Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

Why?


  • Please log in to reply
116 replies to this topic

#21 desertrat77

desertrat77

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2260 posts

Posted 08 December 2015 - 05:20 PM

When I was a scout in the 60/70s, each Troop voted for the two OA candidates minimum age 14. Only two, so it was always the two best scouts in the troop. And usually these scouts were the most active campers and leaders. Being voted as a candidate was considered more honorable than earning the Eagle because you were voted in by your peers. And if the candidate passed their ordeal ( that was not automatic back then) the scouts were considered the best of the best. Kind of Special Forces of scouting. Ask an Eagle scout who was in the OA back then and he will fill you will stories of the OA and hardly mention the Eagle. 

 

Today all the scouts are expected to be voted in, which takes the honor out of it.

 

Barry

Very true, Barry.

 

The elections made a tough cut.  Some good scouts never got selected.   The ordeal was precisely that--an ordeal.   Pushed to the brink, mentally and physically.   The pride of wearing that brand new Ordeal sash was incredible, yet it was of the quiet and humble variety.   Boasting and showing off was considered uncouth.

 

The design of the lodge flap didn't matter much.   Most were quite plain and rudimentary.   Many lodges didn't change them for years and years.   No matter.   Quiet pride meant treasuring the privilege of wearing the flap.  

 

Did the call go out in the district or council for a dirty job?   The OA was the first to show up.   Didn't need to twist arms.

 

Native American culture--an ongoing education into all aspects.   With deep respect.


  • 1

#22 skeptic

skeptic

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1942 posts

Posted 08 December 2015 - 06:33 PM

Yep, all of us old people remember the Ordeal arrow or stick you wore around your neck.  Violations of rules brought notches, and 3 would send you home.  Elections were never automatic, and some very deserving probably never got elected; thus the current system which bypasses the real honor in it for the most part, especially if it is not presented right at the time of the election.  Yes, there were some instances of "black-balling" on occasion, but they were mostly dealt with when they happened, though not always I am afraid.  Ceremonies were seldom read, and the tap out was impressive in most cases, something younger scouts could witness and hope to be part of, even while it was sometimes a bit scary or rough.  but actually memorized, and regalia was a point of pride for many.  

 

After the ceremony at my Ordeal, part of the welcome was teaching us the toe-heel and canoe steps for basic dancing.  I still can do a rudimentary version, though get tired really fast now.  As noted, the removal of most of the unknown ceremonial aspects has really hurt the specialness of it too.  Again, I understand need for parents understanding the basics, but kids still love secretive stuff, and being able to prove themselves, even if it is not obvious or seen as acceptable by some.  

 

And I still feel much of it could be reestablished without any harm, probably to the overall benefit.


  • 1

#23 Eagle94-A1

Eagle94-A1

    Been there. Done that.

  • Members
  • 1992 posts

Posted 08 December 2015 - 06:55 PM

I admit, I lament how the OA has changed over the years. I know that when I was more active with the OA, I tried to bring back a sense of ''best of the best'' in regards to the OA. I also worked with the youth to get a good program going. Yes we worked hard, but I also wanted us to play hard.

Some of the downfall I blame national. I still do not llike the current election process. There is an expectation by many that everyone gets in. Heck had 1 SM ticked off at me and the election team because we ''scared off half my Scouts.''' Sad thing is, this was a former lodge chief and section officer who wasmad at us.

But I also need to blame some of the idiots before me, who went overboard. Yes there were legitmate cases of hazing that occured. Yes someone did get their shoulder dislocated at a TAPOUT CEREMONY, which led to a lawsuit, and lawyers reviewinghow things were done andbeingdelared possible child abuse and hazing.

But what really hit home with me was talking to my son. Unlike when I was his age and First Class, he could care less about getting into the OA as it isn't a big deal for him. Considering he's been a PL, SPL, and nominated for a second SPL term (he declined and wentfor TG) I think he will get elected the first time. That is the only thing he likes, the possibility of getting in on the first ballot compared to me and getting in on the 3rd ballot..
  • 0

"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#24 desertrat77

desertrat77

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2260 posts

Posted 08 December 2015 - 07:32 PM

Well said, Eagle94.

 

True, there were people that went too far.   Crossed the line from tough and challenging to abusive.   Completely contrary to the OA Spirit.


  • 0

#25 Oldscout448

Oldscout448

    Member

  • Members
  • 308 posts

Posted 09 December 2015 - 09:56 PM

I have been in the Order since '75.   I  must sadly agree that it's a shadow of what it was.  Mostly the scouters seem to be preoccupied with new member numbers, brotherhood percentages,  and other metrics national seems to think are so so important.  The scouters of my era at least the ones I remember worked at teaching us the meaning of all the fine sounding words in the Obligation.  and set the example at living it out.  They taught us that there was honor in serving.  It did not matter if we got a medal, or a patch, or even a word of thanks, God knew that we had served, and we knew and that was all that truly mattered.    

