Why aren’t female youth allowed in the Order of the Arrow?

expertlogo1There have been many great women in the Order of the Arrow over the years, all with one thing in common.

They’re 21 or older.

Women under 21 cannot be inducted in the Order of the Arrow, which is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts.

Of course, young women 14 or older (or 13 and finished with 8th grade) can join Venturing, a program of the Boy Scouts of America. So what gives?

Order of the Arrow professionals and volunteers get that question all the time. Scouter Herb Dodds, a volunteer in the Garden State Council, asked me recently, so I went to the experts.

This time, not one but two experts weigh in: Peter Self, team leader of Member Experience, and Matt Dukeman, associate director Order of the Arrow.

Their response:

While this is a common question, the answer is actually quite simple. The Order of the Arrow is a Boy Scout program, not a Venturing program.

It is true that female Venturers under the age of 21 do not qualify for admittance into the Order of the Arrow, but neither do male members of Venturing crews who were not first qualified by their Scoutmaster as having met the admission requirements and then subsequently elected while a registered member in their Boy Scout troop.

Membership into the OA isn’t really a matter of gender. Becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow really speaks to the unique nature and methods used in Venturing and Boy Scouting. The Boy Scout program created an Honor Society called the Order of the Arrow. Currently, the Venturing program has neither created nor authorized an honor society.


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Photo from: Camp Perry, Hidalgo, Texas


    • I agree… it’s a weak justification. I still think they should allow girls into Boy Scouts just like they do in other countries. I’m not impressed with the Girl Scouts here in US, but I may be biased. Been doing Cub Scouting for over 4 years, GS only 2. VASTLY different programs and organization structures!

      • Why is there always a person that thinks every PRIVATE program should be all inclusive? Let the GS start their own honor society.

      • “I still think they should allow girls into Boy Scouts just like they do in other countries”

        Why when there is already a couple of programs for girls, i.e. Girl Scouts and Venturing. Should we just eliminate them and have one program for boys and girls or can we recognize the value that each one has?

        “I’m not impressed with the Girl Scouts here in US”

        Neither am I. I was treated poorly as a father when I visited several Girl Scout Troops with my daughters. That is why they are Venturers today and loving the outdoors! I am even “allowed” to participate as a volunteer leader too!

        • Funny thing is I was treated poorly at the start of my volunteer work with Boy Scouts. Not Cub Scouts but Boy Scouts. Everyone seemed to think I was going to be this pushy over involved mom. Though once they realized I wasn’t they welcomed me and I was elected in to the O/A. I think it will happen in both programs.

        • I think the BSA’s venturing program is excellent. We have an all-girl venturing crew, here and some of our scouts like the Girl Scout program and others don’t. There are even some Venturer’s that participate in GS as well as Venturing concurrently.

      • I agree with your comments about Girl Scouts. The program is nothing like the Boy Scouts. This is why my daughter is in American Heritage Girls (AGH). This is a program similarly structures to match the Boy Scouts but just for girls.

        The distinction between boy and girl programs is necessary to focus on teaching good values to both boys and girls at younger ages addressing the specific needs that are different between boys and girls. If kids are interested in CoEd programs that is why the venture program exists. Let’s leave the separation in boy and girl programs alone and not feel the need to include everyone in every opportunity and program.

        Look into AHG for girls that want to be involved in a Boy Scout structured program for girls and not try to force the Boy Scouts of America to change its policies and programs to include everyone.

        OA is a Boy Scout honor society and it should not be changed. The success of any good Boy Scout program is made possible by its adult leaders, both men and woman. This is why woman can be elected into the OA, to show appreciation of their selfless volunteer service to ensure the success of the boys that they volunteer their time to.

        The Boy Scouts of America is already going though enough struggle and turmoil in other areas. Let this private organization run is program the way it has for over a hundred years.

        • Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary function to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and not for recognition of service, including current or prior achievement and positions.

        • Our Eagle Scout’s daughter is an AHG member. Her Dad is the camping and outdoor adventure go to person for the troop. He’s following the Eagle Pledge about giving back. The AHG had a memorandum of understanding with the BSA until the vote to change youth membership standards.

      • Things change. People when asking this question are asking why they cannot change.

        You answer incessant two year olds with answers like ‘because it is’. It’s reasonable that in a forum such as this, with the top experts you might get something more than this answer.

        Unless this is truly how professionals at national think of us volunteers, as incessant two year olds.

      • In our area, GS do nothing. I’ve been a scoutmaster for 4 years, grew up as a GS all the way to the BS Eagle equivalent. I have one grandson in Cubs as a lone cub (long story – father POS), so he goes to Cub Camp every year and is kept up on his rank advancements until I can get the courts to do what they should do. Grandaughter is jealous because I get to spend more time with him than her. She’s in GS, they do nothing.

        And as a parent/grandparent, I see nothing wrong with putting them together…..4H has ALWAYS done it. I was a 4-H leader, shooting sports range officer and instructor, etc. Why is BS better?

        Plus, on a logical end. Parents are run crazy with sports, 4-H, BS, GS, church, band, etc. Combining BS and GS is a logical thing.

        But do I think it will ever happen? No. We aren’t Europe.

        • “Combining BS and GS is a logical thing”

          No it is not. The Girl Scout leadership’s “cookie selling, anti-male, no camping, ect” mentality would ruin Boy Scouts.

        • Glenn;
          The idea may be still logical, despite the very illogical lunacy of the nearly sexist attitudes of current GS leadership. I have dealt with local GS leaders who refused to help their own girls who were also Venturers earn Venturing requirements because they had men involved. How medieval can you be? I also agree that the BSA can learn a lot from Scouts UK.

        • “In our area, GS do nothing.” “She’s in GS, they do nothing.”

          Instead of complaning that “GS do nothing”. Why not get involved in the GS as a leader and help them “do something”.

        • The Venturing program (part of the BSA) is very different from the Girl Scouts (not part of the BSA). The Venturing program has uniforms, rank advancement, and covers completely different areas for activities than GS does. Crews can be coed, all girl, or all boy groups.

          As an all-girl Venturing crew,mhe strive to keep good relationships with the local Girl Scout groups, even though some of our members left GS because of bad experiences.

          The truth is, despite having room for improvement, all these organizations are trying to help our youth. Whatever we like/don’t like about other groups, most of the people involved are just trying to do the right thing. We could all stand to be a little nicer to eachother and work together. Just because we do it differently, doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong.

      • I have a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout. I agree the BS have a better overall program. With that said – The girl scouts ‘cookie selling mentality’ has nothing to do with ruining Boy Scouts. My son sells wreaths and popcorn door to door in at least three neighborhoods every year to earn money for his scout account. We don’t sell GS cookie door to door. We put the form out at my work and split the sales between all the girl scout parents. Boy Scouts do more and is inherently more expensive.

        As for getting involved…Several GS troops have tried to bump things up and do more than cabin camp in the nice weather. Mention the word tent and at least 50% of our girls are out.

    • I grew up in a family of five Eagles and two GS Gold award recipients. My wife was GS leader for our daughters. From K to 11 th grade. Both programs are only as good as the parents / volunteers running them.
      We borrowed talents, skills and experience from BSA to enhance her GS troop. Vigil member for thirty years.
      I would like to see more Venturers in the OA, but that would mean changing the eligibility requirements.
      Our Scout troop has many boys that were in OA then went in to Venturing. The Venture crews have the same
      Motivated dynamic as our OA chapter and Lodge.

      • No, BSA is not. However, BSA did not sanction OA from it’s start. I was there when the VENTURERS decided they would have to do this themselves instead of waiting for OA to change. They put it together and left it to develop on it’s own. They didn’t sit on it continually, but instead left it to develop from the seed they planted. What it becomes, it becomes.

        • Perhaps, but I’ve actually had council leadership tell me they were opposed to our district having CoD. That may be a bigger difference here.

      • Rob: Look at the History of the Order Of the Arrow, It took 16 Years for it to be Recognized By 7% of BSA Councils and 33 YEARS before the OA was fully part of Boy Scouting. Give the Corps of Discovery some time.

  1. In my experience O/A is not truly an “honor society” either. Sadly, it’s a popularity contest and I have seen several worthy scouts overlooked, embarrassed and humiliated because they were never chosen. The girls should thank their lucky stars they don’t have to deal with it in scouts as well.

    • Unfortunately, Jennifer, I have witnessed that in many instances you are correct. In my opinion, to a good extent the fault lies in the way the election is being carried out—neglecting to place the proper emphasis on what the Order is truly all about.

      • I have been in the OA since 1967 and did my Vigil in 1997. As an Advisor we train our Election Team to push electing those who are worthy and not ‘popular’. As a boy, in my troop, back then we were only allowed 1 electee for every 25 boys registered so to become an arrowman was truly an honor. On another note, to qualify to be elected one of the qualifications is to be a First Class Scout or higher. The Venturing program does not have these ranks. This is why we don’t run elections in Venturing, among other reasons. Though true that some of the young ladies probably make good arrowmen. For this reason either the Girl Scout program ought to update their program to almost parallel the BSA or the Venturing program seek to form it’s own honor society. Perhaps making the top rank, one of the requirements.

  2. Peter and Matt ducked the REAL reason why female youth members cannot be members of the Order of the Arrow: Female youth members cannot earn First Class Scout rank, which is part of the qualifying requirements toward being elected by their peers into the Order of the Arrow. It is not just because the Order of the Arrow (OA) is a Boy Scout/Varsity Scout program option — it is because the Boy Scout/Varsity Scout program does not allow female youth to serve as members within those two programs — and attaining the First Class Scout status as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout is (should be) a big deal.

    Simple. Not popular, but simple answer.

    As far as Venturing youth creating their own honor society; and the BSA approving it, well…that’s a little off the mark also. As fact, may I point you two over to efforts going on now under FIVE national Venturing leadership administrations to create the Corps of Discovery (COD)? The COD is Venturing youth’s response to “Okay, we get it. We can’t be OA members for whatever reasons OA puts up. So we create our own national honor society.” The only thing is, the BSA hasn’t approved COD as an official Venturing honor group — for various reasons, the biggest is that somehow it would compete with or overshadow OA in some Councils.

    I don’t buy it. COD provides some Venturers (not all, because frankly, most Venturers don’t care about stuff like this!) the opportunity for additional leadership experiences, networking with other Venturers in other Councils, and the fellowship which comes from shared experiences.

    I support the OA and the COD both. There’s room under that big ol’ BSA tent for both youth honor organizations. If developed well, COD could springboard a lot of Venturing youth toward continued service to their communities, this nation and its national Scouting program.

    • Not exactly a good answer. While girls cannot be a youth member of a Boy Scout Troop, at the age of 18 they can be an Adult member of the Troop. Under the requirements for Assistant Scoutmaster, can be male or female, but must be at least 18 years of age. So, if a female can be the Assistant Scoutmaster, why can’t she be inducted into the Order of the Arrow? The denial of gender bias does not pass the smell test here.

      • They can as soon as they turn 21 and are serving ether in a scout troop or a Varsity team. Adult serving on a Venture Crew cannot be inducted.

        • Mark, I was not inducted as a Boy Scout, but as a 19 year old college student and member of Alpha Phi Omega in 1963.

        • One of the other qualifications to be a elected into the OA as a youth, besides being a First Class Rank or higher, is that they be under 21. In the OA a boy is considered a youth until their 21st birthday. Thus the reason that a female, under the age of 21 can’t be elected. Once their 21, the are considered an adult and can then be elected into the OA. There are those who want to belong because, for example; the Girl Scouts organization does not offer what the ‘Boy Scouts or other boy groups offer. Well, why doesn’t the GSA organization to bring in the activities that all the girls want and then, maybe, we can have two well run organizations, without the need for wanting to be coed. I believe the founders of both BSA & GSA didn’t have this problem back then. I once, and still do, belonged to another organization that at one time was all men, and there was a women equivalent organization, but because the women’s group didn’t offer the same programs that the men’s did, they eventually merged. The sad thing is that when I came back semi-active, some 25 years later, the ‘new organization had lost more than 50% of it’s national membership. Why? there are various reasons and any one of them could be the right reason, depending on who you talk to.

      • Scouts are considered to be youth in the OA until they turn 21, so even though a woman can be a Cub Scout or Boy Scout leader and register as an adult, by OA syandards(and venture crew) they are still the age of a youth.

  3. OA is a Boy Scout Honor Society, period. Boys who are members of a Venture Unit only are not eligible to be so honored. Neither are girls.

        • David:
          I am actually right on this. Go re-read what I said… “Venture Scouts” are specifically members of a “Venture Patrol” within a troop, and are in very basic terms older Boy Scouts. (There’s more to it I understand, but that’s the basic jist.) These Venture Scouts are 100% eligible for OA membership. “Venturing” or “Venturer” boys are members of a Venturing Crew and are not eligible for the OA under those auspices. Like I said, there is a very big difference.

          Now why we couldn’t go back to calling “Venture Patrols” the far less confusing “Leadership Corps” or such, I frankly can’t speak to. But I won’t get on my soapbox about how confusing it is that “Venture” and “Venturing” are different programs here. That’s a lot longer conversation…

        • Rob, why do you have to complicate things by reading the handbooks and using correct terms. Did you not get the memo that your not suppose to read the handbooks. Your going to make someone angry because you will have all the knowledge.:)

    • Why then does it market itself as “Scouting’s National Honor Society” when that is clearly not how it functions? It seems to me that you cannot have it both ways unless doublespeak is now an acceptable form of discourse in Scouting (or Boy Scouting and all that other peripheral stuff, if you prefer).

    • Lets not forget that Ventures was at one time a patrol within a Boy Scout Troop. Their program is much like the venturing program in the sense of activities. Explorers then what Ventures are now a basic high adventure unit.
      Venturing is newer version of High Adventure Explorer Post of 20 years ago. I am glad to see that women are included

  4. “If the OA supports the local Council camp, what would or does the COD support?”

    The Council office. The community in which the local Council finds itself within. Our local Council offices need volunteers to work and assist within, and the COD may provide that service and leadership. On a grander scale however, just like with the OA branching out to other wilderness areas and providing needed service and work; the COD may branch out to provide community service on several levels and bringing back that “help other people” concept that they are now being asked to “adhear to”.

    • OA supports council programs, mainly for Boy Scouts and a bit for cubbing. COD supports council programs and venturing. Originally to “move up” to the second, more committed layer, cod expected a service project to be led, without defining size, scope, structure, or whom it would serve, allowing it to be for a council, a community, or a camp.

  5. Under this reasoning, male youth in Venturing should not be able to work on Boy Scout advancement in the crew, and no Order of the Arrow insignia should ever be worn with the Venturing uniform.

    In the bigger picture, this is an example of the problem BSA has had with Venturing since it was created in 1998: No one has ever been able to clearly articulate the relationship between Venturing on the one hand and Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Sea Scouting on the other. As a result, policy decisions about Venturing (like this one) are ad hoc and inconsistent.

    • Dan;

      You make a great poing. The change in the uniform which removed pocket flaps was a big issue in this. I’m not sure why this idea was ever really considered, but many Venturing youth and adults have the right to wear the OA flap and it is legal to do so per uniform guidelines, although it looks a little strange to do so. It also encroaches on the temporary pocket patch if one wears a dangle, and thereby obscures it. It’s just not a good design in practicality.

      I can say that every member of my crew (of which we have 10 Arrowmen) wears a flap in this manner. But it would be nice to either revise the Venturing uniform to bring back the flaps, the cheapest way for national to do this would be to do what they did before. Have one BSA shirt made with khaki or green fabric. The alternative would be for lodges to be given the authority to create “strips” that are shaped to match the Venturing pocket design so that everyone who is in the OA could wear an appropriate identification…

      If I were to choose, I’d opt for the “One-Shirt” solution. It would be easy in the manufacturer, and less expensive as there would be no need to design anything new. That way deserving folks are able to wear the uniform appropriately.

