Re: OA MEMBERSHIP CHANGES
or blackeagle ("Settummanque)
Fri, 24 Apr 1992 12:07:00 EDT
Please forward my responses to Sean. I placed them here so that other OA
persons as well as Exploring persons can understand my concerns and so
that the issue can be discussed further.
First off, an apology of sorts. I cannot as you say, understand your
opinion on this and you have not issued one yourself on this topic. However,
as the National Chief of the Lodge, you *do* have an obligation to express
why did the Committee decide to change the rules in midstream like this.
The Exploring program, like the Boy Scouting program are both divisions of the
BSA....so like Boy Scouting, Exploring is based upon the Scout Oath and Law
(as ALL programs of the BSA are in implementation.)
Yes, Explorers SUSCRIBE to the Explorer Code (they don't memorize it, they
don't state it like we do the Scout Oath and Law) and this Code does recognize
the impact of god, community and nation....and an obligation of service to
others and personal growth. While many Explorer posts don't require their
members to know or understand the Scout Oath, even more Explorer Posts (and
Ships) do, because of the "background of its membership".
The Exploring program has NOT changed much since the 70s. It is still coed.
It is still an exploration and career/vocationally oriented program. Its
still with national representation. What HAS changed and I feel the reason
the OA committee did what it did, is the numbers of males to females in those
units. In the 70s and early 80s, most of our Explorer Posts were male
dominated. In the mid 80s, we saw a swing as not just more Career Awareness
Explorer posts were organized, but also as the number of "traditional
Explorer posts" increased in many markets....they were becoming more and more
female dominated. The present numbers are valid for this discussion.
When was the last time you actually seen an Explorer post in action, Sean?/
ALL Explorer Posts center in six experience areas....and OUTDOORS is one of
them. While you may be correct that many Explorer Posts don't camp much,
there are MANY Explorer Posts (members of the National Association of Outdoor
Adventure Exploring, some Sea Exploring posts and ships, many Search and
Rescue Explorer posts, Mormon Explorer Posts and Ships, and units sponsered
by Councils, Districts, and summer camp facilities which all they do is camp!!!
Not to mention the three Scouting Service Explorer Posts and several APO
Service Explorer Posts in the nation. Finally, doe
Service Explorer Posts in the nation. Finally, don't forget about Direct Service
Explorer posts...many of them are what we in Exploring called "varied interest
posts" which means that they can camp one month, see the sights the next and
learn about photograghy the next....
...it seems that the National OA committee did not read the comments from many
Councils and their Chiefs, many of which *belong* to an Explorer Post while
I can agree with you that the number of Explorers in OA is lessening. Let's
examine why. OA lodges are responsible in part for the maintenance and
preservation of the camping program of the local Council. Many Lodges don't
see Exploring as part of the program....they instead see Exploring and Explorers
as "encroachments upon our program" because in many Councils, the Lodge offic
and the officers of the local Explorer Presidents' Association are one and the
same....there are two other issues. One is the fact that OA election teams are
not in tune with the Exploring program and therefore don't seek out Explorer
Posts or Ships to hold the election.
Finally, the membership requirement in an Explorer post *is* different from \
that of a Troop...while Troop members have to be First Class or better, Explorer
membership is based on dual membership in a Troop or Team and First Class
status. For many Explorers, First Class is where they left the Scouting program
because it "was not challenging enough" for me (and I will be the first one to
admit in many cases it was due to poor program and not the kid's fault. I am
helping to work on that....). Exploring gave many "first class scouts" a
kick in the pants because of its different format and structure.
The problem is with female youth (and 18 for Exploring is youth!) members
becoming OA members....I feel that this was the OA's way of keeping it as
male-dominated as possible. While I do agree with you that female Explores
Explorers aged 15-17 cannot be elected due to the First Class Scout rule,
they COULD and WAS elected under the policy Exploring had that made
Associate Advisors 18-21 (like Assistant Scoutmasters). Noted that many
females became Arrowmen to serve as advisors to Lodge programs and activities,
and that others became Arrowmen because of their volunteer (District Commissione
r or Chair of the Program committee) or professional tenure (District
Executive or Exploring Executive), there are *some* females whom *did* want
to become Arrowmen because the program and opportunity was there.
Chief, I disagree with the policy but support the program. I strongly believe
in the programs of the Order of the Arrow and defend it strongly against those
that think that it is a gross waste of time and effort for youth and adults.
We build camps, improve upon them and attract youth and adult to the facilities
over and over. I feel that we should be doing this like our program, the
Boy Scouts of America, mandated it...we do it together.
And together means that we allow those in our senior program (which, when
you cut it all down to the simplest of terms, is what Exploring is...) the
opportunity to "see the Arrow"..
Thanks for your reply, esteemed Chief!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City