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5 hours ago, fred8033 said:

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. 

Another possibility is to spread out the awards over many roundtables.  Perhaps each May you do Cub Scout leader awards.  September you do Scouts BSA leader awards.  February Venturing leader awards.  December district leader awards.  etc...  Other months a quick recognition of training awards or WB beadings.  Make it a 5-10 minute segment at tops.

I like leveraging Roundtable in this fashion for awards for several reasons:

  1. We are leveraging an existing event to present an award.  There isn't another meeting you have to attend
  2. It provides the opportunity for leaders to demonstrate appropriate awards ceremonies.  It provides training through examples.
  3. It provides a motivation to newer leaders
  4. It focuses on Roundtable as the monthly district meeting.  Just as a troop meeting of pack meeting has multiple purposes, so too can Roundtable.
Edited by ParkMan
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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

54 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

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"

I had a similar "learning" experience.  Key learning ... Negotiate time allowed to present.   Make sure they expected to be cut off.   Then, cut them off if they run over.   Be nice.  Give them a little extra, but cut them off.   Because someone wants to present does not mean they can hold the group hostage.  

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

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"

Adult BSA awards and honors have NO business at a unit event.

I'll add one exception that I personally participated in that was I think is the only exception. Our CO is a church. A parishioner who had been involved at council and national level scouting for 30+ years was award the Silver Buffalo. As in BSA National's top award. I went to my Committee Chair and suggested we acknowledge that award at the next Court of Honor.3- 5 minutes in which the honoree's Scouting accomplishments were read aloud (by the ASPL) and he was acknowledged. Round of applause. Done.

I know some units, will honor and recognize the Scoutmaster/Cubmaster Key or the Scoutmaster/Cubmaster Award of Merit. I guess I can see that, but even that is a "maybe" for me. Unit events are to honor scouts. Not adults.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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5 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Adult BSA awards and honors have NO business at a unit event.

I disagree.  A unit is a community- youth who participate in the program, adults who volunteer to make it happen.  Taking a few minutes periodically to appropriately recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the adults sets a very good example for the youth.  It sets a good example for other adult volunteers.  It shows adults and Scouts in the room that the leaders in that unit are investing in their skills as a leader.  It provides an example for Scouts to mimic as they themselves present awards.  Finally, it's nice for a parent to get some recognition in front of their child.  

To be clear though - the operative phrase is appropriate recognition.  A lot of substance can be conveyed in 30-60 seconds.

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7 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Taking a few minutes periodically to appropriately recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the adults sets a very good example for the youth. 

We'll agree to disagree.

Scouting is suppose to be about the youth. Not the adults.

Scouting is suppose to be about the youth's accomplishments. Not the adults.

Scouting is suppose to honor the youth's awards. Not the adults.

Adults awarding each other awards should not be part of the equation. Do it at a district event, a committee meeting, the next SM/ASM meeting, etc.

As I said, I was willing for Silver Buffalo only because it was literally BSA's top adult honor, but that was it.

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There is a difference between being appreciated and being recognized, a difference between achievement and award.

Some prefer a sincere individual thank you, others a more official public praise. Some are satisfied with their achievement without recognition.

My $0.02,

 

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

We'll agree to disagree.

Scouting is suppose to be about the youth. Not the adults.

Scouting is suppose to be about the youth's accomplishments. Not the adults.

Scouting is suppose to honor the youth's awards. Not the adults.

Adults awarding each other awards should not be part of the equation. Do it at a district event, a committee meeting, the next SM/ASM meeting, etc.

As I said, I was willing for Silver Buffalo only because it was literally BSA's top adult honor, but that was it.

I'm happy for us to agree to disagree on this.

Scouting is a youth program in which adults volunteer their time.  Taking a minute every so often to publicly say - "you did something notable" - to an adult volunteer is a good thing and it's good for youth to see that.  This is especially true for the direct contact leaders.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.  These things don't happen too often, so taking 30 seconds to recognize an adult who receives some adult recognition or award is a good thing.

