Knot of the Week: District Award of Merit


Last week, we introduced the Knot of the Week series on Cracker Barrel in an attempt to, ahem,untangle any confusion about square knots. Well, in the second edition of that series, we bring you the District Award of Merit.

The District Award of Merit is presented by councils upon recommendation of the district, sort of like the Silver Beaver is a national award presented upon recommendation of councils. See the resemblance?

Unlike with the training-based awards like the Scouter’s Key, councils are restricted in how many District Awards of Merit they can award each year. The ratio is simple: one award per 25 units in a district. Divide the number of units by 25, and voila. If there’s a remainder, always round up. In other words, a 26-unit district is bumped up to two awards, a 51-unit district gets three, and so on.

Districts don’t have to hand out all of their allotted awards, but read on for the requirements for when they choose to do so. 

Nominees must:

  • be registered Scouters.

  • have given “noteworthy service to youth,” either inside or outside of Scouting—or both.

  • have gone beyond the duties of their volunteer position.

  • maintain a positive attitude and work in cooperation with the district and council.

You can’t nominate yourself, but if you know anyone who should be considered for this award, click here for the PDF application. A special committee that convenes each year solely to discuss this award will determine the final recipients. Honorees are given the award at a special ceremony. Then it’s time to dust off the sewing machine so you can wear the blue and silver knot with pride.

One last interesting bit of trivia: The District Award of Merit is technically referred to as a square knot, but, as you can tell, it’s really an overhand knot. Or a pretzel. It all depends on how hungry you are when you look down at your shirt.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s one of just three square knots that isn’t actually a square knot. Do you know the other two? Answer in the comments section. If you’re stuck, check out the January-February 2009 issue of Scouting for the answer.

About Bryan Wendell 3041 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.