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I have an issue with wearing the James West Knot - Me that is.

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I made the donation some years ago and received the James West knot. A good friend was FOS chairman and was looking for donors. Scouting had been a major influence on my life and I was more than willing to contribute whatever I could. It's no different than being willing to give my time.

The uniform I normally wear has only my Arrow of Light and Eagle knots. I do have another shirt with all of them. I wear it "sometimes". Knots are not why I am a Scouter, but I am not ashamed of my accomplishments, either. Maybe seeing the depth of my involvement might encourage another Dad to get involved. Maybe it will encourage another Scouter to get a little MORE involved. Maybe seeing the James West knot will get someone to thinking that not only rich guys can make donations.

When I make FOS presentaions, wearing the West knot shows I personally believe in what I am asking others to do. So, there are many reasons to wear the West knot which don't involve bragging.

Ken

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I think that being skeptical can have its place as does innocent trust. The use of the funds aside then, I think it would be encouraging if more West award winners would wear their knots. I can't say that I've seen one on a uniform. I'd like to "pay" for the West knot one day for myself and my sons. It really would be a stretch as that amount of money could pay for a lot of other good things for our family. On the other hand it would benefit the entire community.

 

I don't know exactly how BSA or my council uses FOS or West funds, but then I don't know exactly how my church uses my tithes. But I think that it helps scouting to wear the knot.

 

For example, would you be more or less likely to give a large donation to a camp project if the scouters doing the presentation had West knots on? I know that the people talking to me at church about tithing have 'skin' in the game.

 

I know that some people have an aversion to accolades and the subdued bling of adult scouters. But just as some people have such an aversion other people have a need for symbolism.

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One of the best assests of this Forum is the ability to trade ideas and views with people who are not at all like us. My impression of the West Knot as one that could be "bought" came from a few guys who "bought" theirs and continued to brag about it. It left a sour taste in my mouth. They were jerks about it so I formed an opinion that all West knotters were jerks which is of course a false conclusion that I should have known better thna to make

 

I had never considered that a West knot could be given in another person's name.

 

So, I apologize for my comments. Obviously there was a hole in my logic. Thanks to all who share Time, Talent and Treasure in the service of Scouting.

 

I now have to work on a sore hammie, its tought getting ones foot out of ones month although with all the practice I have, you would think it would be getting easier

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"I had never considered that a West knot could be given in another person's name."

 

Many Lodges routinely do this. And have done so for years and years.

 

It allows lodges to met their obligations to their council and make a donation to the endowment AND gives them a recognition that can present to a member or two.

 

 

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The as-intended and correct (IMHO) way of giving a West is in someone else's name as a way to honor someone with a knot/award when there's no other honor or award appropriate (i.e. not Founder's Award, DAM, SB worthy).

 

My lodge gave a few out at the banquet. My council recognized members of the Youth Executive Committee (kind of like a VOA, but not restricted to Venturing) with West Fellowships as well.

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Recently an elderly scouter friend publicly pinned a West pin on my shirt and gave me the certificate and knot. He is using it to recognize other scouters with whom he has worked for many years, and it is a form of respect, appreciation, and friendship. I had been given a similar, but less obvious public recognition with the West award years ago, when it was new; but was not comfortable wearing the knot, as at the time, I really did not understand the whole concept, and felt I did not deserve to "wear" the knot, since I did not personally give the money. Also, the award was posthumous in honor of one of my former Eagle's and ASM killed in a training accident in the AF. I was honored, and have the original items in my personal memorabilia; but I never put the knot on a shirt. This one, I felt it would be disrespectful NOT to. The man has honored over a dozen individuals at this point. He has no family except scouting, and this is his way of giving his estate to the program while honoring friends.

 

So, you respond with what is comfortable and seems right. Unless others know the whole story, they will think what they think. But who cares?

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I have had similar issues with this award as well.

 

 

 

During the Scouting Centennial my Council pushed the James West award harder then usual. This means they sent a letter around looking for 100 James West awards for the 100th anniversary (they sweetened the pot by adding a limited addition patch).

 

 

 

So for some reason I gave this more thought then usual. It would be nice to do something special for the 100th anniversary. Being that it is a gift to the endowment fund this is something that my son (and myself), will be benefiting from for years to come. Also I was employed and making good money so I was willing to give something back to the community.

 

 

 

What I struggled with was I could not bring myself to give it to myself. This is not a slam against people who buy the award and proudly wear that patch on their shirt. It just is not me.

 

 

 

Then it dawned on me that I could give it to someone else (I have seen this done several times with my Lodge). I then came up with a list of people I would like to recognize who have been an important part in my scouting life. I quickly took my son off the list (I didnt think a tiger cub would appreciate or understand the award). The person who bubbled to the top was a good friend of mine who served on camp staff with me and was stepping down as Chapter Advisor that year (a nice thank you present). I got permission from the Lodge advisor to present the award at one of our Ordeal weekends (during my talk I did not mention who paid for it).