      • To respond to your concern, Rob…members of your Crew can choose to wear the current khaki uniform with GREEN shoulder loops, if they decided that this is their Distinctive Dress Identity (DDI). In this way they can continue to wear the OA flap on those shirts in the right place. You can also outfit your Venturers in the older version of the Venturing/Exploring shirt with shoulder loops and the old pocket. You’ll have to go onto eBay(tm) or some other auction site to find those shirts, however.

        • Mike, I value your input, and you are a wealth of information, and I feel bad, but I got to argue with you. You are 100% incorrect on something here. Per BSA, you cannot wear the green shoulder loops with a khaki uniform. Let me site my source:


          It states very specifically:

          “Shoulder loops , green ribbon, No.00678, Venturer and Venturing adult, on shoulder epaulets worn on the Venturing spruce green uniform shirt. Not to be worn on Boy Scout khaki uniform. ”

          Sorry to be that way, but those are the rules posted there… I do agree with older shirts, but they are very inconsistently obtained, so it’s a good suggestion, but having the right product at the Scout Shop would be a whole lot better IMHO.

        • Don’t feel bad about disagreeing with me, Rob…that’s what this forum is about in part!! I stated earlier that I was incorrect in providing that advice…because I didn’t look it up as you and a couple other Venturing leaders did.

          The right answer is the one you provided — that the BSA needs to go back to the pocket flaps and provide a way for those OA members to wear their lodge’s flap onto the Venturing pocket flap. As an alternative, however they can find the older version of the shirts and wear the flap on those shirts.

          If you have an opinion or thought, don’t be shy about expressing it. You know…*I* or someone else here may be *wrong*….*heheheehehee*

        • Settummanque, I believe you are incorrect about stating that Venturers are authorized to wear the Tan uniform with venturing green loops. The current Venturing Leader Manual states in the entry for “uniforms and Insignia (BSA)” entry of the glossary: “Male and Female Venturers should not wear the boy scout tan shirt with green shoulder loops.”

        • Yep. Bad advice there…thanks for catching it Calvin…you and Glenn. The khahi-tan shirt is to be worn by Venturing ADULTS with the green shoulder loops. I’m sorry…I thought that I had a good solution to the issue…so it’s back to finding green Venturing/Exploring shirts with shoulder loops and wearing the OA insignia onto it.

        • “members of your Crew can choose to wear the current khaki uniform with GREEN shoulder loops, if they decided that this is their Distinctive Dress Identity (DDI)”

          The venturing program no longer has the discretion to have a DDI. The Venturing uniform is now defined with the spruce button up shirt and grey pants. This is one of the many new changes to the program.

        • Thanks for the kind words Mike. I was mostly apologizing because lately I’ve disagreed with you on a couple forums lately, and didn’t want you to get the wrong idea…

          One thing I learned many years ago as a trainer was to always remember my sources. So I tend to keep “chapter & verse” handy… I seem to quote the insignia and advancement guides a lot in Scouting, so sharing links is almost habit. 🙂

  6. Steve Featherkile wrote correctly “OA is a Boy Scout Honor Society, period. Boys who are members of a Venture Unit only are not eligible to be so honored. Neither are girls.”

    I guess you haven’t been around when OA membership was also extended to male members of Explorer Posts and Ships who met the First Class Boy Scout requirement, huh? Two of our National Explorer Presidents were also OA members. Females could not be OA members normally but did become OA members under a loophole which was closed in the late 90s.

    (The program is called “Venturing”, not “Venture”. The members are called “Venturers”. *smiling*)

    • This is no different with Venturing than it was with Exploring before it became Learning for Life. (I was heavily involved as a youth with my troop, OA, and my Explorer Post, I was on the Council and National EPA (Explorer Presidents Association) as well as an officer on our Chapter and Lodge. Yes in Explorers we could earn rank (Post First Class), but we couldn’t join OA – same rules as current and as far as i know same as has been since Exploring was founded in the early years of Scouting.

      The CoD is a great Idea, but seems self serving where at least in thought and hopefully in deed, the OA is a service organization (yes, shades of popularity contest during the troop elections, however IT REALLY OFTEN WORKS – i.e. in the troop I and my youngest son participate in, there were 7 Scouts eligible, 3 were handily elected, the other 4 (1 seldom attended therefore was not known in a troop of 70+, the second attended many activities but stayed very much to himself – even when efforts to include him were offered, he’d shrink away, the other two and this is where it really worked – they were known as the cookie monsters – they’d dig into the chuck boxes and the pop-tarts, cookies, and other sweets meant for the entire patrol would generally be gone (eaten) by them prior to Sat Breakfast…. (they would often raid other patrols sweets as well – even when confronted by fellow scouts and adults would deny it – but it happened almost EVERY activity!), Yes they haven’t gone very far even after numerous SM conferences and have been in the troop for over 3 years.)

      Please remember – it is sometimes forgotten – one of the other ideas behind OA is “brotherhood of Honor Campers” – with troop campouts and long term camp being part of the requirements.

      • Believe it or not Bob, this wasn’t always the case. I think it was the late 50’s or early 60’s when they changed it. Originally Explorer Posts were much more like today’s Venture Patrols which were run as an extension of the Troop instead of a separate entity which you and I were Explorers in. As we moved to more Career Exploring, the rift began to what we see today.

    • Steve Featherkile’s description of the OA’s current function is correct. However, that is not the phrasing it uses to market itself. Words mean something.

  7. So I started Scouts with Cubs as an adult (male) den leader – 5 years. I moved into Venturing starting a Crew when my daughter graduated 8th grade. My boys are still in a Troop but I am not registered with the Troop. Does that mean I would not qualify for OA now only being involved with Venturing? Venturing is part of BSA.

    • Brian;
      Regretfully, the answer is yes. If you are not a Boy Scout leader, you wouldn’t be eligible. Unless, you were a district or council leader and were nominated through that service you can’t be brought into the OA as a Venturing leader. If you are in the OA, you can fulfill your membership requirement by being in Venturing or Cub Scouting, but it doesn’t work the other way around…

  8. “the Venturing program has neither created nor authorized an honor society” What a slap in the face. For many years there has been a grass roots effort to get national to adopt the Corps of Discovery but the paid professionals at national don’t want it. At least that’s my view down here at the unit level from my foxhole. It took moving the national jamboree to a new location before Venturers were allowed to go to jamboree alongside their Troop brethren. It’s going to be another 100 years before OA opens its membership to Venturers or Sea Scouts. I am surprised that the “expert” didn’t mention the whole rank issue as well or that we have the VOA. My lodge made a rectangle style OA flap for Venturers to wear on the new (and poorly designed) Venturing shirt so I think it will take time before there is either a more inclusive OA or official organization for Venturing. Let’s not forget our sea fairing brothers and sisters as well. Out here we have Order of the Golden Dragons for sea scouts and Venturers can join as well. Its more or a local Area recognition but recently I received some information from the national office and it specifically listed OGD as something not allowed for wear on the Sea Scout uniform. Although we have had a stricter uniform requirement then the rest of scouting I was a little taken back when I saw this.

  9. We are also forgetting about the Explorers programs as well. I honestly think that if you are a female involved in scouting at whichever level, you should be just as eligible as your male counterparts. The idea of Venturing being kept separate can no longer be held and the same for the Explorer Scout programs, they are all going to have to follow the new rules of the same law, motto, and oaths. It is only fair that all individuals involved in Scouting get the same rights and benefits.

    • Exploring is part of learning for life, a “wholly-owned” subsidiary of the Boy Scouts. They do not qualify for any BSA ranks, awards, or honor societies. Why is this even mentioned?

      • Possibly because it was not always that way. Exploring used to occupy the fragile niche that Venturing now holds: the “Official” older-youth program of the Boy Scouts of America. At one point Explorer Posts were allowed to hold OA elections; that changed when Exploring went coed. One must be mindful of history when one sees it repeating itself.

    • Actually, exploring will not use the oath and code. They are not part of ‘scouting’. They are not members, do not have to process a belief in God or have ‘membership standards’ for adult leadership. The exploring program, while owned by the BSA, run out of many BSA offices. and similar in some ways to scouting is no longer a Scouting program and hasn’t been since 1998.

  10. Good morning Bryan;

    Talk about a Pandora’s Box topic! It’s certainly a very brave topic to push forward, and I applaud you for doing so. Both sides of this argument have very emotional opinions so I hope that everyone will remember the Scout Law as they respond here.

    Personally, as an Arrowman for over 25 years, and a Explorer then and Venturing leader now. I would speak favorably of revisiting the stance on this topic and here’s why:

    In my mind, we are all ONE organization. Did you know that one of the people charged with creating the Senior Scouting program was none other than Dr. E. Urner Goodman? While he was certainly not the only part, he was a catalyst to create what we call Venturing today. Venturing and the OA all come from a shared history, one that should be honored and fostered.

    As a past OA Section officer I can attest that the OA is a phenomenal organization. One of the passions of the OA is to help support the BSA, but this policy actually has the opposite effect.

    Right now, we have the very common myth floating about that you can’t be in Venturing and in the OA at the same time, this is untrue. A Scout can be elected in the OA, and become a Venturer and satisfy the membership requirements just fine, but some unenlightened leaders propagate this myth and it discourages Scout youth who could benefit from Venturing into moving into a crew. What this does in the macro view is hurt the BSA as a whole in the form of churned membership that could otherwise be retained.

    Additionally, Venturing has many benefits to offer the BSA as a whole, but since a reasonable amount of the membership population is not allowed to be considered, it fosters a very Anti-OA opinion among many of the Venturing membership, which is understandable but very unfortunate. I have seen more than one Venturing event where OA support was offered, and ultimately rejected because of the emotions some of the youth Venturing membership feel about the OA not considering them, and I am sure that nobody in the OA would ever want as noble of an organization as the Order perceived in a negative light by anyone.

    In the end, we are all one Scouting program, and we always have been. So I’d hope that the National OA Committee and our new National Venturing Committee look together at all the comments here, and considers the benefit to Scouting as a whole by mending these fences. It will be good for Scouting, and good for the Order as well.

    • We may all be one organization, but we are not all in the same program and the natural conclusion of your argument is the disbandment of programs. All I hear from Venturers is “were not Boy Scouts and we don’t want to be” Oh, except for the OA, now we want to be Boy Scouts. “We don’t want to wear uniforms, we don’t want to advance, we don’t want to meet weekly, we don’t want to work on MBs, we don’t want the same oath.” I agree, otherwise what’s the point of the existence of different programs? I don’t want to do the things Venturers do, so I’m not a Venturer.
      Separateness is not exclusion, it is simply difference. The programs offer different things to people looking for different things.

      • CG, that’s quite an extrapolation you’ve made there! I would never suggest disbanding anything. I think each of our programs offers a natural progression to the next, and a natural compliment to each other.

        That being said, I have young ladies who have been Den Chiefs (Oh! The horror!) And I have young ladies who help teach Merit Badges (Inconceivable!) My Venturers are happy to do what the other gender does, and happy to give back. I think a lot of the “we don’t wanna” stigma is a hangup of their leaders not giving them a chance to try.

      • CG, that’s a bunch of bologna. There are some Venturers who might not want to be exactly like the Boy Scouts, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. I personally am extremely attached to my field uniform. And all of my awards from ‘advancements.’ And the unofficial merit badges I have from when I went to camp, before I became a camp counselor and a den chief and started teaching other scouts. My Crew does meet weekly. We go on campouts with the troop all the time.

        I don’t see myself as being any different from the Boy Scouts, except we don’t have the same name, and are basically the redheaded step child of the BSA organization. I’ve always been as active or more active than the members of the troop who got to be in OA, and it has always been upsetting to know that I don’t get to go help out with stuff and go to extra activities simply because I’m the wrong gender and can’t meet the First Class rank requirement.

        I’d love to just join the CoD instead. Except…wait…it isn’t actually nationally recognized, it’s extremely disorganized, and your council kind of has to form an outpost before you can join it? Bummer. Well I guess that’s not happening any time soon.

  11. The “experts” response is pure gobbledygook. They sound like the folks who did not support the entry of young women into our Service Academies in the late 70’s.

    • Coop;
      Well stated, sir. Methinks our experts shouldn’t be riling the masses, but be focusing on getting our Venturing system out to the masses since they’ve just blown their second deadline for it…

  12. While I kinda understand the answer, considering OA predates the Venture program by about 70 years, it is actually a very limited answer, for there is nothing that states that OA cannot be THE honors program for both Boy Scouts AND Venturing. There would be great synergy and capabilities if there was ONE honors program and not TWO.

  13. I never was “tapped out” to join OA as a youth (1960’s) , but was asked as an adult leader several years ago. It looked like it was just one more slice of my time to be divided up, so I declined. As a Sea Scout leader, we do “service projects” within our unit and we have several of our male youth that are arrowmen. The female members just haven’t expressed interest. I really don’t see why adult female scouters are OA members. OA should be run by male Boy Scouts and not Adults.

    • Female youth have been through ordeal then turned down by national’s what do you mean not expressed interest. look around and look at other councils you will see.
      Most females are not interested in OA because the male youth act as if they (females) are just girls and they do not belong. I feel the same way if I am not wanted in an organization then I am out and they can pound sand. Females have a lot to add to an organization brain wise and men are reluctant to go there because they (females) are more mature than they are.

    • Female adult leaders do not “run” the O/A program. “The role of the adult (Male or female) Scouter in the Order of the Arrow is the same as it is throughout Scouting. Scouters help young people grow through a program the youth plan and run. This help includes training, counseling, and advising leaders and sometimes counseling individual members.”

      • In you dreams some may be that way in part but for the most part the adults are leading the youth in the way that they want it to go because they do not know how to teach or relay information to the youth there is a fine line to teaching guiding and telling and most cross that line all the time and others have no concept of the line

        • Well, this is the way our Boy Scout troop and O/A lodge work. So, apparently it would be in YOUR dreams. I get it though. Each area does not always take the rules to heart. Sadly your O/A does not but my lodge does.

        • Thank you I am glad that you get the point and this topic was discussed by our lodge chief this past week and he said and I quote “we will have to change everything to let girls (not women) in” and he has sisters that want in I have heard them talk about it.

        • My experience in the OA was very youth ran. We the youth had meetings planed events and ran the events. As a section officer working with the 2012 NOAC we the youth went to Dallas TX and met to plan the event for over 8000 Arrowmen. We the youth planed this event we came up with the ideas and made it happen. for most of the planning process adults didn’t intervene at all. The OA IS Youth ran and operated. When I would ask my section adviser questions 90% of the time the answer was your the chief you make the decision.

        • You know that is the way it looks on the outside but behind the scenes it is different they are work with to make move and speak as the adults want them to by making it their (the youths) idea it is done but adults all the time in the world today just look around you it is there.

    • Excuse me! I’m an adult female OA Brotherhood. Have been since 2009. Hope to follow in my family’s historical history and get Vigil someday. My dad and brother are vigils. I don’t normally toot my own horn, but I do some things that even my troop members won’t do. I love the activities, the community service, and the respect I get from my boys. You are sounding very sexist.

    • I’ve been in Sea Scouts since I was 14 after ending my career in GS because after visiting my older brother working at Treasure Island, I feel in love with the Boy Scout program. I’ve worked at Resica Falls for my fifth summer this year. I became a Troop commitee member for my Ships countepart, I earned Quartermaster (BS Eagle equivalent) and turned 21 in May. This summer I took my Ordeal after having to wait 6 years!! Adults aren’t in the OA to run it, we’re there for the support of the boys. We do all of the same service as the boys, but we cannot become lodge chief…because it’s for the boys under 21 (which is also why females under 21 cannot be in the OA). If your female members don’t express interest, that doesn’t mean other females don’t and consequently be barred from consideration after turning 21. And female scouters SHOULD be able to be considered because we are JUST as important to scouting as male scouters.

