Jim & Patti Schwartz – 2017 Medfield Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim and Patti Schwartz were selected as to receive the 2017 Medfield Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award last month by the judges. Jim and Patti were nominated by Gus Murby, with input from the other leaders of Boy Scout Troop 89, per Gus.
Jim and Patti, plus all the remarkable eight other Medfield volunteers who were nominated this year will be celebrated at the reception next Sunday, March 19 at 3PM at The Center. The public is invited to attend.
Brothers Marketplace generously sponsored the 2017 Medfield Foundation volunteer awards and support was also received from the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.
Below is the nomination submitted by Gus Murby.
This recommendation is submitted as a combined recommendation for both Jim and Patti Schwartz, primarily for the involvement they have had over several decades as adult leaders in Medfield’s Troop 89 Boy Scout Troop. Jim and Patti have functioned as a seamless team throughout that time in working to meet the needs of the troop. The intention of this recommendation is not just to recognize them as two individuals worthy of consideration for this award, but to recognize their collaborative partnership over all this time and to acknowledge the extraordinary impact that partnership has had on the success of Troop 89 over an extended period.
Jim Schwartz has been a life-long volunteer leader with the Boy Scouts of America who has, over the past 23 years, held leadership positions with Medfield Troop 89. Extending from his own personal scouting career where he earned Eagle Scout rank, Jim started his career as a volunteer adult leader back in 1969 as an Assistant Scout Master in Troop 662 in Cheviot, Ohio. Jim subsequently filled a number of adult leadership positions over the ensuring years in both Ohio and Herndon, VA, where Jim was the founding Scoutmaster for a new Boy Scout troop. Over the course of his four years as Scoutmaster of the newly formed Herndon Boy Scout troop, 5 scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout – a remarkable achievement for a troop that had just formed. Jim first started serving as a volunteer adult Boy Scout leader in Medfield Troop 89 in 1994, serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster from 1994 – 2003. In 2003, Jim took on the job of serving as Troop 89’s Troop Committee Chairman, a position he held from 2003 through 2016.
The job of Troop Committee Chairman is a critical one for ensuring the ongoing success of a Boy Scout Troop. The Boy Scout Troop Committee effectively functions as a Board of Directors for a Boy Scout Troop, but the role of the committee involves more than just formal oversight. The Troop Committee, and the Troop Committee Chairman, in particular, works closely with the Troop Scoutmaster to ensure the troop has the funding, equipment, leadership, and standards that are needed to ensure the troop operates in a manner that offers meaningful development opportunities for scouts while maintaining high standards of safety and decorum. In this role, because of his extensive experience in scouting, Jim has been a unique source of insight, judgment, and practical advice on what is needed to run a highly effective scouting program. The effectiveness of Jim’s insight and experience can readily be seen in the high enrollment the troop has maintained over the years; the numerous high adventure trips that the troop has offered to its more experienced scouts; and in the number of scouts who have achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. Over the course of Jim’s tenure with Troop 89, a total of 73 scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout – a number that far exceeds the average number of scouts a Boy Scout troop would expect to produce.
The value of Jim’s experience can also be seen in the successes of a long line of scoutmasters in the troop who were able to “come up to speed” very quickly by tapping Jim’s corporate memory around troop operations and Boy Scout administrative procedures. During the time he has served as Troop Committee Chairman, Jim has worked with 5 different scoutmasters to help them fully assume their responsibilities as Scoutmaster.
Beyond his formal, long-standing role as Troop Committee Chairman, Jim also served as a key leader on 5 different Boy Scout High Adventure trips (2003 Northern Tier canoe trip, 2004 Philmont backpacking trip, 2005 Allagash canoe trip, 2006 Seabase Sailing trip, and 2008 Philmont backpacking trip). High Adventure trips are ambitious outdoor adventure trips designed to challenge older, more experienced scouts by introducing them to more physically and mentally demanding activities, usually in geographically remote locations. Because of this, the responsibilities of the adult leaders on these trips are significant. They include the need to meet the high physical demands of the trip; the need to make sound judgments in situations where access to outside help is limited; and the need to be prepared to handle medical emergencies that could arise during the trips. Being an adult leader on these trips requires a degree of personal commitment and confidence that goes well beyond what is required on a more routine “weekend campout”.
Finally, Jim has provided a consistently strong role model for the scouts in the troop. His organizational skills are legendary, even among those scouts who don’t at first understand why paying attention to detail is important, or who don’t really know how to effectively communicate to adults and others. The skills they learn from Jim’s example have a direct impact on their future ability to be successful in their jobs. While Jim sets a high standard for scouts in these areas, he also provides a model to scouts as a person who remains calm in the face of difficulty; respectful even in circumstances where there may be disagreement; and good-natured, even in the face of offensive or insensitive behavior. Through Jim, scouts can see how the tenets of the Boy Scout Law play out in real life in how a person should conduct himself.
