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We had a WB beading ceremony (??) that was done at a troop meeting.  Ran, I kid you not, 45 minutes.  I too felt like we were hostages.   Most leaders input was "and that's why I will never go to WB"

Time for a rant. This has nothing to do with how people are arguing about this topic. That part is fine. However, ... Between this thread and the eagle at 12 thread, is there any wonder that scou

(pre-covid) I already donate a dozen plus hours a week.  Every time I sign up for an "away from home" activity, it affects my marriage and family.  So when I can, I prioritize wife and kids and look f

A picnic? With steaks? Dutch oven pot roast?

Firstly “in which all would want to attend” is an absurd goal. Scouters don’t get involved in scouting for attaboys. We are there because we see kids having fun and learning to do things for themselves ... things that may eventually forestall death. We work for smiles.
So, it’s by sheer luck that any of us would block out a day away from that sheer adventure for a sit-down dinner.

We had to trick my SM into attending his own Silver Beaver awarding. They has a special guest who happened to be visiting a local college as the keynote speaker. Then they told my SM that they would like his SPL (me) to lead the opening. He always would prep us for these sorts of public appearances, and come along as “moral support.” The CC then gave me the “real” script that included introducing my SM and the person who would award his bling.

So, guest speaker, involve scouts, stop worrying about the scouters who miss it. Have fun.

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My Thoughts.

1. Plan it far enough in advance and promote the heck out of it so that conflicts do not arise. 

     1a  If in SE Louisiana, and a few other  places, DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR DISTRICT BANQUET DURING CARNIVAL!!!!!!!! Yes I had a DE from outside of the area          adamant that the district banquet would be in March.  It was the weekend before Mardi Gras, and most folks were involved in the parades, so hardly anyone attended, or so I was told since I too was with my family at the parades.

2. Focus on the Scouts. When my district had banquets (don't ask, our former DE put a stop to them because they "costed money"),  al the Eagles were invited and recognized. On occasion a few Cub Scouts would be recognized. Sadly no Sea Scout Quartermasters or Venturing Silver/ Summer recipients in my district.

          2a. Inform and promote the heck out of the event with the families.

 3. Focus on FELLOWSHIP. make it fun.

4. Use local awards so more folks are recognized for what they do.

  4a CAVEAT: use KISS Keep It Short and Simple.

5. If you have a guest speaker, make sure they are interesting and can keep a timelimit.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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31 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

     1a  If in SE Louisiana, and a few other  places, DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR DISTRICT BANQUET DURING CARNIVAL!!!!!!!! Yes I had a DE from outside of the area          adamant that the district banquet would be in March.  It was the weekend before Mardi Gras, and most folks were involved in the parades, so hardly anyone attended, or so I was told since I too was with my family at the parades.

 

This rule should be followed anywhere from Lake Charles to Pensacola!  And not just for District Banquets!

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I'm the leader of our annual award show. I signed up to get someone else to do something. To be honest, though, this show doesn't really help units put on a better program so given all the grief happening this year this is honestly a waste of time. There has got to be something better we can do to help units.

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Times are changing and people are less likely to have time for dinners and banquets. People are busy and when they have time they want to spend it on a family dinner, not a banquet. Even our Blue & Gold and Red & White have become sparsely attended with little interest. I've had better luck with early morning coffees at the local coffee shop before work. Quick, easy, time limited. 

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I wonder what the reaction to COVID will be

1) People are more apt then ever to isolate and not attend such events (Bowling Alone updated)

2) Having been isolated, people will rush to embrace getting out and being with people more than ever.

Time will tell.

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I have attended a few of them.  Personally I find them boring and I would prefer they just come to a unit meeting to hand it to me.  Or maybe hand out the award at a camporee.  None of us do it for the awards, we do it for the kids and the conversations around the campfire.  

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(pre-covid) I already donate a dozen plus hours a week.  Every time I sign up for an "away from home" activity, it affects my marriage and family.  So when I can, I prioritize wife and kids and look for places I can save time.  A formal sit-down dinner is the exact place I can save time. 

I've been involved in the district for a really long time.  I avoid the formal sit down dinners.   I avoid Woodbadge Beadings (10 to 30 min).  Times have changed.  This is not the Ward and June Cleaver era.  People are stressed and won't sit thru pomp.

For awhile, we ran it as an outdoor buffet picnic where unit and district leaders cooked campfire dishes to share.  It made the format fun and social; and I can get things done such as needed conversations.   Sadly, we went back to a formal sit-down event.  