  14. Bogus answer. Seriously, this organization needs to let women/girls in or out. It is very hypocritical of of us to have these rules that have no consistency across the Scouting family. I am this close to just giving up on the OA (after close to a lifetime of support) because of these silly things. Seriously, open Scouting up or not, this half business doesn’t work.

  15. The issue is that youth are taught inclusivity in school, not exclusivity. They are taught male or female doesn’t matter, only that all options be open to everyone. They are not very open to exclusive organizations, period. BSA membership is down, and will keep going down as long as sexist ideals that some BSA members espouse are allowed. I’d stack the “then” 15 year-old female crew chief of our Venturing crew against any male her age in terms of her espousing the ideals of the Order of Arrow. When she was 21, she was tapped out as a senior camp staff member, but the opportunity for OA to gain a vibrant young leader had already been lost…

    • Mike, you nailed it. This is NOT about granting a “marginalized group” some equal status. As others mentioned, some venturers are proud of their green shirts … sometimes unjustifiably. Those aren’t the candidates we are talking about. What our young arrowmen are starting to wrestle with is this:

      Are there venturing women who are First Class Scouts (the concept, not the patch), avid campers, servant leaders, and admired by a peer group of High School and Jr. High youth who swear by scouting’s ideals?

      If so, is O/A less than the organization it claims to be by neglecting to honor them?

  16. WOW. What opinionated people we have in scouting. Bottom line. One of the reasons that the United States has NEVER hosted a world jamboree is because we do not carry a Co-ed status like the rest of the world. The Venture Program is a weak attempt at best to band aid this problem. God blessed me with only one child. She is awesome. She participates in both the girl scout program as well as the venture program and as a Vigil member I can honestly say the only reason female youth are not allowed is because the are females and a society we are ready make room. Really an honor society that teaches cheerful service to others can’t make room for females. The founders of the OA are rolling over in their graves right now. Our ideals in the order are being trampled on by some closed minded individuals who have all the cards. WWW

      • From what i was reading is that they are hosted in various places around the world, the next one that is scheduled in the U.S. is in 2019 in West Virginia. Though my son won’t be old enough till the year after, so in 2023 he can go, both sons actually, =) .

        But on another topic of Girl Scouts being something completely different then Boy Scouts on the earlier posts…yes, its very true that Girls Scouts do completely different things then the Boy Scouts. When I was little, I remember being in Girl Scouts for a very short time, my dad signed me up because he thought Girl Scouts do the same thing as the boys like hiking, fishing, camping, etc and would teach me the survival skills: Just that girls had their own group and while boys had their own group. Then he found out that Girl Scouts did much of nothing but sit around the pool and sell cookies (yes I remember going to the pool a lot). Anyway, my dad decided that if I am going to learn survival skills, then he would just teach me himself, which is what happened.

    • Um…Brian…In 1967, the Boy Scouts of America hosted the World Jamboree. That year, we had almost ZERO female membership (we did have some women serving on Council committees and we of course, had female Den Mothers and Den Leader Coaches, who did participate in that World Jamboree). It will be the BSA’s turn again in a few years as we along with Mexico and Canada will host the World Jamboree at the Summit.

  17. How about we look at this from a different perspective. Instead of worrying about participating in a Boy Scout program, the Order of the Arrow, how about venturers participate in their VOA and provide leadership to an organization that is thirsty for it. When I look at many local VOA organizations that have several vacant offices, I have to ask why those same venturers who are conplaining about being “excluded” don’t step up and take the opportunity that is before them. They will receive the same benefits of leadership development as any Arrowman would.

    • Personal experience, now. VOAs often need youth to help, absolutely correct. Youth are USUALLY not the ones complaining about not getting OA membership, they often do not care and would participate if anything to help a council camp or program. Those who most want it tend to be those who had adult leaders who grew up in boy scouting and expect it should be offered to venturing like it was in the 1950’s. Those who grew up through the change could see OA wasn’t going to change it’s mind and developed a venturing style coed program.

      Knowing BSA division at the time had a huge staff to support the program, especially eagle, and knowing venturing had a staff of three, they went with low key, council oriented, no need for the national folks to even bother themselves, if the youth want it we’ll let it grow on it’s own venturing honor society based on Lewis and Clark.

    • Carl, agreed. So, do you think VOA officers should receive invites to O/A functions? Be regarded as highly as Lodge officers?

      • VOA Officers should not receive invites to OA functions. They should be (and in our council are) regarded as highly as lodge officers. VOA Officers if doing their jobs correctly will have events and activities to staff and attend that OA members do not go to.

        The logic of allowing non boy scout venturing to participate in OA is basically the same as saying why cant my 1st grade cub scout participate? Because he is apart of a different program, that is why.

        • My Wolf attends OA functions with me. This is in his Cub Scout uniform, and with the enthusiastic blessing of our lodge leadership.

          Naturally, that will end when he crosses over.

  18. Maybe I have been in the organization for too long, but why can’t it just be accepted that if you are a female joining a group called the BOY Scouts of America, that not ALL opportunities will be co-ed? The OA is a separate entity of the BSA and may make its decisions. If you want to question the lack of co-ed options in Scouting, question why Cub Scouting does not have female participants…

  19. This is a non-answer.

    Why isn’t OA for Venturers? Because it’s not.

    This is the answer you give a two or three year old when you are tired of answering the endless questions of ‘why’. BTW, it hasn’t always been so. Up until the 90s OA was for exploring too, they could even conduct elections….just the boys if they had done first class with a troop. But it hasn’t always been just a Boy Scout program.

    Almost everything unique between Venturing and Boy Scouts has been made for bit programs. . Pistols, ok’d for Boy Scouts. Kodiak, ok’d for Boy Scouts. Leadership trainings all made program neutral. Jamboree ok’d for Venturers. Venturing oath, sign, code gone. Two sets of youth protection rules, too confusing because the Boy Scout and Ventung programs are working together and overlapping more, fine change em to the Boy Scout to rules in 2015. Give the ‘because it’s not’ answer a rest. Those things change and largely have in the last couple years.

    The real question is I think would a 15/16 year old Venturer going through Ordeal with a 12 year old Boy Scout really work out well. The Venturers would likely outwork the 12 year old and make for a less meaningful ordeal for both. OA and the lore, and the way they work are aimed at a teenage boy, not an older teenage girl IMHO. There are differences in maturity and how programs should be organized, taught and structured.(though the BSA isn’t really recognizing that at the moment with dual program youth trainings)

    What I think people want when we ask about the OA for venturers, especially girls, is that we want what the OA stands for to be open to these youth. We want a way to reward them for being cream of the crop, for them to be so recognized by their peers and others in scouting, and we want to give them the chance for additional leaderahip and challenge them to greater service. Venturing, when run properly at the council and district level with a VOA/EVO/TLC and perhaps the COD provides many of these.

    But in this time where scouting has basically said ‘separate and similar program aren’t good enough anymore’ or ‘Venturing needs to be as consistent with Boy Scouts as possible’. It’s time to have a real discussion. Not one that you would give a two year old.

      • Boy Scouts were allowed to use pistols at the 2013 National Jamboree, and a pilot program is in place this year (2014) in twelve councils nationwide for a pistol shooting program for the Boy Scout level.

    • I agree with Jeff that the answer provided by Peter and Matt was an “non answer”. I provided a more honest and realistic answer earlier — because female youth cannot earn Boy Scout rank; and the First Class rank/status is required as part of the requirements to become electable. This is the same reason why male Venturers cannot be elected to the Order of the Arrow — because most of them have not had the opportunity to become First Class Scouts in a Boy Scout Troop or Varsity Scout Team.

      I disagree, however, that we should open up the Order of the Arrow to Venturers once the new rank structure is established. There is simply not enough interest *among Venturing youth* to become OA members — they see it as “something that the Boy Scouts do” and therefore want something uniquely Venturing. They want the Corps of Discovery — or something like it in structure and implementation.

      The Venturing Officers Association (VOA) serves as a leadership and mentorship outlet for Venturing officers and the Venturing program. It should remain as so, and not try to branch off to provide service like an OA lodge would. In posts here and on Facebook I key in on the Corps of Discovery (COD) to be utilized as a Council-support organization like our OA lodges are a camping/outdoor program-support organization. I think that — service to communities and to Scouting — is where COD would “bank the most money” when it becomes a Venturing program option.

      • Mike, I disagree with you and all these other men who say the female venturing crew members don’t want to become OA. Why should they show intrest in something they have been told “don’t even think about it, you are a GIRL” The girls in my crew would love it, and they deserve it. “Our” GIRLS are good enough to work at BSA camps and to be merit badge counselors to “Our” boys, but not good enough to actually get to go to camp or to be honored for their achievements through the OA. My 16 year old venturing daughter even participated in the OA tap outs this summer as a lifeguard. “Our” GIRLS deserve admission into the OA. “Our” GIRLS deserve a better excuse than “just because.”
        Tell the GIRLS in venturing they are alowed in the OA and see how fast and how many start getting tapped out!

      • Every active venturer I know, myself especially included, would love to be part of the OA. So don’t even go there. I wasn’t even aware that the CoD existed until about a year ago, because it’s not nationalized, and tons of councils don’t have anything to do with it yet.

  20. Why don’t venturers just participate in the VOA if they want leadership opportunities. It appears that plenty of the positions are vacant.

  21. Two problems with this. First, the whole notion of marketing the Order of the Arrow as “Scouting’s National Honor Society” is a fairly recent one, as its nature had primarily been that of a “brotherhood of cheerful service” rather than “look what *I* did!” Second, the moniker is very misleading, unless of course we plan to shuffle Venturing off as some some “subsidiary corporation” and “not really part of Scouting.”

  22. If COD is “unsanctioned” currently by the BSA, and it was made in response to the lack of OA support for venturers, why don’t crews simply have “unsanctioned” OA events in which females are inducted.

    To me, it makes more sense to change the system we have, rather than create a new system from scratch. If crews start doing this, eventually BSA will have to come up with an actual worthy response.

    As much as I love the tradition of BSA, at some point we have to get these people, who are clinging to age old traditions, out of the program and let the youth take over. This is a youth program, I’m going to say that again, a YOUTH PROGRAM. Why would we have ADULTS deciding what goes on in a YOUTH program? Instead of a bunch of old businessmen making the program, why don’t we allow the youth to come in and say “yay” or “nay” on the subject. I bet you 90%+ would vote to have females not only in the OA, but in the Scouts. I also see how this will never happen though, BSA, like anything, is a business, and the Youth don’t pay the bills or donate.

    Membership has been on the decline since what, the 1970’s? Maybe it’s because adult leaders are making most of the choices instead of the youth. Want to make Scouting relevant, let the youth have their say.

    • In part because it was hoped that, over time, national would accept the fully developed in the field corps of discovery, just like they did the fully formed order of the arrow.

      It is not an attempt to convert an existing program. That would be untrustworthy, disloyal, unhelpful, unfriendly, inconsiderate, unkind, disobedient, less than cheerful in service, and just plain rude. Why force yourself into someplace where you are not wanted?

    • As a former Section chief in the OA. The OA is far from an adult ran program. In fact with all scouting programs considered the OA is the most youth ran program. I know that I went to Dallas for meetings and know that there were a lot more active youth then I was that went all over the country to different meetings and such. I have had several conference calls to discuss the plans for my section and for stuff on the national level.

  23. Lets not forget folks, the COD blatantly states that they are NOT an Honor Society right on their website.
    “It is not intended that the Corps become an Honor Society or a form of recognition as a variety of recognition is already in place in the Venturing program. The Corps of Discovery is for people who want to take a leadership role in building Venturing and Scouting.”
    [ http://www.venturingcorps.com/membership.html ]

  24. As a crew advisor , it feels to me that venturing is the redheaded stepchild of the BSA. Our district has about 6 crews… that’s not much focus. Such a small number when you compare it to the number of troops. Now it’s being change to follow the Boy scout oath and law. We really have nothing. Only what we can make happen with our own planning. (I know that’s how it works too) All in all I feel there is no focus on venturing as a natural transition from Boyscouts . It seems to be more an alley to collect more chartering and registration fees .

    • These are things that you can do that no other member in scouting can do as a venture crew; hunting, dirt bikes, large-bore rifles, and the most commonly used is Pistols!

      • If Venturing is the redhead stepchild of the BSA then Varsity is the bastard stepchild. The program gets slighted at every turn. Were told that the Varsity pledge was going away on June 1 and was told on May 31 via Bryan’s Blog.

  25. You see here’s the problem like in most cases now days. Many adults make things harder then it has to be, therefore hurting the kids in the long run. I often wander who’s truly worse. A spoiled bratty kid, or a spoiled bratty adult. Just remember, we can’t always have our cake and eat it to. I’ve been a registered Scout for well over 30 years. I’ve seen a lot changes throughput the years as a youth as well as an adult, many I really didn’t agree with but I’m still quit active. We need to remind ourselves of this. Who are we here for? Are you here for the Scouts, or for yourself?

  26. Never dud what? 1967. Idaho. Learn before you try to make statements, coed status does not determine world jamboree status.

  27. As a past lodge and section chief and member of the Order of the Arrow since 1984, and most importantly the father of 3 daughters, I am opposed to young ladies under the age of 21 being “elected” or permitted to be members of the OA. This would create a quagmire for supervision at Ordeals, Conclaves, NOAC and other activities. The experience that I had as a youth in the Order of the Arrow had a major impact on my life, and I value it greatly. I hope that my daughters are able to learn similar values, but not at the expense of the young men of today having the same opportunity that I had. One of these young men may well be my future son in law, and I hope that they will have the best opportunity to grow to be an outstanding husband and father.

    • Agreed, rest rooms and locker rooms should be… I get a little antsy when my wife or mom digs through my stuff. (But that’s because they think of some of my treasures are junk… So no girls allowed in there…) But having worked with international Scouts, you’ll never see me advocate separate Scouting at any level. I’ve seen it work in too many other places. Heaven forbid we might teach our genders to respect each other after all…

  28. The lodge wanted yo tap my daughter out at 16 but was informed that one of the requirements for OA is that the scout must be first class. Since she will never earn the rank of first class she had to wait till her 21st birthday to be called out as an adult on the camping committee.

  29. As a past Section Chief in the OA and the Council’s current Venturing Adviser I have seen both sides to this.

    The real reason, as stated in above comments, is that youth female can not earn the 1st class rank. That is one of the few requirements for the OA.

    There should not be one honor society for both boy scouts and venturing because they are 2 different programs and do offer several different activities.

    To further this most ventures do not wear the suggested venture uniform set forth by national nor do they earn rank. The OA is to enhance the leadership for boy scouts. They set the example by wearing the uniform and offering several service projects to both the communities and camp. The OA depending on the lodge offers rank advancement as well as opportunities to earn merit badges.

    If Ventures wanted something of the OA’s nature then they can participate in the council’s VOA. Our Council actually calls it EVOA (Exploring and Ventures Officer Association). This allows you of any venture crew to participate. The comments about national not accepting a Venturing honor society are not true. This even though not called Honor society would be the equivalent of the OA. Also, When the Venture membership grows to what the scouting membership is and the VOA becomes more active then more people would see what VOA is. Our area is the only area that I am aware of that actually has an area wide VOA event, The Legacy. My Council helped start this event last year and the trouble was a lot of councils didn’t even have a venturing president. If council’s don’t have active venturing programs nor will national.

    The comments about letting some female in and not others, the adults and not the youth, has nothing to do with gender. It allows all adult volunteers in that are selected by their units committee. The youth requirements females just simply can not meet because they are not able to earn first class.

  30. I had this same question asked of me when I was a Lodge Advisor at the turn of the century. The key reason is the First Class requirement which can only be earned by young men in a Scout Troop or Varsity Team. Both of these units do not have young women in them. A young man can work on Star, Life and Eagle (plus palms) and Merit Badges in a Crew provided he joined Venturing by being at least a First Class Scout. A Venture member does not work on the Trail to First Class in his Crew. My Crew has produced Eagle Scouts as well as my Team and Troop. But for the OA Elections we would have to elect the young man in the Troop or Team.

