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Something that I have been thinking about is the District Award of Merit. I have some thoughts on it, but I would like your thoughts also. How many years of service, any Pre-requiste would you look for? Woodbadge, Eagle, participation in other than unit level? When recamandations were asked for at our Roundtable the other day, most of the people that came to mind already had it. Please share some of your thoughts of what you look for to see if someone measures up.


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From the DAM nomination form:

Eagle, Den Leaders Award, DL Training Award, Cub Master Award Web. DL Award, Scouter Award, Scoutmaster Key, Silver Beaver, OA, Scouter Religious Awards. Also noteworthy service to youth inside and outside of scouting, their scouting position and the opportunity to render outstanding service beyond the expectations of the scouting program. Service to church, community organizations, professional affiliations that have involvement in the community that might be related to serving children.


I just submitted DAM nom. for our CC. It took 4 months to dig up anything on him because he's so quite about his past achievements. He was ASM for 1 yr., SM for 5 yr., Eagle, Worked a number of years on the camp honors staff, K of C, Parochial school sports equip. manager, Secretary for the HS Touchdown Club and I don't remember what else. It all looks good on the DAM form

Hope this helps.

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You might want to check the nomination form at http://www.scouting.org/forms/33720.pdf


To quote: "The award is available to Scouters who render service of an outstanding nature at the district level."


"Consideration must be given to the nominee's Scouting position and the corresponding opportunity to render outstanding service beyond the expectations of that Scouting position."


"The nominee's attitude toward and cooperation with the district and/or council is to be taken into consideration."


So, as the name implies, this is an award for district service. The nomination form has check boxes for lots of awards that could be earned. I wouldn't confine myself to just looking at awards received, but more importantly at service above and beyond the call of duty at the district level. Some ideas might include performing an outstanding job at either Day Camp or a district camporee. Or working with in several different areas of district service - a nominee might help out with FOS, School Night for Scouting, District PWD and Day Camp.


Some might want to nominate a SM who has served for 25 years and produced a lot of Eagles. While that is very admirable, I don't see it as strong criteria for the DAM. There are other awards for that SM; the DAM should be reserved for those serving the district.

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I concur primarily with BrentAllen.


A District Awards committee, will primarily look at Scouters that have provided service to their fellow Scouts and Scouters across the district. District PWDs, District Camporees, District Roundtables, District Training, District Merit Badge events, District Scouting Expo or Shows. Events like these benefit a majority of the youth in a geographic area, or sometimes benefit their fellow leaders.


It is an honor to work directly with Scouts in a unit, as a Den Leader, Cubmaster, Assistant Cubmaster or Scoutmaster. But sometimes, their skills may benefit more Scouts around them by occasional taking charge of larger events.


This is a dilemma. If a Scouter chairs an event for 750 Scouts and Adults, they would need a temporary replacement leader for their 50 Cubs or Scouts in own unit. Probably more common at Cub Day Camps, where the experienced and seasoned DL's will run various activity stations, while parents will be "walkers" or "escorts. It is a family sacrifice sometimes though, watching your own sons pass thru your event or station, while you assist your managerial skills, pizzazz or specialty skills to a camporee staff. Some awards committees will look at fellow Scouters which diverse their time amongst the district as well as their own primary unit.


Although, on some occasion, in rural Scouting, a district may basically run out of potential candidates. (Ideally, over the years, all the Commissioners and District participants have been recognized with the District Award of Merit). It happens on occasion, then the Awards Committee will begin to review, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutermasters, Cubmasters, and Den Leaders, who have delivered the promise to their unit, and maybe "stood-in" at a Camporee station or accepted a "walker" position at Day camp.


Let me finish by saying. Some Scouters are against any and all adult recognitions, some are for adult recognitions. I am for it. Adult recognitions do a few things. It allows for the "atta-boys", it allows us to give a fifty cent patch to an adult and make them feel like a million bucks, but I believe ultimately, the recognition patches allows for us to recognize their sacrificed weekends, it give fellow Scouters something (to prevent burn out) and keep them coming back, weekend after weekend, and year, after year, after year.


