Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Fwd: Re: OA election - my thoughts
Fwd: Re: OA election - my thoughts
Mon, 13 Dec 1999 11:10:41 -0500
>Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 11:09:13 -0500
>From: Dale Karweik <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: OA election - my thoughts
>My name is Dale, Eagle at 18, breif break and then 25 years of service.
OA at 17 after not being elected 5 times. Brotherhood and Vigil as an
adult. Chapter Advisor and Venture Crew 214 Advisor for the Black Sheep OA
Dance Team and Construction Crew.
>>I don't think that many of you folks truly understand the emotional
>>trauma that the OA inflicts on young Scouts by it's election policy.
>I do understand very, very well as a five times passed over youth without
as personal skills needed to be among the popular for awards, but always
among those with work and solutions when then got tough.
>We hold an election, and some members from the OA get up and
>>make a long, convoluted, confusing speech about the order and how the
>>election is going to be held, then a ballot is passed out. Months later,
>>after the boy wonders whether or not he was elected, at a grand ceremony
>>the honor of being a member is hyped up to the max, and then the kids
>>find out who "got in".
>It is not National policy but many - most election teams in my area and
our Chapter tap out team are trying to change this. Our election speech
tells what the chapter and lodge have accomplished in the last year in
building and repairing camp properties so they know what we will be asking
them to commit to, we give them the ideals of service to others, camping
skills and adherence to the Oath and Law to tell them what to look for in a
candidate, then we aske them to think of who on the list they would want to
be with on long tem camp out in foul weather and lots of work to be done.
The last is the guideline we like to use - who would you take with that you
know will pull their weight, help everyone with their jobs and keep a
positive attitude even when things are not going right - to help them make
the selection. We then let them vote. I hope this is not a long,
confusing and incomprehensible speech. So far it seems to work.
>This is usually late at night, at summer famp
>>when they are all are tired and exhausted. After all those weeks and
>>months of hope, some of the boys suddenly find out that they WEREN'T
>>elected. It becomes a devestating blow, and their hopes are crushed in a
>>instant, at a time when they are both physically and mentally exhausted.
>>Look closely at the faces of the kids who get passed over at your next
>>call-out....you will see everything from tight-lipped stoic smiles...to
>>tears streaming silently down a boys cheeks. I still remember vividly,
>>from three tap-outs as a youth, the horrible hurt you feel inside when
>>you get passed over...you just want to quit the whole program, and crawl
>>off and die somewhere.
>I have seen this as SM, ASM and chapter advisor. It is horrible sometimes
and an important life lesson other times. A young man who may see himself
in a far different light than his peers do. Sometimes it takes a shock to
help him become a better person. My son was one of those very competent
young men with no time of day for the younger, less able Scouts. Two
failures at being elected finally got him to realize what service to others
means. I am not sure you can feel the pain I felt as SM and father for
him. I did make a difference.
> The congratulations, and hoopla over the "better
>>boys" who got elected instead of you just add to the pain you feel. To
>>make it even worse...these tap-outs typically occur late at night....so
>>you get to try and go to bed with the fresh memories of being rejected as
>>a scout on your mind.....we kick them in the teeth, rub it in a
>>while..then promptly send them to bed to think about what happened for a
>>few hours all alone in the dark.
>We don't make a lot of hoopla about the new candidates. They are called
out, presented to the camporee audience and taken aside for our
conversation with them. There is usually a story or SM minute that follows
at the campfire before the closing while we are away.
>>I remember one tap out a few years ago...and tell this story to
>>illustrate how insensitive some leaders are to their boys, in the hopes
>>that you don't repeat his behavior. After the tap-out, back at camp, a
>>bunch of us were sitting around the campfiree when one of our ASM's asked
>>a kid next to him..."Are you dissapointed in not getting tapped-out? The
>>kids lips started to quiver, and he couldnt say anything so he just
>>slowly walked away. Imagine being reminded..in front of all your
>>friends...that you didn't get chosen as a "good" scout"! I just
>>exploded....and told that leader what an incredible jerk he was..right
>>there in front of GOD and everybody ( poor behavior on my part...I
>>admit....but I couldnt help myself)....please don't ever rub the kids
>>face in his fresh trauma...especially in public. I tracked this boy
> >>down, mainly by the sounds of his sobbing off in the bushes, and had a
>>long talk with him to try and mend the hurt....all unnecessary except for
>>that idiots comments.
