Re: What all the awards? & adult recognition
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sat, 3 Jun 1995 01:43:26 -0400
Your comment "Big deal" concerning the knots you have awards you earned as
a youth troubles me. When you earned the Arrow of Light, Eagle and your
religious emblem how did you feel then? Didn't you have a sense of
accomplishment? Be honest now! :-)
In over twenty-five years of Scouting, I haven't seen very many Scouts
that didn't light up after being presented with an especially hard earned
award. This is probably because they were justifably proud of what they had
As a leader you are unwittingly setting yourself up as a role-model -
someone that the Scouts can look up to. If they know that you valued your
awards earned as a youth, it will sends a positive message reinforcing
their advancement work. Similarly, if you are too good to wear them or
don't think of them as having value, they'll pick up on this too.
Its not a question of wearing knots to promote yourself or your ego. The
idea is to use it as a vehicle to encourage your Scouts to want to attain
the same accomplishments. Display the carrot! They generally like to get
awards and if this helps motivate them, great!
The religious emblem square knot is one of the few that a youth member can
wear immediately (doesn't have to wait until "adult" status; e.g. Arrow of
Light and Eagle). Some Scouts will want to wear this knot, if they have
seen adults wearing knots because it shows outwardly that they are
becoming more adult.
As to adult recognition knots - again its a case of using the "carrot" to
encourage or motivate leaders to more service. Most folks like to be
recognized for their achievements and some will do a bit more to get that
recognition. If in the process they do more for the Scouts, then where's
the harm. Most of us didn't volunteer to be able to earn badges. Nor do
most of us do what we do to get badges. The real reward is what we see on
the faces of the Scouts as they grow and succeed in overcoming challenges.
But we all know that this one-hour a week can get pretty rough and that
the committment needed to run a successful program for the Scouts can be
fairly demanding. Sometimes it helps to let people know that they are
appreciated and recognize that service. Also when other leaders see that
the efforts of others are recognized, they may also be willing to give a
bit more knowing that they in turn will be recognized.
In any unit its important to call attention to volunteer contributions and
reward them. Home-made special awards are a great way to say thanks and
do a lot for leader retention. After a leader has served for awhile and
has qualified for more formal recognition; e.g. Cubmaster Knot, Den Leader
Knot, Scouter's Key, etc., someone on the Unit Committee should make sure
that the paperwork gets turned in to assure that this leader gets
recognized. Recognition is one of few tools we have that consistently
helps with leader retention. And while it is true that many good leaders
would stay and contribute without the recognition, it certainly can help
even them keep a better attitude (look at me I'm the unrecognized martyr).
And for leaders that are close to waivering, it may help to have the
positive feedback that they are valuable and appreciated.
So the Big Deal is those knots can be a small, but very positive influence
that helps promote the program. And if in wearing the knots you give
encouragement to one Scout or show another leader that volunteers are
appreciated keeping that leader there helping the Scouts, is it worth it?
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