    So for Venturing members to ultimately have elections in their Crews which would permit young women to be elected; two things would have to change.

    1) Modify or change the First Class requirement to incorporate a Venturing advancement element.
    2) Modify the long term camping require to allow for High Adventure long term camping that takes place outside of a BSA camp. Many Crews create their own unique HA outside of Council camps which last a week or more.

    • Rob, I would posit the lack of 1st class patch is a “paper tiger.” If you had a female youth who was for all intents and purposes competent in the outdoors, a model citizen, admired by her peers and the younger scouts whom she may serve, would she not be as “First Class” a scout as any boy who held the trademark patch?
      Likewise, with the camping nights. If this young woman participated in week long adventure with her crew, would there not be a tour plan filed? And, would it not be under the auspices of the BSA?

      In both cases, she has been compliant with the requirements in the truest sense of the word.

      It’s just that neither she nor her constituency wear tan shirts.

      • Since the BSA is all about policies, procedures and requirements that is where it should start. If you noticed I did say about changing that requirement to incorporating Venturing Advancement. (which is under utilized in most Councils.) Basically it is formally verifying your concept of meeting a certain skill set.

        Same with the HA. When they say under the auspices of the what they really mean is “at or on a BSA camp or facility”. When my Crew did a HA last year to Mt Washington in New England I submitted to our District the amount of participants and days/nights of camping. Was told that it didn’t matter because National only collects data on Venturing long term camping when it is done on BSA camps.

        These two points are easy to fix. What is harder is the attitudes of people.

  31. Maybe I misunderstood what the OA was when I was a scout, but I had always thought of it as a service organization. My memories of the group were helping with camp cleanups every year, volunteering to help with inductions, and the annual winter banquet. I was a bit shocked when I rejoined scouting a few years ago with my son and saw the OA referred to as an honor society.

  32. The Boy Scout and Venturing programs are two separate organizations independent of each other. I get that. It’s the official stance from national. It is the reason why Venturers who are not also also registered in a Boy Scout Troop cannot be elected to the OA. Sure, got that.

    But then with this in mind, why is it acceptable for a Venturing (male) youth who has previously earned First Class rank as a Boy Scout, to be solely registered to a Crew and be allowed to continue working on Boy Scout advancement for Star, Life, Eagle and Eagle Palms?

    If we have two separate programs, then Boy Scout advancement should only be done through a Troop or Team. Similarly Venturing advancement should only be done through a Crew or Ship. Boys who are Venturing eligible cannot earn Venturing awards while being solely registered to a Troop. Why the inconsistencies?

    It seems we only have separate programs when it is convenient, but not really.

    • When a boy is “dual registered” for Boy Scouts and Venturing, then he can pursue the advancements for each. A boy can only pursue the advancements for programs he is registered.

      Please provide the reference that shows he can advance in Boy Scouts without being registered as a Boy Scout or advance in Venturing but not be registered as a Venturer.

      • Boy Scout Advancement in Venturing and Sea Scouts
        Venturers and Sea Scouts who earned First Class rank as registered Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts are qualified until their 18th birthday to continue with Boy Scout advancement. If desired, they may maintain multiple (dual) registration in a troop or team, and also in a crew or ship, and work on ranks in either unit. Wherever the member is registered, the Scoutmaster and crew Advisor or Skipper decide with the young man which one will oversee his advancement. If the Advisor or Skipper does so, but is unfamiliar with Boy Scouting, the district advancement committee should identify an experienced Scouter to assist. It is important for Venturing and Sea Scout leaders to understand that Boy Scout advancement procedures must be followed.
        With the exception of the Eagle and Quartermaster service projects, any work done while a Venturer or Sea Scout can count toward both Boy Scout and Venturing or Sea Scout advancement at the same time. The Eagle and Quartermaster projects must be separate and distinct from each other.
        Position of responsibility requirements for Boy Scout ranks may be met by the Venturer or Sea Scout serving in crew or ship positions as outlined in the Boy Scout Requirements book. The Advisor or Skipper conducts the unit leader conference. The crew or ship committee conducts Star and Life boards of review, and Eagle Scout boards follow the local council’s established procedure.

        Notice the key word of If desired they can dual register.

      • Glenn; If you look at ANY advancement guide since the 1950’s you’ll see it was always allowed that a Sea Scout or Explorer could advance in their unit without dual registering as long as they had First Class first… Robert gave you the most recent, but it’s been the case for over 60 years.

  33. Let’s get down to brass tacks:

    There is one and only one reason that O/A has excluded young women who are first class scouts in the true sense, avid campers, servant leaders, admired by peers their age (and slightly younger) who also adhere to scouting’s ideals:


    That’s fine. They don’t have to. But please, let’s stop this nonsense about the program being designed for tan shirts. If this organization is about the youth, then let’s just admit that to date the preponderance of arrowmen have seen no need to extend this honor to young women. There are as many different reasons for this as there are members who would are opposed or apathetic to the possibility. None of them have to do with the obstacles mentioned above. If and when our boys say it’s important that we change, there will be caring adults around them to help smooth out all of these bureaucratic roadblocks.

    • Their are difference. Less than one percent of venturers participate in the advancement program, many venture crews have zero focus on the outdoors and Scout skills, and even a lack of uniformity. I’m not saying this is wrong, but their is a distinct difference in which the mission and purpose of the BSA are taught.

    • we are for the young men and women in scouting if they want it then let it happen and all adults need to stay out of it until our youth in scouting has made up their mind. Then we as caring adults will help them through the EDGE part of this situation and the other adults will sit back and talk about it forever and ever.

  34. Just to let you know, the UK has Scouts, which used to be Boy Scouts, and has been open to boys and girls since 2007. They still have Girl Guides (same as US GS) that is girls only. They do a lot of the same as US GS. I’ve been a leader both in BSA and UK Scouts. Some of my best UK Scouts are girls. They go hike, camp and beget dirty right along with the boys.

  35. I’m a skeptical optimist.

    It’s a fair bet that the majority of us with daughters want the same opportunities for each of our kids, and exposure to programs that make them better people. Let’s just get that off the table right now, that right away we’ve already got a whole bunch of passionate moms and dads and brothers and sisters here that see opportunities for change here.

    Second, my response here is not out of a desire to nitpick a policy. My response comes from a desire to get the program out to as many people as possible, because I see the good that comes out of the other end.

    BSA’s answer gives me hope. BSA’s best answer is essentially “because I said so, because that’s what the book says”. This tells me that “we’re maintaining a stance because somebody, some time ago, said this is what we do.” So we do it.

    This answer gives me hope because it highlights one of many policies that can tip like a house of cards. “You can’t be in the OA because you can’t earn First Class because you can’t be in a Troop because you’re not a Boy.” So, we maintain, and blindly enforce a path all the way through to the result, and justify the destination because of a root policy that was created before the days of poodle skirts.

    This answer gives me hope, because we see requirements change regularly. Eagle and rank requirements are tweaked regularly, swapping badges in and out to stay current with the times. Massive shifts are introduced into how we run our programs — One Oath, One Law, for instance, to recognize that we have new pressures in society which didn’t exist even 20 years ago, and that we’d all be served better by actively working from the same moral base. Even the daylighting of acknowledging gay youth in the program (they’ve always been there) represents that we can, and do change. Policies can be revisited, new opportunities can be created, and requirements can be updated.

    On the other hand, BSA is in the tough position of trying and wanting to change, while carefully avoiding trendy conversations and becoming a chameleon to whim. If the best answer is to quote an old policy, I’m optimistic that the foundation under that policy is eroding, and our conversation is becoming more pertinent and influential. I have to be optimistic. Scouting raised me that way.

    Won’t it be awesome when the next time we’re at summer camp or resident camp, that the female staffers who are there — the ones who give up their high school summers to participate in our program by staffing at a Boy Scout camp — the young women who are already stepping out to help tomorrow’s youth — that we’ve created that opportunity for them to reach the same achievements as their brothers — that we’ve created a place where they can invite all of their high-achieving friends to share their summers with our youth? A place where we’re doubling the number of “firecrackers” we make because we revised a policy which had limited our potential membership by half? A place where we can double the number of Eagle Scout badges stitched to the shirts of the staff that our campers love and idolize?

    I am who I am today, as are many of us, because of Eagle, camp staffing, leadership in the OA, and growing up in a safe and supportive environment at home and in Scouting. These opportunities should be available for any of our children who seek to achieve them.

    These high places are within ALL of our youth.

    • Peter,
      Very very well said, thank you.
      The Scouting program needs to make changes to appeal to todays vastly changing society, and that means they need to include girls in more things.

  36. I would love to see the US start using the same principles as the UK and most of the world. It is not BSA (boys scouts of America) it is SCOUTING. Girls and boys are in cub scouts, boys scouts, explorers (venturing US), so why not OA. It is scouting people. Why not get our women trained to be amazing leaders, campers, outdoors people. We are all stronger!

    • You are absolutely wrong. Why do we need to conform to the UK’s Scouting standards? We are the United States of America for peat shakes.

      What the Boy Scouts of America should do is help the Girl Scouts of America better their program so they will keep members because they’re promoting Scout Craft as we do. Is this why most leave Girl Scouts? This is why my sister and niece left.

      • Yes, I’ve had several female Boy Scout leaders – mothers of both boys and girls – complain to me about how lame the Girl Scouts are in comparison.

        As an observer, I find this to be a little troubling. It’s the duty of emotionally-invested, capable women to change the GS’s culture.

    • 1. The Girl Scouts of America still exists. It should be fostered and strengthened. The BSA should not encroach on the mission of the Girl Scouts.

      2. Young men and women should have the opportunity to participate in both gender-integrated and gender-exclusive organizations. There is value to both experiences. Youth are better off for having the option to participate in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Venturing.

      I speak as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and – soon – Venturing leader.

      • Separate but equal! What an awesome idea. Too bad folks haven’t tried doing that to manage other societal divides. It would solve so many problems. 🙁

        I hope you have fun as a venturing leader, but unless local GS troops are camping in every season since 6th grade, you will find them ill-prepared to take on half the things your boys are. It’s a huge barrier to recruitment. After you’ve heard from about the 6th girl that she never slept under canvas before or she wishes she could join venturing even though she’s only 12 or she’s intimidated by bears, etc …you begin to realize that what we have here is very very broken.

        (P.S. – GS Moms who get their girls to the outdoors and digging their own latrines: you’re my heroes!)

        • Women benefit from the opportunity to socialize exclusively with other women. Girls Night Out, baby showers, bridal showers, etc. So do men – Guys Night Out.

          This institutions are almost universally accepted, even today.

          Men understand other men – intuitively – in a way that women do not. So, too, for women. So, It is to the benefit of both young men and women that they learn how to cultivate socialization “spaces” for both types of interactions – gender-exclusive, and gender-inclusive.

          In stark contrast, there is ZERO benefit to individuals or society for exclusion based on racial dimensions.

          So: it’s a red herring to invoke the sad history of racially-motivated “Separate But Equal” Jim Crow policies as a device to de-legitimize gender-based socialization opportunities.

        • Not taking back the parallel to Jim Crow. I am seeing unparalleled deficits in young women’s outdoor knowledge and believe it’s hurting our nation.

          I get the bridal shower thing. I caught flack for taking Son #2 camping the weekend of the shower for Son #1’s bride. Some things are important for sexes to deal with on their own. 🙂

          So if this is one “sacred” sex-specific things, let the leadership say so. If O/A touted itself as “an organization where guys can get some space from the old lady.” I’d be fine with it.

          In venturing, a crew can be single-sex … If that’s where a chartering organization sees the need, they can make it so. No problem. A little weird when crews mix and compare notes, but at least everyone is learning from it all.

          But, some boys are looking at O/A thinking it’s a sham because, while saying it’s an honor society, it witholds honor from the girl who is first class (in all but the patch), servant leader, and avid camper. Others (the majority, I think) for now are happy with lodge life as it is. So that’s what we go with.

          But, let’s call a spade a spade. It has nothing to do with the eligibility requirements only being achievable in a troop. It has everything to do with members in one division wanting to lay claim to broad concepts like honor and service and thinking those ideals would be somehow sullied if extended to members of another division.

        • Q “But, let’s call a spade a spade. It has nothing to do with the eligibility requirements only being achievable in a troop.”

          But it does have everything to do with this. Could the requirements be changed? Of course the could. Should the requirements be changed? I don’t think so.

          Q “It has everything to do with members in one division wanting to lay claim to broad concepts like honor and service and thinking those ideals would be somehow sullied if extended to members of another division.”

          I don’t believe it has anything to do with one division wanting to lay claim to the concept of honor and service.

  37. Well, the answer is correct, as far as it goes, but also a bit simplistic, if you don’t mind my saying so. I took my Ordeal in 1969, and I’m currently registered as a Unit Commissioner in the Cascade Pacific Council (Portland, OR), and an active member of the local lodge, so I’ve got some history here. I also served as an aide de camp to our founder, E. Urner Goodman, at two NOACS in the 1970s, so I actually had the opportunity to speak with him at some length, on several occasions about the Order and its history. To begin with, the original structure and content of the OA did not lend itself to female participation; ceremonial team members often wore only a loincloth, moccasins and a feather, rather than the more historically accurate – and less revealing – regalia which is common today. The Ordeal was also much more strenuous – both physically and mentally – than it is today, where the “scant food” and “physical labor” were much more strongly emphasized, and enforced. I mean, a woman would have to pretty much have had to be an Amazon just to have survived my “tap out” ceremony, and can you imaging ripping open her blouse, and painting an arrow on her bare chest, as we used to do? Now granted, most of those older traditions have pretty much gone by the wayside, but the OA is still a very masculine-oriented organization. I mean, it would have to be, wouldn’t it? It’s essentially the “revival” – if you will – of a warriors’ society, as the Legend makes clear, so to be honest, I’m not even sure why a woman or girl would even want to be a part. Admittedly, I wasn’t actually active when women were first brought into the Order, but I’ve heard stories of the discussions that went on at the national level when the change was being considered, and they weren’t pretty. I think that it would be helpful if the Venturing program did institute a parallel Honor Society program, perhaps even as an adjunct to the OA – especially now that they’re going to be lowering the maximum age for Venturing from 20 to 17 – as a way to keep older youth and young adults involved in the Scouting programs. In fact, Dr. Goodman was considering such a parallel program for the old Explorers, but it was abandoned when Exploring was converted to a vocational program outside of the BSA’s direct control.

    • Mike, the upper age limit for Venturers will remain 20. They will be considered adult participants after age 18, but they won’t be out of the program. How this will work on the ground? Your guess is as good as mine. But I envision older venturers being able to plan more independent outings now that they are adults.

      Again, those barriers that you list constitute more “paper tigers”. It’s not about what a woman would want. It’s about weather arrowmen think that they are missing something by not honoring the women who measure up to their standard in a essential ways.

      • Actually, we just had a presentation from the National Council on this; the Venturing program will parallel Boy Scouting, in that those from 18 until 21 can continue as adult leaders, but not as primary Unit Leaders, but they won’t be considered “youth” members anymore. As an adjunct however, the active membership age for OA also drops from 20 to 17, although anybody between those ages on the date the change occurs will be “grandfathered” in.

    • Before this gets out of hand about the maximum age, the Maximum age is 20. What happens at 18 is that all Venturing Youth must fill out an Adult application, Take Youth Protection, and pass a background check. They are STILL considered Youth within the program until they turn 21, at which time they can become Adult Leaders in the program.

      We now return to this lunacy…

  38. So, I asked my daughter, who is a member of a Venturing Crew about the OA. She said that, “Yes, she would like to be a part of the OA and so would a number of the young ladies on her Crew. However, they don’t discuss it much because why get your hopes up when you know that the BSA/OA is just going to spit in your face because you are a female.”

