It is called SURGE: “Supporting Units through Really Great Elections.”
The initiative was started last year to boost the activity by units chartered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Scouting’s National Honors Society, the Order of the Arrow (OA). In a post at the LDS BSA Relationships Blog, Scott Hinrichs asked:
“Are you ready to help your boys develop greater service and leadership qualities that will serve them and the Church throughout their lives? Then it’s time to invite the OA to send an election team to visit your Scouting unit. Contact your local OA chapter or your local Scout service center for details.”
I am a Scoutmaster in Minnesota and we recently had our elections where 6 of our eligible 7 scouts were elected. I was also sent the SURGE video and was asked if I thought it would be appropriate to share on the election night. I said most definitely yes. I even shared it on our Troop Facebook page for the parents to see as many thought the OA was a secret Society and didn’t have buy-in. Until last year the scouts in my Troop had not even heard of the OA. I have now been Scoutmaster going on 2 years and that was the first opportunity to hold an election. I am a proud OA member myself and was happy to see the 2 scouts who were elected and 1 adult that was nominated last year all attend the ordeal. Our next step is to find a way to have an active OA Rep!—Daniel
A committee of Arrowmen primarily from Section W-2W has been working hard for the past two years to develop a program that assists Sections, Lodges, and Chapters with conducting unit elections in those units chartered by the LDS Church. The key resource created for use by unit election teams is an LDS Unit Election Video (above) which can be shown at a troop meeting. This video contains images and statements that are familiar to members of the LDS faith.
SURGE was originally premiered as a main course in the curriculum presented at NEXT in 2016. The response and interest in this initiative were high and the team has since developed more resources to help increase the quality of unit elections.
In addition to these great resources, a recognition device has been created to encourage and motivate Arrowmen to participate by using these resources, conducting Unit Elections, and mentoring those elected through their induction weekend. The SURGE Recognition Device can be earned by any Arrowman that completes the requirements.
There are two ways to earn the SURGE recognition device:
The first way is to be elected by your LDS unit. You must complete the induction process and become an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow.
The second way to earn this recognition device is for an Arrowman. As a youth member of an election team, you must conduct one or more unit elections in LDS units and have five or more of those Scouts who were elected successfully inducted becoming Ordeal members of the Order of the Arrow.
In units where at least one Scout is elected, the unit may nominate qualified adults, including the Scoutmaster.
Adult Arrowmen who want to earn the SURGE recognition device must help conduct one or more unit elections in LDS units where Scouts are elected and adults are nominated. Three or more of those adults nominated must be successfully inducted becoming Ordeal members of the Order of the Arrow.
Youth Arrowmen are expected to encourage and communicate with the youth that are elected and adult Arrowmen with the adults that are nominated until they have completed the induction process.
More information regarding this SURGE Recognition Device along with materials such as an LLD training syllabus and Powerpoint presentation, How-to Guide, sample letters, and scripts and the LDS Unit Election Video have been created and are available for use at https://western.oa-bsa.org/surge/. The SURGE Team can be reached at SURGE@oa-bsa.org.