Re: When to give the Badge Out...
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Fri, 14 Jul 1995 17:31:16 CDT
Rob Morley <rmorley@STATE.MA.US> writes:
>our committe is in te midst of a big discussion about when a badge should be
>given out. Some of the committee members believe that the scout should
>receive the award as soon as he earns it. Others believe that the scout
>should not receive it immediatley, but wait until a court of honor, so that
>it may be presented to him, in front of his parents, and others.
The BSA says that advancement should be immediate, in the presence of
his or her peers, meaningful and a significant event in the program of
the unit as well as the individual.
Let's look at each one of those and bounce them against what some in
your Troop is saying.
> It will provide an incentive for the scout, and show an instant
>gratification for the work he has done. Asking the scout to wait two or
>three months (at least), to receive a badge in unfair to the scout, who has
>put in the time and effort to complete the work. In addition, if the badge
>is, say second class, should the scout have to wait to display his new rank?
Within the current BSA's advancement scheme, it is possible that a
Scout can meet all requirements for Tenderfoot, Second and First Class
within a short eight-month period of time. Therefore, it becomes MORE
important that he be recognized for his acheivement as soon as it is
can be done.
More importantly, if you wait that long for a Scout to receive an
award that he've earned back in May, what's the incentive for
continued advancement? While we don't approve, each Scout is in a
"race" against all of the other Scouts, time, and perhaps his parents
or older siblings that used to be in Scouting ("Life? I was working on
my FIRST Palm when I was your age!!"). Scouting clearly allows each
and every Scout to progress at their own rate or speed, and the
recognition of those incremental achievements are key.
"...in the prescence of his or her peers"
ALL advancements and significant awards SHOULD BE PRESENTED in a forum
in which his Scouting peers are in attendance. That's the way that we
influnce and motivate the others without preaching. "Howard has
earned the Home Repairs Merit Badge. How many of you know of some
tasks around your home that your parents have been pestering each
other about fixing? I bet a lot. This merit badge allows you to
learn how to do many of those things and at the same time shows you
that the reason why they are bickering about doing it is not because
it's expensive; it's just a lot of WORK!! Congratuations, Howard".
I bet that Howard's earning of the Home Repairs MB will cause three
others to go home and start thinking about earning that one too!
I have here at my office a blowup of me presenting a Korean
Interpreter Strip to Tony Song, one of the shortest and most engertic
Scouts I've had the pleasure of working with. I was impressed when
he explained to me after a Troop meeting that his mother wished that
there was something that she can help him with in Scouts. When I told
him that he could ask her to teach Korean to a group of Scouts, he
said "you can get a badge for that? I thought all you could get it
was in German or Spainish". I assured him that indeed you can get an
Interpreter's strip in just about any language.
I didn't think that his mother would be interested in teaching Korean
to a group of my Scouts. She was a proud woman that loved her
children and showed her concern, especially to her oldest child, even
when he really didn't want to be "mothered".
Three months later, his mother calls me and asks if there was a form
to be completed for the "Language Badge". I drove over and had her to
fill out the form we used for the German Interpreter Strip, crossing
out the German in each case and placing "Korean" over it. The
following Friday, I drove to our Council office and deposited the
I got a call the following Monday from the Director of Support
Services. Cabot Gupton stated that "Hey Mike, we've tried just about
everyone at National. There's not a Korean Strip to be found!" Just
those words were pictures to me of this kid's disappointment.
So, I called what I thought was the local Council with the largest
number of Americans of Korean descent present...the Los Angeles Area
Council. I explained my situation, and requested three Korean strips.
They sent them to me and I was all ready for the presentation.
During the Troop Meeting, I announced that Tony Song can now ask for a
kilogram of meat in German and now, in Korean, but when he came up to be
recognized and to receive the strip, he told us all that he wanted to wait
until the Court of Honor and that he wanted his mother to see.
"That's okay, right?" We waited but I showed him the special strip that
came from literally almost around the world.
"...and a significant event in the program of the unit as well as the
At our Courts of Honor, we award the cards, which serves as the
official recognition of the award or advancement, the position
certificates, induct new Scouts and present them with the Scout pin
and their registration certificate and Council patches, and any other
advancements or recognition that occur in the week prior to the
quarterly event. That's where the picture was taken, of Mike Walton
presenting Tony Song with his Korean Interpreter's Strip.
