Re: OA Elections(2)
Branden Morris (bmorris@LYNX.DAC.NEU.EDU)
Wed, 31 May 1995 15:24:10 -0400
I apologize for not editing this; my editor at work is not as
modern asmy usual choice for email.
> Well, I've opened a bucket of worms. I am grateful for your many
> thoughtful and flameless comments. I have read each very carefully.
> Marked many with my highlighter, and saved them all. Each makes a
> very valuable contribution to the discussion.
> I have been around scouting now in one leadership capacity or another
> for over 18 years. I have seen the problem repeatedly. It comes as
> some small comfort to note that I am not alone -- indeed even the
> proponents of the system admitted having experienced some problems.
> My problem with the system is not who is elected or when, but why and
> what is the SYSTEM doing to create a problem in the boys' lives. I do not
> mean to criticize the OA itself or what it does for those who are elected,
> but what the SYSTEM does to those who are not.
What you see as I problem, I see as an oportunity for great
growth experiences. Disapointment exists in all walks of life, and
Scouting is no exception. What we, as leaders in a troop can do, which
differs from most of the real world, is help the Scout to see the
"failure" of not being elected as an expereience from which he can learn
many lessons. I don't think any Scout will be "scarred for life" twenty
years down the road because he wasn't in the OA.
> First, IMHO the OA needs to decide if it is an "honor organization" or a
> "service organization."
It is both, with the emphasis on service and not honor. While
Scouts are elected based on what they do and have done, once they are
elected they are expected to do and be much more. A common OA slogan,
taken from the ceremonies used in induction, is "You were elected not
for what you have done, but for what you are expected to do" (bad
paraphrase but you get the idea :)) The idea of it being an honor
society is used to attract Scouts to the ideals that make one a worthy
candidate for OA membership; once they are a member, we work to feed
that flame of cheerful service into a roaring fire. It is known as both
the "honor camper's soceity of the BSA" and the "Brotherhood of Cheerful
Service" -- both names describe the OA perfectly -- honor, campers,
brotherhood, cheerful, service.
> If it is an honor organization then the election
> process certainly needs to be changed. Think about it -- mathematically,
> all eligibles COULD be elected with the current system. Where is the
> honor in that?
That's the beauty of it! :) Anyone worthy, based more on
qualifications rather than an arbitrary quota, can get in. IMHO we'd do
a bigger disservice to deny worthy electees because of a full quota than
to pass over a few scouts because of his peers.
> If this was limited to one per year, or a percent of total
> registered youth, the honor would be more obvious, and non-election
> would not be the stigma that it is when you are "elected" (by virtue of
> non-election) as the least qualified, or in the bottom 25 percent or
I don't agree. The honor is still there, and with a larger
organization, we can accomplish much better the goals we have as an
organization. I really think we'd hurt more Scouts this way.
> If it is a service organization, the service commitment should be stressed
> well before the election and boys be given the opportunity to withdraw
> their names. In my district I have never seen more than six boys and one
> adult at any meeting in the past year -- four of these from my troop and
> two from another (usual attendance was somewhat lower) -- we elect
> (my guess) at least twice that many each year. Where are they? If they
> are not committed to the service, they should not be elected.
An Arrowman's first duty, and what designates his status as
"active" or not, is to his home unit and his own personal life. If
someone doesn't make chapter meetings, but lives the principles in his
daily life and serves those around him, he'd doign just fine. The
additional commitments to the lodge and beyond can come later on. And
just because you're an Arrowman doesn't mean you're prefect, either --
we do have plenty of inactive members on the lodge level. The members in
a troop and the elections team should by all means stress the aspect of
service in the Order.
> It seems obvious (again, IMHO) that, if the problem is to be solved, the
> OA must 1) reexamine their purposes and election procedures and
I feel that purposes of the OA are absolutely exemplary and
essential to the development of young men, and the procedures, while not
perfect, are very effective in doing what they do.
> steps must be taken to help both boys and leaders better understand the
> organization and the commitments that accompanies membership even if
> that broader understanding comes at the sacrifice of some of the
> mystique of the order.
True, steps must be taken, but the "mystique" of the Order has
nothing to do with it. This concerns more of the practical applications
of the Orders ideals in everyday life by the lodge and council -- and
which, if you're a lodge officer, advisor, or even an active arrowman,
is very much a real concern and an object of interest.
> Again, I appreciated your comments to my first note; looking forward to
> your thoughts on this.
> Stan Hodge
> Committee Member, Troop 100
> Roundtable Commissioner
> Tejas District, Capital Area Council
> Austin, Texas
Yours In Brotherhood,
* Branden C. Morris -- Northeastern University -- Boston, Mass. *
* email@example.com *
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City