By: Mike Tomme, Chairman & Mark C Anthony, Vice Chairman
The National Americanism Committee has finalized the changes to the Americanism and President General’s Streamer contest score sheets for the 2011 contest year. This annual contest runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 and the winners will be announced at the 2012 Annual Congress in Phoenix.
In addition to the change in the score sheet, the Americanism Committee approved an additional President General’s Cup Award at the March 2011 Leadership Meeting. Based on a review of three year’s worth of contest entries and results, the committee determined that small active chapters had an inherent advantage in winning the President General’s Cup since it is based on a per capita calculation. In effect, a large chapter that had a good deal of activity and generated a lot of points could not compete with a small chapter that was active but generated a smaller amount of points.
To that end, the Americanism Committee approved the awarding of a President General’s Cup for chapters with membership between 1 and 80 members and a Cup for chapters with more than 81 members. This change will become effective with the 2011 contest so only the single President General’s Cup will be awarded at the Winston-Salem Congress in 2011.
With respect to the score sheet changes, the committee listened to the concerns and suggestions received from various compatriots and other committees received over the course of 2010. While some of these changes are aesthetic in nature (wording, formatting, data entry space, etc.), there are two major changes that need to be discussed:
- The form has been reduced from 20 tabs used for data entry to 16 tabs in response to concerns that the form was too long. By reducing from 20 to 16 tabs, the committee was able to retain the requirement that a chapter must score points in at least 75% of the provided tabs to be eligible for the President General’s Cup and have this requirement result in a whole number instead of a partial number which would require an interpretation of what partial credit would be needed to qualify.
- Additional formulaic protections have been introduced to limit the points that can be earned based on contributions to the SAR. These limitations had been in place prior to 2009 and were inadvertently left off of the 2009 and 2010 forms.
With respect to the reduction of tabs, two of the reductions were due to logical reductions due to similar activities. For 2011, the distribution of the SAR History CD and the Keyhole to History CD are now placed on the same tab since they are essentially the same activity and Classroom Presentations have been combined onto the Speakers Bureau tab since they are essentially counting the same activity.
One reduction was the result of a request of the National Historic Sites, Celebrations and Reenactors Committee. This request was for the elimination of the tab that counted points for the initial marking of Revolutionary Era Sites which are now few and far between and provided a natural advantage to states on the east coast. For 2011, this tab was eliminated and provision made for any future initial marking on the existing tab for Special Observances.
The final reduction in tabs is the elimination of the DAR Liaison tab. The accumulation of points for joint activities has now been combined with the accumulation of points for combined activities with the CAR. This was done for the following reasons:
- The similar nature of the SAR’s support for and combined activity with the DAR and CAR is very similar in nature.
- In reviewing contest entries for the last three years, while there are unique events with each organization, the vast majority are events that are joint with both organizations. Thus, this combination eliminates the recording of double points which has been a stated goal of the Americanism Committee as it refines the score sheets.
- By making this combination, there is now the possibility of earning points for DAR exclusive events for color guard participation that was not present in previous contest forms.
With respect to the formulaic protections, the major change is the re-introduction of limits on the points that can be earned by both chapter and state societies with respect to donations to the National Society. In the past, these limits had been 1,500 points for chapters and 3,000 for state societies but sometime between 2008 and 2009 these limits had been dropped.
With the increased emphasis on financially supporting the Center for Advancing America’s Heritage and other SAR funds (George Washington Endowment Fund and the various youth award designated funds), these previous limits were seen as too low and have been increased to 3,000 for chapters and 30,000 for states for monetary donations and 10,000 for non-monetary donations for both chapters and states. Thus, by reestablishing limits, the playing field is somewhat leveled between large states and smaller states.
The changes related to the donations are the only major change in the level of points that can be earned. As in past years, the issue of points and point distribution is of secondary concern when compared to the main rationale of providing chapters/states a format by which they can measure and direct their activity to meet the stated goals of the National Society.
Similarly, the format of the score sheet is not changed from 2010. The score sheet is only being provided in a Microsoft Excel format to facilitate the calculation of points and compilation of state society entries from many chapter entries.
To conclude, the National Americanism Committee continues to encourage all chapters and state societies to participate in these annual contests. While participation rates have remained static since 2009 (11% of all chapters and 8% of all societies), the changes that have been made have resulted in more chapters becoming eligible for consideration for the President General’s Cup.
One key to participation that must be reiterated is that the compatriot responsible for the compilation of data should do so over the course of the year and not wait until the end of the calendar year and try to recreate all the data from memory. This latter approach only leads to frustration.
The National Americanism Committee stands ready to answer any questions or concerns that may arise. There are Powerpoint presentations available to introduce the contests as well as provide hints and strategies for increasing activity and thus earning more points in the contests. All chapter and state society Americanism Committee chairmen are encouraged to contact the national committee and if the chapter and/or state society does not have such a committee, they are encouraged to start one.
Good luck for the 2011 contest.
You can find the score sheet here.