The Community Organization Award square knot might not be easy to earn, but it’s now easier to get.
You can buy the knot, recognizing Scouters’ volunteer achievements in national charter organizations such as the Elks, Alpha Phi Omega, the Masonic Lodge, and more, at your local Scout Shop—instead of going through your charter organization.
Once you’ve been recognized with one of the awards (listed below), just take your award documentation to the nearest Scout Shop and purchase the square knot, No. 613864. Award recipients no longer need to contact the Program Impact Department and the charter organization to order the knot as in previous years.
Millions of Americans—including several of your coworkers, friends, and family members—were involved in Scouting at one point in their lives.
The trick is tracking these former members down and asking them to reconnect with the Boy Scouts of America.
That’s where you come in. Ready for a challenge?
Help these one-time Scouts get back in touch with the Scouting program, and you’ll be eligible to earn the new Alumni Award square knot, seen above.
The award recognizes registered Scouters who help unregistered alumni rejoin the program. This task breaks down into four categories of requirements:
- Alumni identification and promotion, such as contacting former members, planning alumni activities, and/or presenting to non-Scout groups.
- Alumni engagement, including helping two former members become registered Scouters or recruiting alumni to volunteer at Scouting events.
- Personal participation, which could mean serving on an alumni committee or sharing your experiences at the BSA Alumni Web site.
- Personal education, such as completing the online alumni training or taking an alumni course at the Philmont Training Center.
If you’re an Eagle Scout, you’ll also need to become a registered member of NESA, the National Eagle Scout Association.
For the full requirements, check out the official application for the award (link opens PDF).
Before applying, here are three other factors to keep in mind:
- All requirements must have been completed after June 1, 2009.
- Applicants must be currently registered adult Scouters of the Boy Scouts of America.
- All applicants must receive the approval of their local council’s alumni committee chair and Scout executive.
Know Your Knots
Has this post made you hungry to learn more about other square knots? Then browse my Knot of the Week posts from 2009 and 2010.
After a nine-month hiatus, we’re bringing back our Knot of the Week feature for a special look at the Silver Buffalo Award, just in time for the BSA National Annual Meeting, going on now in Dallas.
Each year at the meeting’s closing banquet, recipients of the Silver Buffalo Award are recognized. This year, 12 individuals will receive the award. We’ll post their names after the meeting is over.
In the meantime, read this description of the Silver Buffalo Award:
Created in 1925, the Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished service to
youth is awarded to those persons who give noteworthy and extraordinary
service to youth. This award is Scouting’s highest commendation of the
invaluable contributions that outstanding Americans make to youth. The
service must be national in scope and can be independent of, or directly
through, the Boy Scouts of America.
The first Silver Buffalo Award went to Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting. Each year, a handful of men and women join Baden-Powell on this prestigious list of individuals.
Last year’s recipients included NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, past Scouter Spotlight subject Larry Cunningham, and nine other worthy honorees.
To learn about other square knots, read past Knot of the Week posts.
When walking along a trail at your favorite national park,
brown trail signs mark your progress every few miles. These signs serve as a
helpful reminder that you’re on the right track as you move toward your goal.
As a Scouting volunteer, the Scouter’s Key serves a similar purpose. Volunteers who earn the Key
have made great progress toward becoming effective and trained leaders.
The green-and-white Key represents awards given to a variety
of positions. Scouters who volunteer as a Scoutmaster, commissioner, district committee
member, skipper, or Venturing advisor are eligible to receive the award after
three years of service.
In addition to the tenure requirement, award applicants must
- Fast Start Training
- This Is Scouting
- Specific training for their position
- Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills
Leaders also must conduct unit leader training at least
three times and participate in a supplemental training course at the council or
For details, here’s the link for the Scoutmaster’s Key
progress record (link opens PDF). Requirements for other Keys are similar.
Best of luck as you continue down your leadership trail.
No matter which faith you choose, being Reverent is Law in
Scouting. Leaders who practice what their religion preaches are eligible to
earn the silver-and-purple adult religious emblem pictured above.
Rather than a separate square knot for each of Scouting’s
30-plus religious emblems, this knot represents them all. Leaders may still
wear their faith’s religious medal on their uniform if they’d like.
Check out the May-June issue of Scouting magazine for the full story on how to earn an
adult religious award. If you’ve read the story, you know that adult religious
emblems are much different from the ones for youth.
Youth follow a specific program designed for their age group
by a special committee made up of members of their faith. The awards are meant
to educate and inspire young adults in the teachings of their religion. After
they’ve checked off all requirements, these youngsters can wear a silver knot
on a purple background—the inverse of the adult knot.
The adult award is more abstract, in a sense, because there
isn’t a checklist. Adult recipients don’t know they’ve been nominated by their
peers as recognition for service to their faith and to Scouting.
If you know a worthy Scouter, check with your religious institution
for details on the nomination process. You’ll find details on contacting each
faith at PRAY’s Web site.
