Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: New OA Election process
Re: New OA Election process
Mon, 13 Dec 1999 07:58:14 -0800
At 10:04 -0500 on 12/13/99, Robert Riley spake about Re: New OA
><<No one gets in that doesn't deserve to.>>
>That is NOT the same as "All deserving Scouts get in".
>Boys go through Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts and the entire time
>we are telling them to Do Your Best and that they can accomplish
>anything they set their minds to.
Well, most anything. I hope we also let them discover some sense that
it does not always work out that way. It doesn't matter whether
you've won or lost, but how you played the game, is also something we
teach in our own way.
>Then we come up with what is really a clique for them to try to get into
Clique is a loaded term, and I would probably quibble with its use.
More important, however, if the OA is a group that sees itself as
'select,' it is a most unusual one. Remember that one is elected to
it by people who are not members of it. It is not a group that
selects its own members. In that way I think it really fails to meet
the definition of clique. How members behave toward nonmembers is
for another topic.
>and break their spirits when they don't.
I have generally seen elections in troops with ten to thirty boys,
never larger, rarely smaller. I have seen young men stunned and
tearful when not elected. It calls for Scoutmaster skills.
Life does that to people. Few of us have never encountered something
we could not control that did not perform as we wished. As I was
growing up I did not encounter that. The first time I had such an
experience was in college, and I literally did not know how to cope
with my own feelings. It would have been better for me for that to
have happened in Scouts with a Scoutmaster who understood such things
to work with me, who could have encouraged me to move on, to learn
from it, instead of being alone and confused by it. These things
happen. It is certainly a jolt, however, to discover manifestly that
ones peers do not wish to elect one to something. We do that to
people on election day regularly.
>It seems to me that getting into this goes against everything we
>have been teaching our boys for years.
I see it as quite compatible. We do not teach kids that we will
always win. We teach them to persevere. The present elections system
no longer provides one with a convenient excuse, hey, you would have
made it but for the system. That's a cop out anyway. Introspection
comes from being induced to ask oneself, 'why did this thing come out
this way?' There often is an answer to that question that isn't too
comfortable, but we never learn anything unless we are ask it of
ourselves. As adult leaders we are not in business to avoid the kid's
being wounded, rather we are there to help him learn from it and grow
stronger because of it. Because we are not a parent of the boy in
question, we can avoid the emotional blinders that often come with
parenthood, be more objective, and help the boy learn.
There is in fact always some reason or set of reasons why a boy is
not elected. I can usually tell in a Troop of mine who will and will
not be elected, and can hazard a guess about the boy who doesn't make
it, why that was. Possibly he doesn't really pitch in and 'hold up
his end' on outings. Possibly he is a little apt to be mean to
others. May be he just thinks he's God's gift to Scouting. There is a
reason usually. Sometimes a boy suffers by comparison with an older
boy who is really outstanding, and if this is for kids like Sam maybe
Pete isn't up to that yet.
The present system at least eliminates the popularity contest. Used
to be that a really good Scout would lose out a popularity contest
with a kid that has charisma. Now they can both be elected.
Asst Scoutmaster, District Committee, District Commissioner,
Lewis-Clark Trail District, Inland Northwest Council 611, &
'a good ol' Fox too'; Es Kaielgu Lodge 311, Tseminicum Chapter,
Vigil, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ; and Macintosh fan.
Take a look at http://www.consultburton.com/scouter.html