Re: OA Pocket Patch question
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 08:22:38 -0400
If in fact your Lodge is promoting a policy of not allowing Ordeal
members to wear the Lodge's pocket flap period, they are way out of line
and it is time to have a chat with your Scout Executive. Henry Knowles
was right on the money when he said:
> At the conclusion of the Ordeal the new members are declared to be
> members, entitled to all rights and privileges of membership. Furthermore,
> there are no levels of membership, and no privileges are given to
> Brotherhood and Vigil members which are withheld from Ordeal members
> (other than attending the corresponding ceremonies, of course). This
> "policy", if it really prohibits wearing any lodge flap until they
> become Brotherhood members, would seem totally contrary to some very
> basic principles of our Order.
And one of those basic principles is that each member is an equal member.
The National Order of the Arrow has for some years now been active in
discouraging Lodges from having different flap patches for Ordeal,
Brotherhood, and Vigil members. The idea is that the different sashes
are sufficient to distinguish the levels of membership WITHIN the OA and
that in a Troop or outside an OA activity, the indicia of membership
should be the same for all members. Our Lodge unitl a little over a year
ago had three different border colors for its flap and went to a single
border color adopting what had been the Vigil border for the universal
color to keep with this National policy. There are still some Lodges
that are holdouts, but the direction is away from external indicia of
different levels of membership. If your Lodge has gone so far as to have
a different patch than a flap for Ordeal members, then it is really out
of touch and out of line. The whole idea of a flap is to promote
membership in the OA and thereby encourage others to go camping, live the
Scout Oath and Law, etc., in order to be eligible, while recognizing
those selected by their fellow Scouts. If this is not happening, your
Lodge has some real problems and is denying full membership to those
selected by their fellow Scouts.
We have to remember that OA is supposed to be an association of honor
campers promoting the goals of Scouting and not an elitist special
society within Scouting. If a Lodge or its members forget this very
basic tenet, then they do a great disservice to the rest of the Lodges
who do so much to help and promote Scouting elsewhere.
And this is not a new concept either. I can recall this being an issue
we discussed at the National Order of the Arrow Conference back in 1969
at Indiana University and again in 1971 at NOAC. As a Lodge Chief then,
I came back from NOAC and ended discussions about separate flaps in my
lodge back then.
The Order of the Arrow Handbook also states that it is National Policy
that the membership patch be made to fit the right pocket flap and that
the National Order of the Arrow Committee recommends against any
restriction on purchasing the flaps(; e.g. by membership level, two for
life, and the like).
Chuck, please check with your Lodge Advisor to verify that what you heard
is correct. If it is, then your Scout Executive needs to know what is
going on and be asked as the Supreme Chief of the Fire to take
appropriate action to put an end to this - right now!
Speaking Only for Myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
a/k/a Professor Beaver (WB), ASTA #2566, OA Vigil Honor '71, Eagle
Scout '67, Serving as Deputy District Commissioner for Training,
G.W.Dist., Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA - email@example.com
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City