Yes - it's a youth program for the youth.  But I think we can insert an appropriate pat on the back for our volunteers every so often.

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56 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'm happy for us to agree to disagree on this.

Scouting is a youth program in which adults volunteer their time.  Taking a minute every so often to publicly say - "you did something notable" - to an adult volunteer is a good thing and it's good for youth to see that.  This is especially true for the direct contact leaders.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.  These things don't happen too often, so taking 30 seconds to recognize an adult who receives some adult recognition or award is a good thing.

Yes - it's a youth program for the youth.  But I think we can insert an appropriate pat on the back for our volunteers every so often.

Yep.  A well targeted, meaningful "30 second" recognition can help recruit new volunteers and also show other scouts and parents the hard work of the leader.  

Perhaps the key thing is "30 seconds".  "30 seconds" means "30 seconds".  As scouters, we often hear "30 seconds" and then lose 5 or 10 minutes.  Five minutes is not appropriate in front of youth to recognize an adult.  "30 seconds" to recognize adults in front of youth happens all the time and is absolutely appropriate. 

All of this is about not wasting people's time.  Don't waste youth's time.  Don't waste adult's time.  Don't waste leaders time.  ... Don't penalize an adult by giving him an award and then making him lose an evening to get recognized. 

We can agree to disagree.  ... I think it's good for youth to see their adults are investing significant time and being recognized for that.  

Edited by fred8033
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Our Council recently moved to combine several related events into one in person weekend:

  • Scouter's Annual Conference / U of Scouting
  • Council Annual Meeting
  • Quarterly Council Executive Board Meeting
  • Council Awards/Recognition: Silver Beaver, NESA OES, Alumni of the Year, and any national court of honor stuff like a Medal of Honor or Heroism Award.
  • If we had an Eagle recognition dinner, we'd do it here too - just too challenging to get eagles all together in person across a huge geography that we have

Our District following suit decided to take one of our monthly roundtable and district meeting times, at the end of the academic year, and make it a kind of District annual meeting, that would include district-level recognitions, like DAM and our own unique council and district awards, and any Woodbadge beading that might be needed.

The two hour meeting includes a report from the District chair looking back on the past year, a kind of state of the district address, an address/presentation from the Scout Executive, presentations of awards, and some practical planning ahead work (not in this order, necessarily). 

The District event will be virtual, even aside from the pandemic. We keep awards short. A few minutes for each award, with a little bio presentation for only the DAM. Everything else also gets published in newsletter and online. We had a WB beading for three people last year, i think it took 10 minutes max. 

 

One thing we always have to be careful about is making too much an insider's event, or making people wonder why they came in the first place.

I have been active in Scouting in three different periods, as a Scout ('89-'96), in Stateside councils ('03-'09) and overseas ('18-present). When I first got overseas in '09, I contacted anyone I could find online to get involved in a troop, district, or council level and never got a single response, this went on for a couple years before I took it as a sign to volunteer my time elsewhere. I filled out an alumni survey in '10 stating my interest, joined a fb group in '14 when i found one for my district, but not until '18 did anyone ask or respond to my interest to get involved. The people I've met are great, since, but something wasn't working back then. 

I showed up at the U of Scouting / annual conference not having met anyone in person yet, and it was fine, but I do remember so many acronyms I did not know, and some cultural assumptions I had forgotten about, and then at one point someone gets up to start singing. Then others run up at different verses forming a circle and singing about various animals. Then by the last verse, there is me and like four other people sitting alone at our various tables while everyone else is up there singing some song about some happy land they want to go back to, which meant nothing to me. Finally, after it was all over, someone explains this has something to do with Woodbadge and we should go. Honestly, if I hadn't already signed up, I probably would not have after that. Too cliquish. And from what I've learned since, in many places it is a lot worse.

