Belt Loops - Sports Awards - Games
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Wed, 24 May 1995 23:50:52 -0400
Many on the list have discussed the sports and academic beltloops. And I
sense that some folks are frustrated with how to administer the program
and in some cases the way the awards are worn. Let's remember first, that
these awards are simply a way of encouraging sports or academic
participation and not an end in themselves. Remember that BSA's three
basic objectives are character development, citizenship training, and
personal fitness. One of the methods of achieving these objectives is
recognition, another is a program filled with fun activities where the
Scout learns to grow without really knowing it.
Since at least 1960 BSA has encouraged both academic and sports
participation as part of its program for Cubs, but for many years the idea
of learning games and sports or academic achievement was only recognized by
electives used for earning an arrow point. This wasn't getting boys out there
learning games they would enjoy and promoting fitness enough. That's what
lead to extra specialized awards; e.g. beltloops, pins and letters. And
it wasn't long before there was a hue and cry for recognizing Scouts that
excelled academically, but might be a bit more clumsy or not athletically
inclined. The dates of the changes really aren't that important. What is
important is that we encourage the Scouts to grow through activities that
will lead to character development, citizenship growth, and improved
At this point I'm thankful that there are books and literature period.
Yes they could be better, but remember that this is a low-budget operation
that depends on charitable giving for funds and an organization that is
perpetually short of staff. How many have groaned at the mere mention of
SME or FOS (BSA's fundraising program)? Next time you are considering FOS
or SME remember that the contributions that don't get made are the ones
that could perhaps have funded better program material. Sorry to unload
on you here, just a pet peeve - we all want better program material, but
hate to raise the money for it.
Probably the only way that we'll see these booklets improve, is if someone
takes the challenge to work with BSA to rewrite them on a voluntary basis.
Almost all of their publications are heavily dependent on volunteer effort
either in the writing or review process. If nothing else write down your
suggestions for improvement and pass them on to National via your Scout
Executive. You might be surprised to see some of them adopted.
As to putting the pins on the left pocket - on the Cub Scout uniform, its
reserved for the Arrow-of-Light patch. It also might be worth noting that
there's something to be said for keeping the uniform reasonably simple and
not turning it in to a Christmas tree. One of the best display ideas for
Cubs and Tigers is a patch vest. Its a great place for a Cub to display
the Sports letter, where he can also wear the pin.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
Prof. Beaver, Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City