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James E. West Fellowship

LeCastor

This thread on the James E. West Fellowship was taking away from the OP about displaying awards earned in other countries' Scouting programs, so I chose to move this to Council Relations.  The James E. West Fellowship is an endowment given to a council, not advancement and therefore not equivalent to an Eagle Scout Award.

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21 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I've looked at this, isn't it interesting?   I don' t have any knots, but I could Buy-A-Knot with a $1,000+ donation to our Council.  It is a little weird, but I don't see it as bad.  Donors should be thanked, and everybody likes bling.  

I don’t like bling I don’t earn. Why would someone wear bling they pay for? That’s like participation trophies. What fun. 

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I've seen it all regarding the West Fellowship.

I've seen one guy buy 4 fellowships: his wife, daughter, son, and himself. Weird seeing a Cub Scout with that one.

I was on the receiving end of anger when one donor was recognized as a West Fellow. He did NOT want it advertised and he started of ticked off at me AND it showed. Thankfully his buddy, who was also MCing the event told him not to get angry at me 'cause I told the MC not to do it, and he did it anyway.

I've seen 3 respected leaders wearing it. 2 of them I had the honor of helping their troops and/or former Scouts get together the funds for it, and saw the surprise on their faces when they were recognized. One told me how one of his former Scouts surprised him by sending him the certificate and knot in the mail with a thank you note for all he did.

And I saw an entire Eagle class get it because a Scout Exec wanted tobe #1 in West Fellowships in the region. So he talked to the estate into giving each Eagle, and a few others the fellowship. Bet none of them really knew what they were getting.

 

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3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

I've seen one guy buy 4 fellowships: his wife, daughter, son, and himself. 

 

What? No James E. West Fellowship for the family dog?

On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty outside, and not leave a mess.

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9 hours ago, Back Pack said:

I don’t like bling I don’t earn. Why would someone wear bling they pay for? That’s like participation trophies. What fun. 

But if you work to save up $1,000+ and donate it to your council,  isn't your labor the earning part?  I agree that it's an example of thrifty and generosity that fits into Scouting.

If I wanted to donate $5k and put a knot on each of my family members,  I could, and, I really love our council camps and would not mind supporting the council in that way.   It is a different kind of knot and perhaps the oddest knot, but I don't think it's wrong or bad.  Wearing a weird knot might be fun and only the nerdy Scouters would look it up -- you know who you are!  LOL. 

And I don't think many Scouters are actually participating in financially supporting their Councils with large donations.  I don't think it's like a participation trophy. 

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9 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I was on the receiving end of anger when one donor was recognized as a West Fellow. He did NOT want it advertised and he started of ticked off at me AND it showed. Thankfully his buddy, who was also MCing the event told him not to get angry at me 'cause I told the MC not to do it, and he did it anyway.

From my experience, adults (leaders included) should be given prior notice regarding awards to them. If they say NO, then it is NO. They need not provide an explanation.

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10 hours ago, David CO said:

I would prefer that we not encourage displaying economic class distinctions in BSA, especially on the uniform.

That is what the true concern is.  Is wearing the knot a display of wealth, or a display of support for the council,  a display of an honor given, or all or any of the above?  
Is it like wearing a Rolex or carrying a designer purse? (though those cost a lot more)   How people will view it depends on their own attitudes.  

ETA:  Here's the thing,  the BSA doesn't just run on volunteer support,  they need financial support too.   

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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9 hours ago, Back Pack said:

What you describe is a charity fundraiser. What describes is a charitable gift. Those are two distinctly different things. Giving to pbs and getting a towel is not the same as just sending them $100 without getting anything. 

It's not all that different.   You donate $100 to PBS  and get a $3 towel,   or you donate $100 to PBS.    The towel is an incentive, and it works.

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Knots are supposed to be achievements not purchases. Sends the wrong message. Want to donate $1000 then donate and get your plaque. A knot for this is a participation trophy that you buy. 

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Well, I'm a person who might buy a knot someday, just because I feel like it, and whatever you choose to think of me, I'm not that concerned.  You should focus on your own achievements.  I didn't go for the den leader knot,  won't have enough time in service as Cubmaster to go for the unit leader award,  I might not get to enough roundtables for the Scouter Training award and our unit doesn't do JTE.   So I'm not really going to get any knots, and that's OK.  I don't mind a simple uniform, and I wear a  4 year service star (when I remember to put it back on after laundry).  But if I wanted to donate money and get a knot -- what's the big deal?   Financial donations help Scouting just as volunteer hours do.   And it's obviously what it is -- it's not like buying an Eagle knot, it's a knot specifically identifiable as recognition for financial support.  People who like knots would look at my uniform and realize that I, or someone in my life, made a large donation to support Scouting.  So what?  

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 9:15 AM, Back Pack said:

There’s a knot for giving money? What message does that send to scouts. 

Recognition for charitable donations is extremely common in non-religious charitable organizations. I've personally never seen one that did not provide some form of recognition based on donations. It could be as simple as printing your name in their magazine, free (paid for) swag, or naming something after you.

Many also give recognition for naming the charitable org in your will.

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1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

Knots are supposed to be achievements not purchases. Sends the wrong message. Want to donate $1000 then donate and get your plaque. A knot for this is a participation trophy that you buy. 

 

“Give me enough medals and I’ll win you any war”

If giving people a $0.50 piece of cloth inspires them to financially support a critical organization, who am I to judge either party.

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22 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 

“Give me enough medals and I’ll win you any war”

If giving people a $0.50 piece of cloth inspires them to financially support a critical organization, who am I to judge either party.

But when all the other knots are for achievements you cheapen the whole process by giving a knot for giving money. Sure give a plaque or something. But why give a knot. That’s my point. 

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10 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

But when all the other knots are for achievements you cheapen the whole process by giving a knot for giving money.

Cheapen the whole process? A bit of hyperbole? I don't know how long that knot has been in existence but prior to you knowing about it, did you feel as though what you accomplished was somehow less significant?

I think you are giving that simple knot way too much weight. I would bet 95% of all scouts and adult volunteers don't even have an awareness of it.

And personally, I would never let the accomplishments, swag, or little pieces of cloth others wear or even "buy" make me feel anything less about what I accomplish on my own. It is not in any way a reflection on who or what I am as a person.

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With apologies to Will Rogers...

BSA has the best knot money can buy.

That being said, I would not accept one given in my honor and if it came to be in my procession it would not be worn.

Edited by oldisnewagain1
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4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

From my experience, adults (leaders included) should be given prior notice regarding awards to them. If they say NO, then it is NO. They need not provide an explanation.

Yes I know. I spent 20-30 minutes trying to talk the MC out of it. MC did it anyway.

20 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 I don't know how long that knot has been in existence but prior to you knowing about it, did you feel as though what you accomplished was somehow less significant?

I think you are giving that simple knot way too much weight. I would bet 95% of all scouts and adult volunteers don't even have an awareness of it.

West Fellowship Knot has been around approximately 25 years. I was told by a pro that the reason it was created was to  thank high level donors to the endowment with a recognition that doesn't take away from other recognitions, i.e. the Silver Beaver. It was also promoted as a way for groups of folks to recognize long time Scouters.

I know for a fact that one Eagle class in my council does not know they are James E. West Fellows.

 

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