Ask the Chairman
Q. Hello Ray,
I have been told that the reason that a Venturing crew cannot be or vote in OA
members is because to be in Venturing a youth does not have to go through Boy
Scouting first. One of the qualifications one has to meet for OA however is that
he attains the rank of First Class. If he hasn't been through Scouting and just
joins a crew however, he can't meet that obligation.
Another reason is (from what I understand), that females aren't permitted in OA,
and Venturing is co-ed. Shouldn't the stipulation of being in Boy Scouting and
meeting certain rank requirements entitle crews to vote in OA members?
This is a great question and seems to be a hot topic across the nation. Let us
first debunk the myths that you have asked about.
Myth number one "Venturing members cannot be in the OA." The Order of the Arrow
has always been a program associated with the Boy Scouts and their troop
experience. The Order of the Arrow is a subcommittee of the national Boy Scout
Committee. The National Exploring Committee and then the National Venturing
Committee were separate entities on the same level as the Boy Scout Committee as
was, for example, the National Cub Scout committee. This is where the difference
comes to light. While the Order of the Arrow is the National Honor Society of
the Boy Scouts, we have no authority in the Venturing program and have not been
included in their program. Just like there is not a version of our Order to
support the Cub Scout Program.
The difference these two programs is really where the line is drawn. However, if
a young man is elected in his Boy Scout Troop or Team and retains his membership
in the Order after joining a Venture crew, he can continue to serve as a
full-fledged Member of the Order with all of the benefits and responsibilities
Myth number two. "Females are not permitted in the OA." This is absolutely
false. Women have made a great, positive impact on the Order. The National OA
committee is very fortunate, for example, to have Kay Trick as a highly
effective member. All of the females in the Order at this point in time have
been inducted as adults. The real issue here is exactly what you stated in your
first point, the attainment of the First Class rank. There is only one set of
requirements for youth members to be eligible for election into our Order, and
the second of those requirements states that the Scout must have obtained the
rank of First Class. You have it right that, predicated on this requirement; a
member must have been elected by his Troop or Team AFTER having attained that
rank. Once someone turns twenty-one years of age, a new set of requirements come
If you would like the official documentation on Membership Requirements, it is
The Guide to Officers and Advisers, found on the OA web site in the
Publications Section available here.
Or spelling out the policy on Unit Elections in Venturing Crews can be found in
the Operational Update 99-2. The direct link to the policy is
I hope that this helps.