Mid-American Boy Scout Camps – Program Improvements Through the Tribe of Mic-O-Say
What is Mic-O-Say?
Mic-O-Say is an honor camping society adopted by certain Boy-Scout camps in Missouri. This program also covers parts of eastern Kansas and other out-of-state troops attending these camps. It began in 1925 near St. Joseph, Missouri.
The program is based on the folklore and traditions of the Native American culture for young braves growing toward manhood. Its purpose is to reinforce the scouting principles, to encourage personal growth and development, and to establish meaningful involvements in scouting. The scouting-membership in the tribe consists primarily of two recognized ranks: Brave and Warrior.
Who is eligible for it?
Only the seasoned scout-campers less than 18 years of age are eligible for it. They must have shown some leadership and community activity before applying for it. Basically, that includes all the active scouts who have attended these summer camps one or more times. Else, these scouts would not be in the scouting program or attending these summer camps in the first place.
How does it work?
A young camper generally becomes a Foxman first (not a membership rank), which is a one-year assignment leading to his induction as a Mic-O-Say Brave the following year. The brave makes himself a simple tribal outfit, and them selects or is given a tribal name, such as, Jumping Little Bear, Lightning Flash, or Deep Running Blue Water. After he completes these and a few other requirements, he receives a single eagle-claw necklace to be worn about his neck.
Later, after the scout has further dedicated himself to scouting and camping, he is eligible to become a Hardway Warrior. This stage has further requirements, training, and ceremonies, like, self-assessment, silence, assigned work projects, counseling with advanced tribal leaders, and taking part in tribal activity, e.g., by learning an Indian dance or something else Indian related. The new warrior receives a double eagle-claw necklace with a medicine pouch attached to it. The two claws point upward.
Also, in addition to the their camp participation, any tribal advancement for the tribesmen parallels their scouting advancement in their respective troops. Moreover, the tribe also has a large array of committed responsible adult leaders who comprise the Mic-O-Say councils and chieftains.
Is it secret?
No. Mic-O-Say is not secret. However, the tribal members do not talk openly about the tribe’s inner workings around non-members to make it more challenging and meaningful for the younger scouts before their induction. Still, the younger campers seem to learn a few things about it anyway. Additionally, all the tribal induction ceremonies are open to any parents who are concerned about their children’s welfare for any reason. Furthermore, all of the tribal business and programs must remain open to the national scout organization at all times.
Does it include adult troop leaders?
Yes, definitely. Both male and female adult leaders,18 years of age or older, can be inducted into Mic-O-Say at their choosing, whether or not they have had previous scouting or Mic-O-Say experience in their own youth. The adult induction ceremony is not as lengthy as the one for the actual scout-campers. But this membership rank is desirable, honorable, and worth receiving. Adult tribe members are called Honorary Warriors. Their double-claws point downward.
Is it worth it.
Because of its openness and fairness to all scout-campers, the tribe has improved several camping programs for the scout camps and scout troops involved with it. In part, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say has accomplished the following:
- brought new enthusiasm to scouting and its summer camps
- improved long-term camping attendance and participation
- gained a high retention of older scouts at the summer camps
- escalated the meaning of the Boy-Scout oath and law
- increased the number of merit badges and other awards earned at the camps
- increased the number of scouts achieving the rank of Eagle in the troops attending these camps.