Ask the Chairman -  Unit Elections Held Out of Council

Q. Good Morning --
I am the Order of the Arrow Adviser. We have a number of units from other councils that attend our council camps each year. In order to help the Order of the Arrow improve and continue in growth, we offer every unit in our camp the opportunity to participate in OA elections.

In the past I know there has been some concern of another lodge doing elections for members that are outside their lodge. Currently, we have an agreement in place with another council, where they will perform elections for our units that attend their camps and we do the same for them. Then at the end of the camp season we exchange information for all of the boys from their council that have been elected.

I was wondering if this is legal in the OA. Can we do this?

Please let me know if you would like to discuss this further, or if you need additional information.

Thanks for your time and consideration.
Kyle

A. Hello Kyle,
Let's start with the fundamental belief that our lodges are all dedicated to cheerful service and that service begins with the home council, then some of this gets easier to follow. In fact, you might correctly say the individual lodge exists only to serve its home council. It therefore follows that elections may only be conducted by the lodge of the council in which the unit is chartered. This is where they are to serve and why they exist.

To further that goal, we want to see the home council supply the election teams and conduct the lodge elections through its own lodge for several reasons. For starters, an election team brings a wealth of information about its lodge and the activities of the lodge and the council to the troop election. The election teams will have experience in the camping program offered by its lodge and its council. And one of our missions is to also promote the camping programs of our respective councils. Finally, but equally important, the election teams provide a rare opportunity for the Scouts of the troop to interact, albeit rather briefly sometimes, with Arrowmen from outside their troop. Election teams often contain the most active, enthusiastic Arrowmen in the lodge with the most experience in camping and lodge activities.

Our current policy / procedure has been in place since May of 2005. If you'll check the OA's Guide to Officers and Advisers (page 22) and specifically "Operations Update 05-5" accessible on the OA website via this link, you'll see the details of our stance on lodge elections. The lodges in question might consider a program of inviting the visitors to camp OA presentations or social times where they can learn more about the OA but then give them the contact information to connect with their chapter elections teams when they return home.

Thank you for your question and your service to the Lodge.

Ray

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