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I have been asked to serve on the committee that will select the people who will be awarded the Silver Beaver. While I am pleased to be asked and really like to be there when the awards are made. It seems that no matter what happens I end up in the line of fire. As I am also the M.C. for the dinner where the awards take place there are a few members of the council who let me have it with both barrels.

The number of awards is done by the size of the council. We are allowed five in our council each year.

Some people think that as we have four districts that this means that there is one per district and one for the council. They are of course wrong.

The Silver Beaver Award is the highest award that a council can bestow on a volunteer. I tend to look at the award as a council award. By this I mean it is for people who have gone above and beyond to work for the council. While the argument can be made that we all work to support the council by doing what we do at what ever level we serve. There are awards to cover this. So maybe there is a unit leader who has been working with the unit for a long time and doing a first class job. Yes he is supporting the council.But is he doing this for the council or the unit?

One year we had three Executive Board members receive the award. Boy oh Boy did I get it that year. "They Bought It" was something that was said to me more then a few times. Ok so one of the recipients is very wealthy and sponsors a golf outing and clay pigeon shoot that brings in almost $100k. Can there be any question that this guy is supporting the council?

To make matters worse what really irks me is many of the people who complain never nominate anyone. Go figure.


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I don't know what you are trying to imply but when you only give the award say 5 to people who donate $$ and 1 who is a "volunteer" who works with kids that does sound strange. I'm sure if everyone had the money they would donate to events and other things but they don't. But if these people only donate to the council and thats it and expect a reward well that just isn't right for that award. Isn't there the James West award for stuff like that?


"Yes he is supporting the council.But is he doing this for the council or the unit?"


He is supporting boy scoutting in general just like the people who donate money.


Like i said before for donating $$ there are awards for that but unless these people who have jobs/rich period give up there weeknights and weekends for these kids like the locals do, do they deserve? If these wealthy people then fine thats no problem but if they only sit on a board once a month or whatever and thats it then they don't desrve it. Without the volunteers those guys wouldn't have anything to donate too.


Take it for what its worth.


Basically to summarize


Only $$=No

$$ and time=yes


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I agree with you for several reasons.


If a person is working for a unit and is building program long term for youth and does it well, does that person deserve an award? The answer is yes and there is an award.


If a person is working to benefit the District and supports the activities of the District for a long period of time, then that person should be considered for the District Award of Merit. Should it ever be considered for the long-term unit volunteer? Yes, especially if they have also assisted or lead District programs for a long period of time. But the District workers should always be considered over a unit leader that has only served a unit. Think about the logic. Are the District workers eligible for unit awards ever?


This same line of reasoning should be considered when looking at the service record for those nominated for the Silver Beaver. Leading Council activities is a daunting task but some do it and they should be considered because of the strength and direction of their service. People that bring money in to the council are important for the continuance of the program and they should be considered for the council award. Should a unit leader ever be considered for the Council award? I believe the answer should be no but I have witnessed otherwise. Why was it done? Some have been awarded because nobody else was nominated. A few were exceptional leaders with outstanding service on the unit level but had helped on all three fronts for a long period of time.


Is it all black or white? No. The reason is that there are always special circumstances and those are the times that we should consider defying the rules.


I believe in one other rule and it is called being happy for the person that got it no matter what rule. It should always be followed to the letter. (Note: I call it a tough balancing act that is hard to swallow.) The reason is that you may be the one getting it someday and you (will) have your detractors. The awards banquet is not the time to bring an objection. The time for the objection will be next year and should be in the form of a quality nomination with deeds that are compatible with the award.



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I have to disagree with you guys. The District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver are given for exemplary service to youth in the district or council. That does NOT mean that the recepient must serve at those levels. Service at the unit level is absolutely sufficient for the award and in my mind superior.


Unit-level Scouting is where the rubber meets the road. If it ain't happening there, it ain't happening. That's not to detract from the value of what the district and council guys do (in addition to being CC of a 100-boy pack, I'm district day camp director and a member of the district committee), but Scouting is about Scouts. The lion's share of the praise, thanks and awards needs to go to the folks who are delivering the program to the Scouts.

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Objections to giving District and Council awards to unit leaders that have not served or lead District or Council functions are frequent. Generally, the belief that serving youth is only done at the unit level is the reason. The "rubber meeting the road" saying has been heard in more than one port. It is a good argument because it is a request for well deserved recognition. Recognition is important and should never be overlooked in a volunteer organization. The problem comes in the number of awards that can be given in any one year. If you count the number of adult volunteers and divide by the number of awards, it will quickly become clear that many will never ever be recognized.


How do we resolve the issue? First by letting people know what the awards are intended for and at what level of work. Letting people know that there is recognition on the unit level and that if they wish to be considered for other awards, then work can be done at those levels. I have known unit leaders that snubbed all other work than the work they were doing. I believe that thinking is short-sighted for several reasons.


