That time of year has arrived when the Naguonabe Lodge of the Order of the Arrow is holding elections around the council. Even though Troop 68 has only one Boy Scout eligible we need to contact the lodge and set up an election date.
The troop currently only has three members of the O.A., two Scouts and myself. Neither of the Scouts has been very active. In fact, neither Scout has done anything with the lodge since they completed their Ordeal weekend, so you could say they are inactive at this point. Yes, I am a member of the lodge. I try to keep my dues paid, but if I do not attend a lodge function during the year then, I admit, my dues do not get paid.
Why are the boys inactive? I am sure there are several reasons. I do not think they are aware of when lodge activities are held. The lodge attempts to print a quarterly newsletter, but it does not always happen. I understand the challenges of printing a regular newsletter. When you are dealing with several people from across the council things sometimes just do not get accomplished.
Communications about lodge functions must start with the lodge, of course. Yes, a scoutmaster can do his part to try to keep O.A. members informed, but he can only do that when he is informed. As a scoutmaster, I would not mind receiving a letter a couple weeks before each activity to remind me to talk the the troop’s members. But mailings take time and money, so I have a feeling this is not something that will happen very often. Maybe they could start an email mailing group. That would not cost much to do. I did find a website that was started for our lodge, but nothing has been posted to it since April of 2007.
Am I active in the lodge? I am as active as the boys in my troop. I have had years when I have been quite active, and I have had years when I did not attend a single lodge activity. The Order of the Arrow is a youth organization, not an adult club, so I do not attend unless members from my troop do. I usually end up being the driver because most of the time the Scouts are too young to have a license.
Am I proud to be a member of the Order of the Arrow? Yes I am. I think it is a great organization. Unfortunately, I was never a youth member so I was never able to participate at that level. I do encourage current troop members to be active, and to complete the Brotherhood membership, but it is their decision, not mine.
In an ideal lodge all members would participate in most events. Unfortunately, in the real world there are family functions, jobs, sporting events, and troop activities that get in the way. Forgetting about those funtions does not help either.
I would not mind being a more active member of the O.A. I wish my Scouts were more active. As a scoutmaster, I can only do so much. I do have a life outside of Scouting, after all. I think the lodge leadership could be more active in promoting the lodge to its members. With a little help and encouragement from the council I think that could happen.