Elections, Call-outs, and Inductions


When the council’s two northern camps ceased operations at the close of the 2015 camping season, it meant that there are no more in-council Boy Scout summer camps for Kanwa tho Lodge troops and members. In light of this, it is worth reviewing the national OA policies for elections, call-outs, and Ordeal and Brotherhood inductions and how this affects the units in our lodge.


Per national OA policy, unit elections must be held by a trained lodge or chapter election team. Units may not hold OA elections on their own, nor may an elections team from another lodge conduct an election for a unit of Three Harbors Council.  For example, camp staff personnel, even if they are OA members, may not conduct an OA election for a Three Harbors Council unit at an out-of-council summer camp.
Elections may be held only in Boy Scout troops or Varsity Scout teams.  Elections may not be held within a Venturing crew, although a Venturing Scout who is cross-registered in a troop or team may be elected in their troop or team’s OA election.
Each lodge sets its own election season.  In Kanwa tho Lodge, elections are generally conducted from January through March, although some may trickle into April.  All elections are conducted at the chapter level.  Scoutmasters and Varsity Coaches will be contacted by their respective chapter leadership to schedule their unit’s OA election.  If you have not been contacted by the end of January, please reach out to your chapter or lodge leadership to schedule your election.
Once elected from their unit, a Scout has one year from the date of their election (not call-out, which is a common misperception) to complete their Ordeal.  If the Ordeal is not completed within that time frame, the Scout must be elected again in the next year’s election, assuming he still meets the camping requirement over the 24 months preceding the election.
Announcement of results is entirely up to the unit leader.  Some units prefer to keep the results of the election secret until a summer camp call-out ceremony, while others will announce the results the night of the election.  Another option is to announce the results at a Court of Honor.  It is worth noting that because Kanwa tho lodge currently offers the Ordeal only twice a year, at the Spring and Fall Conclaves, keeping the results secret until a summer camp call-out means that the Scout will have only a single opportunity to complete the Ordeal. If the Scout has a school, sports, family or other conflict during the Fall Conclave, they will have lost their opportunity to complete their Ordeal for that year.
In contrast to unit elections and the Ordeal, call-outs are the only part of the induction process which may be conducted by an out-of-council lodge.  While many Three Harbors Council units have been participating in OA call-out ceremonies at out-of-council summer camp for years, 2016 was the first time for most units in our council to learn about this process.
Per national OA policy, the unit leader must present a letter from the lodge chief and lodge adviser authorizing the out-of-council call-out, and which lists the names of the Scouts and Scouters allowed to be called out.  A copy of the unit election report must accompany this letter.
In the past, the unit leader had to contact the lodge leadership (often frantically while at summer camp) to request the letter.  We are happy to announce that beginning in 2017, this letter is now mailed out to all unit leaders by June 1, before the start of the summer camp season.  Electronic (PDF) copies will also be available after June 1 upon request to bobfarrell.oa@gmail.com by the unit leader.

Ordeal and Brotherhood Inductions:

Per national OA policy, Ordeal and Brotherhood inductions may only take place at events organized by Kanwa tho Lodge.  In particular, neither of these may take place at an out-of-council camp, even if the person was called out there.
As previously mentioned, Kanwa tho lodge offers the Ordeal twice a year, at the Spring and Fall Conclaves.  Brotherhood is also offered at these two conclaves, and a Brotherhood Day provides a third opportunity, which usually takes place in November or December.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here, but the closing of the two northern council camps forced a change from the way many troops have been handling call-outs and Ordeal inductions.  The bottom line is that although national OA policy allows out-of-council call-outs, it prohibits out-of-council Ordeal and Brotherhood inductions.
Please reach out to your chapter or lodge leadership if you have any questions about elections, call-outs, or Ordeal and Brotherhood inductions.  For the most complete information, consult your OA Handbook and/or download the Guide for Officers and Advisers from the national OA website at www.oa-bsa.org.