People don't want to waste time.

I second the suggestion ... Be kind, courteous and thrifty..   Bring the awards to the leader where they are already spending their scouting time.  Unit meetings.  Maybe unit adult leader meetings.  District camporees. 

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There's two different audiences for this event:

  1. unit volunteers who normally do not participate in district activities
  2. district volunteers

The reality is that unit volunteers who are otherwise not participating in district activities are very unlikely to show up for another event.  We all have more meeting and requests for our time than we can keep up with - and something like a district awards banquet isn't high on many people's priority lists.  Since the point of these events is to celebrate leaders, the trick is to find another way to celebrate them other than some sort of formal dinner or event.  

For district volunteers, these sort of events provide an opportunity for fellowship with other district volunteers.  It's no different than unit leaders who might get together for a fun event at  the unit level.  However, even for these people - more meetings are yet more time away from family.  So, while they enjoy getting together - for the more committed district volunteers it is difficult to justify another meeting.

My recommendation - fit your district awards into an existing district event.  Roundtable is a great venue for this.  Create a 20 minute program to award all your district awards and make it an item at a roundtable meeting.  Don't take over roundtable and don't make it longer - simply "borrow" some time before breakouts.  Perhaps that month announcements are kept to 5 minutes of critical items and everything else done via. a handout.  Make that 20 minutes of awards the most meaningful 20 minutes you possibly can.  Short announcements of each winner with a fun picture and personal note about each.  Short, succinct, and meaningful.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

Fit your district awards into an existing district event. 

Don't take over roundtable and don't make it longer

Short announcements of each winner with a fun picture and personal note about each. 

Short, succinct, and meaningful.

Yep.  I'd also add a reminder.  Most people did not attend to listen to your awards.  So keeping it short, succinct, FUN and meaningful will make it acceptable to them.   Woodbadge Beadings are a big culprit here.  They almost always run ten minutes or longer.  You have 60 seconds to 20 seconds.  Don't take ten or twenty minutes.  It's painful and I end up regretting being there. 

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WARNING - LONG POST. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT REGULAR INTERVALS FOR REST, NOURISHMENT, AND MILD PAINKILLERS. GET PLENTY OF EXERCIZE BEFORE READING.

A STORY OF WOE, WARNING, AND WEEPING

As dreary or long as some event may be, I dare say few have ever been as bad as our COUNCIL awards nights have been these last two years, which have now, by mandate, superseded all district recognition events, meaning all Silver Beavers, District Awards of Merit, Heroism and Honor Award, Hornaday Awards (or upcoming Conservation Awards), James E. West Fellowship Awards, and Unit Exceptional Scouter Awards are done ON THE SAME NIGHT. One eternal, unending, interminable night where each grinding tick of the clock feels like a thousand years of woe.

Last year, my poor mother, after 30 years of service and finally getting the District Award of Merit she had so long deserved, had to sit through 5 HOURS of awards (5 HOURS) at our Council Awards Night, held in some massive, loud, bonkers family resort hotel up by Disneyland, which has room for thousands of people, yet decided to fit the 500+ guests into a jam-packed, inexplicably tiny ballroom utterly unsuited for the numbers attending, and then- THEN I TELL YOU - they ran out of food halfway through the event, meaning hundreds of attendees had to wait an extra 2 hours while cheap sandwiches, party platters and sodas (which cost $5 per can?!?!?) were rushed in. You should have seen the rush of the crowd when, after hours of waiting for food in a hot, packed room, a shipment of cheap replacement snacks arrived and lines amassed within seconds, some guests even climbing over tables (I kid thee not) for a chance and getting something to eat. For a few feverish moments, I feared we had become hostages in some horrific Hotel Rwanda-like coup meant to eliminate all the Scouting leaders of Orange County in one stroke. Unanswered questions still haunt me at times when the night is dark and I am left alone with my fears. Was this intentional? Were the Girl Scouts behind it? Surely, they wouldn't, couldn't, actually have thought that combining all the council awards presentations into one eternal event of despair and hunger would be a good idea to begin with, did they? 

It was an utter fiasco. Mom formally retired from Scouting a few months later, after her YPT expired. She doesn't specifically cite that event as the cause; after all she was planning on doing so anyway - but as she says, it certainly made the decision a whole lot easier.

