Each Scouts BSA troop, Venturing crew, and Sea Scout ship is urged to hold an election no later than April 15th to select candidates for induction to the Order. The date and place of the election are selected by you, as unit leader – though we recommend during a normal unit meeting as to ensure full attendance.
How to schedule a Unit Election / How the election is conducted for youth
- The unit picks a date for the OA election. Dates should be picked far enough in advance to allow the election team to schedule the election. Elections are best held during a regular troop meeting, at a time where as close to 100% of the troop as possible can attend.
- The unit leader or OA unit representative uses the web form to Schedule a Unit Election. They should be prepared to give clear driving directions, meeting time and location, and what time they would like the election team to be there. The election team typically arrives 10 minutes before the election to set up and start the necessary procedure.
- The Unit Leader prepares a list of eligible candidates for election based on the requirements below. Prior to the election, the Scoutmaster should notify and counsel those Scouts who he is not recommending for election. If possible, the Unit Leader could prepare preprinted ballots with all the names of the eligible candidates. If not, the election team will have blank ballots with them.
- About a week before the election, the Election Team will contact the Unit Leader to verify the election, location, time, etc. Any questions or concerns should be resolved at this point.
- The election team arrives before the election is held. They will ask for the number of Scouts registered in the unit; the number of Scouts present at the meeting; and the names and ranks of all Scouts who are deemed eligible by the Unit Leader. The Unit Leader certifies this information on the election form.
- The election team conducts the OA unit election. The names of the candidates are presented, and the election team explains the criteria for voting. Voting for candidates is done by secret ballot, and no interference or public revelation of an individual’s votes or the votes in total is tolerated. All youth, including Assistant Scoutmasters under the age of 21, may vote. Candidates may vote for themselves if they think that they are worthy.
- Candidates voting have three options.
- They can NOT turn in a ballot, which is abstaining. This does not affect the final result.
- They can turn in a blank ballot, which is a vote for nobody. This counts against all candidates.
- They can vote for any number, including all, of the candidates eligible. This helps those who they vote for, and hurts those who they don’t vote for.
- Ballots are collected by the team and counted in private. In order to be elected, a candidate has to receive 50% of the ballots COLLECTED (abstentions don’t count against the final, but blank ballots do). The election team notes which scouts have been elected, and destroys the ballots (preferably off-site). If no one Scout has enough votes to be elected, the election team re-runs the election, with further explanations of the OA and offering to answer questions. If the result of the second ballot is that again no one is elected, that counts as the election for this year. As long as one youth is elected, the election is valid.
- Completing the Ordeal, a weekend-long experience that tests a Scout’s dedication to the Scout Oath and Law, is the final step for membership in the Order of the Arrow. Tulpe Lodge has four Ordeals each year, one in April, May, August, and September, so the candidate generally has four opportunities to complete the Ordeal. Please do not hold off on notifying a candidate unnecessarily so that he misses a chance to be inducted. If a Scout does not complete the Ordeal within one year, they would need to be re-elected.
Youth Membership Qualifications
- At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, hold the Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery Award, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the scoutmaster, crew advisor or Sea Scout skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.
- The youth must have experienced 15 nights of camping while registered with a troop, crew or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of the long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement; the balance of the camping (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps of, at most, three nights each. Ship nights may be counted as camping for Sea Scouts.
- Assistant scoutmasters who are 18, 19 or 20 years old are also considered to be youth members for the purpose of OA elections. All requirements shown above must be met for a young assistant scoutmaster to be eligible for election.
Prior to the annual election, the unit leader must certify the nominee’s Scout spirit and membership qualifications. Voting for youth candidates will be based on their spirit of brotherhood, cheerfulness (no matter how tiresome their duties), and a willingness to give unselfish and wholehearted service to others at all times.
Adult Membership Qualifications
Each year, upon holding a unit election for youth candidates that results in at least one youth candidate being elected, the unit committee may nominate registered unit adults, 21 years of age or older, to the lodge adult selection committee. The number of adults nominated can be no more than one-third of the number of youth candidates elected, rounded up where the number of youth candidates is not a multiple of three. In addition to the one-third limit, the unit committee may nominate the currently serving unit leader (but not assistant leaders), as long as he or she has served as unit leader for at least the previous 12 months. Recommendations of the adult selection committee, with the approval of the Scout executive, will be candidates for induction, provided the following conditions are fulfilled:
- Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose and is not for recognition of service, including current and prior achievements and positions.
- The individual will be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities that fulfill the purpose of the Order.
- The camping requirements set forth for youth members are fulfilled.
- The adult leader’s membership will provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.