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Ask the Chairman - Renew my Membership

        Ask the Chairman

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Q. Good morning Ray.

After many years away from Scouting and OA, the time has come for my son to join. Is there anything that I can or should do to renew my membership in the OA?

I look forward to your response and assistance.


A. Hi, Mike.

Thanks for writing and welcome back!

My story is similar. I was not active in Scouting early in my marriage and returned as an active member only once my older son became involved.

As to the OA, membership in the BSA is a requirement. Assuming that you have re-registered in his troop, all you have to do is take any old membership letters, patches, or cards you may have to your new lodge, show that you were inducted, pay your local lodge dues, and they will welcome you back with open arms at the membership level (Ordeal, Brotherhood, or Vigil) you were when you were last registered.

Membership has always been a locally managed function, so there are NO old national records except for those who earned national honors (the Vigil Honor, the Founders Award, and the Distinguished Service Award).

Having said that, most lodges operate on the assumption that a “Scout is Trustworthy”. My lodge, at one point, had to take my word on my honor because I didn’t have any documentation to verify my past membership in the OA.

I would take them what you have and I imagine they will welcome you back into the fellowship with open arms. There are NO national databases on membership, since the councils own the files, especially old ones.

If your council and lodge have survived without mergers or changes of territory since your boyhood, you may ask for them to search old files, but I would not assign a high probability to success in finding old registration information.

Ask your relatives to see if any of them has an old photo of you in a Scout uniform with an OA flap?

Best wishes to you; I am confident that you will be active in your new lodge, soon. Have a great Scouting experience with your son!