Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Order of the Arrow Ordeal (or initiation/hazing?)
Order of the Arrow Ordeal (or initiation/hazing?)
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 14:54:03 -0500
I am the scoutmaster of Troop 62 in Rochester, NY (Otetiana Council).
This is my third year as scoutmaster. I was also an ASM for two years,
a Webelos Den Leader for two years and a Den Leader for two years.
For the first three years, I have allowed OA elections, but have become
increasingly uncomfortable about the shroud of secrecy, and wall of silence
around the "Ordeal," which prevents me from properly advising OA
candidates and their parents about what to expect.
The few scraps of information that I have obtained make me wonder how the
Ordeal serves the stated purpose of the OA, which I understand to be:
1. To recognize those campers who best exemplify the scout
oath and law at all times when possible
2. To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit
3. To promote scout camping
4. To crystallize the habit of helpfulness into a lifelong purpose
service to others
For example, I have been told, but have no way to verify that, during a day
physical labor (service project?), meals consist of: one boiled egg
slices of bread (dry), 1 slice of cheese (lunch); and one apple (dinner). I
also heard that candidates are required to spend a night with no protection
or insects. I am hard pressed to see how either practice promotes good
can be considered anything other than a form of hazing, that would seem to
in violation of both child protection laws and BSA policy.
I hope that I am wrong, but in the absence of real information cannot help
but wonder. . . .
Any real information that anyone can provide, whether public or private,
would be greatly