  We worked as camporee staff,  parked cars at a scouts funeral,  helped out new troops,  dressed up as Blackfoot Indians and went to 25-30 cub packs a year  to give out arrows of light.     We made our own bonnets, war shirts, drums, etc.  drove our own cars,  paid for the gas, and never charged a dime.

 The OA was also a place where most of us were ASPLs SPLs or had been.  So it was a place where one could freely ask for help and advice from those who truly " been there- done that" 


  • 2

#26 Krampus

Krampus

    Side Kick to Nikolaus

  • Members
  • 1870 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 06:59 AM

All good responses which take us back to the original post: Why OA?

 

It's a weekend, a flap and another set of dues. There is no obligation, no teaching, no mentoring, no service...no honor. Everyone gets in. Pay your dues and wait, everyone makes Brotherhood. Wait a bit longer, play some political games and, again, pay more dues and you make Vigil. That's my area, at least.

 

I will not belong to OA. These days, it is more a badge of honor NOT to be in OA. People ask me why I'm not and I tell them. Most nod their head in agreement. Some nod and tell me to join and change it. Few...very few...will argue with me about how wrong I am....and then under their breath say how I will never be in OA and thereby validating my assertion that it is an old-man's club of bitter guys trying to relive their lost scouting youth.


  • 2

#27 desertrat77

desertrat77

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2260 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 09:46 AM

All good responses which take us back to the original post: Why OA?

 

It's a weekend, a flap and another set of dues. There is no obligation, no teaching, no mentoring, no service...no honor. Everyone gets in. Pay your dues and wait, everyone makes Brotherhood. Wait a bit longer, play some political games and, again, pay more dues and you make Vigil. That's my area, at least.

 

I will not belong to OA. These days, it is more a badge of honor NOT to be in OA. People ask me why I'm not and I tell them. Most nod their head in agreement. Some nod and tell me to join and change it. Few...very few...will argue with me about how wrong I am....and then under their breath say how I will never be in OA and thereby validating my assertion that it is an old-man's club of bitter guys trying to relive their lost scouting youth.

Krampus, I agree.

 

The OA is now just a club.

 

If those bitter old cats really cared about the OA, they'd try to bring back the old spirit of the organization, and not the patch collecting clique it has become.   The obligation meant something, and there are times I still think about certain phrases from it. 

 

The OA is just another example of how something can be diluted to the point where the original meaning is lost.   I think there may have been some resentment in the past about the ordeal and other aspects that did not favor "participation trophy" syndrome.  So the BSA decided to let some air of the tires.   However, it is interesting that the same is not true with the Eagle rank...heck, you'd think making Eagle was akin to a coronation these days.   The BSA has no problem with the exclusiveness of that part of the organization.


  • 0

#28 Eagledad

Eagledad

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6055 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 10:13 AM

Well not completely useless. Because of my experience of OA back in the day, I didn't push it much while I was a SM. I didn't discourage it and we did have some adults in our troop who enjoyed the program, but I just didn't push it much. However, several of our scouts who did join flourished in OA because they love the serving side of scouting. Most of the OA leadership in our district was from our troop. The adult representatives enjoyed our scouts because they knew how to organize, plan and run events. I took that as a sign of our program being successful. 

 

Ironically, because our troop seem to produce good enthusiastic leaders, I was asked several times to be the OA district representative. I always declined without explanation and that frustrated some. But my heart just isn't into the new and modern OA. 

 

Barry


  • 1

"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#29 Stosh

Stosh

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 12466 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 10:14 AM

If those bitter old cats really cared about the OA, they'd try to bring back the old spirit of the organization, and not the patch collecting clique it has become.   The obligation meant something, and there are times I still think about certain phrases from it. 

 

The OA is just another example of how something can be diluted to the point where the original meaning is lost.   I think there may have been some resentment in the past about the ordeal and other aspects that did not favor "participation trophy" syndrome.  So the BSA decided to let some air of the tires.   However, it is interesting that the same is not true with the Eagle rank...heck, you'd think making Eagle was akin to a coronation these days.   The BSA has no problem with the exclusiveness of that part of the organization.

 

@desertrat77

 

BSA and scout parents don't see the Eagle being watered down any, but there aren't many on the forum that argue with me about the increasing numbers of Parlor/Paper Eagles out there today.  The prestige is gone, BSA just hasn't accepted it as of yet.  Heck, simply being a Boy Scout isn't the prestige it once was 50 years ago. 