    These young ladies run our Crew of 20+, hold Council-wide trainings, are members of the VOA and are Girl Scouts (all working on their Gold Awards). These young ladies have the skills and the abilities to attend Philmont, and many already have. They have proven that they meet the requirements of a First Class Scout.

    Also, remember that Venturing is losing their identity, too. They have changed their program book this year and will be going to the BOY SCOUT law and oath in January. As for pistols, this is being piloted into the Boy Scout program after last year’s Jamboree.

    It is sad to see registered members of the BSA told that they are not worthy because of their gender. It makes a number of people believe that the OA is a “secret society” that is a violation of the BSA YPT.

    • On thing I think that you and some other commenters have overlooked, is the CAMPING requirement to be nominated for membership. Remember, the OA was founded to to promote camping, and that’s still the primary mission focus, although we do pay a lot of attention – or at least lip service – to the “serving others” aspect of the organization. Very few Venturing Crews are active enough in camping, that their members would qualify for membership in the first place!

      • Not overlooked. Numerically venturers are a rapidly shrinking membership. Female venturers who camp 14 nights a year are a rare breed. Ones who are truly first class rarer still. But even if there were only one in the entire nation, why would not the chief extend the arrow to her?

        The reason is simple: the chiefs don’t want to. Some of the reasons mentioned above, about believing sexes needing their space, etc … are more sincere than any smoke and mirrors about requirements.

        • Where are you getting the information that Venturing is shrinking? I’ve been told the opposite, that it’s Scouting’s fastest (and ONLY) growing segment.

        • One of the main reasons given for changing the Venturing program was – “Declining membership trend.’

      • My Venturing daughter has loged 36 days camping this year. Leave the requirements, if the girls want in the OA they will do what it takes to be nominated. Just give them the chance.

  39. What a great discussion! My two cents. The times they are a changing. Historically, I get it. Boys were boys and girls were girls – both with very different social mores, etc. well over 100 years later, we have grown, we have evolved. While I continue to believe that at the cub level there should be “Boy Scouts” and “Girl Scouts,” by the troop level I think the genders should be merged. The social demands and expectations of the 21st reasons century involve young men AND women. Women can do traditionally male roles and vice versa. Scouting is not a historical society, it is to train young men and women to live the values we hold important. For those reasons we need to open scouting to gender equality. Boys need to learn about girls and ditto the girls for boys. Scouting can and should be one forum for such.

  40. It seems to me the real question is – what changes when a female turns 21? At that age she is elligible to be a member of OA. Why? Based in her participation in a crew or post or maybe summers spent working at scout camps? What is different other than a number? I don’t buy the excuse if adult women are members, so should female youth.

    • At 21 they (Male/Female) are no longer considered youth they are considered adults. They can then be inducted in the order according to the standards of adults. They have to be serving in an adult position in a Scout Troop or a Varsity team. What they did as youth in a crew or post has no weight in their illegibility to be inducted. It all has to do with Venturing and Explores (Male and Female) are not illegible for induction into the OA.

  41. Quite a firestorm here…

    Following and listening here are a few additional comments (from a dad of 3 sons and 3 daughters, a former crew and post advisor, and LONG time scouter, (Mike – Black Eagle has only a few years on me…)

    1. Here is a good comparison – donate $10K to your daughter’s GSUSA TROOP not to National – where does the money go and how much is allowed to stay in the troop?, Donate $10K to your son’s BSA troop and where does the money go and how much stays in the troop? (There are many GREAT leaders at the local level in GSUSA (we have a supertroop sponsored by same church as my son’s BSA troop and a Cub pack I’m the commissioner for… The Adult leaders are truly doing their best with the program they are handed from GSUSA (and they CANNOT stand how often their program changes and how little is ever grandfathered! (or is that grandmothered?)

    2. Next we’ll be asking why we can’t have Cub Scouts in OA???

    3. There is a high level of expectation in Venturing (that was not in Explorering) to support Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting (even from Coed Venturing.) The same is true in OA – the JTE (Journey to Excellence – the successor to Quality Unit/Chapter awards for those of you who haven’t been active in BSA for a while) has sections for support of Scouting outside of your unit – at the Cub and Scout levels for Venturing and for OA at the Chapter and Lodge levels. My Coed Venture crew often staffed at Scout Camporees, and at even participated at OA public Service events, they worked Cub Daycamp with all but one member on staff for the entire week. Our OA Chapter Provides Webelos Bridging Ceremonies, Arrow of Light Ceremonies and Blue and Gold Banquet “edutainment”. We staff at the Day Camp. as well as many other areas of service to both Cubs, and Scouts.

    4. When I attended the 2005 National Jambo, there was an undercurrent of BSA going COED prior to the 2010 Jambo, much of the discussion also surrounded how we would not join with GSUSA – they make too much money off of cookies and don’t do enough outdoor activities among other reasons…

    5. I looked up the Leadership award – its STRICTLY A COUNCIL proposed to NATIONAL award, I’d never heard of it in our council and I’m sure only Council committee’s sons and daughters would get recommended $$$$. It’s not a service organization, there’s not unity, it’s just a Plaque for the wall… Nice but not really. (Yes I do like how it requires much leadership training and experience).

    6. I really like the CoD idea and my crew would have been right there for it.

  42. Oh and I went to an all Male Science and Engineering College – in the state, any student of any college could take classes from any other college (private or public) in the state, and many girls from both the state college in town and the Girls college across town would come and take classes…

    The college went coed about 10 years after I graduated, a SAD DAY… I specifically went there as I didn’t want the distraction –

    I wish our society wasn’t all about busting down the door to MALE organizations and colleges and schools and realize MALES learn differently, act differently and have different needs…. Down to our DNA we are different.

    Create all the parallel FEMALE organizations you want… Block MALES from joining – we won’t care! (Oh by the way there are a number of youth organizations that are Female only… I don’t and haven’t seen MALES trying to bust their doors down….)

    We can have some MALE/FEMALE or FEMALE/MALE organizations and schools, but let us have some things without having to becareful around the “FEMALES”…..

    • This is fantastic. The iconography of Sacajawea returning to the Corps is a perfect metaphor for excellence in Venturing. Traditional, yet also modern in that it reflects the gender dynamics of Venturing.

      I hope this gets traction at the National level. OA, too, was not officially sanctioned for the first 19 years of its life.

  43. Here’s an observation from my vantage point as a female OA member (Vigil Honor 2010, Unami Lodge ONE):

    I never made First Class. I’m an adult leader. There are special rules to allow adults who were never Boy Scouts to be nominated to the Order.

    Our very best Arrowmen are also often our most dedicated Camp Staff. The young women who also staff our camps should have a way to earn their way to a nomination. They don’t mind being part of Boy Scout of America. They are hard working, skilled and live the Obligation better than those whiny 12 year old Ordealies we process at every weekend.

    The BSA would be well served to include the most motivated of these women in the WWW.

  44. I am saddened by the negative comments about GSUSA… having been heavily involved (10 years) in Girl Scouts, and now about 7 with Cub Scouts and 2 as a Boy Scout parent on the fringes of Boy Scout leadership (no official role with the troop right now) I have seen good and not so good in all the organizations, at all levels. Much of the lot so good can be attributed to individuals rather than the organization itself.

    Personally, my Girl Scout Troops (I was leader for both of my daughters) camped, and sold cookies, and did service projects, Archery, Zip-Lining, and much more.

    I see some differences that celebrate the differences between boys and girls (no matter what anyone says, they are different, and that is not a bad thing), and other differences that could be resolved… I think they should cooperate more… But that won’t happen until more adults cooperate and leave their prejudices aside.

  45. Political correctness has come to the BSA. The OA is in its 100th year. Standards and a program have been long established. The OA program would have to be changed to accommodate Venturing and the Sea Scouts. Currently the OA is a honor society of honor campers. The OA promotes camping. There are Venturers and Sea Scouts with no camping experience. Adapting changes takes time. Changes should be made if there is a need to make the change. It shouldn’t be seen as unfair if everyone is not included automatically!

  46. Frankly, this seems to me to be the short shrift that Venturing has been getting since it’s inception. The support for the entire Venturing has been lacking. It’s not only this particular topic but the entire program. The new changes that are in progress seem to be just band aids. There has been no real explanation of the new program, just an overview. I can’t even figure out how my Crew’s STEM focus will fit in with the new program. The OA issue is only the tip of the iceberg,

  47. I want to tell you about a young lady, who because she’s only 18, cannot join the Order of the Arrow.

    For the past four years she has been a part of the Camp Staff at Theodore Naish in Bonner Springs Kansas. She has worked with Cub Scouts, Venturing Scouts, LDS and ROTC Scouts and the Youth of the YMCA. She served two years on the Council Venturing Officer’s Association. She has represented Scouting as a Venturing Scout at several Council driven events, and has worked as Staff for Day Camp, and local Merit Badge Academies. She truly loves being a part of this organization.

    As for her advancements, she earned the Outdoor Bronze Award, The Venturing Gold Award, and the Venturing Silver Award. She is currently completing the Ranger Award.

    She is the recipient of the Venturing Leadership Award at the Council Level, which is the highest non-meritorious award a Council can bestow on a Venturing Scout as a Youth.

    For the past two years, because the local Lodge has been struggling to find a Boy Scout to teach the class, she has taught the First Year Scout Program at several OA Induction events.

    This past year, because of her service to Scouting and to the Troop, the Scoutmaster and Committee Members asked her to accept the position of Assistant Scoutmaster.

    She, like most of the Venturing Crew, male and female, are always ready to step up when someone calls wanting to know if we can help them in a project. So, you’ll have to understand my dismay with the Order of the Arrow and how it appears hypocritical to many that this young lady and so many others like her cannot be a member of this honor society dedicated to service to Scouting.

    Let’s be honest. There are young ladies such as this one who have invested themselves into Scouting deeper and with more devotion than many of the Adults that are inducted on an annual basis. They are quicker to answer the call for Scout and Non-Scout related service projects than many of the youth who are revered in the Order of the Arrow. And its not the young men who are objecting, it is the adults in this organization of which claims to be ran by the Youth.

    This summer, this young lady will be inducted into the Tribe of Mic-O-Say because as a valued adult member of the Troop, they are not going to deny her because she is only 18.

    Finally, if there is a riff between Venturing and the Boy Scout Troops, it is because they are tired of being looked at like second class citizens in Scouting.

    I ask you to take a moment and think about what is important here. The Adult’s perception of what Scouting is, or what is best for our youth.

  48. Why is it everything sacred and holy in this country needs to be torn down by someone pushing their agenda? Why are young girls not accepted in the OA… because it is an honor society of the BOY Scouts of America. Please let our boys have one place they can call their own.

    • From the OA Website:

      “The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s national honor society. Its membership fulfills the Order’s purpose of recognizing those who exemplify Scouting’s values, promoting responsible outdoor adventure, developing young leaders, and crystallizing the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.”

      From the Induction Ceremony, publicly used by our new National CEO

      “If we would remain a nation, we must stand by one another. Let us both urge on our kindred firm devotion to our brethren and our cause. Ourselves forgetting, let us catch the higher vision. Let us find the greater beauty in the life of cheerful service,”

      Did you miss something in my post? 18 year old Female Assistant Scoutmaster. Her service to Scouting, and involvement in Camping was significant enough that the Troop asked her to become more directly involved. Many of the people opposing this discussion aren’t taking into consideration that these young ladies are doing more for Scouting than most of the older adults who are objecting to their induction. Again, hypocritical when you consider the words pushed by the OA when talking about itself.

      And as for Sacred and Holy? Really?

    • I’m an OA member. There’s nothing “sacred or holy” about perpetuating an injustice.

      Female Venturers serve the Cub Scouts and Boy Scout camping programs with distinction. Either OA needs to be opened up to them, or Corps of Discovery needs to be officially recognized.

  49. “And of course you know that this means that any “Male” volunteer who did not join the OA as a youth is blocked from membership between the ages of 18 and 21 as well … right?”

    Not true. If the 18-20 year old male earned First Class and meets the other requirements for membership, he could be voted into the OA with other youth members. OA “youth” are under 21, and hence must be elected by the youth (under 21) members of the troop.

  50. It would be extremely easy for the Order of the Arrow to extend membership to female youth (and non-Boy Scout male youth, for that matter) on the same basis that membership is extended to adults. Then OA would not have to alter its Boy Scout-centric culture or membership standards, but could still acknowledge the service and support for chapter and lodge that worthy non-Boy Scouts can and do provide.

    • The Order of the Arrow already admits non-Boy Scouts/non-Varsity Scouts into membership:

      “Adults (age 21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.”

      So, why not apply these same criteria to any person registered in the BSA who is not a youth member of a Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team? Why the arbitrary limit to adults age 21 and older? There are all sorts of “necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose” that do not require a minimum age, and there are plenty of registered youth in BSA — male and female — who would “be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities” and “provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.” After all, we talk all the time about younger Boy Scouts (who make up the largest youth membership segment of the Order of the Arrow) looking up to and following the example of older youth.

      Of course, as with so much of what is going on in BSA these days, this would simply be an interim step, designed to get around policies that, while in a different age were obvious and reasonable, are now arbitrary and sexist. If we are going to have girls as young as 13 as registered members of the Boy Scouts of America, and if we are going to purposely blur the program lines as we have, with Venturers using the Scout Oath and Law and working on Star, Life, and Eagle rank within the Venturing crew, there is no longer any valid basis for keeping girls out of what is touted as Scouting’s honor society.

      • Dan I’m good with your suggestion as long as all the other requirements for “Adults Leaders in units” are met. See OA Guide to Officers and Advisers, page 21 for all the requirements.

        • Probably more akin to adult leaders in council and district positions, since the eligible youth would not be registered in a troop or team. Same overall requirements, however, including camping (which should not be waived).

        • I knew it you would come back and change the rules again. We can’t do it like a unit so lets do it like a district of council position.

          Of course what your suggesting would not work ether because of the requirement that, nomination depends on where their primary registration is maintained. For a young lady that would be a Venture Crew.

          Of course you are also forgetting on more important piece of information.

          “Selection should take place only when the adults”s position in Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting will make the order of the Arrow membership more meaningful in the lives of the youth membership.”

          The whole key is “Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting”. Even though Venture Crews are chartered by the Boy Scouts of America they are an entirely separate program. Just like Cub Scouts, which by the way a Cub Scout leader cannot be nominated for the same reason as a Venture Crew leader can’t be nominated. The program they are in is not one of the programs that meet membership qualifications.

        • Gary;
          District/Council leaders who likely wouldn’t get nominated through a unit get put into the OA all the time. Cub leaders, Venturing Leaders, Commissioners… They can even waive the camping requirements. This is not anything new.

        • Only because lodges are not following the guidelines as set forth in the Guide for officers and advisers. The key is in the very last paragraph of the section mentioned.

          “Because the Order of the Arrow is principally a youth organization, unit, district, and Council Scouters are not selected for membership as a recognition. Selection should take place only when the adult’s position in Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting will make the Order of the Arrow membership more meaningful in the lives of the youth membership.”

          To me this means if your primary position is a district or council position. And your position does is not primarily a Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting position. You do not met the qualification for nomination.

          We also have to remember the very last part.

          “will make the Order of the Arrow membership more meaningful in the lives of the youth membership.” In other words you have to be able and willing to do something for the youth where the rubber hits the road. For example serve as an adviser or get them to events. Not just show up get the sash and dash which is what most scouters in district of council positions do, as well as unit scouters. Far to often we use the OA as a recognition tool for adults and not for what its intended.

        • Uh, Gary, the whole point of my post is to suggest an eligibility rule change that actually allows deserving registered youth who are not Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts to become OA members. Not a fake rule change that would still keep them out. The change I suggest would be minimal, however, keeping the same _sustantive_ qualifications we are already using for non-Scout members.

        • I think that’s the whole problem. We are always changing the rules in order to accommodation those who don’t met the established standard. When what we should be doing is holding fast to the standard. In this case the standard is a Venture crew cannot hold elections period so venturing males or females cannot be elected into the OA. The standard is not wrong it is not discriminatory because the requirement to be a Boy Scout or a Varsity Scout is, a male between the ages of 11 and 18.

