News You Can Use: Winning best all-around at conclave inspires lodge

By Nicholas Goldrosen

What conclave would be complete without awards? Awards at conclave are certain: best Pre-Ordeal Ceremony, most lodge spirit and many more. But seldom will you find an award like Section SR-1B has, the “Best All-Around Lodge Award.” For SR-1B’s 2014 section conclave this prestigious award went to Cowikee Lodge.

The process for winning the award begins far ahead of conclave. Lodges gain points prior to conclave based on Journey To Excellence performance, OA High Adventure program participation, National Leadership Seminar attendance, lodge service to council camps, quality and ease of use of a lodge website, lodge publications, Cub Scouting program and council of chiefs meeting attendance. Then, at that year’s conclave the lodges are awarded points in a variety of competitions including ceremonies, attendance, lodge spirit and historical displays. For the first time this year, the award was tied into a service project, with points being awarded based upon how much food each lodge brought in for a local food bank. This was an idea contributed by a Cowikee Lodge member.

Cowikee Lodge Chief Jay Guild described the award as a “long-standing tradition” of the section. Guild and his brothers had their eyes set on bringing the tradition home to their lodge. “It was a goal of ours for a while, and we had wanted it for a while,” he said. “This is the year we were going to get it.”

Cowikee’s performance at conclave was spectacular. The lodge won first place in the Pre-Ordeal, Ordeal and Brotherhood Ceremonies, as well as for their lodge website: www.cowikee.org. They finished second in publications, scrapbook, talent show and kickball, and also won in the Native American drumming competition. Guild said the lodge also had 100% of its delegation trained at conclave, helping it win the Morgan Weed Award as well.

Morgan Weed was a former chief of Cowikee Lodge, area chief and a 1965 Distinguished Service Award recipient. The award is given annually in his memory for excellence in training, as Weed was killed in action in Vietnam.

The award is still sending ripples through Cowikee. Guild said, “[The award] means a whole bunch to the lodge. We were very excited about it when we came home from conclave, and in fact we are still talking about it at lodge executive committee meetings.”

Guild also made it clear that Cowikee wants to hang onto the award for some time. When asked how it might affect the lodge going forward, he said that they intend to “keep it for the foreseeable future.” Winning the award in the future would certainly be a signal of a very successful lodge. Receipt of the award not only shows how the lodge did in competitions, but also demonstrates the lodge’s service to its own members through publications, training and JTE performance. Any lodge would want to be recognized for doing that well.

Guild summed up what the award means to Cowikee by saying, “We worked really hard for it, we’re really happy to have it and we look forward to keeping it for the foreseeable future.”

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