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History of the Silver Beaver Award??

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  • History of the Silver Beaver Award??

    Does anyone know if there is an existing history of the Silver Beaver award given to adult Scouters within a local council? I am curious as to why the beaver was chosen over some other type of animal. My guess is because a beaver is such a known dedicated worker. Also wondering who originally designed it. I know that since 1932 about 50,000 have been awarded and I have been told that about 12-14 people have received it twice since its inception. (I was also told that two people have received the Silver Antelope twice) I know that during the first year they were presented with a pocket ribbon like an Eagle medal has and that after the first year they were presented on a neck ribbon and still are. I also know that from 1973-1975 women were given a Silver Fawn that was suppose to be their "Silver Beaver" then in 1976 everybody male or female started receiving a Silver Beaver. Anyone know of a written history online or know of any other tidbits of inforation obout the award? Thanks!!

  • #2
    I know that the reason the silver beaver was changed to a neck ribbon was because after women where allowed to recieve it wearing where medals are worn would have drawn attention the bustline.

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    • #3
      To provide an exception to that theory, I recently saw on Ebay an original Den Mother's Training Award...a medal suspended from a yellow and white pocket ribbon. I believe Cubmasters received the standard Key on a green ribbon with a Cub device on it. If a scouter earned the Key for in all phases of scouting, he would wear 4 (or more) devices on the ribbon and knot. It wasn't until the late 70's/early 80's that the Cub Scout training awards came out on yellow and blue neck ribbons. Now, neither are presented. Square knots are it, but there are more of them.

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      • #4
        I can find almost no information on the Bronze Bighorn Award. I received it in 1979 or 1980 as an Explorer Scout. Anybody have a clue as to that history?

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        • #5
          "I know that the reason the silver beaver was changed to a neck ribbon was because after women where allowed to recieve it wearing where medals are worn would have drawn attention the bustline."

          I've read this as well but a medal dangling around the neck just draws attention to a different part of the bust.

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          • #6
            At one time wasn't there another silver critter associated with the District Award of Merit? I thought I remembered my old SM getting some other award with a critter. He also has the Silver Beaver, so maybe I'm just confusing the two.

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            • #7
              The Cub Scouter awards on the ribbon came in the late 80s because I had received both the Scouter training award for being a Cub Scouter and the Den Leader Award for being a Webelos Den Leader by 86. That is the year my son became a Boy Scout. They came out with the expanded Cub leader awards shortly after that.

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              • #8
                I think there is some confusion. The neck ribbon did not start because of women getting a Silver Beaver. The neck ribbon started in 1933. Women didn't start getting the award until 1976. The original medal was quite heavy for a pocket ribbon although I am not sure if anyone really knows why it was switched.

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                • #9
                  It was stated that the square-knots are all that are presented for the training awards now. That is not true, my council gives everyone who completes the training award requirements the knot and then allow them to buy the medal. I believe the reason behind this is because it helps councils keep cost down.
                  YIS,
                  S-N

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                  • #10
                    Okaaaayyyeee...... enough theories about the award placement on the female uniforms....

                    But can anyone answer Daveeby's original question, about the origin and history of the award? My wife's late grandfather was a recipient, and she has always been curious about what is behind it.

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                    • #11
                      As I search for the actual history of the award I'm not coming up with a lot of information. I do know for a fact that instead of the Beaver for women they used to give the Silver Fawn. In the late 60's to early 70's they changed and requested that all women who recieved this turn them in to get a new Beaver. My great aunt refused and kept her silver Fawn. Boy did this create a stink. I will try to find more info on the awards which will be challenging since all the members of my family that recieved them are all deceased now.

                      Proud grandaughter of a Silver Beaver, great neice of a silver Fawn, and second cousin to a Silver Beaver. Daughter of an Eagle, sister to 2 Life Scouts, mother of a Star, First Class, Tiger Cub, and future scout.

                      (My blood runs Green and Red)

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                      • #12
                        Here is the history that I have researched since I first posed to question.

                        The Silver Beaver award was created by the National Council and first presented in 1931 as an award program to be utilized by a local council with National Council approval of the recipients. The intent of the award was different in 1931 than it is today. The award program was optional as far as any local council using it. A number of councils in the early years chose not to use the program. The Toledo Council did not start until 1932 and the Wolverine Council in southeast Michigan did not make their first presentation until 1943. A discussion of the Silver Beaver award at the 1936 national gathering of Scout executives included problems of jealousy among Scouters and how you could fairly present them to a limited number each year when you might have many deserving. There was concern that councils would start traditions of giving the award to a "position" rather than the person. An example was given of a council giving one to their current council president because he was the council president as they had presented one to the council presidents who preceded him. Virtually every council represented had difficulties with selection and presentations. Different councils used different methods for selection.

                        James E. West, the first National Scout Executive, and one of the founders of Scouting in the U.S. gave his opinion in 1936 when the award had been in use just five years at that point as follows: "This" (Silver Beaver)"is an award recommended by the local group. We try to steer it and guide it as far as possible, not toward the administrative officer" (local council level positions) "but towards the man who is working with boys and in the actual operation of Scouting, the Scoutmaster preferably. You would be amazed at the number of times when we don't just reject but reason with the local recommending committee, and we are getting very good cooperation. We detest the recommendation that sometimes comes to us on the basis that a man has given the council a camp or something else. God forbid that we offer rewards for gifts to us! This award is for men giving outstanding service to Scouting whether the man is outstanding or prominent, or otherwise, in the community".

                        The award was originally a male only award. In the early 1970s the Silver Fawn was created for women and 3-4 years later the Silver Beaver was awarded to men and women and the Silver Fawn discontinued.

                        There have been approximately 50,000 Silver Beavers presented in the nation since 1931 among the many millions of adult Scouters who have come and gone since then. A wall at the national BSA office in Irvine, Texas has all 50,000 names listed, or so I am told. There have been approximately 12-14 individuals who have received the award twice from among the 50,000 recipients. They each received it from two different councils they served in. The first year they were presented nationally (1931), they were on a pocket ribbon like an Eagle medal. After that they were placed on neck ribbons and remain so to this day.

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                        • #13
                          I have been lucky enough to know a man who received 2 silver beaver awards. His name was Charles E. Wade and he passed in 2003 at 91 years old. He received his first award in the 70's and his second in the 90's. His wife was also a recipient of the silver fawn award so he wore that also to honor his wife.

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                          • #14
                            "I can find almost no information on the Bronze Bighorn Award. I received it in 1979 or 1980 as an Explorer Scout. Anybody have a clue as to that history?"

                            This award is not a National award, and AFAIK, was a regional award that only existed in one of the regions. I have yet to find any info myself.

                            BTW, you were an Explorer, not an Explorer Scouts. Explorer Scouts only exist pre-1949.

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                            • #15
                              If a monitor feels the urge, maybe you could move this thread to "History". Just a thought.

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