        • So Gary let me make sure I get this clear…
          The Council Scouter/Venturing Leader we put through three years ago who was our camp’s Handicraft Director for several years who is a counselor for Indian Lore Merit Badge and an expert in making/maintaining regalia shouldn’t have been let in because she wasn’t in a troop because she works with the girls in Venturing… Shame really, I know that gear doesn’t take care of itself.

        • If the Guide for Officers and Advisers are being followed. How they are nominated depends on where they maintain their primary registration. If her primary registration is at the Council level then nomination as a council scouter would be proper. However, if her primary registration is at the Venture Crew level then nomination would not be possible because a crew cannot hold elections and you have to have an election in order for the unit committee to nominate an adult to the lodge selection committee.

          From the description you gave i would say here primary registration would be at the crew level. So the nomination was not within the guidelines.

        • If someone is registered as a Venturing Advisor, but is ALSO a Merit Badge counselor for Boy Scouts, then they’d have to be registered at the District level for that, andf have the Boy Scout-specific youth protection, as well being registered though the unit. Am I not correct in thinking that District (and Council)-registered Scouters are also eligible for induction into the OA? Although the nomination process is – if I remember correctly – somewhat different.

        • Mick you are correct in that the nomination for district and council scouters are different

          However according to the Guidebook.

          “Adults may be nominated for membership only one time per year as ether unit Scouters or district/council Scouters, but not both. How they are nominated depends on where they maintain their primary registration.”

          In your example I would say that the persons primary registration is that of Venture Adviser not district MB counselor.

        • Yes based on the actual substantive requirement. I gave the wording word for word. I don’t know of any other way interpreted it. I’m not asking you to take my word for it go read it yourself and decide for yourself.

        • No. The portion of page 21 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers that you quoted does not set out substantive requirements for membership, which appear earlier in the “Adult membership qualifications” section, in numbered (and indented) paragraphs 1, “Adult leaders in units,” and 2, “Adult leaders in council and district positions,” preceded by the statement: “Individuals shall be selected as candidates based on the following.”

          Paragraph 1 discusses how many unit adults can be nominated, and the tenure requirement for the unit leader. It then states:

          “Recommendations of the adult selection committee, with the approval of the Scout executive, serving as Supreme Chief of the Fire, will be candidates for induction, provided the following conditions are fulfilled:

          “• Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and not for recognition of service, including current or prior achievement and positions.

          “• The individual will be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities that fulfill the purpose of the Order.

          “• The camping requirements set forth for youth members are fulfilled.

          “• The adult leader’s membership will provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.”

          That paragraph is followed by:

          “2. Adult leaders in council and district positions: The lodge adviser, district chairmen, council president, or members of the professional staff may nominate adults to the lodge adult selection committee. All requirements set forth for adult leaders in units must be fulfilled, with the exception of the camping requirements, which may be waived at the discretion of the lodge adviser and Scout executive. Recommendations of the adult selection committee, with the approval of the Scout executive, serving as Supreme Chief of the Fire, will become candidates for induction.”

          That is the end of the indented paragraphs which set out the substantive requirements. They are followed by two paragraphs that complete the “Adult membership qualifications” section. The first of those paragraphs concerns nomination procedures. The second of those paragraphs is the one you quoted:

          “Because the Order of the Arrow is principally a youth organization, unit, district, and council Scouters are not selected for membership as a recognition. Selection should take place only when the adult’s position in Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting will make Order of the Arrow membership more meaningful in the lives of the youth membership.”

          The phrase “the adult’s position in Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting” is clearly not put there to list an additional eligibility requirement. Such a suggestion is contrary to the context of the paragraph and the structure of the entire section. Rather, that last paragraph — put at the end for emphasis — is there to remind the selection committee of the purpose of an OA adult nomination: To help and support the youth members of the Order of the Arrow. The quoted phrase is not a technical requirement but a statement of the obvious: To help and support OA youth members, who are Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, the adult must naturally be serving in some role that in some way positively impacts the two programs in which Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts operate.

          My proposal is simple: Any registered BSA member (adult or youth, male or female) who is not a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout can be nominated for membership in the Order of the Arrow if he or she meets the substance of the four requirements set out in numbered paragraph 1 (see above). NOTHING ELSE CHANGES. That means that, for example, a 16-year-old female Venturer will satisfy those requirements (including “fulfill[ing] the purpose of the Order) only if she is expected to provide a positive contribution in the context of Boy Scouting or Varsity Scouting. This could occur in many different ways: She could be a camp staffer at a Boy Scout camp or high adventure base, or she could be a Leave No Trace trainer; or have extensive First Aid training; or have a background in theater or dance that could help the Ceremonies Team or Dance Team; or have journalism skills that could enhance the Lodge newsletter; or have carpentry skills; or be an outstanding camper with great skills who can help promote and improve camping skills in troops and teams.

          As I said above, this would be an interim step, and would not put girls on the same footing as boys. No one would be nominated for OA membership for being an outstanding Venturing camper. But this suggestion is something that could be done right now, with no fundamental changes to how the OA currently works.

          That will come later.

  51. Happy to see that we are still recycling the issue. The OA mission actually says:
    “The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.”

    Since Venturing is a part of the BSA, the argument starts to fall into an interpretation, done by folks that I refer to as the “Protectors of Scouting”. These are folks who although they mean well are removed many times from the thoughts and feelings of the youth and are more interested in protecting a history that they themselves experienced or that their sons went through. So they interpret the Boy Scouts as a literal of one part of the BSA organization. If they see the flaw in their logic, then they fall back on the fact that to enter the OA a scout must achieve amongst other things the rank of First Class, which obviously Venturing Girls cannot do.

    The other logic is that if the Girl Scouts want an organization they should form one. A fine argument, except the girls in my Crew, aren’t cookie selling Girl Scouts, they are camping, rock climbing, white water rafting and scuba diving Venturing Crew members. So we put the question to our Crew, their answer was that if an OA member wanted to continue his membership, he could certainly do so, but that the Crew would not participate as a group. They actually told the OA Council Rep, “If you take one of us, you take all of us. Otherwise we don’t go.” He was stunned, the Venturing Advisors (we have more than one) and I were very proud.

    Rather than continue to push this rope, we looked at what the OA would really bring to the Crew. The answer was Service. We looked and found the beginnings of the idea of the Corps of Discovery. That became our Crew’s service. While the OA focuses their efforts back on the BSA, cleaning camps etc, we focus on opportunities in our community. We’ve worked for our parent organization with the remodel of the older section of the church, and a local group that created a special park for special needs kids. We are visible in our community, not just the BSA.

    My message to all of you Venturing Advisors is to quit pushing the rope. Make the OA want you worse than you want it. They struggle in our area to keep the scouts engaged! eventually there will be a breaking point. Get with other Crews in your area and form a Corp or Discovery post. Google it, there is a lot of information on the web and many fine people working on organizing it, with little or no support from the BSA. Venturers edon’t need the OA to be of service, one day the OA will want and need the talented leaders that we have in the young women of our Crews and one day these young women will raise the next generation of scouts (boys and girls). Thus will begin or continue the evolution.

    The OA will change eventually, but it will be through evolution rather than a revolution. As today’s scouts become tomorrow’s leaders, the “protectors” will fade away and so will their hollow arguments. Darwin proved that evolution is inevitable and those that don’t evolve become extinct, unfortunately for today’s generation of Venture Crews it will take more time than they have in Scouts. Change always happens and there are many in Scouting that want to fight it, they just don’t realize that in the long run it is they that are “pushing the rope”.

    Yours in Scouting.


  52. One short note on the Girls Scouts of America. Yes, there are problems in their program. Yes, there are problems in our program. What we need to take into consideration is that the real problems in both organizations is regarding the program provided at the Unit Level, and how we have parents and leaders who are forgetting that both programs are NOT about them, but about the Youth.

    We have had several young ladies come into our Crew from the Girls Scouts. We highly recommend that they remain active in their Units if they can, and complete their goal of earning the GS Gold Award. But we also understand their complaints. And these complaints very strongly show us the differences in how they want to live their lives today.

    They come to the Crew so that they can do what the Boy Scouts are doing. They want to Camp, they want to hike, to climb, to be involved in shooting sports. These are things that many of them were involved in as Brownies and Juniors, but somehow got lost at the Troop level in Girls Scouts in this area.

    People who live in Glass Houses, and in Scouting we’re living in a Glass house right now, shouldn’t throw stones.

  53. I have read all of these comments and find all kinds of excuses, but the one thing that hasn’t been addressed is why should there be separate honors organizations in Scouting. Why shouldn’t there be one honors organization for Boy Scouts and Venturers?? We have one in high school academics the National Honor Society. Why is it that when Venturers and Sea Scouts try to start their own honors program, they are shot down by National?? As far as I am concerned this is very short sighted.

    • And if the Venturing Program is not ‘truly’ a part of the Boy Scouts of America, what’s up with the changes in the program where by the end of 2015 ALL Scouts, Cubs, Boys, and Crews will be reciting the same Oath, Law, and using the same handshake and salute.

  54. Oh good grief people….life isn’t fair kids need to learn this ..There are rules in life kids need to learn to follow them …This everyone wins / gets a prize society BS is not doing a damn bit of good for today’s children ..they need to lose once in awhile. .If they want it bad enough then they learn to work harder to earn what they want….and for this GIRL SCOUTS =GIRLS…BOY SCOUTS=BOYS…GET OVER IT!

    • And Venturers, Sea Scouts and Explorers are Co-Ed and a division of the BSA. So I think that it is you that needs to get over it.

      No one is asking that Venturing, Sea Scout or Explorer girls be given a lay up. No one is saying that the requirements should be just as rigorous as that that a 12-year old boy (Scouts join at 11 and can achieve First Class in a year if they work hard) can pass. No one is asking that the Camping requirement be waived (15 days within the TWO-year period). The request is to understand why one group of Scouts is treated differently than another within a program.

      No one is saying that “everyone gets a prize”, but why shouldn’t everyone be able to compete for the prize? What is the lesson that we teach boys when as adults we say “I’m sorry, you can’t join because you are a girl.”?

      The BSA shed 6% off it’s membership roles last year. Shouldn’t the focus be on how do we continue to include MORE youth of both sexes rather than how do we keep the “historical sacred cows”?

    • But that’s not BSA’s rhetoric. Take Wood Badge, and you get fed the line “You all can win.” Not “Win all you can.”

      For complicated reasons, our nations most avid young female outdoorsmen are increasingly carrying BSA membership cards. You say everyone needs to loose once in a while. Well, why shouldn’t O/A strive to give these young women a chance to loose an election by their peers and the younger scouts they serve?

    • And are we here to teach the Scouts that Life isn’t fair, that if the world isn’t the way you want it, just accept it and get over it? Or are we here to teach them to take an active role in improving the world around them? We are leaders in a program of which has a history of developing new leaders beyond Scouting. We live in a world where Gender bias is no longer considered acceptable or reasonable. Its time for everyone to stand up, pull up our big boy pants and be a part of the future and not the past.

  55. For those who think BSA should look like Scouting programs in other countries, they should investigate a bit more. Many of the organizations are “Scout groups” which include Cub Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Girl Guides (Scouts), and sometimes an older co-ed Scout program similar to Venturing in the U.S. The are related by virtue of the “chartered organization” but they meet separately.
    I agree with Jim’s comment on July 18th about requiring every program to be all-inclusive. Diversity makes the world go ’round: and being forced to be diverse by including everyone is not helpful, nor realistic. If the (BSA) program doesn’t meet your expectations, you have choices! And we should teach ourselves and our Scouts to look at those other options rather than always assuming that existing organizations must conform to someone else’s ideas.

    • A little investigation will reveal that each country has various organizational structures. But there are many where even if the scouts meet separately by sex, they come together often just for fun. I could recommend a few wiki’s with charts and graphs, but maybe you all might have a better day if you search the YouTube for “we are happy scouts”. Here’s an example from Slovenia for starters:


      Have a happy day! 🙂

  56. Here is a bit of the writing on the Wall. The new OA Centennial Arrowman Service Award, designed to get Scouts to rededicate themselves to the OA, has some very interesting requirements listed for the youth and the adults to complete in order to earn the award. Venturing has been included in the requirements. Youth can cover the rank requirement for the award by earning a Bronze Award. Leaders can qualify as Venturing Crew Advisors and Leaders. So much for this being a “Boy Scout Troop Program” only.


    • I think you’re reading too much into this. This could just as well be aimed at older Arrowmen who are drifting away from Boy Scouts and toward Venturing. Some Scouts enjoy service and outdoor fellowship and – need it be said – a coed environment, but don’t care for the merit badge path for Eagle.

    • I’d treat it as a loophole to engage those arrowmen who decide to support the BSA through the venturing program. It’s no indication of a sea change. The youth still had to have gone through the troop election process.

      But, you’re right, if it really was to exclusively maintain Boy Scout membership, there would be no talk of venturing, and there would be a mechanism of purging the rolls of any scout who ceased to be active in his troop because he transferred to a crew.

  57. To be elected into the OA a Scout must reach the rank of First Class, have 14 days and night camping must include Summer Camp. Venturing does not have this type of rank structure in place, and very few Councils offer Venturing Week for Summer Camp. The only way for young girls to be allowed into the OA must start with the current Youth Leader Ship. The youth must call for a change in the selection process.

    • Our local BSA camp has started a Venturing week of summer camp. Also, the young ladies can earn their week of long term camping at Philmont, Northern Tier, and Summit.

    • These are problems in name only. If admission were granted to female Venturers, O/A should still require that a young woman meet all of the requirements for First Class, rack up the camping nights, and there should be an election of peers roughly the same age as a Boy Scout Troop.

      That last part would be the trickiest, because crews don’t have those 11-13 year olds. Instead, a crew would probably have to make connections with younger youth frequently enough for them to be able to fairly judge candidates. Doing so might very well change the shape of Venturing.

      But the complexity of the selection process isn’t the issue. The issue remains: does the “Brotherhood of Service” have to be “all about the boys” of the BSA? Right now, the folks holding all the cards are saying it does without willingly admitting it.

      Though my experience with co-eds had led me to disagree with some of the posts on this thread, at least their arguments for segregating the sexes are more intellectually honest than the patronizing “it isn’t really a matter of gender.”

      Once we achieve that level of honesty from the leadership, then we can have a blog post titled “Does O/A need to honor first-class frequent-camping female Venturers more than the Boy Scouts need their own Brotherhood of Service?”

      • Q, “But the complexity of the selection process isn’t the issue. The issue remains: does the “Brotherhood of Service” have to be “all about the boys” of the BSA? Right now, the folks holding all the cards are saying it does without willingly admitting it.”

        The folks holding the card are the youth leadership at all levels. I’m sure if the National Council of Chiefs wanted to change the rules they could.

        • Even chiefs have boundaries. Right now, those are the troop … Unless an arrowman transfers to a crew/ship, then it can be about that venturer … But just him. 🙁

        • 15 years ago my lodge passed a resolution basically saying that we thought there was a case for some Venturers to be admitted to the OA. It also included instructions to forward the resolution to the other lodges in our section and the the section itself with instructions asking them to vote on it and forward it. It passed by a pretty strong majority.

          Soon after a member of the LEC posted it on the Venturing yahoo group. The resolution never made it beyond our lodge because the scout executive was given instructions or strongly encouraged to squash it. And so as supreme chief of the fire, he did.

          Even when youth have taken this up and attempted to start the discussion, it has been killed off.

        • However Lodge Chiefs can bring it up at the Section Council of Chiefs without any approval from a Scout Executive. The Section Chiefs can then bring it up at the National Council of Chiefs at anytime without any approval from a Scout Executive. There is a reason that adult members beyond Lodge and Section Advisers are not allowed in these meetings, to ensure the youth are driving the program.

