Responses to Multiple Posts
Buddy Givens (Scouter280@AOL.COM)
Thu, 27 Feb 1997 17:24:03 -0500
I usually read a whole lot more than I write here on Scouts-L, but there have
been a few posts lately as well as some other events which prompt me to offer
a contribution. I will use this one post to respond to several others rather
than writing multiple messages, so please pardon the length. Note that I
will NOT quote ANY other post.
Regarding leaders wearing knots, I believe that adult recognition is an
extremely important part of the program. The fact that the boys really do
notice the knots is an important form of that recognition. When we present
knots to leaders at troop meetings, we emphasize to the boys that the leaders
are working towards a set of objectives just as the boys are and that the
leaders, like the boys, are recognized when those objectives are achieved.
It is interesting to me that, in the past, BSA professionals have been
discouraged from wearing any knots. This is changing. I see many more
National Council employees wearing their knots. I also feel that volunteer
leaders recognize that the professional who has "been there" and "done that"
has a better understanding of the role and viewpoint of the volunteer. Gary
McBain described his roles in a pack and troop. I hear that a new leader
award will be proposed which is designed to recognize those adults who
perform a role very much like the one Gary describes.
Regarding Jamboree uniforms, as a Jamboree Scoutmaster this year I want to be
able to recognize the members of my troop quickly and at some distance (while
in filed uniform). Allowing them to wear various neckerchiefs or hats would
make that more difficult. Their freedom of choice of apparel within the
troop site or at the action center is much more liberal.
Regarding Boards of Review - There is no National set of questions for boards
of review. Each troop can develop such questions, but my fear of those is
that board members start to rely upon only that set without considering each
specific situation for each Scout. To me, flexibility is very important. I
agree that a Scout "failing" a board would be very unusual, but I almost
experienced that recently. One of our members has severe ADHD and was not
doing well when he had his board. One board member who does not know this
boy well almost voted against passing him because of his "attitude", and the
other members of the board did not know the boy well enough nor are they
familiar with ADHD well enough to recognize his situation at that time.
Fortunately the board member chose to avoid a potential problem and did
agree to "pass" him. Board members must be familiar with the guidelines for
BORs and hopefully can rely upon the Scoutmaster to not send a boy to the
board who is not ready. To the troop which still uses boys on BORs - do you
ensure that there is no conflict of interest? What I mean is this - ASMs
don't sit on boards because they potentially are involved in the boy getting
there, in approving advancements for example. Can a boy who approves an
advancement also sit on the board?
In terms of "surprise" awards - Just over 4 years ago, I attended our
district dinner because I had nominated our Cubmaster for an award. As I was
getting ready, my wife asked if I was to receive anything and I replied that
I did not expect to, so she and the kids decided to stay home (londrive to
dinner, cold weather, etc.). Unfortunately, no one else from our unit showed
up even though I had mentioned that the Cubmaster had been nominated, and I
couldn't even convince the Cubmaster to go. He not only recevied the
District Award of Merit but a special award from the district, but wasn't
there. Then, wouldn't you know, I was given the District Award of Merit with
no one from either the unit or my family present. Had my wife known, she
would have been there with the kids and probably some other folks.
Webelos to Scout transition - if you have ideas about this, please
communicate them to me directly (Todd Tingblad - I have saved your post of
2/24 for this purpose - great information). I have been asked to assist in
writing a section on this topic for a new edition of the Scoutmasters
Handbook. All ideas are welcome.
What does "participate actively" in a leadership position mean? You must
decide that based on facts and circumstances. I have had junior leaders who
have attended everything but have done little or nothing. Is that active? I
have also had junior leaders who have not attended but a little over a
majority of activities but have done a wonderful job. Maybe the term
"effective" is more appropriate, even though it is obviously subjective. A
specific percentage, in my opinion, would be too limiting.
I posted something several months ago regarding a Scout doing his Eagle
project and his request to Wal-Mart for assistance. Two weeks ago I received
a direct inquiry which implied that I had fabricated the story, wanting to
know why I was "perpetrating" a hoax. Interestingly, the mail was unsigned
and I could not guess a name from the E-mail address. My reply was simple -
I don't generally answer unsigned mail. Tell me who you are and your BSA
interest and we'll talk. Since then, no reply. No, I won't post that
person's address here.
I hope this hasn't been too long or boring (or both).
Buddy Givens SM Troop 280, Longhorn Council
SM Jamboree Troop 1651
My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the BSA.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City