Periodically, the Boy Scouts of America’s national advancement team updates everyone involved with advancement with the latest trends, ideas and changes. Here are a few topics covered in the latest update:
Order of the Arrow Cub Crossover Ceremonies
If you’ve been around Scouting for long, you’ve probably seen an Arrow of Light or Crossover ceremony performed by the ceremonies team of your local Order of the Arrow lodge or chapter. In keeping with the ongoing advice to ensure that Scouts advancing are recognized in a meaningful way, the OA guys are invited to come in and put on an impressive ceremony involving many players usually dressed in Native American or American Indian regalia. Just point your favorite search engine at “Cub Crossover Ceremonies” and you’ll find dozens of pictures of Arrowmen in native dress. And why not? The OA was founded in part on the heritage of the Lenni Lenape tribe (literally and appropriately, “men of men”) of the Delaware valley, and the tradition has been with us for a hundred years.
However, there’s been quite a bit of recent outcry about the continued use of American Indian imagery in our ceremonies. Rumors have been circulating for years that the OA was going to discontinue such ceremonies, but the rumors never came to pass. However, starting last fall with discussions at the OA’s national planning meeting, a phaseout of the use of native American costumes was intended to be carried out for real, and the move was announced at the National Order of the Arrow Conference this summer.
Revised Arrow of Light and Crossover ceremonies have been published for OA teams to begin using as of January 1, 2019, and these specifically state that at no time should any member of the team wear American Indian costumes. This may take some of the fun and pageantry out of the ceremonies, but it’s a move intended to respect the native forebears of our continent. Scouts performing the ceremonies should wear their field uniforms and may also wear the OA sash. The verbiage of the officially-approved ceremonies more than makes up for the wardrobe changes. It’s entertaining, engaging and meaningful, and when properly performed, should intrigue the Arrow of Light or crossover honorees and also inspire the younger ones to someday follow in their footsteps.
By the way, while on the subject of the Order of the Arrow, it’s been announced that girls in the Scouts BSA program, as well as youth participants in Venturing and Sea Scouting, will be eligible for election into the OA beginning next February. The qualifications to be nominated for election do not change and are the same for all programs and genders.
District Eagle Scout project approvals
The National Advancement Team is advising Life Scouts working toward approval of their Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project that a face-to-face meeting with the district advancement team member is expected, rather than relying on e-mail or a drop-off of the project proposal unless those methods are absolutely necessary to a timely approval. Meeting in person serves two functions: the opportunity for a conversation about the project, so both the district representative and the Scout can ask and answer questions, and fulfillment of the Adult Association method of Scouting. The act of meeting in person gives the Scout valuable experience in working through and obtaining approval for his ideas, as well as dealing with adults as he will need to do in the future.
Requirements for girls in Cub Scouting
Many people have asked if the BSA plans to provide Scout books, advancement requirements or other materials aimed at our new girl members this fall. We’re reminded that the current program is completely appropriate for both boys and girls, and the requirements for each are exactly the same. There’s also a reminder that female leaders must be present at all activities (both den and pack) when girl youth members are present.
The process of advancement is covered in chapter 2 of the Guide to Advancement.
The latest Advancement News is available here.
Image: California Inland Empire Council