  • 0

#30 desertrat77

desertrat77

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2260 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:20 PM

@desertrat77

 

BSA and scout parents don't see the Eagle being watered down any, but there aren't many on the forum that argue with me about the increasing numbers of Parlor/Paper Eagles out there today.  The prestige is gone, BSA just hasn't accepted it as of yet.  Heck, simply being a Boy Scout isn't the prestige it once was 50 years ago. 

Good points, Stosh.

 

The pageantry of making Eagle has increased, but the real meaning behind the rank has decreased quite a bit.


  • 1

#31 Sentinel947

Sentinel947

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1628 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 01:15 PM

I'll be the countrary voice here, because unfortunately that seems to be my perspective on this forum.....

 

Like most things in Scouting, all Scouting is local. Your mileage varys, your professional staff, your camp, your OA lodge, your training events, your camporees. They all vary in quality year to year and from council to council.

 

In my Council, our OA lodge is very active. They do a good deal of service for the council camp. I think it's no accident that a large number of OA members also staff NYLT or Summer Camp. When I was elected into the OA, I thought the Ordeal was tough but fair. I can't honestly remember much about it other than doing service work and the ceremonies. Overall, I'm happy with the OA in my council. They're far from perfect, but I think if we assess our own units in the BSA, we'd realize we're all in a place that's far from perfect.

 

Generally speaking, OA elections are a "popularity contest", but I trust the Boys to elect the folks who are actually leaders and good young men. I don't have the crud in my eyes of watching my perfect snowflake fail to get elected year after year.

I have no experience with the process of Adults becoming OA members. It's not something I've dealt with, since I don't handle that kind of nonsense in my unit. ​

I haven't been as involved with the OA as I would like to be. ​That's to say, I wasn't involved much after being an Elangomat and getting my Brotherhood.

I'm not a big proponent of the whole "today sucks, the past was so much better" worldview. Perhaps it was because I wasn't alive in the glory days and just don't know what I missed out on....

In any case, to the original poster, the OA is another opportunity for your son and yourself( if you want to) ​​to be involved with Scouting a bit more on the council level. It wasn't something I was interested in, and I've spent my youth and adult Scouting on the unit level almost exclusively. I've had some friends who got a lot more out of the OA than they ever did out of the Unit.

 

Best of luck, and if yo​​ur son joins the OA, you aren't obligated to become an OA member, that's a pretty silly troop tradition in my opinion.
 

Sentinel947


  • 4

#32 JasonG172

JasonG172

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 635 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 01:27 PM

Speaking as a long-time OA member ('76), I think the OA is slowly dying.   Pockets are still alive, but not many.

 

 

 

Record Setting at NOAC? 


  • 1

#33 Krampus

Krampus

    Side Kick to Nikolaus

  • Members
  • 1870 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 01:47 PM

Like most things in Scouting, all Scouting is local. Your mileage varys, your professional staff, your camp, your OA lodge, your training events, your camporees. They all vary in quality year to year and from council to council.

We agree, though I personally don't see a variance year on year.

Generally speaking, OA elections are a "popularity contest", but I trust the Boys to elect the folks who are actually leaders and good young men. I don't have the crud in my eyes of watching my perfect snowflake fail to get elected year after year.

Straight popularity contest. I've seen guys who were solid leaders, outstanding campers and have 10 times the service hours of the other candidates go un-elected for several years....all because they are not popular, but still very good scouts.

I have no experience with the process of Adults becoming OA members. It's not something I've dealt with, since I don't handle that kind of nonsense in my unit. ​

How do you "elect" adult OA members then?

I'm not a big proponent of the whole "today sucks, the past was so much better" worldview. Perhaps it was because I wasn't alive in the glory days and just don't know what I missed out on....

Too bad. Today does suck and yesterday was much better. ;)

In any case, to the original poster, the OA is another opportunity for your son and yourself( if you want to) ​​to be involved with Scouting a bit more on the council level. It wasn't something I was interested in, and I've spent my youth and adult Scouting on the unit level almost exclusively.

Doesn't this actually prove the point I am making? Even you -- a very gun-ho Brotherhood member -- is not active in OA right now nor were you "as active as you wanted to be". So what is the benefit besides losing more money and getting a cool patch?

Interesting points, but seems your lack of involvement in OA proves the point: time is better spent in your own unit.
  • 1

#34 desertrat77

desertrat77

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2260 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 01:55 PM

Record Setting at NOAC?

What record was set at NOAC?   Attendance?  

 

When I said the OA was slowly dying, I wasn't just referring to raw data.   I am speaking about quality as well as quantity.

 

Please check out the previous posts that compare/contrast OA past/present.   That's where I was going.   


  • 0

#35 Sentinel947

Sentinel947

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1628 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 02:05 PM

@Krampus

I don't handle OA adult ​nominations. I'm not the Scoutmaster or the Committee chair. I "do my job" and that is not part of my job.

