Ask the Chairman - Founder’s Award Selection Committee

Q. I'm serving as adviser to a youth-led committee charged with selecting Vigil Honor and Founder's Award candidates. We have good guidance on the Vigil Honor selection process but very little on the Founder’s Award. So:

  • Should we use the same 1:50 ratio of nominees to members for determining our number of nominees?
  • Can our committee be made up of non-Founder’s Award youth?
  • Should we avoid adults on both committees?

Anything you can offer me is wonderfully valuable.

Thanks,
Jack

A. Jack,

Since the Founder's Award was first introduced at the 1981 NOAC and unlike the Vigil Honor selection process, the national OA committee has given local lodges the ability to define their own Founder's Award selection procedure.

However, one important aspect did not change: only those members younger than age 21 may vote, as in all OA matters (see page 31 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers (GOA)). This fact is stated in multiple locations within the GOA and consistently throughout our literature.

In response to your specific questions below:

  1. Should we use the same 1:50 ratio of nominees to members for determining our number of nominees?
    The exact number of Founder's Awards that you may present annually is determined by your lodge's total membership as stated on your most recent lodge charter renewal form. See the top of the Founder's Award petition for the exact lodge quota. Please be mindful that page 42 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers states the following, "If the lodge presents more than one (Founder's Award) award, one must be to a youth under the age of 21."

    Many lodges encourage all members (youth and adult) to feel free to submit written nominations to the YOUTH Founder's Award selection committee for any lodge member(s) they believe warrant(s) consideration.
     
  2. Can our committee be made up of non-Founder's Award youth?
    Some lodges do have non-Founder's Award recipients on their selection committee. Also, some lodges utilize the lodge executive committee to make their Founder's Award selections. So, in short, the answer is yes.
     
  3. Should we avoid adults on both committees (Vigil Honor and Founder's Award selection committees)?
    The Order of the Arrow has been consistent throughout its publications that the Vigil Honor and Founder's Award decisions should be made by youth. In addition to the OA Handbook and the Guide for Officers and Advisers, the national OA committee released an operations update on February 24th, 2009, which states on page three, "Youth empowerment and governance within a lodge is at the core of our Order. All voting within the lodge, not only decisions of the lodge executive committee, but also voting on any award or recognition (like the Founder’s Award etc.) must be done by only the youth members."

Jack, thanks so much for your questions and for all that you do for Scouting and the Order!
Ray

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