Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: The ethics of buying an award, i.e James West
Re: The ethics of buying an award, i.e James West
Sun, 19 Dec 1999 14:53:52 -0600
Hey Chris in Houston!! You wrote and asked:
>Had and interesting discussion with a long time Scouter friend of mine the
>other night. One topic we hit on was the James West award, which for $1000
>to your council gets you or someone you buy it for, among other items, a name
>on a Council list, a certificate and a square knot. Although I understand
>the merits of being publicly recognized in some way, we couldn't agree on the
>ethics of buying an award such as a square knot, which up until this one, had
>to be earned or awarded for above and beyond services, as in sweat and hours
>and years of tenure.
No it didn't. In the past, the IMMEDIATE Past, Chris, one only needed to
"donate" or "grant" the local Council that same amount (or a little bit
more) of money...and VOLLA!!! You'll be awarded the service award at the
I've attended Council and District banquets whereby it took almost ten
minutes to explain all of the accomphishments of some of the recipients that
night for the District Award of Merit or the Silver Beaver; and in some
others' cases, it was eight sentences, two paragraphs, which explained what
that person did outside of Scouting and the fact that he or she headed up
the financial campaign or served as Finance Chair or as Troop Committee
member for a Troop for two years.
This was a VERY SORE POINT for lots of Scouters for many years, and it was a
lot of national and regional Scouters that said "Look. All I did was to head
up a committee and give you folks some money. Look at that man, that woman,
that couple....they have given YEARS of service at the volunteer
levels....doing the "grunt work" and all they get are applause and maybe a
coffeemug. No buddy...THOSE people deserve the awards. Give us the piece
of paper, the coffeemug....but give THEM the awards THEY DESERVE."
And believe it or not, Chris, National (i.e. the Chief Scout Executive)
At the same time, the BSA as we ALL know, has been going through a period of
time in which financial resources has been spent on court battles and
out-of-court settlements, which has eaten into the Council's monies locally
and which has taken a SERIOUS BITE from the National monies. There needed
to be a way to allow those interested to give monies to support those causes
WITHOUT doing a NEW "financial campaign." The BSA Heritage Society, to
which the West Fellowship Award is a part of, was the way they chose to meet
those financial needs.
So now, (at least starting in 1994) the VAST MAJORITY of holders of the
Silver Beaver and Antelope and the District/Division Award of Merit are
people that truly DESERVE to be honored as such....not those whom have
"given and served on a committee" or just served as District Chair for a
year or two but rather what those awards are all about: service to youth.
And the West Fellowship allows ANYONE with the money to financially support
Scouting and receive something for it: a square knot, which they can wear if
they're a volunteer; a certificate to hang in their offices; invites to
special dinners and meetings; special mailings and offers; and most
importantly piece of mind in knowing that their monies along with those from
others are going to fund the BSA for years to come. It also builds up a new
list of contributors whom may not have the money right now to support
Scouting on a national scale, but as their business becomes more solvent and
financially well-off, can become a lead for future funding for the BSA
nationally as well as locally.
And those whom have received the West Fellowship on behalf of others whom
have "paid for this person to be honored", do receive a benefit...knowing
that other Scouters truly care about this person or couple's participation
in Scouting over the years and wanted to honor them in the name of someone
who is now deceased or no longer able to "play or coach the game of Scouting."
While many people will tease the BSA for their "money knot", I think that it
brings a great deal of honesty back into the BSA's awards programs, Chris!!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
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