How should your Scouts respond if another Scout wants to make Order of the Arrow elections political?
The Ethical Dilemma
Before joining the Order of the Arrow, the BSA’s national honor society, Scouts must be nominated by their Scoutmaster and then chosen by their peers in a unit election. These elections aren’t popularity contests; they’re designed to identify candidates who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives. Campaigning is not permitted, a rule that has created a dilemma for the members of Troop 1273.
Joel McGreevy is Troop 1273’s senior patrol leader and its oldest Scout. After being nominated for the OA elections and then passed over by his peers the past three years, Joel is intent on getting elected this time around. He knows that he has been nominated for this year’s election and the troop must have half its active members present for the election, so he makes personal phone calls to every troop member in the week leading up to the vote.
While he doesn’t exactly ask Scouts to vote for him, he talks about his accomplishments and makes vague promises about how having the senior patrol leader in the OA could help the troop get better campsites at camporees. Joel’s calls make several Scouts uncomfortable, but they aren’t sure whom to tell or what to say.
After reading the scenario with your Scouts, discuss these questions about reporting questionable behavior:
- How confident should Scouts be before they report questionable behavior?
- To whom should Scouts report questionable behavior? Why would you choose that person?
- In this situation, the troop’s top Scout is the person accused of questionable behavior. Is it fair for the Scouts not to share their concerns with him? Why or why not?
Next, discuss these questions:
- Do you think Joel crossed the line in what he said to the Scouts he called? If so, what did he say that crossed the line?
- The younger Scouts might not know what Joel accomplished before they joined the troop. Is it OK for him to tell them what he did a few years ago?
- Do you think Joel should be disqualified from the OA election because of his actions?
Finally, let the Scouts decide a course of action the Scoutmaster should take in light of this situation. Discuss these questions:
- How is that solution fair to the troop?
- Other Scouts?
- What about the Order of the Arrow?