Adult recognition (extract)
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Wed, 11 May 1994 11:31:03 EDT
(I sent this to Gregor, whom responded yesterday that perhaps BSA
Scouters should consider "thank yous" from the parents and kids enough
recognition. I thought that since we're talking about adult recogition
presently, that I should share it with the rest of the list...)
Unlike in your country, Americans are hungry for two basic needs:
the need to belong and the need to be recognized for their efforts.
In the USA, there are more than 100 thousand volunteer BSA leaders.
They work hard at their regular paying jobs and then come home only to
leave again not soon afterwards to go spend three to five MORE hours
with youth or adults or both as Scouting volunteers. They don't get
reimbursed for their time or their travels (some have to travel up to
100 kms or more one-way (that's still 72 miles, right?) to get to a
BSA meeting (that's just the nature of our programs presently, as
you've been reading here...many of our local Councils are being merged
with larger ones creating this travel problem).
By just patting them on the back and saying "we appreciate you" is not
enough to conpensate for the time spent on the road, for dealing with
difficult parents whom see you as a weekly "exclusive babysitting
service" and difficult adults whom are either jeolous of the fact
that you *make the time* for so much or that you *do so much more*
than they can or are willing to do; or that are ambitious and want to
treat the "quest for achievement" as if it was a regular job and
"bulldoze" those that get in his or her way to "the top". Having a
Scout or a parent to say "Thank you very much" is really heartwarming
and personally satistfying; but try selling *that* to your boss or his
or her boss whom already is bending as far as they possibly can the
workplace rules so that you can take Scouts to camp or to a activity
or for you to attend a training course, a meeting or activity.
On a personal level, Scouting and my immersement in it led to a great
part toward the divorce of my former wife. This is not uncommon among
Scouting families...either you all are doing Scouting-related things
or you face alienation, frustation, jealousy and even envy from your
OWN family for what you are doing "for others" without any "payback".
So, it just makes sense that the BSA as well as other youth programs
come up with meaningful recognitions for Scouts and Scouters whom have
given their time and services to the program. We can't pay them for
their services....if we did, Gregor, we would have to pay them about
$9-12 a hour plus overtime for their work.
So we give them a medallion. We give them a plaque. We give them a
certificate...a piece of coated cardboard with nice words about their
hard work on it. We do that so that he or she can take it to work and
show their boss and tearfully say "thank you for allowing me to work
to this level" to them. We do that so that he or she can take the
award home and display it on their mantle or on the living room wall
and when someone angerily speaks their minds about "he's never here!
I wished that he would give us as much attention as he does those
(explicit deleted) Boy Scouts!", they can look and remember when the
Boy Scouts thanked THEM for allowing the BSA opportunities to "borrow"
him or her to work toward bettering youth (most of our awards are
presented with the spouse or other family members present).
More importantly, we give them reasons why they should CONTINUE to
serve as a volunteer or as a professional.
And so that others can be spurred onward toward continued service, we
provide those whom *wish to* (it is NOT mandatory, and some Scouters
refuse to wear some or all of them) with small pieces of embrodered
cloth to be worn on the field uniforms. We provide them with small
pieces of metal to be worn as tie-tacs or lapel pins on dress outfits.
We give them a little fame and what Andy Warhol called "their 15
minutes of fame and fortune".
Yes, we have a lot of different badges and awards in our programs.
That's because our youth demand to do different things at differing
stages of their lives, and again to belong. Those pieces of cloth
allow us to recognize them for their service, their leadership, their
achievement and their tenure in our programs and everything has a
purpose or else it doesn't belong on our uniforms. Constantly, we
at the national level, reviews the purposes of our many badges and
when something doesn't make sense or becomes too expensive or too
routine, we get rid of it in favor of something else. Many times,
Gregor, when we do this, we end up upsetting longtime volunteers and
some professionals whom have become confortable with the award and how
it was earned and the skill it represented.
And because we in the USA are a mobile bunch, when I wear my uniform
shirt in Ohio, Germany, or Alaska, Scouters can at a glance look and
know everything about me (except my name...and that's corrected by one
of those stick-on name tags!) without me having to list a verbal "resume"
to them. They know what local Council I belong to (or don't, depending
on the shirt), what unit, what position I hold (our position badges
clearly state what it is that we do, instead of some cryptic small symbol
that you have to look up in a book!), what skills and personal
achievements I've been able to do, what level of training I have and
the amount of camping and outdoor experiences I've had.
They also know that I'm from the USA.
I'm sorry that you don't fully understand why we in the USA have so
many varied and unique badges and insignia. For the record, the vast
majority of our badges and insignia are NOT "plastic". They are
cloth. I guess you will have to visit BSA units or come to the States
to fully understand and see for yourself why we want so much to
recognize those few people that make Scouting a personal priority.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
Internet: WALTOML@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU/America OnLine: KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM
"Not speaking for WKU......................but I do speak well!!"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City