This year, I thought I would be spared the repeated trauma since I was getting the DAofM over a live virtual event. We had pictures taken a few weeks ago, which was nice. We drove up to our Council's Outdoor Education Center, stepped out of the car, picked up our awards from masked, gloved event committee members, while pictures were quickly taken, then left - an in-and-out prelude to the event that was smart, safe, and pleasant. I expected that they would use all the photos from that day and compile a nice, meaningful, tasteful tribute to all the award recipients that I would someday be able to show my grandchildren with pride.

Well I should have known better, and while it was indeed only one hour long, we got no such nice, meaningful, tasteful tribute - no, instead, we got this digital monstrosity of mediocrity that I don't even have sufficient language to describe properly. Thus I present it here for all of you now, so that you also will watch and witness my Council's shame (or perhaps you won't, in the which case I don't blame you):

To have these good, dedicated Scouters receive such prestigious, notable honors as the Silver Beaver and the Hornaday Award presented as though they were the cast members of some second-rate 80's sitcom would be downright offensive if it wasn't so clearly the result of simple incompetence and ineptitude, and of course, tastelessness of elephantine proportions -all of which are egregious flaws, true, but ultimately, easily forgiven. I am seriously considering the idea of lobbying my way into the awards night committee just so I can try to restore a modicum of dignity and formality to this event, lest this one COVID-induced anomaly set a standard for future events that will condemn future award recipients and their families to this same kind of humiliating childishness for years to come.

I understand that with our Scouts, we should have fun, and we can even be silly. And I dare say, nobody out-sillies me when the time and place are appropriate, but come on - this is a community event that should be treated with gravitas and respect, hence why the best Courts of Honor are events at which Scouts witness and learn the purpose and power of ceremony, formality, and decorum. Our best Scouters deserve our most sincere respect and honor, and the events of their awarding should reflect that fact. I regret that seriousness is too often confused with severity these days, when there are in fact times and places when it is not only entirely appropriate, but even desirable and uplifting. 

I should also recognize that the pandemic threw all the best plans for this year into the dust, causing a lot of desperate people to resort to desperate measures in an attempt to preserve some degree of normalcy in their lives. So I laud and applaud my council for going to such lengths to make this event happen - the photographers, event planners, council directors, leadership teams, et cetera. There was clearly a lot of time put into this event, and a lot of planning, and a lot of editing - tremendous amounts of commendable effort and money and time. We even have patches and programs for the event in the mail; we got boxes of cookies and treats when we picked up our awards at the photo op, and all the committee members running the program were absolutely lovely.

Which makes the tone of this presentation even more baffling. So much effort went into putting this event together, and yet, this is what we got?! An adult hosting an event for adults, but still trying to come off as childish and obviously trying to be funny, is never funny. I watched the event with my neighbor family across the street whose many young sons have all been Scouts of mine at one time or another, and NOT ONCE DID ANY OF THEM LAUGH. Well, not true, they laughed AT the presentation, but not WITH it, if you get my meaning. And what, in the world, were they thinking with some of these music tracks? Who in their right minds forces good people to receive awards honoring their hard work and dedication while accompanied by clowns playing kazoos?! Is this how we feel about these award? Is this all some kind of game to them? DO THEY MOCK US? Oh, and worst of all, the inevitable, interminable slideshows. OH PLEASE WORLD, PUT AND END TO THIS PRACTICE OF PHOTO SLIDESHOWS MY GOOD GRAVY NOBODY LIKES STARING AT THIS MANY PHOTOS ALL AT ONCE WHILE TRAPPED LISTENING TO LOUD AND CHEAPLY-MADE AND EMPTY-HEADED 'MUSIC' PLEASE IN THE NAME OF ALL HUMANITY

Sigh ... so as you can all see, The Latin Scot is still processing whatever just happened last night. Thank goodness my deep-seated aversion to bragging of any kind kept me from telling anybody about it until the last minute - only a few family members and friends were able to catch it, which in the end spared me a more legitimate embarrassment than the usual kind that comes from unsought attention. But I feel somebody could have done so much better, and where the ball was dropped in the process, I know not, but I intend to find out - and to do something about it, so that maybe next year, our council recognition event will be worthy of the magnitude of service the awards, their recipients and their guests represent.

🦅

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1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

WARNING - LONG POST. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT REGULAR INTERVALS FOR REST, NOURISHMENT, AND MILD PAINKILLERS. GET PLENTY OF EXERCIZE BEFORE READING.

A STORY OF WOE, WARNING, AND WEEPING

 

We had a WB beading ceremony (??) that was done at a troop meeting.  Ran, I kid you not, 45 minutes.  I too felt like we were hostages.   Most leaders input was "and that's why I will never go to WB"

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