Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S)
The Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers was originated to encourage members to "get involved." You cannot join the Society -- you must be "selected" -- on the basis of merit.
There has been considerable disagreement as to which group was created first. Pennsylvania started the High Hat Society in 1937; it used the words "Sludge Shovelers Society" in its initiation ceremony and later became known as the Ted Moses Sludge Shovelers Society.
The Arizona Association documents its history from October, 1940, when the idea was conceived by A.W. (Dusty) Miller and F. Carlyle Roberts, Jr. "to recognize the fact that many members do not receive the coveted Bedell Award, the Fuller Award (of AWWA) or become an Arizona Association president, but nevertheless contribute in some outstanding measure".
Membership requirements vary from Chapter to Chapter. The text that follows are excerpts from Five "S" Chapter's procedures. There are no "real" rules.
Selection to membership in a Chapter is recognition of "Outstanding, meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty." Selection bestows the accolade of elevation "on the official shovel to the highest ridge on the sludge bed, with the title of Select Sludge Shoveler and all the honor, atmosphere, prerequisite, and dignity pertaining thereto."
Selection of a person to membership should be approved by the Member Association’s Board. Each Member Association must devise some credible method of selecting the first year's nominee.
There are no dues or officers except the "Influent Integrator" who is designated by the neutral "pH7". He is elected by vote of the Chapter members present at any meeting. His duties are to record selections, present official certificates of elevation, bestow badges (shovels), and inform chapter members concerning the society.
Ceremonies differ among Member Associations. Usually this happens because no one has provided them with anything to go by. Some make the ceremony a little more serious than others, while others view the ceremony as the "fun" part of the meeting. Here is an example of a ceremony from the Arizona Association, which can be used to provide some general guidelines.
The initiation ceremony should be conducted by an existing Sludge Shoveler. The recipient is awarded a badge (shovel) and certificate. Certificates should be signed by the Influent Integrator as pH7 and by any other twelve members for the remaining concentrations from pH1 to pH13.
The badge is a shovel worn extending from the left breast pocket. The grip is made by curling the fingers as though around a shovel handle. The grand hailing sign is made by raising the grip head high, thumb left, and lowering smartly, thus symbolizing the close relation between the water and sewage in which the Association is interested. The signal of distress is sweeping motion made with both hands as if shoveling. The chosen station of Select Shovelers is at the opposite side end of the meeting room from the President of the Association. The password is derived from the first letters of the name and is pronounced, "Sh-h-h."
The shovel is only used at official initiation integration ceremonies. The shovel, worn either as a lapel pin, tie clasp, or other suitable item should always be worn or displayed to indicate a member in good standing.
Part of the official ceremony is to present a little sand bucket and shovel to the initiates, and this is the only time this is used. The initiates get to keep these and put them on their trophy shelf for time immemorial.
Ladies and Gentlemen: At this time we would like to present the serious portion of the banquet program where once again we observe those solemn and hallowed moments where we recognize those intrepid individuals who are the exponents of ultimate disposal. The Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers.
Selection to membership is in recognition of "outstanding, meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty" to the Kansas Water Pollution Control Association. Selection bestows the accolade of being elevated "on the official shovel to the highest ridge on the sludge bed, with the title of Select Sludge Shoveler and all the honor, atmosphere, prerequisite and dignity appertaining thereto."
This is the thirteenth year that this prestigious honor has been bestowed upon Kansas - our original ceremonies being consummated in 1972. There are no dues or officers except the "Influent Integrator" designated by the neutral "pH7." His duties are to record and report selections, present official certificates of elevation, bestow badges and preside over these solemn, impressive ceremonies.
At this time I would like to summon the quorum of the Select Sludge Shovelers by calling forward and quondam awardees. The opinions of the judges in selecting awardees are final. In case of ties, duplicate awards are not made, but the judges can be influenced.
Gentlemen, your assistance in administering this rite of integration is needed lest some of our honorees lose their courage at the climatic moment. Those of you who are about to be honored - be brave of heart and come forth to the podium to be duly integrated into our August Society.
Gentlemen, there are some rules of conduct and rituals which you must learn to enable you to carry off this great honor with dignity and elegant deportment.
The grip is made by curling the fingers - as though placing them around the handle of a shovel.
The grand hailing sign is made by raising the grip head high, thumb on the left, and lowering smartly, thus symbolizing the close relationship between water and wastewater in which this association is vitally interested.
The signal of distress is a sweeping motion made with both hands as if shoveling. The chosen station of Select Sanitary Sludge Shoveler is at the opposite end of the meeting room from the President of the Association. The password is derived from the first two letters of the name Shovelers, and is pronounced, "Sh-h-h."
The certificate being presented to you is signed by the "Influent Integrator" as pH7 and must be completed with signatures from twelve other members for the remaining concentrations from pH1 to pH13.
The official "badge" or shovel now being bestowed upon you is symbolic of your deep standings. This "Gold Shovel Emblem" is to be worn from the left breast pocket as a lapel pin or a tie clasp at all Association meetings to indicate a member in high regard. Most people like to know who is a Sanitary Sludge Shoveler so they may keep their proper distance…in respect, of course.
By the Powers vested in me as "Influent Integrator" I hereby declare you to be life member of Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers.
Duane R. Morgan
Influent Integrator pH7
May 16, 1984
Shovel Orders: Orders for Gold Shovels are made available through C & J Jewelers for purchase by Member Associations. See Order Form for details.
Click here for more information as to how other MA's have added their own unique touch to their 5S cermonies.
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About M Imron Pribadi
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