American Heritage award: What would you do?
Mike & Cathy Carver (carvfam@CNW.COM)
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 16:56:08 -0800
Hello to all Scouters!
I have been placed in a situation where I am at my wits end, and I hope
I can gain some insight from all of your valuable experience. This past
summer, we offered to our Cub Scouts the chance to earn the American
Heritage segment. Early in May, the criteria was sent to all parents of
our Scouts. One of the requirements was to visit a historic place in
This is where my dilemma begins. In town here we had a big fair and one
of the displays was a roving Civil War site. It displayed the equipment
used during this time as well as provided a very informative background
on the Civil War.
The requirements had a certain timeline involved (Memorial Day to Labor
Day) to complete the requirements. While this Scout and parent attended
this Civil War site, she did had not intended to count this as part of
the American Heritage award. All during the summer, this parent told me
that she was going to take her son to visit another historic site, as
she did not consider the roving site to be considered visiting an actual
site. During the summer, also, I kept reminding her of the timeline.
Well, due to other obligations, this never took place within the
timeline. She also informed me that she was still planning to visit a
site, where at this time, I said that it was too late. This den
leader/parent then asked me to "fudge" a little about the requirements
for visiting a historic site and 1)consider the Civil War roving site
and 2) because we are very good friends and our sons are best friends.
I felt very put on the spot by this request.
My feeling was that since the requirements were stated to be the same
for everyone, and everyone received them at the same time, that these
requirements should have been followed. There was one other boy who
followed the requirements to the letter as stated. How fair is it to
the Scout who completed the requirements to give the same award to
someone who, in his parent's words, "made a real effort to do what was
required"? The parent also goes on to say that it is up to our leaders
to encourage Cub Scouts to participate in these activities, not to
discourage them if they do their best, but cannot satisfy the strict
letter of the requirements. I agree in part to the extent that, yes, it
is up to us to encourage Scouts, but at the same time, I do not agree
that an award should be recognized for a job "half done" especially when
another Scout followed the requirements.
These parents wanted leniency on this award when a few months back in
March when we had our Kite Derby, they wanted to follow "strict"
guidelines and not award some of our other Scouts because their kites
broke when attempt was made to fly them or someone's sister sat on it.
The boy whose sister sat on it on accident did make the kite himself and
actually made it to the site of the Derby. Also due to poor
communication from the Kite Derby coordinator (someone from another
Pack), the judges were there for only a short time. My parent did not
feel that anyone else EXCEPT her son should have been awarded this.
This mother of the Scout who asked me to fudge is a very competitive
mother. She wants her son to be the "One-and-Only" Scout to have
I have spoken to our DE, and he said that if we choose, we could be a
little lax on the requirements for the American Heritage award. My
point was that since the requirements were set out in May and everyone
had the same amount of time to complete them, they should have had not
problem following them.
I am curious to know what you other Scouters would do in this
situation. We are not large enough nor have enough parent participation
to have a separate Advancement/Award Committee.
Thanks for listening. It feels great to get this off my chest.
Cathy Carver, Committee Chair
Pack 75, Burlington WA
Mount Baker Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City