OA Elections (Not Hurt! Training Opportunity!)
Gary Sherwin (sherwin@SUNSHINE.PGH.WEC.COM)
Wed, 31 May 1995 08:48:31 EDT
Lest we forget, one of the unique features of the OA is that its
membership is selected by "outsiders". I for one feel that this
is a major strength of the order. This is not to say that there
is not the possibility of hurt feelings. I know this from
experience as I was once one of those passed over in favor of a
more popular scout. BUT following the passed over tap-out, my
Scoutmaster counceled me about what had happened. The following
year I was elected and given the FABULOUS OPPORTUNITY OF SERVICE
in Wagion Lodge #6. There, opportunity brought me to service as
Dance Team member, Dance Team Chairman, Ceremonials Team Chairman,
Three failed runs for lodge office and a stint as Appointed
Financial Secretary (to fill a vacated term of office) and then,
selection to Vigil Honor. I will never comprehend how I have
been so fortunate to be given so many opportunities through
MY RHETORICAL QUESTION IS:
What is a Scoutmaster's Primary Job?
TO TRAIN, TO TRAIN, TO TRAIN.
I have yet to find a problem in scouting, that the answer was
You may ask:
How does TRAINING apply here?
First, Train Yourself.
Be carefull in saying that the wrong boy was selected. Are you
realy qualified to make this decision? I know that I am not!
I do not live in close patrol or group contact with the boys.
I do not see them on a daily basis. I can only see my side
of the scouts appearance. He may be a better or worse example
of living the Oath and Law than I think he is. His fellow
scouts know him very much more than I do. Do not forget, that
it is the Scoutmaster who ultimately determines eligibility for
election. If it is obvious that a boy is not a good scout,
you may refuse to have his name listed or refuse to certify the
results of the election (difficult since it blocks all elections
Second, Train your Troop.
Do it by example. Not just words. Recognize good scouts
Recognize poor scouts when they do something good. Teach
the ideals of scouting, not just the tools. Use Scoutmaster
Minutes to advantage.
Third, Train the Passed Over Boy.
Following the announcement of "winners", COUNSEL EACH OF
THE CANNIDATES AND THEIR PARENTS, espsecialy those who were
not selected. Talk to them about their feelings and have
them analyze why they were not selected this year. Be
specific. Is the problem attendance, pride, lack of team
spirit, failure to join in the group? There is always a
reason and it is probably not just "They like the other guy
better". Set goals to improve perceived areas of weekness.
Train the scout to overcome these weeknesses and have
additional conferences with him to help him improve.
Some need to improve upward to ideals, some downward to
humility, some outward toward friendliness.
In my limited (4 years) as Scoutmaster, I have found this
to result in the boy growing in the required area and then
being elected the following year.
I learn. To watch out for problems in my own leadership style.
The Troop Learns. That goal oriented change is possible.
The Boy Learns. To analyze personal problems and surmount.
I used to be an Eagle NE-V-19-20
Eagle Scout Class of 1967
Vigil-Wagion Lodge 6
(Mr.) Gary W. Sherwin SM
Troop 461 Yukon, Pa.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City