Re: Questions from my Troop&Patrol
Branden Morris (morris@NET1PLUS.COM)
Tue, 14 Jul 1998 22:54:26 -0400
At 3:28 AM 7/14/98, "Settummanque,\the blackeagle MAJ Mike L. Walton wrote:
I really dislike being argumentative. However, I'm finding what I consider
to be some really circumspect logic in this thread, and for one reason or
another, it's got my goat.
>Jim Sleezer, Branden Morris and a couple others replied to my
>longish posting to Anthony Robinson reference the wearing of BOTH
>Order of the Arrow AND Merit Badge sash together.
Unfortunately, my reply is also a bit longish, so my longish and Mike's
longish makes for a longish post. :)
I hope that my remarks are taken with a liberal dose of remembering that a
Scout is a brother to every other Scout; however, sometimes brothers get
into a bit of a spat.
>Here's what I stated to Anthony, followed by an extract of
>Branden's followup and finally, my own followup:
.... snip rehash of previous postings...
>Branden and a couple others correctly pointed to the source
>documents (which I was aware of an an Arrowman):
>>Insignia Guide, page 45:
>>"The OA sash is not worn with the merit badge sash."
>>Order of the Arrow Handbook, page 59:
>>"The sash is worn diagonally across the chest. It is not to be
>>worn in any other manner."
>Which begged the question "If you know that's the deal with the OA
>sash, Mike, why didn't you say that?"
>Because in REALITY, Branden (and others...and that's what we deal
>with many times with regard to questions on this list!), OA
>brothers are COMPELLED or even FORCED to wear the OA sash AND their
>merit badge sash together.
Baloney. Pure and simple. Anyone who knows or understands the program isn't
going to force youth to wear two sashes. Reality is malleable; it is
defined by the principles that we uphold and the example that we set.
>No, my answer is NOT an official answer
>but it is one that MAKES GOOD SCOUTER'S SENSE
I disagree; it makes no sense at all.
>IF one or the other
>of those two ISOLATED EVENTS above occurs.
>And for a select number of Scouts, IT DOES HAPPEN. For instance,
>during the President's Partnership for a Drug-Free America
>appearance last week, in which he appeared in front of youth groups
>(including Scouts!), four Arrowmen from the Atlanta Area Council
>served as "special guest escorts". Did they wear both OA sash and
>merit badge sash together?? Yep. Is that a violation of both of
>those policies you explained above? Yep. Did anyone chastised
>them for doing so?? Probably not, seeing how this was an extreme
>ceremony and they wanted to "look their very best" for the cameras
>and the press and their parents (and perhaps their girlfriends too,
>if truth be known).
Looking their very best would have included clean, neat, proper uniforming.
We've seen this before, in talking about less than textbook uniforming
portrayed in Scouting magazine. Many Scouters may have seen that
presentation you describe above; and many of those Scouters who are a
little more conversant on some of the less-common uniforming situations
know that you don't wear the two sashes together. What do you think their
reaction would be? 1
Just for kicks (I just came home from an area camp visitation, and am still
in uniform), I put on both my OA sash and dug out my merit badge sash, and
put them on together. It looks sloppy and pretentious. It's certainly not a
combination that I would wear if I wanted to "look my best."
>If you look back at old photos of the Report to the Nation event at
>the White House, you'll find even former National OA Chiefs wearing
>both sashes. Again, an extreme "exception to written policy" event.
OK, how about a citation for that one? I looked at issues of the national
bulletin back through 1987 (as far as my personal collection goes). I don't
see it. Can you name a chief and year? I'll be waiting.
Having known and worked many of our past national youth leaders, I'd be
hard pressed to find one who'd have done that. most of the chiefs I've
known well are very conscious of the need to set the example by proper
uniforming. Their advisors, at least, would have coached them of that fact
before they even came close to the Oval Office -- because they know that
the picture is a permanent record of our representation to the President.
>Another, more frequent occurance when the wearing of both sashes
>occur is during local Councils' presentations of the Silver Beaver
>and/or Silver Antelope Awards.
Local councils award Antelopes? Aren't Antelopes awarded by the region at
the national meeting each year? I've seen a number of SB presentations, and
no where in the presentation ceremony is it called for for youth who are
present to wear both sashes.