Hopefully your District Award of Merit nominee is highly deserving and wears it proudly in front of their unit and their son(s).


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


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After 20 years in the district having served many different committees, on train in Cubbing, Webelos, Webelos Outdoor, Scoutmaster Fundamentals and Venturing trained programs, (many of which I have gone on to lead), been unit leader in two different units, woodbadge trained (C9W-93), active outside of scouting, etc. etc. etc. and because I have never been "active" in the roundtables and chummed up to the others who vote, I won't ever receive the DAM award. Here it makes no difference what your "qualifications" are, it's who you know and who's your buddy. This past year, after being nominated for the award for the past 15 years, (I know how Susan Lucci feels!), once more I was passed up. The District Executive made a special visit to apologize for the traditional slighting. In this case, the award is given based on politics and the good-old-boy network. The lady who was a first year cubmaster and who organized the district dinner, and an Eagle Scout who's been an ASM for 3 years, were honored. Nothing wrong with these credentials, but there are a lot of other leaders who are too busy working with their boys to get such recognition.


Because of this, it's value has indeed been reduced to a mere shadow of what it was intended to convey.


Smooze and glad-handing is how one goes about getting the award.


And as far as my smoozing is concerned, my two units are in two different districts so my efforts will always be divided.


It's a good thing I do this scouting thingy for the boys and not myself, I would have quit years ago. I have resolved myself to the fact that if the district ever decides to award me the DAM award, they can come to one of our troop's COH and my SPL can make the presentation. Otherwise, forget it.


Sorry for the whiney venting, but sometimes it is obvious that scouting isn't always what it says it is.





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I'm on our district committee and the awards sub-committee. We base DAM selections strictly on service at/to the district level. Consequently this means the receipients are always day camp people, commissioners or OA chapter folks. There seems to be a bias against M&M (money and membership) volunteers on the district committee, but truthfully those folks seem to rotate off before the meet the tenure requirement.


Service at the unit level -- Cubmasters, Scoutmaster, Den Leaders, etc. -- doesn't count. Neither does service at the Council level. Our district camping chairman's nomination was declined because those things he had done which were most noteworthy were for th Council camping committee. That this guy was a member of the Council camping committee because he was our DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE to the Council made no difference.


Although I'm on the selection committee, I have a standing objection to the criteria we use. In my opinion, the function of the district is unit service. Consequently, the highest form of service to the district is running a really great unit program. We overlook a lot of great volunteers who do terrific work in our district simply because they focus on their unit, not district events.


It is curious to me that at the Council level, Silver Beaver awards are routinely awarded to long-term volunteers who provide exemplary service only at the unit level. We have Silver Beaver recipients who have never earned the DAM.


As to the perpetual problem of avoiding the good ol' boy network, our committee only considers individuals for awards based on written nominations. We may know of a volunteer who is really deserving of recognition, but if no one thought enough of them to nominate them, we, as a committee, won't make the award out of the blue. This keeps the committee from getting together and giving the awards to our buddies. We do, however, do a little politicking during the nomination process to encourage nominations of deserving folks.


The down side of this is that there are years where the nominations are pretty sparse. Part of the problem is that the people who are involved and get the nomination forms are the ones who should be nominated. We've been trying to get the nomination forms out to the second-tier volunteers and parents to make them aware that they need to nominate the leaders in their units.

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In our district, in addition to the general call for nominations, we ask each of the units turn in a nomination form at recharter for someone that they feel should recieve the award. These then go to the selection committee where they are reviewed. They look at what they have done, how long they have been involved and other criteria. Normally, you have to have served at least 5 years, but that is not a written requirment

It says on the nomination form, not to let the person know you are nominating them. This year we had at least 17 different names on the nominations. We only can award 3.

