Re: Skill Award History I
Lew Orans (lporans@ONRAMP.NET)
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 06:30:26 -0500
Anthony Mako wrote:
>Having been one who was there from the beginning, I thought the list might
>enjoy knowing a little more about the short history of Skill Awards.
Having lived through the experience, I thought I might contribute a few
details to the story.
>Skill Awards were part of the "Urban Emphasis" program changes incorporated
>in 1972. They were seen as a form of instant recognition which was seen as
>way to motivate Scouts to advance and stay in the program. Part of the
>"Urban Emphasis" was coming up with ways to build self-esteem. Instant
>recognition was one way to accomplish this. The requirements for the twelve
>awards were taken word for word from the pre-1972 requirements for
>Tenderfoot through First Class.
The changes in 1971-1972 were part of the "Improved" Scouting program.
"Urban emphasis" is a more recent phenomenon (late 80's or early '90's).
"Relavence" was important in the "improved" program. The idea was to bring
the Scouting experience closer to the life experience of city kids and to
attract more of them to Scouting. There were several other major themes
supporting the program design. One, the result of extensive survey work was
"instant recognition." The idea was to make an achievement more meaningful
by recognizing it at the earliest possible moment. A major force behind the
program was "leadership development." This was an attempt to switch the
focus from teaching to learning, to make the experience focus more on the
Scouts. While it may have been close to the Founder's ideas, and was very
much in the forefront of education in its time, this was a major stumbling
block for many leaders. Traditional programs, such as Wood Badge and JLTC
were fundamentally altered. Outdoor skills were deemphasized to some degree.
The reaction was not pretty.
>The original use of Skill Awards was considerably different than there use
>following the "Back To Basics" emphasis change circa 1980.
The reaction against the "improved program" was somewhat swifter. And, it
should be noted that at the same time, for whatever reasons (and there were
several other major causes), Scouting was experiencing a fundamental decline
in membership for the first time in its history. The reaction began very
quickly and came to a head under the leadership of "Green Bar" Bill
Hillcourt. It was a general movement and by late 1975, National rolled out a
new "old" program under the heading of "All Out for Scouting" for the 1976
Scout year. This was certainly
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City