Ask the Chairman - Can a unit leader add additional requirements for membership in the OA?

Q. Ray,
I would like clarification on the Scoutmaster's option to restrict candidates from being elected to the Order. It is common practice for some troops in our area to place additional restrictions on eligibility, i.e. "you must be 13 and a third year camper" before being placed on the ballot.

Our election procedures and nomination materials do not provide guidelines on how to address this. We have found Scouts who have exactly the same tenure and participation but belong to separate troops, and one will be eligible for election into OA and the other will not.

This seems out of line, and not within the spirit of the Scoutmaster's ability to "veto" the election of an unworthy Scout because of attitude, lack of participation or Scout spirit.

Thank you.

A. Tony,

No, a Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach (or troop, team, district or council) has no more authority to change the requirements for admission into the Order of the Arrow, than they have in changing the Eagle or other rank requirements. Their duty is important and clear: to certify that the troop’s or team’s Scouts have met the published requirements and also live up to the Scout Oath and Scout Law, thereby qualifying them for consideration of membership.

No changes (additions or subtractions) to the requirements for OA membership should be made.


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