Although it is for district service, I would agree that a CC or SM who had been involved for many years and have touched the lives of the many youth of their unit, especially if the unit is involved in all of the district activites, could be considered because they are the district too. But that is mostly service above the normal calling for a CC or SM, maybe

I think they look at the awards that the nominees have earned, most have turned in their paperwork, but that does not add up to who has more

I am not sure if I would include Eagle, as that technically is an award they earned as a youth. Woodbadge doens't hurt, but that to me would be more of what you get out of Woodbadge That being Woodbadge is just a beginning

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From the DAM nomination form:


A nominee must have rendered noteworthy service to youth in Scouting, outside Scouting, or both.

Note: The nature and value of noteworthy service to youth may consist of a single plan or decisions that contributed

vitally to the lives of large numbers of youth or it may have been given to a small group over an extended period

of time.


This tells me that a scouter doesn't need to serve at the District level to receive the DAM and that the DAM Committee should consider service at the unit level absolutely valid for the award. What really should be considered is service that "contributed vitally" youth. Whether or not that service is related to scouting or not really shouldn't matter!



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How do you deal with the second sentence under General Information:


"The award is available to Scouters who render service of an outstanding nature at the district level."


To me, that statement predicates the requirements. That limits your pool.

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One problem I faced when I was serving at the District level was trying to get people to send in the darn forms.

I have sat on a lot of Awards Committees.Both District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver.

While I like to think that the "good-old-boy network". Doesn't exist, I do feel at times the committee can be taken in by the "Squeaky Wheel".

While when selecting Silver Beaver recipients, I did take into account service to youth outside of Scouting, I never (rightly or wrongly?) took this into account for the District Award of Merit.

I do feel that everyone who helps deliver a good program to the youth we serve is supporting the District. But worthy as a someone who works in the background might be. (Like a CC) I think it's understandable that a committee makes the award to people that they see doing things.

We never really paid much attention to WB or Eagle Scout, but attitude did play a big part.

Every year one unit would nominate all the leaders in the unit.The set up was the wife was COR but seemed to be in charge of what might be called a Pack? It was a mix of Cub Scouts and Camp Fire with meetings that mixed boys and girls. - I never really worked out what they were doing. They never attended any District event, participated in supporting the FOS or Popcorn sale. When I was District Commissioner I had to track them down and chase them to get the charter in. I looked at them as being a real pain.


Sadly the husband who was SM and his wife split up. Now the pack or whatever it was is gone and the Troop is down to less than 8 Scouts - So maybe in their own weird and wonderful way, they were supporting the District.

Still at the time I felt it would be a very cold day before they ever got my vote.

We have awarded the District Award of Merit to the guy who has served as our Community FOS Chair. He does a wonderful job, but I think he is the only non-program type we have ever awarded it too. Where as we have awarded the Silver Beaver to people who have donated large sums of money every year for many years. This didn't go over very well with the uniformed volunteers. I seen it as "Service to youth".

One thing that has always puzzled me is when they read out all the accomplishments of some the recipients? The lists seem to go on and on. I often wonder how the heck do they find the time to fit it all in?

Maybe I'm just a lazy toad!!


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Although this topic is a refresher from out of the past, it is always good to review. The DAM and the SB are for District and Council participation, not for unit participation. This being said, there is always someone making a good case for just the opposite on both counts. There are those that also feel that it is a "good buddy award" and there certainly is a case for that as well. Heck, I have even known people to build there own resume and give it to a Toady to circulate, much like a school promoting their own player for the Heisman award. One Scouter, an SE, that I knew was against the award system because he felt that it promoted the person instead of the program and sure enough, he was also right. In a way, awards get us to a side of Scouting and ourselves that most of us don't like to recognize or scrutinize and that is, "What reason do we do what we do?"


In the Mid-east, it is my understanding that people are blowing themselves up for 72 virgins, which I personally find appalling and so far removed from reality that one must be crazy to apply but many do. I am unsure about the reason that women have for doing it other than getting away from men that would find that reason attractive. It may be that they don't have a life in the first place or that it is the only way they can find recognition. That being said, one must look closely at any investment of time and effort to figure out the reason(s) that we do anything in this life. Do people work only for money or do they work because they feel that they can make a difference? If it is to make a difference then shouldn't that be enough, all by itself?