Patti Schwartz began her career as a volunteer adult leader with the Boy Scouts of America 32 years ago when she became a Cub Scout Den Leader in Downington, PA. Over the next several years, Patti continued her service as a Cub Scout Den Leader, and subsequently as a Cub Scout Committee Chairwoman in Herndon, VA. Since 1996, Patti has been a member of Troop 89’s Troop Committee where she has taken on major responsibilities as the troop’s Good Turn Coordinator (the person who coordinates and organizes virtually all of the troop’s organized service activities), Advancement Chairperson (the person most directly responsible for monitoring, encouraging, and processing scout rank advancements at all levels), and Eagle Court of Honor Coordinator (the person directly responsible for organizing and coordinating Eagle Courts of Honor). From 1996 to the present, Patti has also served as a Merit Badge Councilor for Troop 89, and she has served as a volunteer adult Girl Scout Leader in Medfield.
During the time that Patti has been working as a volunteer leader in Troop 89, she has also volunteered her time supporting several other organizations and activities in Medfield. Of particular note, Patti has been active for many years in St. Edward’s Prayer Shawl Ministry as part of the “One Family Knitters” group. As a member of “One Family Knitters, Patti has also participated in St. Edward’s support of several charitable organizations knitting hats, scarves, baby sweaters and “premi” baby hats. She has also volunteered for numerous Special Olympics competitions in the area and has supported the Angel Run in Medfield for several years. Because of the breadth of activities Patti has been involved with here in Medfield; she has been able to create synergistic opportunities that tap the capabilities of one organization to serve the needs of other organizations. A good example of this is her volunteer work with the Medfield Food Cupboard where, in addition to providing direct personal support to the Food Cupboard, she has also used her position as the Good Turn Coordinator for Troop 89 to obtain help from scouts to stock the food cupboard, as well as to provide scouts who are working on the Cooking merit badge with the opportunity to bake pies at Thanksgiving in support of the Food Cupboard’s holiday support activities. In doing this, both organizations wound up achieving important goals of their programs.
It is well recognized in Medfield that the town’s Boy Scout program has been an important pillar supporting the development of Medfield’s youth into responsible adults and civic-minded citizens. Jim and Patti Schwartz have devoted an extraordinary amount of time to support Boy Scouts over decades, the last 23 years of which have been focused on supporting Boy Scouts in Medfield. Over all of that time, each of them has provided a stellar example of what it means to be a responsible, caring citizen. Jim has demonstrated deep strength in both the “administrative” context of a troop committee working month in and month out to ensure that Troop 89 has a vibrant scouting program, and as an on-the-ground adult leader in multiple challenging high adventure settings where decisions, often made under pressure, can be anything but routine. Patti brings a caring, supportive disposition to Troop 89 that has made a huge difference in what numerous scouts have gotten out of scouting, as well as what they have achieved by way of rank advancement. While Troop 89’s success at developing scouts into Eagle Scouts is impressive as a troop accomplishment, it is safe to say that Patti has had a big hand in getting a significant number of scouts “across the finish line”; just by helping them see the possibility and get organized to realize it.
Perhaps the best summary expression of the contribution that Jim and Patti Schwartz have made to Medfield over the years is captured in the tribute that was paid to them at a Troop 89 troop meeting this past fall —
In Boy Scout troops we are fortunately often blessed with adult leaders who are willing to step up and accept the challenge of leading and inspiring groups of Boy Scouts over the course of their scouting careers. The task these adult leaders accept goes beyond merely administering the scouting program and guiding scouts through various rank and merit badge requirements. These adult leaders take on the challenge of modeling for scouts what they hope these scouts will become as they move through their scouting careers and mature into responsible, caring, honest, and competent adults.
Most of the time, these adult leaders are active in Boy Scouts while their own sons are Boy Scouts. Quite understandably, at the point that their sons have completed their time as Boy Scouts, these adult leaders move on to other chapters in their lives and other endeavors. On some rare occasions, however, an adult leader is motivated to remain committed to playing a leadership role beyond the time that his or her own son is a scout. On even rarer occasions, two adult leaders from the same family maintain this commitment and devote themselves to helping a large number of scouts mature into responsible adults. The experience level, insight, and the sterling quality of the role model they provide to scouts makes this rare occurrence invaluable to any troop that benefits from their involvement. Jim and Patti Schwartz have been that rare resource for Troop 89. Their patience with scouts during troop activities and rank advancement, along with their unfailing upbeat tone provide visible evidence that it is possible to be friendly, courteous, kind – and disciplined and thorough in getting things done. This lesson may have come more easily to some scouts than others, but it is a lesson that will serve all scouts well throughout their lives.
Jim and Patti, we salute both of you and will be ever grateful for the contribution you each have made to all of our scouts in Troop 89. Thank you so much for your steadfast commitment over these years and the lasting impact you have had on this troop!
For all the reasons cited above, I and the other leaders of Boy Scout Troop 89 strongly recommend Jim and Patti Schwartz as solid candidates for the Medfield Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement award.