The Order of the Arrow is the BSA's national brotherhood of honor campers and has four purposes:
- Recognize Scout campers
- Develop camping traditions and spirit
- Promote Scout camping
- Promote leadership in cheerful service to others
Each troop holds elections for the OA with all scouts present voting to approve or deny the membership of each scout on the ballot. All scouts on the ballot, no scouts, or just some scouts may be elected. To be elected, they need to receive a vote on at least 1/2 the submitted ballots and the number of ballots submitted must be at least 1/2 the troop membership.
To be eligible for OA membership, a scout must:
- Be a registered BSA member
- Hold First Class rank
- Have approval of Scoutmaster
- Complete 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping in the 2-year period prior to the election
Requirement #3 puts the Scoutmaster in control over who s/he feels is 'worthy' of joining the Order. Scoutmasters may not allow certain scouts onto the ballot for any reason.
The Scoutmaster has the responsibility to speak directly with a scout well before the election if he plans to keep his name from the ballot. I, as Scoutmaster, have chosen to allow all scouts that meet the other requirements to be on the ballot since they have attained First Class and have camped with the troop over the past 2 years. I leave it up to the scouts voting to determine who 'deserves' to get elected. In our troop, elections tend to be fairly miserly while other troops tend to elect everyone on the ballot.
Requirement #4 is the one that causes the most grief with scouts, from what I've seen. Extra details about the requirement are very important; The fifteen days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.
The goal of the OA is to promote a strong camping program in the troop, so having a scout participate in many troop camping trips is important. But, if a scout attends summer camp, then any week-long backpacking, Philmont, Northern Tier treks do not count towards OA eligibility. The scout needs to do weekend camping with the troop for the other 10 days of camping.
I would encourage scoutmasters to distribute a list of eligible scouts before the elections so any scouts that wonder why they are not on the ballot can discuss it beforehand and understand the criteria.
It's not much fun to explain why a scout's 27 nights don't make him eligible but another scout with 15 nights is eligible.
Posted: 12:35 02-16-2009 397 Previous Post Next Post
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