I was at an event for a non-Scouting service organization once, at the Council/State level, where it seemed like everyone "in power" was related. I do not exaggerate, the event MC was brother of the State Chair, who was cousin of the State Chaplain, the Family of the Year was cousins on another side, and everybody on the executive body seemed to have gone to high school together. In another, the same person had been the chair for 20 years, and the secretary had been in office for 30. Nepotism and cronyism are not good looks in any non-profit/service organization. 

So,  who's the audience? Are we trying to have a big district wide event that will appeal to everyone in the district? That should involve CORs and parents who know none of the acronyms and lingo and are not "insiders" of BSA culture? Or is it just the people getting awards and their families? How would someone feel who just transferred to the District, or is a first year volunteer if they came to the event? How do we celebrate the whole district and keep focus on scouts, while taking time just this once to recognize the volunteers who give so much? 

Make it fun but not childish, keep it from dragging on but don't let the honorees be rushed, and be willing not to do it "like we've always done it". Maybe combine a couple of things to maximize people's time. 

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@The Latin Scot, I feel your pain, but I can't help laughing. At it's corps, compared to 40 years ago:

  • We now have units with 2-4 times the number of adult leaders.
  • We have districts the size of councils.
  • We have councils the size of areas.

Thus the awards to be given have far outstripped the number of entities awarding them.

I think the spirit for a district leader recognition event is in the right place, but it should:

  • Offer the intimacy (fellowship) that a council can't possibly offer.
  • Be as positive toward that scouters who don't attend as those that do.
  • Recognize regional divisions that may require nuance -- e.g., hold it in a different town each year, one year let the 1st language be Spanish, another year have youth put on a skit about their beloved SM, etc ...
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Great comments.  

Love the comment about avoiding the "insider" focus.  So so true.

 

5 hours ago, Protoclete said:

We had a WB beading for three people last year, i think it took 10 minutes max.  ... One thing we always have to be careful about is making too much an insider's event

IMHO ... ten minutes is eight or nine minutes too long.  The audience did not show up to recognize the importance of Woodbadge.  Personally, I like Woodbadge and I grew from taking it.  ... My negative is because it's proportionally way out of balance.   Our district has had 10 minutes beadings month after month.  I just don't want to sit thru those ceremonies anymore.  Even two minutes is too long at some point.  

Here's my ideal script recognition script:  "Next up:  Woodbadge ticket completions.   Would the following individuals stand up.  Troop 603 Assistant scoutmaster Felix Unger.   Pack 801 cubmaster P.W.  Herman.   These individuals have completed their Woodbadge tickets and have received their beads.  Let's have a round of applause."   ... Done ...

We should absolutely celebrate someone finishing Woodbadge, but let them and their friends do their extended celebration on their own within the Woodbadge structure.

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On 2/6/2021 at 6:58 PM, wearrepair said:

How could a district make their event interesting, a must attend event which all would want to attend?

Can't be done.  Adult awards are given for only one reason. It is to butter people up so that they will make larger donations.  An adult award is nothing more than a solicitation.  

 

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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

Great comments.  

Love the comment about avoiding the "insider" focus.  So so true.

 

IMHO ... ten minutes is eight or nine minutes too long.  The audience did not show up to recognize the importance of Woodbadge.  Personally, I like Woodbadge and I grew from taking it.  ... My negative is because it's proportionally way out of balance.   Our district has had 10 minutes beadings month after month.  I just don't want to sit thru those ceremonies anymore.  Even two minutes is too long at some point.  

Here's my ideal script recognition script:  "Next up:  Woodbadge ticket completions.   Would the following individuals stand up.  Troop 603 Assistant scoutmaster Felix Unger.   Pack 801 cubmaster P.W.  Herman.   These individuals have completed their Woodbadge tickets and have received their beads.  Let's have a round of applause."   ... Done ...

We should absolutely celebrate someone finishing Woodbadge, but let them and their friends do their extended celebration on their own within the Woodbadge structure.

If Woodbadge is just another training as has been stated numerous times, why is there any ceremony for completing it? Completion of IOLS does not necessitate a ceremony. Completing a training is not an award.

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