Re: OA elections
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Wed, 31 May 1995 10:51:22 EST
I agree with most of Branden Morris' comments about OA. He has hit
the nail pretty much right on the head. I only have a few thoughts to
I went to our lodge banquet last December, and was very impressed with
the quality of the event. This event, a banquet for over 700 people,
was organized by two scouts, both in college, and not yet 21. Their
committee was made up totally of teenagers.
The event went off almost flawlessly. I have arranged banquets before
as part of my work, and I can tell you, it is not easy to organize
such an event. Most companies or associations would not entrust such
a task to anyone below mid-level in experience, let alone to a bunch
of "yutes" most of whom are not yet out of high school.
For scouts of the age involved to have organized such an event, and
have it come off so well, was a clear indication to me that in spite
of the supposed flaws in OA election procedures discussed here
recently, the boys usually get it right. These particular scouts all
struck me as highly motivated, smart, dedicated young men who took OA
seriously. In fact, they are precisely the type of young men I would
like my own son to turn out to be.
I don't have a problem with a scout wanting to get into OA solely
because of the supposed "status" he attains, or because of the patch.
First, that motivation is a clear indication that OA is considered an
honor, which is as it should be. But more important, it seems to me,
is that if the scout fulfills the requirements for election, we have
no business denying him admission based on his motivation.
The only point where I disagree with Branden a little is that on
general principles, adult scouters should NEVER interfere in scout-run
elections by approving candidates. The Scoutmaster's Handbook
discusses this issue explicitly, by noting by way of example that
sometimes a scout the SM thinks will be a great PL turns out to be not
so great (allowing the boys to learn from this), and other times a
scout the SM thinks will be a dud turns out to be terrific (in turn,
teaching the SM something).
The same principle should govern OA elections. I also think that
eventually, almost all boys who deserve to get into OA make it. The
few (and I believe it is a few) who get elected who aren't motivated
and don't show scout spirit won't hang around in scouting--let alone
OA--very much longer anyway.
And in closing, let me say to Branden that if you ever move to the
Washington DC area, look me up. I'll have a job for you.
YiS and WWW,
ASM, Troop 120
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City