Time to stir the pot again and call out those Scouters that choose to be Patrol leaders, Mommy/Daddy Coddlers, baby sitters, in short.. those that don’t do it right.
Yep.. I’m gonna piss some folks off with this one and to be honest. If the shoe fits wear it.
I am going to preface all of this by saying in our Troop we have kids with ADD, ADHD, Autism in many spectrums, ADOS, OCD, etc…
The reason I must say that is because we don’t treat any of them different. They are expected to be Scouts. They do the work, they learn, they participate, and they don’t have their moms and dads hovering over them. Nope they have a Troop guide or a Patrol Leader that expects them to be part of the team.
They eat, sleep, play, and work as part of their patrol. That is the way it is supposed to be. We don’t let the moms and dads camp with the patrols when they go. They stay with the adults. They are not part of the program, they are just there for the fresh air. And some of them are in the Order of the Arrow.
So this morning I got an email from one of my ASMs. He is down at the Conclave for our OA Section. The Order of the Arrow, you know, Scouting’s honor society. Anyway, his email was simple.. he asked; “The OA is Scouting’s honor society right?” Those that have demonstrated their ability to be considered an honored camper, one that is dedicated to serve, and a Scout that has been chosen by his peers as someone who represents values found in the Oath and Law. Right?
Well, I suppose not any more, at least according what he witnessed down at Conclave. Dad’s hovering over Scouts to make sure they got out of their tents. Rolling up the sleeping bag for the Scout? Making sure the Scouts clean up after themselves? Now th is is minor stuff I guess, but what I know for sure is that when minor stuff happens, so does major stuff.
Now, I am a Brotherhood member of the OA. And very proud to say so. I consider it an honor to have been chosen to be a member. I also expect other members to act in accordance with the values and attitudes set forth by the Order of the Arrow.
Here is what I think the problem is. Too many people are just getting in. There are no secret clubs within the BSA, but if we are going to call the OA Scouting’s Honor Society.. well then lets act like it. Lets be selective on who gets in. Why not honored campers or Scouts… it is not for everyone.
I see this at ordeal weekends. The candidates are supposed to spend a day laboring in silence. This is not a suggestion, it is asked of the candidate so they can spend time-serving and thinking about a life of service. I don’t want to give too much away here, you may want to go through the ceremony one day… but I can’t tell you how many times I have asked Scouts and Scouters to remain silent explaining to them the reasons only to get a roll of the eyes and “Whatever dude”.
So how does this get fixed. The Scoutmaster.
The Scoutmaster sets the ballot for the annual election. The youth vote on the candidates, but the Scoutmaster sets the ballot for those eligible.
Just because a Scout meets the criteria of being 1st Class, 15 nights of camping with 6 of which are at resident camp does not gain him entry into the Order of the Arrow. Sorry, but true.
So Scoutmasters hold the key to making sure that honored Scouts get into the Order. This makes the OA stronger. At least it will take on the appearance of an Honor Society.
I am glad that kids that make “C’s” are not in the National Honor Society. I am glad that you must have good grades to get in. I am glad that not everyone that trys out for the Varsity Football team make it. I am glad that not every Scout will be an Eagle. Do I want them all to try, yes. But I am glad that only 4% will make it. It makes it special. Sometimes, less is more. When there is less there is harder work to get to it. If it is Scouts goal to be an Eagle Scout he needs to work hard for it. If he wants to get into the OA, he will demonstrate leadership, service, and living the Scout Oath and Law before he gets elected. If he wants to be on the varsity Football team, he will hit the weights, run, and practice all summer to get there. If he wants to be on the honor roll, he will study hard. He will work for it. None of it will be given to him.
When I was in the Army, I was promoted to Command Sergeant Major at the age of 36. I worked real hard, went to all the right Schools, and applied my self. On any given day in the United States Army there are only 550 Sergeants Major. I was one of them. It was an honor to be the Sergeant Major of an Infantry Battalion. And it was an honor to be counted among the 550 other Sergeants Major that put themselves in that position.
So it is with anything that is deserving of the title “Honor”. Not everyone gets a participation ribbon in life. And when we push Scouts through, or allow the nature of organizations to be less for the sake of having more we tear away at the organization.
So when we see mom and dad rolling up sleeping bags or hovering to make sure that Franky First Class gets to meals on time, we have failed. We have failed the Scout and we have failed the organization. It is no longer an honor. It’s just another weekend in a tent.
Ok.. I know you have an opinion, I gave you mine, lets hear it. Please leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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