Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Order of the Arrow - more
Order of the Arrow - more
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 10:53:15 -0500
I've gotten lots of responses to my question--thanks, everyone! Perhaps
a little background is in order.
In March, two Webelos from our CO's pack bridged over to two other
troops (older brothers joined those troops before our troop existed).
One of the troops offered to conduct the AOL/bridging ceremony. They
came in full OA regalia, complete with props (very impressive), and
performed the "Four Winds" ceremony. For those of you not familiar with
this ceremony, references are made to the Great Spirit, the Spirit of
the North Wind, the Spirit of the South Wind, etc. While I didn't
particularly care for those references myself, I decided that with a few
wording changes, it could be a great ceremony, and the kids in the pack
loved it. I was looking forward to a similarly impressive ceremony for
my own son, who would be bridging over two months later. After we got
home, we recieved a phone call from the Cubmaster apologizing for the
ceremony (evidently he made similar phone calls to every family in the
pack). He told me that if they had known what the ceremony was going to
be like, they wouldn't have allowed it. Apparently some parents were
quite offended by the ceremony, and as it happened, the troop the other
boy was bridging into is one that also doesn't allow OA participation.
I suspect (but have no way to confirm) that this is the sum total of our
CO's experience with OA, and upon which they based their decision. I
myself don't yet know enough about OA's ceremonies to decide whether or
not I would personally have a problem with them, although I probably
have a better understanding of the purposes of OA than do the CO board
of directors. Incidentally, nearly all of our CO's board have sons in
either the pack or the troop or both, and many are Scout leaders
themselves. Our CO is a homeschool organization, and only members of
the CO may join the pack and the troop. Subscription to the
organization's statement of beliefs (which is not tied to a specific
denomination) is a condition of membership in the organization. I also
know that our troop is not the only one that has decided not to
participate in OA for the same reason our CO gives.
At this point, I'm not ready to fight the decision. As I said, I'm not
quite sure yet that I disagree with it. Also, I've made enough waves
recently over the way the troop has been conductiong BORs, and I'd like
to lie low for a while. I don't know of anyone else in the troop who is
all that interested in OA.