scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: FW: Order of the Arrow
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Wed Jun 07 2000 - 22:10:30 CDT
The Order of the Arrow (OA) is a national honor service brotherhood. It
exists to support the Boy Scout and Varsity Scout program with additional
leadership opportunties and resources -- most importantly with additional
ways of being of service to others.
Service to others, begins in the unit where the Brother was elected in.
There are many ways that OA members can provide service and leadership
without being elected to a leadership position. The BSA cemented that role
of the Arrowman in the Troop or Team by establishing a new unit leadership
position called the Troop or Team OA Representative.
Then, there is service to the District and Council. Many OA Lodges have
chapters established on a District or community basis to aid in this goal.
While it is not important that all OA members participate in their
Chapter's activities, participation will enable those Arrowmen that are
"choked out" of being leaders or support people in their home Troop or Team
with additional chances to lead a community service project, or assist with
a camporee or Cub Day Camp program, or by being there for special visitors
in your community or county. The problem is that many Chapters don't know
anything to do with those monthly meetings except to build costumes and to
talk about stuff that's already being covered in the Lodge's monthly or
quarterly newsletter. The OA is about ACTION. It's about SERVICE. It's
about BROTHERHOOD. If your Chapter's stuck in the rut, then it's time for
your Chapter Chief and OA Chapter Advisor to poll local community service
agencies and see where the OA can be best able to help out!!
Then, there's the service to the Lodge and the camping program of the
Council, the OA's mainstays. Lodges can do wonders for their membership by
emphaizing to them that their first responsibility is to HELP THE COUNCIL
FILL THE SUMMER CAMP EACH SUMMER -- whether its by service on staff, or by
service on camping promotion teams, or by just being in the Troop or Team
and being the first ones signed up for summer camp (setting the example).
The second responsibility is IN SUPPORTING THE LODGE'S TWO OR THREE
ACTIVITIES A YEAR -- most Lodges have a fall and spring conclave in which
all OA members gather to work and fellowship. That's important, because
the OA depends on that work and fellowship to grow.
So, where does that leave the Scoutmaster or Coach that wants to "retain my
boys in the Troop or Team and discourage them from doing OA stuff??"
Don't discourage them....ENCOURAGE THEM. WHY? Because if your Council and
Lodge is doing things the RIGHT WAY, your youth members will return so
pumped up and ready for whatever your Troop or Team is doing.....because
they know what's down the road for them. They will find some of your
activities lame and boring....and they should tell you about it, and help
you find ways to keep them "gainfully employed" in the game of
Scouting...this may be by setting up a Venture Patrol for the older boys,
or by letting them go over to a Venturing Crew or Ship.
This also may mean that some of your older boys will eventually do NOTHING
MORE in your Troop than do OA stuff. That's a loss...but YOU, Scoutmaster
or Coach, YOU have the choice: either develop with your youth members (to
include the OA ones!) a PROGRAM which will retain and attract new boys; or
LOSE some of your youth because you refuse to listen to what THEY want to
do, and what THEY think is important to do in addition to the "earning of
the badges and summer camp."
I hear this all of the time from Scoutmasters while I served in various
Council or Regional roles: "I don't like the OA..they take my best
kids..." and variations of it.
Nope, the OA didn't "take your best kids", YOU LET THEM LEAVE because YOUR
TROOP or TEAM didn't have anything for them TO DO OR BE A PART OF. It is
the boys that truly enjoy their Troop experience that will stick around to
serve as both OA "participants" AND as part of your Troop...sometimes, the
"split decision" between taking part in the Sectional Conclave and the High
Adventure weekend is tough for them...but they will make the best decision
Hope this helps out!!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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