Service from the Order of the Arrow?
Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@SSNET.COM)
Sat, 9 Dec 1995 08:38:16 -0500
As you may have noticed, I am not above opening a can of worms from time
to time. I think I may have done so on Arrow-L. I've been reading there
for several months now, and am becoming increasingly disappointed by the
amount of bickering over the small stuff, like whether or not one should
wear a beaded sash, and the ongoing controversy about whether or not you
should be able to display the legend on the back of the sash. I won't
even go into the one about whther or not you should wear an
"experienced" sash or pack it off for cleaning...
The OA, as far as I understand things (I was inducted more years ago
than I care to count, and have worked fairly extensively with various
Lodges), is a service-oriented organisation. Unfortunately, I don't see
them working as extensively as the Obligation implies with District
activities and with Packs or Troops where the help of experienced Scouts
is often desparately needed. This applies especially to "start-up" units
whose adult Leaders have little or less experience in running a Pack or
I don't feel that the occasional "fix-up" of the Council camps when the
Ordeal is being held is what the OA is all about. On the other hand, I
feel that a visible and helping presence at the District and Unit level
IS what the OA is supposed to be about.
I am sure that I will be told otherwise if I am wrong, but, shouldn't
the OA members be pitching in to help strengthen Scouting in their
communities? Certainly, we are talking about people who have full
schedules, and I will grant theat the individual OA member might not
always be prepared to do this sort of thing - but shouldn't part of the
Lodge's function be to teach them how to help build other units to a
high level of success?
There is, of course, another side of the coin, here. Those units who
need some help in bolstering their programmes need to ask the local OA
Chapter or Lodge for help - and the Advisor and Chief need to be able to
have the resources ready to respond.
What kinds of help are we talking about? Well, say for instance, that a
Troop has a whole bunch of new Scouts, but no experienced Scouts.
Perhaps the OA could have a few experienced Scouts who are prepared to
teach these folks how to camp, so that, after a few months training,
they can do it all on their own.
Maybe a Cub Pack has Dens that need help in running outdoor activities
or games. (Do you have ANY idea how much good that will do when a BIG
Scout comes to help them do something?)
So, let's see if we can't build a better working realtionship with our
local OA, and give them something more to do in their List than grip
back and forth about whether or not the Lodge Executive Committee is
doing the job right?
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