In working in a particular office, this person that I know is the direct provider to the individuals needing the services for this agency. This highly important work would not get done if this guy did not do it. But, he depends on the support staff in his office and those from the state office and those from the national office. He understands and appreciates completely that it takes individuals from all levels for his program to work. Without those individuals doing their jobs, his work, his mission, the individuals being served would not even be a consideration. So, the logic of importance and recognition goes in both directions. In other words, the rubber meets the road both ways.


I want to point out that there are awards given at the Regional and the National levels. If we were to apply the same logic with those awards, as given by those that feel the unit leaders are being forgotten, then we would rule out many large contributors and persons that give credence to the program. I for one would not want to overlook recognition to those people over a unit leader, no matter how hard and long the unit person had worked.


It has nothing to do with snubbing the unit leader or that the unit leader is not important. It takes a community to run the Scout program well. Many unit leaders might agree with that statement. I hope that he or she hasn't been snubbing the assistants, the committee, the organization, the parents, and the community that is helping to keep his/her great program going. That would be a shame if it happened but then one just has so much time. FB


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Interesting topic, and one I can relate to personally. Silver Beaver Class of 1995 here. I think both Two Cub and Eammon have good points and I think the answer is a combination of both.


In my case I was a unit scouter for almost 25 years and earned the District Award and SM Award of Merit, but was not really considered for the SIlver Beaver until I got involved in chairing and working on some council events

(Scout-O-Rama Chairman for 4 years, Jamboree SM, etc.) While unit service is extremely important (and my true love), council activities must be considered when giving the Silver Beaver.


Look to the Scouters who have done both.


And I agree, money raised and/or donated should NOT be the main criteria for the award.

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The Silver Beaver award is the highest award a council can give, it is not a council award. Meaning that only those who work on the council should get it. Every one in scouting supports the council and district by being part of the program. If it were only a council working award then the districts would have no reason to submit their votes. The coucil would do it through the board. Those who give of $ are very important, and I would think, love the program as much as a unit leader, or they would not give the $. I think it's important to look at the info that should be given on each candidate. The application asked for much more then just scouting work. If a person is putting in time to truley live the Scout Oath and Law that should be given the same chance as everyone else that was submitted for the award. I believe that these awards are for the Council and Districts to give some very big thank-you's to those that put their hearts into the program be it by Time, $, or both. No matter what the position. I to serve on the nominating committee and feel it a pleasure to do so. I also know that no matter who gets them there will alsways be nay sayers oh well. As long as the committee feels good about those that get it and it is done by keeping the Scout oath and law done deal.

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The Distric Award of Merit is not a district award and the Silver Beaver is not a council award. The District Award of Merit is the highest service award presented by the BSA for service within a district, it is approved at the council level. The Silver Beaver Award is the highest service award that the BSA presents within a Council.The decision of the selection committee must be reviewed and approved by the BSA's National Court of Honor, so it actually comes from National.


Each council is allowed to set it's own standards. There are no requirements for either award other than membership in scouting. They are not "earned", they are bestowed. Each individual brings different qualities and resources to the program. The selection committee looks at the nominations, as well as at scouters that were not nominated but are known to the committee, and determines who should be recognized and for what reasons. In most cases of the Silver Beaver, service beyond the unit level is highly regarded by the selection committee. So is major financial support. Not everyone is at a time in their lives when they can give personal time, but still realize the need for a strong scouting program and so they support it with the resources they have at their disposal.


To think that one level of scouting is more important than another is unfortunately short sighted. Scouting is a movement that requires hard work and dedication at many levels in order to have a strong, long lasting, program to serve youth. To give such importance to any one level is to turn a blind eye to the efforts of thousands of others.


Bob White

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During a very heated debate in fact more of an argument one member of our council said to another that it was ok for him he had money and he could afford to support the council. The chap this was directed at got very hot under the collar. He went to say that he had come from nothing. His parents had left Cuba with nothing. His Dad worked construction by day and at a gas station by night. He had joined the Boy Scouts and due to the interest that the adults had in him, he had gone on to study medicine and become a doctor. Due to his work schedule he wasn't able to be in a unit. He did serve on the council executive board and was one of the representatives from the council to the BSA National Annual Meeting for a number of years. He is a great friend of mine and I know that apart from the donations that he makes to the council and the golf outing that he holds for our district, all I have to do is mention that there is a Lad who needs a hand going to someplace and I leave with the check. I was overjoyed when he was awarded the Silver Beaver. But as I say he is a friend of mine.

