scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: OA & LDS
Jason Cruse (jcruse@SOCKET.NET
Wed Mar 29 2000 - 08:54:39 CST
>At our District Meeting last night it was mentioned that very few LDS
>troops participated in OA electrions. This trend has been for several
>years now. With a large percentage of LDS units, it looks like the
>district is not doing a good enough job reaching the units.
>Some reasons given were:
>1. LDS units only camp Friday night.
>2. LDS units do not tend to go camping on a monthly bases.
>Given #1 and #2, they may not have enough camping time.
Despite these, there is no reason why a boy cannot be elected by the time he
is 13. Given that he can't attend scout camp until he is 12, by then he
should have enough time to be elected.
If LDS units are not camping monthly, then they are not following the
scouting program as set out by the LDS church. Period. The LDS materials
are VERY clear that LDS units are supposed to follow the scouting program.
There is no such thing as an "LDS variation" of BSA. Each chartered partner
came make some modifications (such as the LDS 11 year old camping rule), but
those are actually rare.
>3. They perceive the OA as a secret organization. I sure hope that
>this is not the case.
I thought that this idea went away in the 1970s and 80s. Sad if it has come
>So, are other districts seeing the same trends?
There are too few LDS units in my district to be able to notice.
>Are there any success stories that I can pass onto the OA chapter?
There are many lodge officers, including lodge chiefs, across the country
who are LDS. There are also regional officers who are LDS. There has been
at least one National chief who was LDS. LDS youth tend not to hold as many
regional and national positions since most of them leave when they are 19 to
serve their full-time missions.
I suspect that in your area, there may be two things working against OA.
The first is perhaps a general misperception of the Order and its functions.
Indeed, given the "new" emphasis on service in the Order, LDS troops should
be running to embrace the program. Second is an unfortunate attitude the
crops up in many places about LDS troops and their participating in BSA
programs. All too often, LDS troops do not participate in district and
council events. Both sides, the troop and the district/council leadership,
feed this. From the troop side, LDS troops too often think that they have
radically different rules, programs, etc, and do not spend enough time
thinking how they actually can be a part of a successful district program.
>From the district/council side, there are many volunteers and even
professionals who have heard perhaps negative things about LDS
participating, and just leave them alone. Both attitudes are, in my
opinion, unfortunate and incorrect.
Perhaps what needs to happen most is an eye-opening experience for your
troops. Do you have a district LDS gathering? A stake camporee? Stake
training or fast-start? That would be a good opportunity to invite OA
leaders, youth especially, come and talk about what the chapter and lodge
do. Have them put on campfire ceremonies. Encourage elections. Have your
OA boys in the stake perform special service projects at gatherings, so they
can be seen in action. There are many many more ideas.
I apologize for droning on. You have hit a personal hot-button. Thanks for
putting up with it.
And, though I rarely do it, my "qualifications" for my answer are on my
Hannibal Branch, Nauvoo Stake
former Lodge Chief
former Section vice-chief...
yada yada yada