In the Christian Bible, people are doing to get a Heavenly re/award. So, I guess, if that is the case, then getting earthly awards are acceptable. I also realize that awards may promote a person to feel like that they are above themselves or, on the other hand, it may just bring them to a place where they begin to accept themselves and realize self-worth/esteem. So, awards can have good and bad reasons to be sought after and given. I guess we could use the gun analogy that guns don't kill people to try and discern the truth about awards but it is messy and it is the present system. I suppose we should just be very careful when using them. fb


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In our District (Hightower Trail) we also have an award for units to award to exceptional leaders, called the Trailblazer Award. At first, a unit could only award one Trailblazer per year, but in recent years that number has increased to 3 per year. We don't award a knot, but we do give the recipient a small round pin, about the size of a nickel, that can be worn on the left pocket flap. This allows units to recognize their leaders that give great service to their unit, but may not be involved at the district or council levels. The only real problem we have is some units either aren't aware of the award, or just choose not to use it. As was mentioned earlier, the ones who may really deserve it are sometimes the only Scouters in the unit who know about it, so they are always nominating others. A good UC can usually straighten that out.


Here is the nomination form for our Trail Blazer Award: http://hightowertrailbsa.com/Documents/Advancement/TrailblazerNominationForm.pdf

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FB, Appaling? Which, the human bomb or the 72 virgins? Talk about M-E-T gone awry by 24 fold. Just kidding.


Eamonn, Silver Beavers for large sums of money!!! I thought that was what the James E. West Fellowship Award was for. Maaabe it's time to pull the crutches out from under some of those good old boys and give them the award they are actually deserving of and not water down the Silver Beaver.


Again talk about confusing." outstanding service to the District", "outstanding service to youth inside and outside of Scouting", Is service to the District the main determinating factor? Should the requirements be rewritten by National striking "Service to youth in and out of scouting" and have that part be considered under other achievements. Leave it to National to make thing confusing.


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"outstanding service to the District", "outstanding service to youth inside and outside of Scouting"


Maybe I'm just altruistic, but I don't see any confusion or contradiction here. The "district" is just a geographic boundary or, in other words, just an area that contains people. If a person contributes vitally to the youth in that area, isn't that person providing outstanding service to the district? I believe so.



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I think this thread is going sideways, but to go back to Brians original question

At the end of the day, the district Award of merit committee needs to look at all of the nominees and determine who in their best judgement to see if someone deserves the award.

*Has he/she rendered service of an outstanding nature at the district level..

Yes, but what constitutes district level service can be debated, as districts are the operating arm of the council and the units are the district, but I think they should look at their involvement. Are they a UC, are they on the district committee in some form, have they run district activities, have they done FOS, SNS, or any other district function for a period of time.Have they provided service of an outstanding nature to a group of youth over a period of time. If someone served as council camping chair as a delegate of the dsitrict, imho, they should be considered

I once heard of a district where some people were trying to nominate the IH of a Charter org. His church sponsors eight units and is very supportive of scouting providing space for district training and sponsoring religious award classes for the district. Does he meet the criteria? He's a registered scouter, makes a difference in the lives of the youth, both in and out of scouting, but does he meet the district level criteria that is being discussed.. I think he would, others might disagree

*Has he/she rendered outstanding service beyond the expectations of that Scouting position...

Have they given a lot more than that "hour a week "(lol). Ideally this would be someone who has been there consistently, not someone who is a "one hit wonder" Someone metntioned a "walker" at day camp, Hopefully we can raise the bar for D.A.M. a bit higher than that. A district does not need to present all of the awards it is entitled to. If everyone possible has earned the award, that district needs to look to recruiting some new blood, IMO

I can't give a specific time period (maybe 5 years, maybe a little less depending what they have done in that time. Maybe more. You need to look at their service.)


*Has the nominee's attitude toward and cooperation with the district and/or council is to be taken into consideration...

Do they particpate in dsitrict and council activities?. We all know unit scouters who would not give the time of day to a person requesting help on a district event, but would bend over backwards to help a their unit..IMHO, No they would not qualify. They have other awards for that.

(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Randy)

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