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Uniform Square Knots and What they Represent

Most awards and recognitions have certificates, pins or medals, and a patch usually with a square knot embroidered on it in different colors. Typically, if you are wearing the medal, you do not wear the knot – or you just wear the medal to an Eagle Court of Honor or council or unit awards celebration.

Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, and Scouters can wear these patches in rows of three but not totaling more than 9 total knots. You can wear the knots in any order of your personal preference, but historically, the more important knots are worn to the wearer’s right. (closer to your main shirt buttons)
These are shown in the correct orientation of the patches as you look at them.

Be sure to check out The Guide for Awards and Insigniafor more information on these awards and how to wear them.

For a quick reference on how to wear them, check out this article from the Bryan on Scouting blog.

Fun fact: Prior to the uniform knot patches, military style ribbons were used.


 

Youth Achievement Awards

Achievement awards are recognitions earned by youth for accomplishments in Scouting.

Knot Award Program Description
Arrow of Light Rank Cub Scouts The Arrow of Light, the highest rank in Cub Scouting, prepares a Webelos Scout to join a Scouts BSA troop.
Eagle Scout Rank Scouts BSA Awarded to Scouts upon earning the Eagle Scout rank.
Eagle Scout Rank &
National Eagle Scout Association Life Membership Award
Scouts BSA To recognize life members of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) for their commitment to support Eagle Scouts through a NESA life membership. Many Eagle Scouts are gifted a Life Membership or can purchase one later as an adult.
Summit Award Venturing The Summit Rank represents Venturing’s highest honor. This knot is also used for the Venturing Silver Award from 1998 – 2014.
Quartermaster Sea Scouts The highest award for Sea Scouts, earned by just 0.5 percent of all Sea Scouts each year.
Religious Award (youth) All Programs To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, religious groups have developed religious emblems programs. Youth who have earned religious awards fro other organizations like Girl Scouts can wear these awards as well.
BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award
Youth Award Version
Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts
(youth)
BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award Individual awards are granted by the National Council through the local Council’s Conservation Committee to a member of a Scouts BSA, Sea Scout, or Venturing unit for exceptional and distinguished service to conservation and environmental improvement.

 

 

Leadership and Tenure/ Training Awards

Leadership and Training Awards recognize an adult Scouter’s efforts to complete required training and serve youth directly.  A few of the more commonly given awards are presented here.  Others may be found at Awards Central and US Scouts.

Knot Award Eligibility Description
Den Leader Training Award Cub Scout Den Leaders Complete one year as a registered den leader in the position selected. Tiger Cub den leader’s tenure can be the program year as long as it is greater than eight months.
Scouter’s Training Award All Scouters The training awards are designed to recognize unit Scouters for tenure, training, and performance in their leadership roles. Available for all programs.
Scouter’s Key All Scouters The keys are designed to recognize unit Scouters for tenure, training, and performance in their leadership roles.
Unit Leader’s Award of Merit Unit Leaders of Packs, Troops, Crews, and Ships A quality Scouting experience will help keep Scouts in the program, and the Boy Scouts of America created the Unit Leader Award of Merit to recognize the quality unit leaders who make that happen.
Alumni Award All Scouters Awarded to BSA alumni that promote Scouting.
Philmont Training Center Masters Track Award All Scouters Attendance at Philmont Training Center (PTC) as a participant at least twice, and other requirements.
Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service Commissioners Two years tenure as a Commissioner and other requirements covering unit service and improved retention of members.
Distinguished Commissioner Award Commissioners Five years tenure as a Commissioner and other requirements.
Doctorate of Commissioner Science Award Commissioners Completion of a program leading to the award of the Doctorate of Commissioner Science from a College of Commissioner Science.
William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award All Scouters Worn by those honored for starting a new unit.
James E. West Fellowship Award All registered BSA Members and non-Scouters. (Youth and Adult) Worn by those honored for their personal donation of a minimum of $1000 to a local Council Endowment Fund, or honored by others with such a donation.

Bravery and Meritorious Awards

These awards are typically by nomination and deemed worthy after an application to BSA National. Please contact our Awards and Recognition chair if you have someone who might be worthy.

Knot Award Eligibility Description
Honor Medal Award All registered BSA Members and non-Scouters. (Youth and Adult) The Honor Medal may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated unusual heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save life at considerable risk to self
Heroism Award All registered BSA Members and non-Scouters. (Youth and Adult) The Heroism Award may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save life at minimal personal risk to self.
Medal of Merit Award All registered BSA Members and non-Scouters. (Youth and Adult) The Medal of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed an act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the wellbeing of others.

 

Recognition Awards for Exceptional Service

These awards are typically by nomination and bestowed by different programs.

Knot Award Eligibility Description
Community Organization Award All registered BSA adult volunteers Community Organization Award is a generic term used by the BSA to identify a category of awards used by secular, national, and community organizations to recognize their members for voluntary service and achievement. The organization must also be a BSA national chartered organization.
International Scouter’s Award All registered BSA adult volunteers The International Scouter’s Award encourages Scouters to broaden their involvement in Scouting through participation in world Scouting activities and recognizes Scouters for their contributions to world Scouting.
Adult Religious Emblems Adult volunteers and professionals who complete the specified requirements. Most of the major religious bodies in the United States have programs to recognize adult volunteers who demonstrate faith, observe their creeds or principles, and give service.

An adult religious recognition award is presented by nomination only. The recognition is presented to worthy adults for their outstanding service to youth both through their religious institution and one of the national youth agencies. Recipients of these awards are unaware that they are being nominated. They are nominated to receive an award by submitting the required application, letters of recommendation, and resume. Please check eligibility requirements for specific awards.

Venturing Leadership Award
Sea Scout Leadership Award
All registered Venturers and Sea Scouts. (Youth and Adult) These awards are nomination based and given at the Council, Territory, and National levels.
Scouting Service Award
It represents many awards.
Check out the Awards in the description column.
Adult volunteers and professionals who complete the specified requirements. American Indian Scouting Association Grey Wolf Award
Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award
¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award
Special Needs Scouting Service Award
Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award
BSA Council Alumnus of the Year Award
It is the Alumni Award knot with the Acorn pin.
The Boy Scouts of America Council Alumnus of the Year Award is the Scouting Alumni Association’s highest council recognition.
BSA Distinguished Conservationist Award Registered BSA adult volunteers who serve in natural resource conservation The BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Awards are presented for distinguished service in natural resource conservation.
District Award of Merit All registered BSA adult volunteers This is the highest honor a local district can bestow upon a volunteer. The award is presented to Scouters who render service of an outstanding nature at the district level.
Silver Beaver Award All registered BSA adult volunteers The Medal of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed an act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the wellbeing of others.
Silver Antelope Award All registered BSA adult volunteers Beyond service to the local council, the Silver Antelope is given at the regional level. These are presented at the National Annual Meeting of the BSA.
Silver Buffalo Award All registered BSA adult volunteers Beyond service to the local council, the Silver Buffalo is given at the national level. These are presented at the National Annual Meeting of the BSA.
National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award
Eagle Scout Rank knot with silver flying Eagle pin
Registered Scouters who earned their Eagle Scout rank as a youth member Recognition granted by the local council’s NOESA committee to Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local, state, or regional level; unlike the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, which is a national award, the NOESA recognizes Eagle Scouts whose efforts have been made closer to home.
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Eagle Scout Rank knot with gold Eagle pin
Registered Scouters who earned their Eagle Scout rank as a youth member To recognize Eagle Scouts who earned their award 25 years or more ago and have achieved national-level prominence in their field.

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