Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: SM and OA eligibility
SM and OA eligibility
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 15:47:10 EDT
I must tell you that I did use this option of removing an eligible Scout
precisely once in my time as a Scoutmaster.
The youth was qualified in rank and other ways, but was also very, very
touchy about being what he considered "ignored" or "rejected" by the other
This had resulted in several times when he was considered to be too rough in
games, etc., and had to be pulled aside to discuss the situation. Would I
have stopped him from advancing? No, if he was up for rank he was constantly
TRYING to be better, but he still had not learned to work with the patrol or
I felt he needed another year, took him aside for an unscheduled and
unplanned SM Conference where we discussed what OA was, what membership
meant, and what it would mean for him to be elected. I told him I had final
choice, and I felt that, at that time, he should not be worried about the OA
but instead about his relationship with the other youth in the Troop. I knew
if he was not elected he would pick out SOMEBODY he would blame for this
rejection and that Scout would take the brunt of the upset. After talking he
agreed I was right. He handled election night well, when someone said "Why
isn't...?" he spoke before I could to say "I talked with Mr. Petrik and we
agreed I should wait a year."
A year later we let him run and lose and he did not over-react. Two years
later he was elected, although by then I was in another council.
Sometimes OA is of benefit to a boy, other times it would draw him from his
main purposes in Scouting -- having fun and learning to work with his patrol.
We made the correct choice and I would do it again. If he had run for
election and been rejected we may not have ever seen him in the program again
because he was embarassed or he may have hurt someone taking out his anger.
I also must point out that I had several youth who had families where the
parents were forcing them to stay in Scouting where they ASKED to not be
included in the OA elections. They knew they were going to quit as soon as
they got to High School sports or whatever they could use as a good excuse to
give mom and dad, and would rather the recognition went to some other Scout
who was there because of Scouting. I accepted their requests, every time.
(And allow me to point out -- at no time did any of those youth being off the
list bring anyone to comment about why they were not included, so the kids
know more than we ever think they do about what is happening in each other's