Scouting magazine

Ethical dilemma: What should Scouts do when another Scout makes OA elections political?

How should your Scouts respond if another Scout wants to make Order of the Arrow elections political?

Learn more about the Scoutmaster’s role in OA elections.

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.

For Discussion
After reading the scenario with your Scouts, discuss these questions about reporting questionable behavior:

Next, discuss these questions:

Finally, let the Scouts decide a course of action the Scoutmaster should take in light of this situation. Discuss these questions:

Read more about how to prevent OA elections from becoming a popularity contest.