I think we have to agree that our units are different. In my unit, the good scouts, the active ones, the ones who are developing as leaders, get elected. The big boss types that mommy and daddy think are gods gift to the Troop? The other boys see right through them.

As for my own involvement/lack of. I'd like to be. When I was a Scout, my Troop as a whole just didn't participate much in the OA. Like other posters have noted, nobody really effectively made the case for why we should be involved in OA events. Now as an Adult leader I see the benefits the OA brings to Scouts in my Council. As an adult, the only benefit is to be surrounded by Adults who are as crazy about this scouting stuff as I am. I might have a role to play in mentoring youth leaders in the OA, but since I'm not active, that's not possible.

 

As a youth member, I mi​ssed out on another opportunity to do cool scouting events. Our lodge is big and active. Some of my best friends I've made from working on Camp Staff were big in the OA. I would have met those people years ago if I had been active in the OA as a youth member.

My own involvement isn't possible, (they meet on Tuesday nights, I take Tuesday night classes in college.) Weekend events are hard to make when the Troop schedules events the same weekend. Trying to make my Troop remember how to use the patrol method after ditching it 5 years ago is also a gigantic time/energy suck. ​​When you upset the way things have been run, and offer an alternative, I had to be willing to put my time and energy where I was running my mouth.......=P.

The OA has a chance to be something special if the adults and youth in it want it to be. Or it can be a waste of time. Similarly the Boy Scout program that is all about collecting Merit Badges and going on carefully adult planned events is a gigantic waste of the potential of this program. 

Yours in Scouting,

Sentinel947 ​


  • 0

#36 Krampus

Krampus

    Side Kick to Nikolaus

  • Members
  • 1870 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 02:09 PM

Wouldn't record attendance at NOAC prove the point of everyone gets in?

 

How can our overall membership numbers be dropping, but OA members rising to record levels, if not the fact that we are accepting more (undeserving) people in to OA?

 

In my troop as a kid we have maybe 8 guys in OA out of 70+ guys. We had plenty eligible. We all camped a ton. But we really only thought those guys who were elected deserved it. They walked on water in our eyes.

 

Today I cannot say the same.


  • 0

#37 Krampus

Krampus

    Side Kick to Nikolaus

  • Members
  • 1870 posts

Posted 10 December 2015 - 02:13 PM

I think we have to agree that our units are different. In my unit, the good scouts, the active ones, the ones who are developing as leaders, get elected. The big boss types that mommy and daddy think are gods gift to the Troop? The other boys see right through them.

 

 

It is not just my unit. It is every unit I see and talk to. It is my personal interaction with the OA youth on which my opinion is based. These guys are the popular types, many not very good leaders.


  • 0

#38 koolaidman

koolaidman

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 308 posts

Posted 11 December 2015 - 10:17 AM

So we've heard a lot of pros and cons in this thread.  Why not just try out the OA.  If your son doesn't like it, he doesn't have to go or pay dues.

No big whoop.

 

Please have a look at this.  Skip to pages 35 and 36 of the pdf.

 

I'd say while the elections are not supposed to be a popularity contest, if a scout act as described in pages 35 and 36, they are bound to be (should be) popular in the troop.

 

Give it a shot.  Judge based on what you experience and not what other people say.  Read the book, not just the cover.

 

Good luck!


  • 1

#39 qwazse

qwazse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6841 posts

Posted 11 December 2015 - 10:26 AM

FYI, Lodge life in our council seems to be a lot of fun. Arrowmen are a helpful lot. They've backed me up when I needed help with my Venturing responsibilities.

 

Our troop has a goodly number of 1st class scouts who lose elections, another number who are tapped out, count the cost, and don't do Ordeal (which I take as a good sign that they value it enough not to show up as slackers), a majority who will volunteer if there's a call for Arrowmen to serve, and a minority who attend lodge events regularly.

 

@koolaidman's advice is spot-on. You'll never know if you don't try. But if you all sincerely have something better to do, no one's gonna be too upset if you take a pass.


  • 1

#40 JustThinking

JustThinking

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 11 December 2015 - 11:14 AM

So we've heard a lot of pros and cons in this thread.  Why not just try out the OA.  If your son doesn't like it, he doesn't have to go or pay dues.

No big whoop.

 

Please have a look at this.  Skip to pages 35 and 36 of the pdf.

 

I'd say while the elections are not supposed to be a popularity contest, if a scout act as described in pages 35 and 36, they are bound to be (should be) popular in the troop.

 

Give it a shot.  Judge based on what you experience and not what other people say.  Read the book, not just the cover.

 

Good luck!

@koolaidman

 

Look at what?


  • 0




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users