The Venturing program gives young women and men new
opportunities they can’t find in other programs. And with those new
opportunities comes a new set of awards they can earn.
The highest of these is the Venturing Silver Award, this
week’s Knot of the Week.
Is your crew ready to get started? To get the Silver,
Venturers must first earn the Bronze and Gold awards.
That’s right. Unlike at the Olympics, it’s silver—not
gold—that holds the top place on the podium of Venturing awards.
After earning the Bronze and Gold, these requirements
- Complete a standard first-aid course.
- Get CPR certified.
- Finish the BSA Safe Swim Defense training course, and lead
or participate in a group swim using these principles.
- Take the Venturing Leadership Skills Course.
- Serve at least six months in an elected position in the
crew, district, or council.
- Participate in at least two ethical controversies and
- Organize or help organize an Ethics Forum.
After that, your Venturers need certification from the crew
advisor, committee chairperson, and council.
Then they’re done. Recipients are considered elite Venturers
and can wear the silver-bordered square knot you see above. They’ll also get a
matching medal for more-formal occasions.
Check out the application here (link opens PDF), or get more details here.
When the number of recipients of a particular square knot is
so small that the BSA can publish the list in its entirety, you know you’re
dealing with a prestigious award.
Such is the case with the Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award, a knot given to men
and women who serve the OA beyond the lodge level—on a sectional, regional, or
national basis. The award is given every two or three years at the National
Order of the Arrow Conference. The 2009 event is taking place this week in
Bloomington, Ind. (Check back tomorrow for more details about NOAC.)
The honor roll includes less than 850 people—that’s pretty
selective for an award that’s been around since 1940—and you may even recognize
some of the names. Two at the top of the chronological list are 1940 honorees
E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson, founders of the Order of the Arrow. And
one of 2009’s recipients is Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca.
In between the OA’s founders and Mazzuca you’ll also find
hundreds of dedicated Scouters who can wear the white and red arrowhead medal
and the accompanying white and red square knot with pride.
Usually, we’d give you a link here to the application for the
week’s square knot, but there’s no application for this honor. Instead,
recipients are nominated after a significant period of service.
Want to browse the list of honorees yourself? Do it here. In the meantime, continue serving the OA and you might one day
see your own name on the short list.
Scouting’s diversity helps boys learn what it means to be an
American. And the BSA embraces that fact by encouraging the growth of the
program in underserved communities.
That commitment became even more noticeable in 2004 with the
Asian-American Spirit of Scouting
Service Award. The award has a simple purpose: to honor adults who
demonstrate steadfast devotion to bringing Scouting opportunities to
The award, available to people of any race, is a national
award. But each local council submits nominees to the national BSA office. Once
approved, worthy Scouters receive the purple, black, and white knot at a
meaningful ceremony in their community.
More important than the knot, though, is the act of sharing
the BSA’s values with youth who otherwise might not have known about
For the application and more information, click here (PDF).
When representatives from the vast network of chartered
Scouting organizations speak, the BSA listens. Want proof?
Look no further than the Community Organization Award. It began when a group of delegates
from several chartered organizations told the BSA how they wanted to recognize
adult leaders—with an award similar to the religious knots that represent the
various faith-based emblems awarded to Scouters.
The BSA accepted the offer and created the knot you see
above. Just like the purple-and-silver religious knot serves as a catchall for
every faith-based award, the purple-and-gold community organization knot serves
as a one-stop shop for the following prestigious awards:
- Marvin M. Lewis Award, Benevolent and Protective Order of
- Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Scouter’s Achievement Award
- American Legion Scouting Square Knot Award
- U.S. Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal,
Department of Defense
- Herbert G. Horton Alpha Phi Omega Youth Service Award
- Cliff Dochterman Award, International Rotarians Fellowship
- Ruritan National Scout Leader Service Award
- Raymond Finley Sea Scout Service Award, U.S. Power
- George Meany Award, AFL-CIO
Receive one of those awards from the applicable
organization, and you’ve earned the right to wear the Community Organization
Award knot. Congrats!
For more information, contact your chartered organization.
Sorry to tell you this, but you probably can’t earn this
week’s Knot of the Week. That’s because the Silver World Award is only available to Scouters who are not
registered members of the BSA.
So why is it this week’s featured knot? Because it represents the BSA’s
commitment to Scouting worldwide.
The BSA presents the award, created in 1971, to honor world
citizens who serve youth in countries other than the United States. That means
that a recipient could be a U.S. citizen, but he or she must be serving another
country’s Scouting program.
The award’s requirements also state that recipients must be
residents of countries whose Scout associations are members of the World Scout
Conference. That group is an alliance of Scout organizations around the world.
Its members meet every three years, with the next conference schedule for
Brazil in 2011.
You probably won’t see this rare knot often in the United
States. But if you do, ask about it—its wearer is sure to have interesting stories
Chime In: What
experience, if any, have you had with international Scouting? How might the BSA
increase its cooperation with worldwide Scouting? Let us know in the comment