>The Council Scout Executive
>frequently calls upon the Lodge to provide escorts, and guess what
>happens a lot of times (more than average)?? The escorts, already
>in merit badge sash, dons the red and white sash *while escorting*
>the honorees to the podium for their award. At other times, the
>sashes are off, and are on the table or perhaps they are sitting on
I've organized a number of color guards from our lodge for our council. If
we're representing the OA, we tell the kids to leave merit badge sashes at
home, and bring OA sashes.
There's simply no reason for 'needing' to wear two. No reason.
>I agree with the both of you, however, when Branden states:
>>There is no provision whatsoever for wearing both of the sashes at
>>the same time. Simple as that. The Scout should decide which one
>>it is appropriate to wear, with the understanding that the OA sash
>>is worn at OA-related or OA-specific functions.
>But it's a fine grey line, folks, between escorting digitaries as
>an OA-specific occasion and "looking your best" with merit badge
>sash across the chest.
Again, "looking your best" really means correct, proper uniforming. To some
people, white gloves, shoulder braids, helmets, and trousers tucked into
and bloused over dress boots might look good. Does the uniforming guide
make provisions for that? Would you recommend that option to color guards
>That is what prompted me to answering
>Anthony's posting the way I did....I couldn't think of but those
>two extremely special events in which both sashes would even be
>*considered* for wear!!
I'm sorry, Mike -- that dog don't hunt.
>Branden went onward to comment that in dealing with questions here,
>one should always display the facts, which I agree with him.
Then why aren't you doing it? I find it suspicious that, knowing what the
"rules" state, that you can offer a blanket justification to the contrary.
Is this something you do often?
.... snip ...
>The source documents are clear, but it doesn't mean a thing if they
>are not accessible or read beforehand.
That's perfectly correct. And I'd never be one of those to 'chastise'
someone for doing something like that -- because it's innocent, and also
What isn't innocent, and can be very harmful, is when we knowingly defy,
for no good reason, the program that we're commissioned to uphold and
present. What kind of a message does it send our youth when we make excuses
for them to break the rules?
>Also, in those two extreme
>cases, Arrowmen are either not going to question the "authority
>figure" be he Council Scout Executive or Lodge Advisor -- or even
>Scoutmaster -- for fear that he would be "taken off" this special
>and very visible "detail". Remember what I stated about it being an
>"honor" in doing this??
Since I've had some good opportunities like that as a youth, I fully agree.
My problem isn't with the youth, nor is it with the adults who haven't
learned yet. I have a problem when supposedly experienced adults twist and
distort the program to fit their own agenda.
>We should all follow what the BSA's insignia and program guides
>tell us...and I'm a big one for trying to get others to do this, as
Not today, obviously :)
>but there's a time where the GUIDE is just that: a
>baseline for decisionmaking and prudent judgement ("Scouters'
>Sense", or what's good for the program and the youth involved).
Maybe today I am a little bent on "rules." I just spent the past 24 hours
participating in a camp visitation team in my region. We saw two excellent
camps (Hinds and Bozeman (sp?) up in Maine -- great camps, great programs),
and one of the reasons that these two camps are successful is because they
follow the pretty strict camp accreditation process we've set up to insure
we have quality, safe, and enjoyable summer camps.
Other parts of the BSA program -- including uniforming -- are "regulated"
by policies and rules to insure a base uniformity of quality for the
program. Even if the reasons aren't clear to us immediately, we can usually
be pretty sure that they're there for a good reason. I'm not suggesting
blind obedience -- I wish every Scouter sought to understand every
principle and rule that guides our program -- but if we don't currently
have the understanding that backs up the rule, but we do have the rule,
then we should follow the rule. Disbedience and maverick actions aren't the
ways a Scout operates.
>Officially, what the Insignia Guide and the OA Handbook goes. They
>are our baseline documents in this case. But if a situation comes
>up whereby one of my Scouts is asked to seat the President and his
>or her cabinet members or to escort our former Council Commissioner
>to the front of the stage, and he's an Arrowman and we're asked (or
>told) to wear our OA sashes as part of the proceedings....
Then they wear the OA sash and leave the MB sash home. See how easy it is? :)
>.....I'm going to go with what I recommended to Anthony as an
>*extreme* "exception to policy" case.
And I'm going to go by submitting that your advice is faulty, and the
thought process behind it is dangerous. I'm sorry, Mike -- I try not to be
disagreeable and contentious, but this time I think you're out of line.
>Thanks to those whom posted me advising me of the current policies
>as well as to Branden and Jim both for posting the OFFICIAL
>information to all of us!!
You're welcome. I wish it did some good :)
Yours, friendly and somewhat cheerfully, in Scouting,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City