Greetings Brothers and Scoutmasters!
As you are aware, the OA is about serving fellow Scouts, and any Scout elected by his peers into the OA would be an even bigger asset to the troop.
Scouts can't be short-changed of an official BSA national program that's been in existence for over 60 years.
We have been entrusted to run a healthy Scouting program in our Unit. If we don't support our Scouts, especially those elected for the OA or current Arrowmen, we'll be disadvantaging the very young men we're here to serve, support, encourage, and grow into manhood.
It saddens us to notice that many of our Scouts who join the Order of the Arrow rarely participate in OA functions.
Therefore, we are kindly requesting your assistance by supporting our OA Brotherhood. Here are some ideas to increase their participation:
Get the word out about all the great things your lodge and chapter are doing. You or your designee (like the Troop OA Assistant Scoutmaster…see below) will receive our chapter newsletter…share it with your Scouts. Let them know they're invited and welcome. Tell them about events like section conclaves, fellowships, and the National Order of the Arrow Conference. Be enthusiastic. If you're excited, they will be as well. Lead by example. Be excited about OA events, and participate in them yourself; let your Scouts see your excitement. Make attending an OA function a group event for all your Arrowmen. For example, our monthly Chapter meetings offers a ton of information, activities and games to take back to your Units; additionally, we do special outings (e.g., bowling, pools, parks, etc.) and have FREE food.
Bring the OA to the troop. Have the dance team come to a meeting or activity. Have the lodge chief or your OA troop representative speak to the troop about upcoming activities. Have boys who went on an Ordeal talk about it during a meeting. Get the OA troop representative involved. He's our youth liaison between our Unit and the OA 4R Chapter. If you do not have one, ask your OA chapter adviser if some members could visit your troop and explain OA in detail. Even if boys are not involved in OA, you are planting a seed for the future.
Encourage your troop members to volunteer for various roles at OA functions. Service as an Elangomat, Ordeal Master, drum team or ceremony team member is a great way to involve even the newest members of the lodge. The adults in your troop can always make sure OA members have all the information they need to attend events: registration forms, dates, times, and locations. You could also offer rides for those interested. It may help to get Arrowmen involved with a ceremony team, in particular a Webelos crossover team. Cub Scouts look up to those older Scouts with great excitement. I can't imagine an Arrowman not recognizing that and drawing some enthusiasm from it.
Older Scouts should encourage younger and newly inducted Scouts to start attending OA functions. To get that ball rolling, adult leaders should explain the significance of the OA and build up the opportunities. At a troop court of honor, offer special recognition for Scouts who have recently been inducted. This lets younger Scouts and parents see what a big deal being elected into the Order is.
Let boys who are eligible for OA know that it is more than the callout and Ordeal. They will be expected to be involved, go to meetings, do cheerful service, and promote camping within the troop. An assistant Scoutmaster should serve as an adviser to keep track of OA events, help the troop OA representative publicize them, and take the lead to get kids to OA events. Once a troop has a history of doing OA stuff, each group of new inductees to the Order is likely to have one or two who get interested in the OA.
*The OA Assistant Scoutmaster Patch:
**The patch we mention is the official adviser patch for the unit. It can be worn at anytime. In fact, we expect that Scoutmasters will appoint these Assistant Scoutmasters to help the troop or team representative to achieve the Unit of Excellence Award; so many ASMs will be wearing it on their way to earning the Unit of Excellence Award. The position patch simply designates that person as the ASM who is advising the troop or team representative and helping him to be successful.