I personally don't see a problem with the scouts getting paid to erect flags around town at people's houses for 8 holidays a year.
It started as the scouts posting flags around town at the city offices on holidays. And people wanted flags at their houses too for the holidays. We have a lot of retired folk who may have the $ but not be able to physically handle having a flag on a 12 ft pole out in their yard for all the holidays. So it started out as the boys getting paid a minimal amount to help out putting up flags that the customers bought and paid for.
Over time it became a big deal over 200 paid subscriptions for people who want flags at their personal residences or businesses--they pay $50 a year and they don't have to worry about it. If the flag gets yucky, the troop replaces it and retires the old one. If they are sick, the flag still goes up for their holiday, if they are out doing errands or at a party, the flag comes down before dark.
We still put up flags at the city offices, but the city pays for extra flags they want around town to make the city look extra special for the holidays. It seems to work out for all parties.
We do a lot of free flag ceremonies for businesses, govt, sports games, parade starts, funerals, anyone who asks.
The two things do seem very different in my mind. one is a service, where anyone should get paid to provide, and one is community service, that is done out of the goodness of your heart and goodwill.
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- Oct 2010
- Feb 2011
I read this one and thought overnight about replying.
I think Scouts should not charge for doing flag ceremonies. It is who we are and what we do. Scouts get asked all the time to lead these things or the pledge just because. I think using what is something we do out of respect for our country and communities seems wrong. Even if it isn't IMHO it is tacky and "cheapens the brand".
My boys and I were visiting Mount Vernon in our uniforms one time and they got asked to lead the pledge and wreath laying ceremony at Washington's tomb as a result. It was a honor because we wore the uniform--we didn't hand them a bill as a result.
Now for putting the flags out as a service. I guess it is OK. Individuals are benefiting--it seems creative--but you better do it right. Still a better way would be to provide it for free or for veterans but you would need some support for that I suppose. My only issue is it LOOKS like you are doing a good turn when you are really providing a paid service.
(Maybe I'm prejudiced on that one. I remember where I lived as a kid Scouts put out flags on certain houses (mostly widows and mothers of boys killed in Vietnam) just because.)
- Aug 2008
As for the Flag Ceremony itself, I can understand the reimbursement of any expenses, but nothing beyond that. I cannot quantify why, but it feels wrong, dirty... One of my best memories from scouting was the first time I got to help with the flag ceremony at summer camp, just writing this I am smiling ear to ear. I can hear the bugle and just being in awe of the bright morning sun shining in the flag as I pulled on the halyard. I guess I can explain why I think charging is dirty, it is a Ceremony, a ritual, for our Scouts to share with every other American.
A better currency than cash is the good will of your community. Log those service hours, report out not just to your Charter Org but to your Mayor and Town Council. When you report at either event invite some of the people or groups you have served.