 

 

 

Every year sense the first presentation I have given out one to a special person in my scouting life in a similar fashion. Assuming my financial situation does not deteriorate I look forward to doing this every year. I especially look forward to next year when I present one to my Packs Cubmaster when my son bridges over to Boy Scouts.

 

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Beautiful, Wannalancit! I think that's the way the award should be structured. I don't think it should be possible to "buy" it for oneself. Now, we never know whether the person was "honored" in a meaningful way, or whether he just needed an extra tax deduction at the end of the year. I guess Council doesn't care, as long as the check clears.

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Wow. I still don't get this attitude. The James E. West Fellowship represents giving (at least) $1,000 of hard-earned money to the Council endowment fund, for the benefit of Scouts and Scouters for years and years to come. In what possible way could doing that in your own name in any way be considered venal or boasting? Aren't we proud of ourselves for going to weekend campouts, and summer camp, and attending meetings? Why should someone who contributes to Scouting by doing a thousand dollars worth of his regular work, and then donating the benefit of that to Scouting, be regarded as doing something less valuable than people who give time? Why should he be ashamed of himself? What is he getting out of it, after all? A $2 patch and a handshake, and the personal satisfaction of making a difference through one of the greatest youth programs in the world. And there are folks who want to take away that personal satisfaction. Amazing.

 

Dan Kurtenbach

Fairfax, VA(This message has been edited by dkurtenbach)

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I believe most of the posters are saying they do not feel comfortable doing this for themselves, but do not care if other people want to do it. Many Scouters are humble people who believe that boasting about giving money is not want they want to do for themselves. This is one of those issues where you have to do what you are comfortable doing for yourself. If you are eligible to wear the knot, and want to wear it, you earned it so go ahead and wear it. If you do not want to wear it, you certainly do not have to.

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Oh, I think many of the posts here clearly state the opinion that someone who makes a contribution in their own name then and wears the James E. West knot "bought" the award for themselves -- that is, they didn't _earn_ it -- and that the only acceptable way to get one (if even then) is for someone else to give it.

 

Perhaps what is behind this view is the notion that the James E. West Fellowship should not have a knot at all. After all, don't most knots require an extended period of service and effort, and meeting certain requirements and standards? There are plenty of other forms of recognition for giving money; just look at all the swag you can get for a big FOS contribution. Bottom line, I think a lot of folks think that getting a knot just for giving money cheapens the knots they have received for personal service to Scouting.

 

That's a legitimate point of view. But what isn't legitimate, in my opinion, is to denigrate and question the motives of people who give something of large and lasting value to the Scouting program just because they accept the thanks that BSA offers for their sacrifice, and wear it proudly.

 

I have a James E. West knot -- given to me by my pack and troop. But I hope one day to earn my way to a point where I have the resources to make a large and lasting monetary contribution to Scouting. And then I will proudly receive the James E. West Fellowship as a reflection of my own efforts in my job and personal life over time that made such a contribution possible. And that contribution to the Council Endowment fund will continue to serve Scouts and Scouters long after my own personal service as a Scouter is a distant memory.

 

Dan Kurtenbach

Fairfax, VA

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I don't think "denigrate" is the right word. If I gave that impression, I certainly did not intend it. I agree, if that is the BSA's form of recognition, then there's nothing wrong with wearing it, if that's what one chooses to do. I think the discussion is about the BSA, not the individual. It is a rare and high honor (or at least I would feel that way) if someone had honored me in that way and I certainly would wear it. I just feel that if I myself donate the money, that's different, and there should be a different recognition, if at all.

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Dan,

 

I think the idea of West knot and "buying it" may have come about from what one of my old employers called the "2-20 Rule." If you do something right for a customer, they will probably tell two of their friends. You do something wrong, and the customer will tell 20 of their friends.

 

While most scouters are humble folks who are concerned about the youth in the program, there are some who are in it for themselves. I have personally met one of the later, one who bragged about not only getting the West Fellowship for himself, but also for each member of his immediate family, and being the fist family in the council to be West Fellows.

 

I also know of one council which divided up a bequest so that every Eagle Scout that year, and most of the office staff, became West Fellows. Reason for it: they wanted to become #1 in West Fellowships that year.

 

It does leave a bitter taste in the mouth, even when one knows that not everyone is like that. Even when one knows the importance of those endowments and how it has been used to recognize folks who have given years, and sometimes lifetimes, to Scouting. And even when you know that the individuals are giving at that level, not for the recognition or a knot, but because they are a product of Scouting and want to give back so that others will have the same opportunities that they have had and could care less about recognition, or even get upset if their is an attempt to be recognized.

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