        • No such thing as a “National Council of Chiefs.” A National Committee does exist, however. I only bring this up to show that their seems to be a general lack of understanding surrounding this issue. A lot of the thoughts here are well thought out, but I think everyone should take the time to do some research and get their facts straight. In the instance of the OA, or the “National Council of Chiefs,” they cannot make this decision on the membership requirements. This must be brought up to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, not the Order.

        • Good point on procedure, Jim. Even if the youth leaders reached a consensus on the need for change, it would take some dogged persistence for it to occur.

  58. I think this topic has been well worn out now. We’ve all got to agree to disagree with all that’s been brought up. Lots of great discussion.

    How about a new topic now?

  59. I fully support the Corps of Discover (COD) and am a Vigil honor member of the OA which I support. The COD was not designed to compete with the OA, it is designed to support Venturing and Scouting through servant leadership and is not as an honor program. Please read through the website to find out more – http://www.venturingcorps.com. Yes, the COD is not currently recognized by BSA but as you all know it was decades before the OA was recognized.
    I value both programs and I would hope that many of you do. If you want to read more about the history of the COD, please visit http://www.venturingmag.org/archives/CoD1211.pdf.
    FYI, COD membership is for what you commit to do, not what you have done which all other scout recognition requires. The first Regimental (regional) rendezvous does not even require a payment. Have you ever attended a program that the costs were as you determined them? Likely not. You can read more about the event on http://www.venturingmag.org/COD.shtml.
    Hope this helps,

    • Craig, I do like the program. My youth haven’t been interested in trying the program, yet. But, I will try to promote it.

  60. We must remember the purpose of Boy Scouts from 1907, to BP, to Boyce, to West, to Green Bar Bill. Boy Scouts was a transition to manhood, no longer mentioned in BSA literature, but it was repleate over and over again back then. Yes women can teach how to camp, or hike, or swim, etc, but they CANNOT teach a boy to become a man. Why was there officially no women as Scoutmaster until 1987? I said “officially”. Women were den mothers, to nurture the boys, men were Scoutmasters to effect the transition to manhood.
    Unfortunately today, there are too many “fathers” that need some more testosterone. Thanks ladies for your service, but in my opinion, boy scouts is a man’s program.

    • Wow Pete! pretty harsh words. A Scout is friendly and kind after all…

      I would dare say that any woman is capable of teaching what a man is all about… I would say any wife with any tenure could do the job just fine… Don’t believe me? I’ll introduce you to my wife, A-Phi-O, fellow Arrowman, and a 25 year BSA veteran… 🙂

      • Rob, don’t mean to be harsh, but let’s remember what Boy Scouts is all about. I’m sure your wife is a wonderful lady, God bless her. But sorry, women don’t teach boys how to become men. YIS.

        • So, wait. I thought that the OA was a service organization that was the Honor Society of Scouting. I did not realize that it was about teaching boys to pee standing up. All joking aside, why does the OA allow women scout leaders in, but keep female Venturers out. If it is about teaching boys to become men. Also, what better message to teach a young man but that a young woman is his equal and deserves his respect versus “No girls allowed”.

        • If the OA is Scouting’s Honor society, then Venturers need tone allowed in.

          Or the OA should change it’s tag line to Boy Scouting’s Honor Society.

          You can’t have it both ways. Make one of the changes but calling yourselves something for Scouting and then ignoring a portion of Scouting is a bit of slight of hand.

  61. The answer is not to lessen or change the Order of the Arrow membership standards, or change the Order of the Arrow or Boy Scouts of America’s program, no, build new, endorse Corps of Discovery. Give all venturers a program for them, not screw with a working program.

    • Chris, I don’t see this as a “justice for venturers” kind of issue. Rather, would the O/A be greater if it opened the door to first class female outdoorsmen youth who uphold the Scout Oath and Law? Or is the O/A more noble by keeping that door closed?

    • A separate Venturing organization would be the right solution _if_ BSA had maintained Venturing as a separate program. But they didn’t. BSA let former Boy Scouts continue their Boy Scout advancement in the Venturing crew without having to belong to a troop. They encouraged close connections between troops and Venturing crews. They encouraged Venturing crews to support and participate in camporees and other Boy Scout events. They let Venturing youth and adults wear Boy Scout rank insignia and Order of the Arrow insignia on their official Venturing uniforms. They mixed Venturers and Boy Scouts together in leadership training programs. They brought in Venturers as official participants in the Boy Scout Jamboree. Now they have gotten rid of the Venturing Oath and Code in favor of the Boy Scout Oath and Law. BSA has been systematically working to integrate Venturing with Boy Scouting, and has already given the Order of the Arrow high visibility within Venturing. We don’t have an Emily Litella situation here (those of a certain age will get the reference) — BSA can’t do all of that and then say, “Never mind” with respect to Order of the Arrow membership for Venturers.

      This is about BSA stepping up and taking responsibility for how it has chosen to operate the Venturing program and the inequities it has created as a result of those choices.

      • Well, they can do all that. Jeff Abernathy’s informative bit of personal history above shows how they did.

        And to be fair, some venturers and their leaders have fostered a little “us vs. them” resentment leaving a few case studies that could justify keeping both strong-willed groups in their corners. So, maybe saying “we’re all about the troops” as been the best way for arrowmen to do that.

        But, in all of that, the question remains: does keeping the door shut continue to be for the good of the order?

  62. There are somethings that Young Men just need to learn from Men that Women are just not capable of teaching them.

    • True, but that’s not OA. OA’s mission is to foster a brotherhood of cheerful service. Women can – and do – perform that mission well.

      • I refuse to get sucked into a discussion of what men have to offer young men that women can’t also offer. Suffice it to say that we all know there are somethings on the ladder to manhood that a young man needs to learn or discuss with men. A mans perspective of the world is different than a womens and that is just a fact that can’t be overlooked. Working with youth in the OA is not different than any other area of the scouting program, sometimes young men just need advise in the personal lives that they would be uncomfortable discussing a women.

        • As an male Scouter, I agree that young men need a space within Scouting in which they can feel safe discussing things that a woman just won’t get.

          As an Arrowman, I don’t see that need as being central to the OA mission of promoting an ethic of cheerful service, with an emphasis on camping as the method for promoting those aims.

          Nothing about OA requires it to be a men’s only club.

  63. I think what’s happening here, is that we’re conflating two separate issues: 1) should female youth be accepted for membership in the OA?; and 2) should the BSA remain a “boys-only” organization? Since the primary purpose of the OA is to promote camping, I see no problem with expanding it to include Venturing – including Sea Scouts – so long as they meet the same camping and other general criteria. As far as the First-Class requirement goes, I’m not sure whether the Sea Scout equivalent would be Ordinary or Able (perhaps a Sea Scouter could answer that), and while it’s true that there are many Venturers who choose not to earn advancement, the same could be said of many Boy Scouts, and they don’t become OA either – that’s a conscious choice, just as not meeting the camping requirement would be. I wanted to be OA, so I made darn sure I got my 1st Class and camped out every chance I could get. So again, let Venturers – including girls – into the OA? Sure; no problem. It’s the 21st Century and there’s really nothing fundamental about the OA that’s male-specific anymore.

    As far as the separate issue of letting girls into Boy Scouts, I would say no, and in fact, I disagree with allowing women Scoutmasters. While it’s certainly true that a woman can teach – that is “instruct” – positive male behavior traits, she cannot lead by example. The BSA exists – at its most basic level – for the single purpose of molding and enhancing decent behavior in boys, and giving those boys the tools to be able to retain that decency into and through the trials of adulthood. Quite frankly, it’s not unlike being taught to play an instrument – say a guitar -by someone who actually plays guitar, as opposed to someone who knows basic music theory and is just reading from a book on “How to Play Guitar”. You might learn how to “play” guitar, but you’ll never learn how to PLAY guitar, if you get my drift.

    ‘Nuff Said!

  64. It is clear that BSA, at the national level, is aligning the programs to make them more homogenized. This is evident in the change to using the same sign, oath, and law. This is to allow the transition between programs more seamless.

    OA is to recognize scouts that exemplify the scout oath and law. But even more central is that OA is for scouts that embrace outdoor living, and develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit. Not all Venture crews are about camping and the outdoors. But for those that are, and do meet the camping requirements, I cannot see why female Crew should not be allowed to be inducted into OA. The fact that adult, female, venture advisers, are allowed to join OA nullifies the entire argument against female scouts. It is arbitrary and capricious.

    I have read that some feel OA elections are a popularity contest. We have a large troop, and over the past 6 years as an ASM I cannot recall a single scout that was nominated for OA, that did not deserve the nomination. The required 15 days and nights of camping, along with a scoutmaster’s approval, is a pretty good measure of eligibility.

    If the Crew Scoutmaster approves the nomination for a female Crew member, and the member has met or exceeded the camping requirements, I do not see any legitimate reason to no include youth, female, crew members in OA.

  65. As a male adult leader in the BSA, I can’t attend Girl Scout trips to teach out door skills. Can’t there be one thing left that boys can be a part of without offending the opposite sex? Girl Scouts have a similar program as the OA based on attendance at camp. Should boys be allowed to join the girls when the are 13 and up and be part of their program?

    • Rob, you’re applying a false equivalence here. We are not talking about Girl Scouts wanting to join a Boy Scout group. We are talking about BSA members in an ostensibly senior division (Venturing BSA) being denied membership in something that calls itself “Scouting’s National Honor Society” because some of them happen to be girls. Nice try, though.

    • Rob,

      As a male adult leader registered with the Girl Scouts, you can attend Girl Scout camps, campouts, etc. Just ask my husband. He is a registered male adult leader in the Girl Scouts, just like I am a registered female adult leader in the Boy Scouts for both our son’s troop and our daughter’s crew.

      Also, I would love to know the name of the Girl Scout program that is similar to the OA that is based on camping. I have been a Girl Scout for over 15 years and have not heard of any such program.

      • Agreed. As a former GS-USA leader I was camping coordinator for the service unit and helped to plan and run many overnight camping trips where I was the only adult male in camp. Yes, there were quite a few more hoops to jump through for me to be there, but it wasn’t forbidden. We also had several people come and teach skills to the girls…most of them female, but also several male instructors as well.

        And like Tami, I have never heard of any type of OA style organization within the GS-USA organization. I would love to hear more about it. One of the reasons my daughter left the GS-USA for Venturing was the lack of high adventure activities for the older girls in GS-USA. Perhaps an organization like that would have kept her in both progams. But she’s perfectly content (for now) being a Venturer and working on the shooting sports staff at our local Cub Scout resident camp.

  66. that answer is a monstrous cop out. Venturing by definition is a Boy Scouts of America program as well. Sooner or later the BSA will teach inclusion to all of it’s membership.

  67. Camp Fire Girls and Boys was much closer related to BSA than Girl Scouting. To be a part of Camp Fire Girls/Boys Honor Society both girls and boys could earn the Wo-He-Lo Award=Eagle. I think that should be the honor. Of course as I earned the Wo-He-Lo honor in the 1980’s while I was also in Explorer BSA scouts learning about careers. I did not know there was an OA. I continue to volunteer as CubMaster, CMA, and troops as Merit Badge Counselor. Why are applicants to BSA not informed of the OA requirements, given a “ladder” to follow when helping and assisting as CubMasters…and as Den Leaders…and nominated by Council people who keep track of paperwork and know who is working to keep things going in packs and in troops? I see some of my Den Leaders who could camp a bit more with a Troop, and be right in the OA… but they never even know about it. What could the BSA be doing to award these volunteers who are the unsung heroes in scouting? Cub Scouting Leader awards have been eliminated. Perhaps they were overly awarded…but most of the adults I work with at the pack level are unaware …and simply working for the boys. Perhaps the OA should be offered to these adults earlier on.. in roundtable discussions, etc. The offer of help up to enter the OA should be handed to people that would be honored to qualify. The OA could be limiting themselves for what they think are good reasons, but they might be limiting their untapped leaders and those people are the builders of their eventual Eagles. Get those parents on board earlier. Who is running that pack? Those women leaders are just as qualified as the men. Seeing the positive in both female and male leaders should be a BSA goal. Seeing a qualified female ScoutMaster who is not only trained, but also a lifelong learner working with a Troop is wonderful to experience. Such a female is better than a “trained” male ScoutMaster who does not follow training in positive ways with youth. I’ve seen both types of leaders in different troops at summer camps in different councils in the last four years. Some of those men leaders were not too Sometimes when you look back in your own Troop history.. the troop was run by a woman and assistant scoutmasters for 10+ yrs… then a man and assistant sm, and the troop is stronger for having both experiences. It doesn’t mean any of them might be in the OA. We are still overlooking some of the best of the best for the OA. That includes women. And we are probably overlooking Venturing youth that may be driving future Eagles to their future meetings… and helping to lead those troops by being Merit Badge Counselors, and “volunteers” for the BSA. Why not include them?

    • I hate to be the bearer of bad news. However, Cub Scout leaders are not eligible to be nominated into the OA. The OA is for the youth and adults are only nominated one per fifty youth in a troop or team and only if the troop or team holds an election. it is not a leader recognition program.

      As a Cub Master if your not farmilare with the OA you should find out more about your council lodge. There are so many thing that the OA lodge has to offer for the Little Men in Blue. Most lodges will do Arrow of Light Ceremonies as well as help with day camps, ect.

  68. I have read most of the comments above and agree and disagree with many of them.
    As a female crew advisor for the last five years I have had several of my crew members serve as lodge chief and other positions in our local lodge. But they had to keep membership in both their troop and the crew. So to say that members of the OA would not want to attend VOA functions is purely erroneous, at one time our crew president was also lodge chief and president of the VOA all at the same time.
    Our current crew president has served on summer camp staff for several years and staffed many years of cub adventure weekends and day camps, she has been on a 90 mile trek at Philmont and has served on NYLT staff twice will be our next NYLT SPL and just got back from the NYLT academy. And sadly this young lady as well as many more like her are told by well meaning people that they are not good enough for the OA, that they don’t have the skills it takes to be a member because they are not allowed to earn boy scout troop ranks.
    But now they must adopt the boy scout oath and motto as their own. Yes the venturing oath is different it builds on the boy scout oath just as the boy scout oath builds on the cub scout oath.
    I would say that girls eventually may start to leave the BSA (which will hurt membership even further) due to the constant struggle they go through, but I know better, there are girls such as our crew president who simply love the program and all it has to offer them even though they believe it is unfair to be excluded when they are doing just as much if not more than most of their boy scout counterparts.

    • Pick one. It’s either the honor society for Scouting and all Scouts that meet certain requirements should be eligible. Or it’s Boy Scouting’s honor society and it’s only for those in boy scouting, still in troops, and teams.

      Don’t on one hand claim to be for all of Scouting and then ignore part of the program.

    • So, Rob. Should a lodge check every boy’s registration every year to make sure he hasn’t transferred to a crew?

    • Way too late for that. At our Lodge functions, so many of our Arrowmen are there wearing their Venturing uniforms.

  69. the answer given is more akin to “because I said so” than a real answer, but unfortunately that’s the type of response we can expect from our National Council. I don’t subscribe to the ‘other’ reasons either. Earning First Class is not a reason, there are equivalents in Venturing that can be made to that rank. Bottom line the only reason our young ladies cannot be inducted into the OA is because it’s always been that way, and Change doesn’t come easy in the BSA.

    I would also like to see the organization become fully integrated with girls, like they do in Europe, separating the appropriate age groups, much like we do here with the LDS program. It just makes sense. But common sense isn’t what we’re known for is it…

    • Hi Matt;
      I am with you 100% That fully integrated, and broken by age makes the most sense. Scouts UK has done this for a while, and the program has become more vibrant and relevant as a result.

      Quick question for you though. The five local LDS Venturing Crews that we have in our district are male only, with any young ladies being asked to join the Young Women’s Program that is offered. I have seen this to be the same around my council, and thought this was how the church managed Venturing nationally, but by reading your commentary I’m wondering if this not the case. Could you elaborate about it a bit more?


