OA Eligibility - Past & Present
Hollis UTAH Cox (COX@VT8200.DNET.LSU.EDU)
Fri, 2 Jun 1995 17:37:05 -0600
Why does it bother anyone that OA elections are often popularity
contests? It just mirrors the current democratic system in the US! OK,
maybe we're trying to teach them to be better than society in general.
Why does it bother anyone that that almost 100% of those eligible, do finally
get elected? Shouldn't every First Class Scout be afforded the OA opportunity?
The troop that had 44 eligible and none elected does concern me. I have
heard of that happening in otherwise "quality" troops where competition was
intense between patrols, and patrol members only voted for their own eligible
members. With 3 or 4 strong patrols, a candidate would only receive 25-33% of
the votes cast, and would have no chance of election. Not voting for members
of other patrols has often been the explanation for a troop electing none or
few of those eligible. This usually did not happen when I was a youth because
the procedure in use then included a nomination round and then an election
(final ballot) round.
Somone suggested that a formula be developed that would limit election
to a small percentage of any troop to strengthen the idea of an honor organi-
zation. That is exactly what the OA had in place prior to the change to the
current convoluted system. The following is from a posting I made earlier on
the OA list and is long, so skip it, if not interested in ancient history or if
you read it before:
From the 1950 Order of the Arrow Handbook:
REQUIREMENTS (pages 24-25)
The qualifications for membership shall be the following:
1. Registered Scout, Explorer, or Scouter.
2. A Scout Camper -- 15 days and nights of camping, no more than seven of which
can be a long-term camp. This should not be interpreted to mean that a Scout or
Scouter must spend 7 days or more in the Council camp. On the contrary, a Scout
or Scouter should not be required to attend the Council camp to prove that he is
a camper. The requirement states that one must spend 15 days and nights of
camping, and that if a Scout or Scouter happens to attend the Council camp, or
other long-term camp, he may count only 7 of his days and nights there toward
his total goal of 15.
3. Election by the membership of the home Unit.
4. Participation in the Ordeal and ceremonies.
5. A Unit is eligible to hold an election if it has five or more Scouts or
Explorers who meet the camping requirement.
6. The number of candidates to be nominated in any Unit shall be equal to
twice the number to be elected or shall include all Scouts not already members
who are eligible.
7. The number to be elected from any one Unit in any year shall be approximate-
ly 10% of its membership having the camping requirements. (See table on page
8. Every Scout actively registered at the time of election is eligible to vote;
a quorum of 50% of all Scouts must be present to hold the election.
9. Scouters may not vote in this election.
These requirements may not be added to or subtracted from by the local
Lodge. It is at the option of the Lodge to require First Class (no higher)
or Apprentice in Exploring as a qualification for membership. It is, however,
strongly recommended (2 words in italics) that it be eliminated.
As you can see many things did not change. I suppose req. #2 was
changed to promote long-term camping, especially at our Council camps.
But, the camping could be done at any time since the Scout joined, not just in
the last 2 years prior to election. The changes of Reqs. #5 & #7 are the
significant ones. The table referred to states that Units with 5 to 14 eligible
Scout Campers must nominate at least 2 and shall elect only 1; Units with 15 to
24 eligible could nominate 4 or more and elect 2; Units with 25 or more eligible
would nominate 6 or more and elect 3. The lack of a rank requirement was never
a problem in most troops; most of those elected were usually an Eagle Scout
or a Life Scout.
IMSO, this change has contributed to many of the perceived problems
Also from 1950 OAH: "When the purpose of the Order is read and properly
explained to the group preparing for election of candidates, they can be
trusted, as Scouts or Explorers who best know their fellow campers in their
Unit, to make the right selections. Experience has proved this beyond any
doubt. In any event we have all grown in ideals in the Order, and the new
candidate will also grow physically, mentally, and morally."
YiS - Utah Cox, Atakapa Chapter Adviser, Istrouma Area Council, Louisiana
Eligible for election to OA in 1956; Eagle, May 1957; Ordeal, June 1957
(elected at summer camp, tapped out and Ordeal the last night of that week);
Brotherhood, July 1958
Used to be a Colinus virginianus (italics)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City