Changes in the wind…

OA1Don’t you hate it when your computer crashes and you lose everything?  Yep it happened to me last week and it’s been virtually catastrophic for the blog and much of my Wood Badge prep.
But we will rebuild and get back in the electronic saddle.

This weekend was spent at our Order of the Arrow Lodges Native American Arts and Ceremonies Seminar.  A great weekend of fellowship and preparation for the upcoming “Cross over” season.  Regalia building and practice for the ceremony teams fill the weekend as well as just hanging out with friends from around the Council.
During one of our sessions there was a report from a recent National meeting of the OA.  The take home points were the up coming changes to the Order of the Arrow.  I did not get all of the changes, but there were two that caused lots of discussion.
First, the “Ordeal” ceremony is no longer called an Ordeal.  It has been changed to “Induction” ceremony.  The reason was the “Ordeal” conjures up feelings of fear and is scary to some of the newer Scouts (More so their parents).  I dislike this change, but will comply as I see the writing on the wall.
The other point was that the emphasis is no longer on the “Order of the Arrow”, but more focus is being given to “The Scouting National Honor Society”.  This I don’t have to big an issue with as again… the writing is on the wall for big changes in the conduct of the Order.
Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service is still and always will be the purpose and intent of the National Honor Society of Scouting, but we will start seeing a shift away from the Native American Themes.  I really don’t have a problem with that either.  We can keep the message and program without dressing up like Native Americans.  I am less concerned with the idea that someone is offended as I think that all comes down to the intent and respect given to the Native Americans we try to honor.  Being an organization that fosters membership in an Honor Society tasked with Servant leadership and serving our fellowman with an attitude of cheerfulness is the main thing and we can do that in any costume or none at all.
It will take time and I am sure that we will lose some folks on the way.. but in the end it will add to the strength of our message.  We need to focus on Inducting the right Scout that has a spirit of being a cheerful servant leader.  It may mean that the Order of the Arrow will shrink a little at first.  That too is ok as long as we keep the main thing in the forefront of why we need the OA.
E Urner Goodman’s vision and legacy will remain in tact as long a we do not forget why we exist.  At NOAC in 2015 we rededicated the vision with “It starts with Us” and Daring to do.  A call to action to serve on another.  It does not take a head dress or the legend of Uncas to move that point along.
As we change we will create a new way of sending the message, new ceremonies, and new themes to move the Order along.  It will take patience and time.  It will take leadership and a spirit of a cheerful servant.
I’m in.
I still don’t like that we cater to the over sensitive that get their feeling hurt because someone expects them to work and serve and think about why you are a member of the Scouting National Honor Society.. but I am not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater over a name change.
What say you?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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