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.
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.