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Service to youth - Silver Beaver

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I am not really going to site any of the threads where I have picked up on this particular item, but I do want to express me dissappointment when it comes to Scouters and their feelings about the Silver Beaver. Just because a Scouter does not work directly with youth does not mean that they don't perform service to youth. Would anyone argue the Waite Phillips who has been dead for years no longer does anything for youth? I mean afterall he ain't working with the Kids, but we put plenty of them through Philmont Scout Ranch every year.


Those guys and gals that work behind the scenes in your Council to make sure salaries are paid, bills are taken care of and planning and endowment development take place are all working for the same things Scoutmaster's and other adult leaders work for in the field. Some of them may have already done their time, while others may not have had kid, but either way those people feel so strongly about what you do for kids that they bust thier butts in the community asking for money to make sure you have the camps, the equiptment, and the staff to make the program work for you.


Say all you want and complain all you can, but realize that in many cases they do what you won't and vice versa. Service can take many forms and not every Scouter can work with kids. Just because someone does not work directly with our youth, dosen't mean they are not serving our youth. I am sorry that many here don't seem to feel that way, but in many cases you are biting the hand that feeds you. Afterall they think enough about what you do with our Scouts to go out and ask for money and raise money to enable you to deliver the program.


Secret DE

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Secret DE,


Well said. There are employed staff and volunteers who choose, for one reason or the other, not to be direct contact leaders. We need all of them though, from the data entry clerk who keybangs in new leader apps to Scoutnet outside recharter season to the mechanic who gives of his time to keep the Scout Camp maintenace vehicles running one more season!


My hat is off to all who serve this grand game.

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I understand that the BSA is a National organization that is run on a local level. We see this in so many different parts of the program. I remember a discussion awhile back on what constituted eligibility for the Siver Beaver. One side held that since the District Award of Merit was available for those in Disitrct work, the Silver Beaver was reserved for work at the Council Level. I am not saying this is right, just the sentiment of more than just a few Councils. Then there are those who hold that a Silver Beaver may be given to a unit scouter who has a long and illustrious history of serving youth.


In the Council I serve, when Silver Beaver time comes around, I am always amazed at the breadth of awardees. There is generally someone who joined scouting in like 1952, has always been registered in someposition since then and has lead contingents to Philmont, Sea Base, Charles Sumner, National Jamboree, been on committees and Lodge Advisor to the OA and on and just gets the Silver Beaver in 2008. Then there is the guy who joines the Executive Committee 5 years ago, Chairs a Council event and makes a donation and he gets the Beaver.

The disparity of length of time of service just seems to be brutal. I know that the program needs money and huge donations certainly help things, but for every deep pocketed contributor there are countless more scouters who live and deliver the program every day, week and year sometimes for decades who get lost in the shuffle.


And to try to get on topic. The Silver Beaver is given to those who provide "distinguished service" to youth. Nothing about direct contact so just as it takes people to staff a camporee, it takes people to plan, get permits, arrange delivery of porta potties, EMS service, arrnage garbage pick-ups and while a person doesnt appear at an event, doesnt mean they may not have been the most reponsible for the event occurring.

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In our Council the Silver Beaver is usually awarded to quite a mix of people every year. We typically award around 16 and they go to people that have given money and people that have given time. Sometimes a combination of both. Having served on the SB selection committee twice and chaired it once I can say that our selection process is apolitical. Every member of the committee receives the copies of the nominations with the names omitted. Then the electors vote on each nomination ranking them 1-5. When all responces are in we add up the scores and place them 1 thru whatever (121 one year) We start at the top and count down the list until we run out of awards.


The Council could stack the deck a little in forming the Committee, but to the best of my knowledge that has never happened. Usually a mix of District Committee people with strong Unit Service backgrounds and a couple of Council Exec. Bd. members to round it out.


This selection comm. has almost always done a great job of recognizing volunteers at all levels of service from Council level to Unit level. We are a large Council. We have 12 Districts and are very large geographically speaking. We have a large number of rural Districts and one large Metro. area served by many Districts. The rural Districts seem to receive a larger number of awards than the Metro on a proportional basis. The typical Metro recipient will be younger and a real fireeater with 10-12 yrs. of service. Our rural recipient is typically older with 20-30 years of service with most of it at the Unit level.



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Yah, I'm not sure what Secret's referrin' to, since I usually skip award threads.


Like baden, I've served on a few selection committees. It's hard work, always tough.


One thing I used to do that sometimes helps put $ in perspective is to translate volunteer time into dollars. If a scouter has served as a volunteer at any level, how many hours is that a year? Figure his (or her) time at da hourly salary + benefits cost of a pro with a similar number of years of experience.


Da numbers are daunting, eh? Viewed in that light, da SM of an active program is givin' Scouting a very serious "dollar" donation. For an EB member or other donor to merit recognition on a primarily monetary donation basis, they should be matching or exceeding that "dollar" contribution. Waite Philips should be recognized, for sure. But at da council level, a donor must be quite generous to merit recognition, which is as it should be.


Then yeh get into reputation/PR/visibility candidates, like if yeh have a well-known state politician with scoutin' ties nominated. Nuthin' is ever easy!




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The application for the Silver Beaver has some pretty good guidelines, and I'm pretty sure the local councils have to follow that list, but I may be wrong. The two councils I've been involved with followed it to my knowledge.


The current council does a good job of selection. All nominations are screened and formatted to be similar in appearance. Each is numbered and names or identifying info are removed. Identifying info may be "..served as District Chairman in Atlanta, Santa Fe, Tupelo", so it would be changed to "..served as District Chairman".


The committee gets the forms and apply a value to the quality of the service given. Typically $$ is given lower points value than actual direct service. At the end of the day the numbers are added up and the scores are layed out. The top nominees are taken in order until the number of awards are exhausted.


I think the reason that they give the money raising a lower value is to dispell any question that a Silver Beaver can be bought. Let's face it, there are lots of ways to serve youth, in or out of Scouting.


OGE had a point as well about the disparity in time served. We've found in our council that this disparity is directly in perportion to the amount of QUALITY nominations received. That is to say turning in a nomination with tons of information and facts of the individuals service will stand out more than recieving a nomination that states "Jim is a good man, he deserves this award for his 40 years of service". Some nominators (is that a word?) are so secretive about making the nomination, they never get the facts straight and don't include 1/2 of the service given, which doesn't stand up well to the more complete nominations.


I would venture to say that most people that have been awarded the Silver Beaver are very deserving, and I'd at least like to generalize that they all are, it's just easier. I'm certainly not smart enough to judge who did or did not deserve receiving it.



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