/ coaches ? Oldscout
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#56 SR540Beaver

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

All lodges are not created equal, My sons chapter stinks, so he attends another chapter and attends the lodge level events.

Is the Lodge just slave labor for the councils camps???? Is there any program to speak of.???? While it is the Brotherhood of cheerful service, Many councils abuse this. This may be the case.

Has anyone actually sat down and asked the SM why? Not try to change his mind but just why???


As an SM I have a hard time sending my guys to set up and tear down camps and work the for profit council events.


But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members.

"But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members."

Sad but true. While there is plenty of blame to go around, part of that problem is because SM's won't support the program. It's no different than the uniform. Show me adult leaders who won't wear the uniform correctly and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't either. Show me adult leaders who are fair weahter campers and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't go out in the cold or rain. It's a two edged sword. The Lodge needs to provide a program that makes boys want to participate, but if their adult leaders don't support it, neither will they.
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#57 tnff

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:09 PM

May a new person just add a comment? My son was elected to OA a couple years ago. For him, it has been one of the better experiences in scouts. Yes, he's done the labor of tent packing for the camp, but participated in as many OA events as he can get too. I can drop him at camp as the only boy from our county with confidence he's made friends from around the state. He's had the chance to work at camp where he's a leader for the younger boys and I've seen his self confidence and leadership grow. As for a popularity contest, I'd say the boys seem to be pretty good judges of character, perhaps at times it seems better than the adults.
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#58 qwazse

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:00 AM

May a new person just add a comment? My son was elected to OA a couple years ago. For him, it has been one of the better experiences in scouts. Yes, he's done the labor of tent packing for the camp, but participated in as many OA events as he can get too. I can drop him at camp as the only boy from our county with confidence he's made friends from around the state. He's had the chance to work at camp where he's a leader for the younger boys and I've seen his self confidence and leadership grow.

As for a popularity contest, I'd say the boys seem to be pretty good judges of character, perhaps at times it seems better than the adults.

A good OA chapter does wonders for a boy and, in turn, his troop.

I know for some of you there's no comparison, but a good VOA (Venturing Officer's Association) should also be doing the same thing for a youth and his/her crew.
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#59 David CO

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 09:56 PM

I have posted on this topic several times. The Chartered Organization owns the unit, lock, stock, and barrel. The issue our Chartered Organization was most concerned about, when deciding whether or not to participate in OA, was cultural appropriation. A decision was made to not participate in OA, and that decision is final. In fairness to our prospective Scouts, parents, and leaders, this policy is clearly stated. To answer the question, yes, the Scoutmaster can ban OA elections if that is the policy of the Chartered Organization.
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#60 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:44 AM

The simple answer is, "Yes, the SM can ban the election". I don't agree with him, but that wasn't the question.
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