As Mark Twain said “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.” Like most volunteer Scouters I am not a Scoutmaster to earn awards and I didn’t want to look like I was – so for years I never wore my square knots.
When I bought a new centennial uniform shirt I sewed on my square knots. Frankly wearing them feels a little sanctimonious. On the other hand not wearing them is equally sanctimonious, just in the opposite direction.
I’ve been a Scoutmaster since 1984 when, at the ripe old age of 24, I agreed to take over for a Scoutmaster who was ready to retire. I was never a boy Scout as a youth but I have always enjoyed the outdoors and doing what I can to help out.
Presented for distinguished service to young people within a BSA local council.
District Award of Merit
Awarded for five or more years service to youth in the District. The nominee’s attitude toward and cooperation with the district, division, and/or council is to be taken into consideration.
Boy Scout Leader’s Training Award
Recognizes that a scouter has completed a course of intensive training.
Scoutmaster Award of Merit
Awarded to Scoutmasters who have a record of proper use of the Boy Scout advancement program, resulting in a majority of troop Boy Scouts attaining the First Class rank, Development of boy leadership through the patrol method, Positive relations with the troop’s chartered organization, extensive outdoor program including strong summer camp attendance, positive image of Scouting in the community and a troop operation that attracts and retains Boy Scouts.
I should also mention that I staffed at our summer camp for twelve years in various directorships including two seasons as the camp director. I have worked with literally thousands of Scouts and leaders and have administered a staff of eighty counselors. Beyond that I have also staffed many training sessions. I am a Vigil Honor member of The Order of the Arrow.
No , I never attended Woodbadge (an advanced training program for Scout leaders). Why? Well, nobody would tell me what it was about. When I asked to look at a syllabus or schedule for the week I would have to spend taking the course I was rebuffed. I suppose I am a little cross-grained at times.
I’ve been at this for most of my adult life and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. It has been quite an education.
Long-time readers will note that my approach to “debatable questions” has evolved as the blog and podcast have grown. My approach is succinctly and eloquently laid out in this statement from the 1914 Scoutmaster’s Handbook:
The Scout Movement is not antagonistic to any civic enterprise, but rather seeks to cooperate with all other good movements in the interest of the boy. The Movement is wholly non-sectarian and plans to work with every sect and creed alike; it is non-military, and seeks to promote Peace Scouting and to develop educational character-building for good citizenship. It is wholly non-partisan. It cannot favor one interest against another and cannot countenance interference on any debatable questions, whether social, religious or political.
From time to time I receive email or comments that touch on debatable questions. Scoutmastercg.com is focused on sharing useful ideas, informing volunteer Scout leaders and inspiring us all to service. This is not a forum for debating the membership policies of the Boy Scouts of America, questions of politics or religious arguments. I will respond to honest questions touching on these matters in email if I deem it would be helpful to the individual asking the question. Otherwise email or comments that I determine intrude into the territory of ‘debatable questions’ go unanswered or unapproved for publication in the comments section of the blog.