(no name) ((no email))
Tue, 25 Jun 1996 10:47:31 -0500
Kevin Williams asked a pair of really great questions:
>What is a NESA organization?
>What is its purpose?
The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is an outgrowth
of the former Knights of Dumanis organization which existed in
400 of the former 639 local Councils in 1972. The NESA was
formed with the dual purposes of retaining and promoting
the Eagle Scout rank and maintaining interest in Scouting; and
the all-important role of staying in touch with Eagles and
reminding them of their obligation to serve others as well as
to assist Scouting in any way that they can.
It had a GREAT start: a National Staff Advisor, similar to
the Order of the Arrow's national director, was appointed and
part of the Eagle Scout Service's offices was converted into
a "membership office". Eagles that wanted to reach other
Eagles could write to National and be placed in contact with
other Eagle Scouts all over the nation, in all walks of life and
doing a wide variety of jobs. It was "networking" at its best:
the best of the best males in the nation.
To assist new Eagles, the NESA established a "response and
encouragement" plan and asked Eagles from all areas of life
to write congratuations letters to new Eagles upon request from
Scoutmasters or parents.
A really sharp logo, and patches, insignia and other items were
developed to support the new program. I didn't know this, but
in an early NESA publication, we Eagles that have earned palms
were supposed to place the palms on the red, white and blue
ribbon suspending the NESA emblem on the pocket (this was
when National couldn't make up their minds about Eagle palms
on the square knot)!!
The "Eagletter" was established as the "communications
medium" for the new organization. The original intent was to
publish the newsletter quarterly, but it quickly became a real
fight to get it out even on that schedule. It is now sent out
twice a year, and there is some discussion about abandoning
it totally in favor of a yearly "Report to Eagle Scouts", which
would have the same information as the biyearly editions with
additional "filler" taken from other publications to keep
Eagles informed with the Scouting program. ( I like this idea
Natually, National granted local charters to Council NESA
chapters, which were chaired by youth Eagle Scouts and
advised by a slew of adults, including a professional staff
member whom MUST be an Eagle Scout. Some Council NESA
programs, for instance, the ones in LA, Chicago, Kansas City,
Memphis, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Washington D.C., Baltimore,
and Tampa as well as overseas in Europe, the Far East and
in Panama, offered a wide variety of programming and support
to both new and experienced Scouters aimed at the NESA
goals. They were really very popular, and local Councils LOVED
A series of national events for Eagles were produced by the
NESA with the National Events and Conferences Service (which
is now part of the BSA's Operations Group). These "reunion
meetings", held all over the nation, allowed Eagles to once again
come together and make plans to strengthen the program even
more. It was a good "personal boost", and at the National
Conferences, the entire National staff would roll out and present
"mini-All Hands" meetings and inform Eagles of significant
trends in the Scouting programs.
It was "all good".
However, many Council Scout Executives were concerned about
the youth aspect of NESA leadership, just like they were about
Exploring youth leadership at the Council and Regional levels.
Because the youth "ran the show", it was hard for the professional
to "positively influnce" the youth leaders many times. In some
cases, the Council Scout Executive (or the staff advisor in charge
of NESA) was jealous of the youth's ability to led without a lot
of "advisement" by the professional.
Also, some Council NESA chapters became a secondary
fundraising funnel for the local Council, and many Eagles expressed
that they were being used as "magnets" to get the Council more
money (nothing new: this goes on with EVERYTHING else in
Scouting; only thing, some of these Eagle Scouts were also
very influncial people but NOT on the Council's Executive or
Advisory Boards (this is the true fault of the local Council for
this failure!) ) and complained to National about this fact.
Some Councils used the NESA Chapter as their own "private
club", complete with hosting dinner parties out at the local
Council's camping facilities. While this was questionable at the
least, some Councils did this so that Eagles could invite those
that would otherwise not come out to the camping facility to
see it (and to ask them for financial support to keep it going)!
Finally, the Regions treated the NESA chapters like the Exploring
Presidents' Associations: every Council MUST have a chapter,
or they are NOT doing "quality Scouting". Councils would
hastly put together a NESA Chapter, get it chartered, and for
all practical purposes, it was only on paper and the Charter
would sit in the Council office lobby for the Area Director to view
whenever he made his visit.
In 1986, the National Executive Board realigned the content and
structure of the NESA and eliminated the charters to local Councils.
Councils could still use the program and it would continue to be
supported by the National Office, but the "requirement" to have
a chapter in every local Council would be removed and if a Council
wanted a NESA Chapter, they would be "on their own" to do it.
The original message sent to Council Scout Executives was that
"The local Council portion of the National Eagle Scout Association
is hereby suspended. All local Councils will no longer maintain a
NESA Chapter and those local Councils with such chapters will
disassociate them upon receipt of this memorandum..."
Many Councils quickly disbanded their NESA chapters and
told their Eagles that "NESA is going out of business". This was
a wrong move, and forced the NESA to reestablish itself during
1987 by a series of Council-initiated, NESA-supported "Eagle
Reunion Evenings" all over the nation. The emphasis was to
allow Eagles to become NESA members and to let them know
about COUNCIL programs and events. This approach worked
and is the current model for NESA programs and operations in
many local Councils.
It is important to add, as I've stated before about many things
which are "sent down as policy by National" to the local
Council, that SOME Councils completely IGNORED the memo
from the National Director of Operations in 1986, and have
CONTINUED to and in some cases STRENGTHENED their
"NESA Chapter". For instance, several Councils in Ohio
and Illinois kept their Eagle Scout associations although not
chartered, and have done some spectacular work with keeping
Eagles in the program and assisting with Courts of Honor and
other special events. The Eagle Scout Assocations in both
the Transatlantic and Far East Councils are very strong and
cuts across military rank and civilian titles and have given lots
of money and time to local camping and outdoor program
In 1994, the National Eagle Scout Assocation asked the
Program and Operations Groups to please clarify the policy
of membership in the National Eagle Scout Association,
which was clarified and approved by the National Executive
Board last year. Membership in the National Eagle Scout
Association, unlike Order of the Arrow or Explorer Officers'
Association membership, is NOT DEPENDENT UPON
REGISTRATION IN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA.
In other words, you do NOT have to be registered as a
BSA member or adult in order to become or maintain your
membership as a member of the National Eagle Scout
Association (though it's not a bad idea!!).
Membership in the NESA does NOT imply or implicate
approval of the person as a registered Scout or Scouter.
This is ONLY accomphished by action of the person by
registering with a unit or local Council and payment of the
appropriate registration fee for such membership.
This was neccessary because it was feared that some
"undesirables" would use their NESA membership as
basis for registration in units or Councils. I think it's
silly to think this, but I can understand also their concern.
The Director of the Eagle Scout Service doubles as the
Director of the National Eagle Scout Association.
The National Eagle Scout Association is ALWAYS looking
for additional members, and while the "benefits" of belonging
is NOT as good as it used to be, it is still a special group
of people with a special purpose. And since there is NO
provision for "honorary Eagles" or "special Eagles", the ONLY
members of this organization are those that have earned the
highest male youth honor in the Boy Scouts of America.
Membership information can be obtained from your local
Council office or by writing to the National Eagle Scout
Association, S220, at the National Office address in Texas.
Thanks for asking the questions!!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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