      • Hey Rob,

        Yes, that is the way the program is run in LDS Ward / Stakes. There has been a call to LDS units to be more ‘inclusive’ but that was an effort to recruit members outside of the church; not intended as a church recruitment, just a ‘critical mass’ and outreach of the program from the LDS church. That is a cool idea who’s time has come.

        Also I’ve seen in some councils locally where the Venture program is also coupled with other youth programs at high school age, such as Rotary’s youth program Interact, Kiwanis Key Club, etc. it’s a good partnership.

  70. I’m for inclusion of young women Venturers into OA, but I’m not in favor of eliminating gender-exclusive Scouting options. Our kids are better off for having the option to participate in both integrated and gender-exclusive Scouting.

    My son participates in both Cub Scouts and Campfire, and we have been discussing his future in both Boy Scouts and Venturing.

    • I’m for keeping some scouting activities for boys only. Order of the Arrow has been exclusively Boy Scout honor camping and service organization. Let’s keep these traditions alive. Thr OA will celebrate 100 years in 2015 lets don’t water down our requirements for a few.
      Yours in Scouting……..

      • …but OA is NOT exclusively for boys. Women have been members of OA for over 20 years now, many of them Vigil Honor members.

        It is not right or just to admit adult women and exclude young women Venturers, when OA has many young men Venturers.

        • I will not disagree with you that ADULT WOMEN are excellent OA members, however these are women not sub 21 women. The understanding young women in Ventures that cannot be active in OA membership.
          Wolf Den Daniel is respectfully disagree with your statement, however we have opposing views and lets leave at that. Neither one of us are going change our views.

        • Adult women OK, young women not? I don’t see the logic.

          I take your position as a tacit acknowledgement that discrimination against BSA’s young women Venturers is based on a completely arbitrary standard. Or perhaps a misplaced nostalgia.

        • Adult women had to be leaders in a BS Troop or Varsity Team in order to be members. Adult women and adult men can not be elected to the OA while being leaders of a Venturing Crew. The rule is applied across the board for all Ventures not just for young women.

        • OA has young men Ventures because they were elected while in the Boy Scout or Varsity Team programs. Even YM can not be elected as Ventures

        • Gary, Agree with this:

          “OA has young men Ventures because they were elected while in the Boy Scout or Varsity Team programs. Even YM can not be elected as Ventures.”

          So if that is true, then shouldn’t Venturing NOT count toward BSA registration? In other words, the youth AND leaders should be REQUIRED to maintain membership with in a TROOP in order to be considered active BSA members to continue their OA association.

          Venturing should either be part of or not part of the OA. If it is part of, then it needs to be inclusive of all of the members and offer a path to membership for the Venturing community.

        • Yes….they should be double registration as you suggested, however young women who are ventures cannot register with a troop or Varsity team.. As for as I am concerned no women can join the OA as an youth.

        • So Gary, why the distinction of age then. If women are allowed to be nominated into the OA as Adults with three very subjective qualifications (#1,#2 and #4) and the mandatory 15 nights camping, why the bias against a 14 – 21 year-old Venturer? Or for that matter if the qualifications of being a First Class Scout are that critical to membership why allow any adult into the OA that wasn’t a First Class Scout at sometime in their lives? There are already circumstances where one can gain access to the OA without being a First Class Scout and instances where an OA member can be female. So not sure what the concern is, other than the arguments of “Because” and “That’s the way it’s always been.”

        • John, when it comes to adults men or women they have to be in an adult leader position on a troop or team. There is also other circumstances needed besides the individual qualifications.

          The only ones that seem to be concerned is those who don’t meet the eligibility requirements, do to the program within BSA that they are members of due to other eligibility requirements.

          Can eligibility requirements be changed? Yes. Should they be changed? The answer to that all depends on how one feels the purposes of the program is. I for one feel it should stay strictly a part of the troop and team programs only.

  71. John Ruff, “So if that is true, then shouldn’t Venturing NOT count toward BSA registration?”

    That’s like saying since Cub Scouts and CS leaders who are not eligible to join the OA (for the same reasons as Ventures) membership numbers should not count in BSA registration numbers.

    John Ruff, “other words, the youth AND leaders should be REQUIRED to maintain membership with in a TROOP in order to be considered active BSA members to continue their OA association.”

    I’m sure many OA members and Scout Masters would be Ok with this. I know I would. However, Venture Crews would then complain because their numbers would be even lower than they are now.

    John Ruff, “Venturing should either be part of or not part of the OA. If it is part of, then it needs to be inclusive of all of the members and offer a path to membership for the Venturing community.”

    Last time I looked Venture Crews were not part if the OA program. The same holds true for Boy Scout Troops and Varsity Teams, they are also not part of the OA program.

    The OA is part of the Boy Scout Troop and Varsity Team program.

    • Gary – I think I didn’t state my “registration” question very well. There are OA members in my council that have made the “switch if you will” to be Venturing Leaders and are no longer with in the troop. They wear their flap and OA sash proudly with their Venturing Uniforms. My question is that if the OA wants to remain troop focused, shouldn’t an OA member in order to remain active be required to be registered with a troop, district or council and remain a “tan shirt”. I didn’t mean the overall registration numbers.

      Also, I am confused a bit by which is part of which. Is the OA part of the BSA and a program under neath it or is it a separate entity that requires BSA membership? I’ve heard it expressed both ways.

      • My Lodge membership card states explicitly that OA membership is contingent upon concurrent BSA membership.

        Judging from all the dark green shirts that I see at Lodge functions, I’d estimate that at least 15% of our Lodge’s OA membership are male Venturers.

        That number is only going to increase, which is going to make the disparity in treatment between youth male and female Venturers more pronounced.

        To rectify this, BSA either has to 1) gain traction for NYLS, 2) charter Corps of Discovery as a standalone honor society for Venturers, or 3) establish gender-neutral OA membership eligibility for Venturers.

        I am a strong believer in tradition, but when a large part of our Scouting family – our young women – are discriminated against, tradition should be at the bottom of the list of considerations.

      • John, once an individual has been elected and inducted into the OA he is an OA member for life . At that time which program one is registered does not matter.

        You should be thankful for those leader who once were registered under in a Boy Scout Troop or Varsity Team who saw the vertues of the. Venture Crew enough to ensure there is a program.

        The OA is part of the Boy Scout Troop and Varsity Team program. Which are just two programs of many that are sponsored be the Boy Scouts of America organitation.

        Each program within itself has its own.program purposes, structure, recongition as well many other items that are unique to that program only.

  72. You can’t have it both ways.

    If the Order of the Arrow is to be strictly for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, then:
    – Only BSA members currently registered in a troop or team could be currently registered as OA members or be selected for membership as adults. As soon as registration in a troop or team ends, so does OA membership.
    – OA insignia could only be worn by BSA members currently registered in a troop or team, and only with the troop or team (tan) uniform, not the Venturing uniform. As soon as registration in a troop or team ends, so does the right to wear OA insignia.

    But if youth and adults not currently registered in a troop or team can be current members of the Order of the Arrow and wear OA insignia with their BSA uniforms regardless of whether they are Venturers or Cub Scout leaders or Unit Commissioners, then we can’t call OA an organization strictly for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts.

    Pick one. Otherwise, the OA membership policy is just arbitrary

    • FYI: Per 11th. Edition Sea Scout Manual page 23 ” Order of the Arrow insignia are not worn on Sea Scout uniforms.” It stands to reason that if the “primary” registration is with a troop, the OA insignia is worn on the tans.

      • Stands to reason? That’s a convenient stand-by when nothing more solid is available (such as an explicit regulation limiting OA insignia to tan uniforms).

      • I suspect that’s the Sea Scout’s decision, not O/A’s. Sea Scouts aren’t fans of cluttered dress whites. O/A is fine with boys who become Sea Scouts participating. After all they still carry a BSA card.

        … just like their shipmates of another who may be first class (oval patch notwithstanding). :0

  73. It is interesting that a very large percentage of the folks who get the Vigil honor are ladies. Once females turn 21 and can get into the OA, they seem to do an outstanding job and are justlly recognized for it.

    If only “tan’ uniforms are allowed into OA, does that mean Webelos can get into OA? The zelots who support such crazy rules are very inconsistant.

  74. Why is it that OA membership is only open to Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts? With the new methods and refocusing of the Venturing program (adding “Group Identity” and “Service” as methods of Venturing now), and grounded in the switch to one Oath and one Law, why not open membership in the Order of the Arrow to Venturers? Make the requirement to have earned First Class or have earned the Discovery Award. More Scouts (especially more older Scouts) would only make the program stronger!

    • After reading the comments on here, it is obvious that the answer is simple….. The powers at be don’t want to turn loose of the mens only BS. This discrimination is more important than the purpose of the OA core values.

  75. I get that Cub Scouts, Venturing, and Boy Scouts are sub programs of the BSA umbrella and that OA is (according to the statement) a sub program of the Boy Scout program. What I don’t get is why OA is called “Scouting’s National Honor Society” and state that it “recognizes those who exemplify Scouting’s values” when not all participants in each program that support scouting’s values are being considered for admission to the OA.

    Venturing certainly exemplifies scoutings values to develop youth leaders (also a goal of the OA), and now that Venturing uses the Scout Oath and Law I would imagine Venturers will serve to exemplify them in their daily lives. According to the OA website this is what the OA has been recognizing in a scouter for over 90 years (first line of the first paragraph – http://www.oa-bsa.org/pages/category/C15).

    The above statement says Venturing hasn’t created an honor society. Ok, what would they call? There is already a “Scouting’s National Honor Society”.

  76. As a lady, I’m allowed to volunteer only with Cubs in my area, not with the older boys, in spite of having been in Venturing (can’t find a local crew either–the nearest is about 20-30 miles). I’d LOVE to be an asset to the troop nearest me, as I believe it’s lacking in a ton of areas, but they won’t let me. I figure that means I have no chance of being in OA, which is unfortunate. Even so, I did get to participate in Tucarika’s dance team as a teenager through my Venturing Crew which I really enjoyed and made some life-long friendships doing it.

    • Someone with your experience would be an asset to scouting, regardless of how you are involved. Have you considered starting a Venturing crew for girls?

  77. I’m an 18 year old female who is very involved with scouting, I have my Gold, Silver, and Bronze for both Girl Scouts and Venturing. I also work at a Boy Scout Camp during the summer, and am an Assistant Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop. This summer will be my third time being SPL for National Youth Leadership Training and will be attending Wood Badge in August. I get the question all the time “Why aren’t you involved with OA?” and I have to reply with I’m not allowed. I get the same disgusted reaction every time. Now why couldn’t someone with qualifications as I have not allowed in? I understand if they are under 18 because yes, it’s a program for the boys. All of the adults involved with the OA lodge near me would love to have more people like me to keep us in scouting but it’s not allowed.

  78. It’s question all of us can debate until the cows come home. The OA membership to boys who are elected by their troop with the approval of the scoutmaster. The OA candidate must meet certain requirements to be considered for membership.
    I think this question is mute. Why are not asking how Scouting increase the membership at all levels? How can keep our retention higher and serve all youth? How about training adult unit leaders to understand the BSA program? Why is the trained leaders percentage are below 40% nationally?
    Questions we all should be asking rather than females allowed to join OA.

  79. I would love to weigh in this never ending debate about Girl under 21 and The Order of the Arrow. Being a Vigil member myself and understanding the responsibilities that it comes with it, I just can’t see why with scouting going co-ed we would not want to pass these ideals onto them as well. Gentlemen and Ladies I need to be blunt. God blessed me with only one child. She is a female. And one that puts just about every Scout I know to shame. She has earned her Gold Award in G.S., The Silver Award in Venturing, Earned every religious award along the way, Staffed the first Jamboree at the Summit, and is currently 2 step away from completing the Ranger Award. She is the first Female Venture to receive the VFW’s Scout of the Year Scholarship in Arizona but is not able to carry my burden. Shame on ALL of you that truly don’t understand commitment to service, loyalty to you brother and your clan. I was once ignorant and now I see. Hope you will someday.

  80. Those persons responsible for founding the Boy Scout organization were on to a very good thing, as were those who founded the Girl Scouts.. The focus was on boys becoming strong, moral, competent leaders. So too for girls. Men teaching boys to become outstanding men and women teaching girls to become strong, competent women. Any organization focusing on those goals are now deemed intolerant and ignorant.The Scouting program is now expected to be genderless and embrace the ever changing social “norms” as values to embrace and teach. As this country moves farther and farther away from the values of our founding fathers (maybe I should say founding parents to be politically correct), Scouting is becoming more like a watered-down version of the organization that was once a powerful force for good in this country and is looking like a mere shadow of itself. To the person who insists his daughter puts every scout he knows to shame (you reached this conclusion how?) the Scouting program I was part of is something you clearly know nothing of. And for those other gender haters who cannot tolerate a society that has both male and female as part of its makeup, consider founding a new scouting organization for your offspring, but whatever you call it leave out the “Boy” and “Girl”. That would seriously contradict your new norm.

  81. So I understand that the Order of the Arrow (OA) is a “Boy Scout” thing and not part of the Venture or Sea Scout program, and that is great, so then it should stay in “Boy Scouts” only, and follow all the “Boy Scout” rules.

    As the OA stands now it picks and chooses what “Boy Scout” things it wants and then also takes things from the Venture program it wants. If OA is a “Boy Scout thing” then scouts should be out at 18, like boy scouts, not 21 as that is part of the Venture program. If OA is a “Boy Scout thing” then all members should be in a troop, not in a crew as that is also part of the Venture program. Adult members should also be members of a Troop and not a Pack, Crew or Ship as these are also Venture program.

    • Per National policy, young men and adults registered in a Varsity Team can be in the Order of the Arrow and the unit can conduct elections. The ages in Varsity are between 14-18 years with the young man aging out on his 18th birthday.

      Adults can be registered on the District and Council level and selected to be in the OA. It is a separate process and has definite requirements to be followed. A pack is not part of the Venture program. Adults OA members may be part of a pack due to their sons being in Cubs and not in a Troop/Team. (much like my situation though I hold positions in multiple levels of Scouting.) The OA has been encouraged to work with the Cub program especially with ceremonies and camp promotions.

  82. It’s not true that women must be 21 or older to join the OA. At 18, a woman may become an adult leader in a troop or crew, then be voted into the OA. She may also become an adult volunteer for the district or council and her district may then vote her in. She may do all this while still an 18 to 21-year old “youth” in Venturing.

    • Sidenote: it would be easy to get female 18+ camp staff into the OA if camp staff were registered as Venturing from 14-18 then as adult leaders in a troop or crew from 18+.

  83. That’s actually not true, I have tried it. I am an assistant scout master for a troop and work at Camp Wilderness Boy Scout camp in the summer. I have definitely tried.

    • Have you tried by being voted in as an adult member when your regular troop elects boys to the OA? Because, you can then. Similarly, when the summer camp staff troop has their once-a-year meeting and votes to elect youth members to the OA, you may also be elected as an adult member.

  84. Here is a slightly different twist: I just learned that there is a young “man” that earned his Eagle a few years ago, is in the OA as part of the ceremonies team (or at least was), and has recently “identified as female” and is going through the hormone therapy to make the change permanent. Given the recent change in BSA policy, what do you do? Does this “change” affect membership in the group/program? How do you reconcile the new BSA position regarding non-discrimination and still point boys to morally straight given this example?

  85. Here is my opinion: if the OA is “scouting’s honor society” then why can’t we honor all who deserve it? Why hasn’t the national boy scout committee opened it up to venturing? I know that venturing has its own honor society, but its coed. Where is the exclusively girl honor society? There is an injustice here of huge proportions! Sure, everyone says “its always been for boys, keep it that way.” Who can tell me why though? Has anyone stopped to think why the order of the arrow is boys only? It started because girls originally not allowed in scouting. That has changed, and so should the OA.

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