The picture shows me illustrating the strip, which I was
Upside down. I can still hear "Mike, you have it upside down" still
ringing in my ears, as I turned it right-side up and taped it to
Tony's shirt (to make it easy for Momma and Pappa to see where things
go, we use a bit of that grey "1000-mile-an-hour" sticky tape" to the
backs of awards so it would stand a chance getting home and so folks
know where they are to sewn on at).
What was really nice, was that we give our Scouts TWO Interpreter
strips, for two uniforms. Tony gave one of them to his mother and
told her in Korean that "This is for you. I love you" (and blushed
when she kissed him). She presented her son with the stock TAC
certificate for recieving the strip.
> If you give out all the awards at the scout meetings, then what do
>you have to do at the Court Of Honor.
The Court of Honor is the OFFICIAL recognition of all awards and
presentations of the Troop. As we tell the Scouts, the award is NOT
official until you get the card at the Court of Honor. It is the
CARD, not the date in your Scout Handbook, which becomes important as
you progress in rank, especially when you start earning merit badges
and going toward Star, Life and Eagle. We also give recognition to
parents whom have helped us with significant events (we had a
certificate with nothing on the right side, and we would ask for three
to five additional patches when attending a District or Council
activity. Those additional patches would go on the right side of the
framed certificate and which would be presented to parents and others
(chartered partner representatives, drivers, etc.) whom have helped
us. We also recognize our Scouters for achieving training course
statuses and finally, we talk a bit about upcoming Troop and Community
events and to have cake and ice cream and to stand or sit and talk.
Because it is the ONLY thing we ask ALL PARENTS to attend (and even
then, we don't get ALL of our parents, but we get quite a few
families), more families come out and make this part of their family
Also, it helped that we had a Troop Committee Chair that MADE SURE
that we started at 6:30pm and that we were OUT OF THE BUILDING by
Because we are presenting the certificates instead of the actual
badges, pins or devices, things go a lot smoother and faster than at
the Troop meetings themselves. As far as for small things, like pins
and other devices that get lost, the Troop Committee Advancement
member handles those things at the end of the meeting and orders
another one if she felt that indeed he's lost the original one and
can't find it.
I think what many in your Troop Committee is saying, is that they feel
that the Courts of Honor are slow and sluggish and without content.
Try having your Courts of Honor at different places than where your
Troop meets, or on different nights (we chose to do both) than the
Troop Meeting. These "clue in" the parents that this is NOT "the same
old Troop thing" and piques their curiousity.
Also, limit what you are going to award and whom awards it.
Advancements to First Class and below should be by the Senior Patrol
Leader; above First Class, by the Troop Committee Chair or Scoutmaster
(or both). Service awards should be presented by the Troop Scribe,
assisted by the Senior Patrol Leader. Training Awards presented by
the Scoutmaster or by the Troop Committeemember in charge of training
and outdoors. Special awards, like Tony Song's Interpreter strip,
should be done by the Scoutmaster or a special guest invited for that
reason. But don't let the Scoutmaster "do all of the presenting".
Make sure that all advancements earned are to be recognized. The
reason why our Court of Honor starts at 6:30pm, is to give everyone
involved enough time to make sure that everyone present entitled to an
award is there, and that there's enough awards for them all. If you
are short one card, DO NOT PRESENT ANY OF THEM and wait to do those
presentations during a Troop Meeting instead. You can still announce
those awards-- "The following Scouts earned the Mile Swim Award, but will
receive their cards at a future Troop Meeting. Please join with me in
recognizing Bill Monte, Tony Song and Craig Miller". Awarding a
card to two of three, or one of ten, is almost as bad as singling out
one of your children as "my favorite". We don't play favorites in
Scouting, so don't present any if you are missing one.
Finally, have fun. Your Court of Honor should be a quarterly, special
event in the life of your Troop; a Bridge of Honor or Recognition
Dinner should be likewise for your Explorer Ship or Post. This is the
time in which your unit, representing the Boy Scouts of America,
presents it's advancement and special awards to those Scouts that have
earned or qualified for them. Don't shortchange it, but also make
sure that they get the award or badge as SOON AS POSSIBLE after
meeting all requirements!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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