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Question: The BSA State of Michigan Area 2 project has been implemented. The innovative reorganization of program, membership/advancement records, event registrations, administration, fiscal and outdoor/scout camp functions will improve administrative and cost efficiency. Under the Area 2 Project, Service Centers do not require Scout Executives, as Service Centers have no fiscal responsibility. The Service Center Executive cannot pay Lodge expenditures. The Area 2 Office and the Chief Executive Officer perform the administrative support that an OA Lodge requires. Scout Camps are also included in the Area 2 Office, not Service Centers. There is no longer a traditional Council for a traditional Lodge, as defined by the OA Field Operations Guide (FOG). Why is National OA trying to apply an outdated organization structure to the new and innovative BSA Area 2 organization? National OA is treating the BSA Area 2, concept the same as just another Council merger with (x) number of Lodg es going into a Service Center. I recommend an expanded Lodge organization, i.e. more local Lodges, that directly support Scout Camps and a Lodge organization that will be more efficient in supporting the BSA Area 2, vision and goals. BSA Area 2, Service Center inclusion as an additional Lodge entity will require a change in the FOG that addresses unique BSA Area 2 structure. Middlemen in Service Centers are not required by OA Lodges and their use will result in an inefficient use of Service Center employees.Answer: The Order of the Arrow has extensively studied the new structure of the Area 2 project. We have had in-depth conversations with lodge, section, region, and national leadership. Working together, we have determined that the level at which the program is delivered is at the field service council level. Each field service council will have a scout executive that can serve as a Supreme Chief of the Fire. This is more important than where the checking account is located. It may require some new book keeping procedures and modify how the lodges expenses are handled, but it certainly doesn't change where the lodge is responsible to.
The Order of the Arrow prides itself in existing to support the local council. Without a council, we have no real reason to exist We don't exist soley to support a particular camp, but the entire council. It is also important to keep in mind that a Order of the Arrow lodge exists in a council at the discretion of the Scout Executive. The Scout Executive alone determines if the council will have a lodge or not. We are open to new concepts, but we keep returning to the basic tenant that the field service council offers the best fit to a time-proven structure that supports the local BSA council Adding more lodges would not serve a meaningful purpose. However, this new structure does reinforce how important our chapters are going to be in the new Area 2. Many people think that chapters are diminutive in nature. How many times have you heard a young Arrowman say "I am JUST a chapter chief?". We need to change that perception to a position that a young man is proud and honored to serve in. The chapter is truly where the rubber meets the road in our organization.
You are correct that some updates will be required to our Field Operations Guide. We will be addressing these with the National Leadership soon.
I appreciate your insight and I assure you that we have taken these thoughts and concerns into account before arriving at the ultimate structure of the new Area 2. We have cooridnated the Order of the Arrow's approach for delivering a quality program with teh BSA Leadership at all levels to ensure that we are best supporting our councils. In simple terms, a youth will wear the CSP of the field service council. Therefore, the youth's lodge (and his lodge flap) ought to suport that council if his Scout Executive applies for an OA charter.
By Chris Grove