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Ask the Chairman - Brotherhood Service Requirements

October 29, 2016     Ask the Chairman

Q. I recently had a conversation with an OA chapter adviser about an Ordeal member who was denied taking part in the Brotherhood Ceremony because he had not attended chapter meetings during the 10 months of service. It so happens that the Ordeal member could not attend the chapter meetings because they conflicted with troop meetings and activities. I disagreed with the decision. I have always thought that service begins at the troop level and that the service requirement could be completed by promoting camping and cheerful service in the troop and in the lodge. I have discussed this with other members in the lodge and the majority agree with my thoughts.

Can you offer some suggestions or resources to help me address this situation?

In the Arrow,

A. Allen,
An Ordeal member should not be denied induction as a Brotherhood member solely because he had not attended chapter meetings during the prior ten months.

The Guide to Inductions makes it clear that “every Arrowman who is registered in Scouting, completes 10 months of active service to their unit, and is a dues paid member of the Order is eligible to seal their membership….”

Because the 10 months of active service must be provided solely to the Arrowman’s own unit, it is inappropriate for a chapter or lodge to add a requirement that the Arrowman attend chapter meetings or provide other service to the chapter or lodge. In this case, you have told me that (some of the) the chapter meetings were actually scheduled in conflict with the troop meetings!) I think this Arrowman made the right choice to participate in his unit, as our founder admonished: the Arrowman’s first duty is to his unit.

A chapter or lodge, district or council, has no more authority to change the requirements for attainment of Brotherhood membership in the Order of the Arrow than it might have in changing the Eagle Scout or other rank requirements. No changes (additions or subtractions) to the requirements should be made.

Thanks so much for your note and for all that you do for Scouting and the Order!