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Can we give out our own created awards at District Dinner ???

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I am helping to schedule and put on our District Dinner in February.


Our district is disfunctional. Just hired a DE after none for about a year. No district committee in about 3+ years, No District Commissioner for last 2 years. Last year the District Dinner was cancelled due to lack of registrations, and the award of merit nominations were all lost last year.


But now we have a new DE, and a new DC. Both of whom are energetic and wanting to get the district back on track. A date has been set, and location reserved in February for a District Dinner, and nomination committee selected for the Award of Merit.


To try to encourage attendence, it was suggested that we ask each pack and troop to name a "Cub of the Year" and "Scout of the Year". And then each unit can have a scouter of the year. Just as a recognition and a certificate of some type.


We've been told by council people that they strongly oppose our doing this. That we should only give out "official" BSA awards... meaning just the Award of Merit (3 of them max), and knots to leaders.


I'm afraid our dinner will have the three award winners, and their familes, and that's it.


Is there any rule that says that we cant make up some other awards, or recoginations to try to promote attendence??? We hoped this would overall improve the morale and enthusiasm for our now limp district.

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It is your district event, and you can do what you want in regard to recognition's. Whatever it takes to get participation should be considered. Nothing wrong with a few special awards or certificates, especially if people have sort of been left hanging for a couple of years. The council cannot dictate to you what you do; they are not paying or running it.

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The awards I mentioned in my last post have always been awarded at every annual district dinner and at every council, five total, I have ever been affiliated with. Yes they are commonly given to recognize district leaders contributions, are they official, as far as the districts are concerned they are but they are not council or National awards. As Nike's theme says "JUST DO IT!"

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I would say "Damn the Torpedo's, Full Speed Ahead" and go ahead and give out your own created awards. You're a volunteer, what can they do, fire you?


Before it was merged with another District, the Sauk Woods district used to give out "S.W.A.C.S." - aka the Sauk Woods Award for Cheerful Service. It was just a simple certificate, awarded to people who have provided exemplary service to the district. Just working an event at a camporee might not earn you a SWACS, but planning and recruiting folks to work at the events might.


I don't know that I'd want to have each unit give awards to their folks - that seems more of a function of the unit - this is a District event - hand out the District Award of Merit, training awards, short (and I mean short) recognition of folks that have earned their Wood Badge beads (this is not a beading ceremony, it's just a "stand when I call your name and the bartender has been told to cut you off if just one note of Gilwell escapes your lips" recognition). Hand out your own district awards as well (and it never hurts to give one to the DE, whether you think they deserve it or not).


Our district also invited the two district youth leaders to attend (with dates if they were so inclined) - the Chapter Chief and the President of the Explorer Council (back in the day, the Explorer Posts had a leadership council where the leaders of the various Explorer Posts in the District could get together to share ideas and to plan an annual get-together).


It's your event - you get to plan it however you want to do it - you don't even need to tell the Council folks what you're doing if you don't want to get into details. Sometimes, its better that they don't get an opportunity to interfere.


Oh - and just because typing Sauk Woods reminded me of it, and though it has nothing to do with the question, when I was Chapter Chief, the Lodge Executive Board came up with this idea that all the Chapters should be known by their own Indian name rather than by their District names and that we had to come to the next meeting with our new names. The next meeting rolled around and the other Chapter Chiefs all announced their new names and what they meant. I went last and proudly announced that our chapter had chosen the name Sauk Woods, in honor of the Sauk Indians that had inhabited the woods and prairies of our immediate area before the settlers arrived, and as a sign of respect to the District that were were so closely tied too. The Lodge Chief turned red with anger, the Lodge Adviser laughed, and the guy from the now former Illiniwek Chapter said he wished he had thought of that (and the next month, they were again, officially, the Illiniwek chapter). Like I said, you're a volunteer, what can they do, fire you?

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Our district gives several awards which are not "standard" BSA awards. If you hover over the "Awards" tab here: http://threerivers.nsbsa.org/index.aspx you'll see most of the awards for which individuals can be nominated. Pretty much everyone who gets nominated for a Hot Spark or a Spousal award will get one. The others get a little more competitive, since there can only be one of each of the "of the year" type awards. We're still big enough that we can give three DAMs, I believe.


In addition our DE gives an award called the "Rivers Award" to the volunteer(s) who keep the district 'flowing' behind the scenes.


The budget for the awards has to come out of the event budget, so don't go whole hog on 10 awards if you're not going to be able to attract enought folks to pay for the plaques/certificates, unless the DE can get a trophy shop to donate the awards.

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This might be a tangent thread, but a neighboring district replaced their formal sit-down district dinner by converting their May roundtable to a pot-luck cookout with dutch ovens, camp fire stoves, etc. Everyone shares dishes. From what I heard, attendance increased to larger than a normal roundtable meeting. In comparison, the old formal district dinner pulled half the district committee and maybe two troop scoutmasters and one or two pack leaders. The only non-district committee attendees were usually the award winners.


I'd like our district to consider the format change. Heck, I might get new ideas for camp cooking.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Yah, WestCoastScouter, your council folks are just blowin' smoke. Yeh can come up with any local awards yeh want. Be thoughtful about it, make 'em meaningful, make 'em to last, do it for some good purpose.


And then just do it. Damn the Torpedos and all da rest if need be, but I'm more a "Oh, yah, well, we decided to do it anyway" sort of guy. ;)


I like fred8033's version of an outdoor potluck though. Never much cared for da rubber chicken hotel banquets.




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I like the idea too. I'd be embarrassed asking people to spend money on an indoor meal on yet another night and especially knowing that the food menu will be locked down and more expensive then they can get on their own.


Changing the May roundtable into an outdoor pot-luck cookout and short awards ceremony seems right. We're scouters and scouts is about being outside and having a little bit of fun. Seems only right to have an outside, do-it-yourself cookout as the awards ceremony.

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Search the site for pages about Districts, you will find that (1) They are a creation of the Council and (2) the member units and Scouters of a District make it what it is. Often, if a District is really successful, as marked by lots of camporees and such, the Council may either try to copy the work or (shudder) split the District to let smalller, more "intimate" Districts share the success.

Our home units have have been in no fewer than 5 assigned , named Districts in the last ten years. Didn't change the activities much, just made us Scouters drink more coffee with different people.

Award dinners: I like the idea of a real, Scout dinner. BBQ, Dutch ovens, let a Scout Troop cater it for fund raising.

Our District(s) have always had "special" awards.

"Sparkplug" = for the unit Scouter who makes things run smooth.Name, etc. burned into a wood plaque, old sparkplug glued to it. Shellac/polyeurathane.

"Bowline" = for the unit Scouter who helps keep things together. Name burned into a wood plaque, etc.

Note the use of the "unit" Scouter. The District still gives out DAMs. The specials are for the rest of the folks that "help make the Pack go".

Embarass the heck out of them. Make sure the spouse "drags" them to the event.

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