Looking back to the BSA Annual meeting Roy Williams spoke about the gift of time. At that meeting George Zambelli was awarded the Silver Buffalo. I never met George Zambelli and really don't know that much about him as a person. I do know that at the National Jamboree I along with about 45,000 other people were in total awe due to the outstanding firework display. I have been told that the Zambelli Firework Company donated all the fireworks and set everything up. I was happy to see that we had seen fit to select Mr Zambelli for this award. I don't care if he never set foot in a troop room or not. Sad to have to say that George Zambelli passed away on Dec 25 2003 in West Penn Hospital.

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Earning, buying, working, bestowing it will all be done at every level if you watch long enough. We just have to be careful to watch what we say because as soon as we open our mouth that will most likely be the time that it was done properly and for good reasons.


I was told by a Council Executive that I respected very much that awards were not important. I am still thinking on that one and it has been several years. Maybe soneone can work that answer in with whatever is left to say. FB

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How much importance people attach to the award is very much an indivdual decision. I know Cub Scouters who have stayed with the pack after their son has moved on to the troop only to work on the knot. To my way of thinking setting the District Award of Merit or the Silver Beaver as a goal is not a good thing. I have known of Scouters who have gone as far as making copies of form which were filled in and having as many people as they could find sign them. It didn't work.

A couple of years back one of our Councils Ex-Presidents received the Distinguished Eagle Award. He was visible moved.

The awards are not the be all and end all of what we do. They ought never cloud the vision of serving the youth. We all serve in different ways. I have to admit that the idea of having the Webelos Scout Den arriving every week at my home now fills me with gratitude. I'm grateful that I longer do that. While I really miss not having more interaction with the youth members. I'm not sure if I could be at the troop meeting every week and could give up one weekend a month. Yes I think the world of the people who do it. However I don't think any less of myself because I can't. I serve as best as I can. The lightlyhood of me ever receiving any awards other then those that I already have is about zero and that does not bother me in the least. At this time all my goals have to do with the district first and then the Jamboree.

Awards are a nice pat on the back, but they can never and will never replace the knowledge that each of us has when we know that we have made a difference in the life of a boy or girl. The look we get when a kid knows that we care or the stroll around the camp when we look at all that is there and we can say that we helped make this happen.


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" I know Cub Scouters who have stayed with the pack after their son has moved on to the troop only to work on the knot."


Since those are simply ticket punching awards, why knot (pun!)? That's like saying, "Well, I want to retire and I have 29 1/2 years in but if I stick around until 30, the company will give me a car." Stick around.



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You guys seem to have missed my point. It is simply this:


Our council has about 5,000 adult volunteers. Any one of those 5,000 people who have demonstrated the necessary "exemplary service" to youth within the council should be considered for the Silver Beaver. It should not be limited to the few hundred who happen to serve on council-level boards and committees.


At the same time I'll stick by my personal view that I would prefer the awards go to unit level volunteers. That's not to say that the guys who simply donate money or make sure the leaky dining hall roof is fixed aren't important. Of course it takes all types of support to run a sucessful program. But with all other things being equal (and assuming you could somehow make that apples-to-oranges judgement), if the choice for an award is between a SM who has spent 15 years delivering a great program to his unit and someone who has been generous in their financial support of Scouting for 15 years, my vote goes to the SM. That's just my bias. Put me on the awards committee and that's what you'll get.


One more thing. I don't think a one-time donation, no matter how generous, should qualify someone for one of these awards. I hope the fireworks guy received the Silver Antelope for his long-time service to Scouting. If it were only for the great fireworks at the jamboree, that smacks of buying the award, even if there is no quid pro quo. Name the dining hall after them after the big-buck donors, but to me these awards have special significance. By the way, Eamonn, I would NOT place you doctor friend in this catagory. A "Friend of Scouting" (both literally and figuratively) over the long haul is definitely worthy of such recognitions.


Kinda off the subject, but wasn't the District Award of Merit at one time named for some silver critter? I seem to remember that back in the day.

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I don't know if you have ever sat on a selection committee for Silver Beaver, Twocubdad, but here is my experience. Scouters from throughout the council, in my case a 14 county area meet one evening to review the nominations.


We prioritize the list and then go around the table and explain our decisions. As a case for recieving the recognition is built the nominations get re-prioritized. If a nominee is not well know in the council then he naturally has less said about him by the committee as a whole. This has an effect on the selection. Now if the nominator is a well known and well respected scouter, that can balance things out. But since the decision is being made by a majority vote of representatives from throughout the council, then it stands to reason that a person known throughout the council will garner more support.


When then select the top nominees for as many awards as we are allowed, in our case 7. We do not worry about how many are from what disrtict or if they are unit volunteers or financial supporters. We go by how they were prioritized by their deeds and the majority vote of the committee.


Perhaps this has helped to explain why Council activity adds weight to the nomination.



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