>Thank you for doing the latter.
>>I always shed my OA sash the minute I quietly shake hands with the new
>>inductees....and make a point to spend time with all the "losers" back at
>>camp, quietly offering support to them.
>Maybe this is our biggest difference in perception. I believe and have
stated publicly on many occassions there are those who are recognized and
are called to service in the OA and there are those who are candidate for
the future. There are no other classifications.
>I am always ashamed to wear my
>>OA sash around those fine boys who didn't get elected......because I have
>>been in their shoes the entire time I was a youth...I never made the
>>grade and got into the OA as a youth either,,in fact I stopped going to
>>summer camp after three years just because it always hurt so bad to
>>continue to fail to get tapped-out....even as eagle scout....I was (in my
>>mind) second class..because the kids in the troop always elected the
>>popular guys instead of me. At least thats what I felt....and thats what
>>all the kids still feel when they don't make the OA
>Maybe, but I don't think so. I proudly wear my sash even among those who
are not called that year. I talk with them about the future, what they
plan and can do.
>>Some folks have bemoaned the fact that that it is theoretically possible
>>for 100% of the eligable kids to get elected...and to that possibility..I
> >>shout HALLELEJULIA! thats what should happen, every time! If they
>>meet the criteria....I don't think we have any business telling them that
>>some are worhy, and some aren't..especially in a public ceremony! And
>>some folks on the list hint that something is wrong when the election
>>process is explained to the troop ahead of time..ie coaching, so that
>>more boys get elected. To that comment...I say hogwash...I always have,
>>and will continue to explain how the election works, and how the maximum
>>number of kids can get elected, to my troop before the elections. I defy
>>anyone to tell me that explaining the rules and the process to a troop is
>>in anyway wrong, or at odds with the OA or with Scouting....its there in
>>black and white....I don't tell them what to do or who to vote for...just
>>how it works and what the rules mean. When they understand the
>>process...more boys tend to get elected.....and there is nothing wrong
>>with what I do.
>No comment. I have not heard the details of what you say.
>>Lets not get carried away and make the OA into anthing more than it
>>really is...a private club ( with worthy and lofty goals and ideals) to
>>which we restrict membership..often at the cost of the pride and
>>emotional well-being of many of our fine young scouts. Instead of making
>>it more difficult to get int....I think you folks should be looking at
>>how to get ALL the wonderful young Scouts elected...so that the order
>>will grow and prosper...and end a long tradition of telling young men
>>that meeting the requirements isn't enough....you still arent as good as
>OA is a private club. Unfortunately, there many who wear the cleanest
sash and finest uniforms and parade around telling everyone how important
membership is and never get the faintest clue how to be a member of that
private club. OA is service to others and this means having a dirty sash
and a worn uniform. It means taking the time to work and show boys by
example what is expected. I would very much like to expand that
membership, but that is not a function of elections or exclusive policies.
>This is my rant. It is unfortunate that the clean, pressed shirt guys are
the most visible because they speak loudly and set up the young men to
believe that they are failures because they were not elected. Those in
the private club instaed work with them to make them better Scouts --- and
somehow the next time they do get elected. The only problem I have is
there are not enough members of the private club to go around, because if
there were there would be many more Scouts elected each year.
>>Thats it for now...the opinions above are mine and mine alone....I feel
>>strongly in them, but respect your right to disagree ( heck..I will still
>>even like ya after you tell me I am crazy..been hearing that for years)
>>Troop 86 SA
>>Crew 2000 chairman
>>yada yada yada
>These opinions are mine and I hope they will be shared by more and more
people each year, but until then I will lead by doing and hope that others