Saturday, June 7, 2008

OA or J-Boy is Being Tortured Even as I Type

The Order of the Arrow

The Order of the Arrow is the "honor society" of Boy Scouts. A boy is elected by his troop to become a candidate for the Order and then must undergo an "ordeal" to be accepted into full membership. Thereafter, the boy participates in various service projects and fun activities.

So one day I was reading one of my favorite blogs, when suddenly a guy named Justin comes out with this:

Speaking of the Order of the Arrow, when are state CPS agencies and police going to do something about the little camps of horror euphemistically known as Order of the Arrow “Ordeals”?

When, as a young scout, I was being silenced, essentially starved, hazed by other scouts, ordered by leaders to march for unknown distances in the darkness through the woods, subjected to bizarre campfire ceremonies put on by strangers wearing faux–and creepily indecent–Native American getup, commanded to spend the night in an open field (without any protection from bears, badgers, wolverines, chupracabras, or the natural elements), and forced to perform hours of manual labor (in violation of all child labor laws) at one such Ordeal, did anyone respond to my calls for help? No.


I immediately began a Mama Bear freak out and posted the following request for information:

To OA Survivors:
So…my son has just been invited to become a member of the Order of the Arrow. Ordeal? Secrecy? He was recommended by nice guys in our ward. Will he come back in one piece? Will he be broken in spirit and body? What’s the deal?

I was pointed to this thread, which relates the various privations and labors the boys were forced to endure and most specifically this comment, which relates a herd of horses trampling a set of OA candidates as they slept under the stars in an open field.

I was decided. No way was this mama bear letting her cub go to such an INSANE experience. I informed my J-boy of my decision. And it was his turn to say:


The boy was having no part in being babied. I ran it past my husband who helpfully said, "Whatever. It's up to him." I forced J to read the entire thread on OA horror stories. His reaction?


"Wimps? Dislocated shoulders, concussions, starvation? Son, are you INSANE?"

"OK, the horse thing was bad, but for the rest of it, I just kept thinking, 'What wimps.' So I'm going right?"

And reluctantly I agreed to let him go. Yesterday night I drove him, his buddy D, and a car full of grumpy munchkins two hours to their ordeal. When I suggested they bone up on their sign language in preparation for their day of silence, D came up with the sign for "Horses coming. Beware."

We arrived at dusk. After a minute of going over paperwork with the friendly OA grownup in charge, I turned to perform my good-bye ritual: a hug, a kiss, the warning to wear sunblock and bug repellent, and the assurance that I was sure he'd do great.

Too late. He was gone. Off to become a man.


J said...

I resent being called "J-Boy." I HOPE I shall be hereafter referred to as something like "The Masked Mormon" or "The Boy who Lived Through the Ordeal" or "J-Man."

Jami said...

While I greatly admire your survival of the faux ancient Native American manhood ritual, how's about we compromise and I just call you J? I don't think my mama nerves can take you moving to man status so quickly. Give me another five years to ease into it, OK?


I'm reading this as I just sent my 10 year old (another J-Boy! Joshua) out the door to Cub Scout Camp.

Cub Scout Camp where the e-mail from our Ward leader promised that they'll be getting wet, blowing up Ziploc bags, and having fun.

Should I be freaking out?!!!???


My oldest daughter wrote this post revealing what her brother learned at Boy Scout Camp last year.
Girly Boy Scouts


Bye J-Boy as you saunter off into the wild, blue yonder.

Jami said...

No worries, Elastic. In the first place, the ordeal is a weird one time thing that very few Scouts participate in. In the second place, it is not a Cub Scout activity. In the third place, it's just not as bad as they pretend it is going to be (shh, don't tell anyone). I think they are trying to play up the macho image.

6k9s said...

Well the J comments to the post REQUIRE my response. (Now that I have stopped laughing.) Hmmmm. Not a boy anymore? Just begs the question of "so what makes a boy a man", doesn't it. Seems like there should be a whole thread on this somewhere, but not right now...but for sure, its more than a weekend of myth waving in an area to which you're driven by your Mom and watched over by State certified adults. Seems to me there are significant req's (at least physical, economic, emotional, behavioral, spiritual and intelectual)that might start with mowing the lawn and doing the laundry without feeling like you're doing someone else a favor and would continue with the absolute treatment of Mom and all other women with copious respect 24/7. (guys too, I guess) Maybe a weekend of watching Cary Grant, John Wayne and Gary Cooper movies?? I do like the Masked Mormon though...will the mask have a big ol' trumpet on top?

Jami said...

You go, 6K9s! Laundry and lawn work--an excellent start to manhood.

Get on it, J! ;)