Knot of the Week: Scouter’s Key


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
national level.

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.


  1. Are Assistant Scoutmasters eligible to receive this? I know many who have met all of the requirements, but serve with long-tenured Scoutmasters who are unlikely to step down any time soon. Seems a shame not to recognize them as well.

  2. The Scouter’s Key Award is for the “key” unit leader: Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, Venturing Crew Advisor, etc.
    For other leaders (their assistants, along with troop committee members) there is the Scouter’s Training Award.

  3. so then what u are saying is the scout masters get 2 regintion knots but the assitants get none for all the hard work they we do that should be fixed as we should get the key knot because we are the scoutmaters right hands and reserve the scout masters knot for just them

  4. so what u are saying then is the scout masters get 2 knot recignitons but his assistance get none i thinkw e as assistance should be able to get the key award for we are his right hands and in soem cases do alot of the work with out the title

  5. Wow both go through the same exact training and perform all duties the same in the troop and the assistant can only be awarded the training award. In my troop the scoutmaster has remained the same for 20 years.

  6. The Scoutmaster is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the BSA policy is being delivered to the Scouts. The Scoutmaster is responsible to the Committee and the Charter Organization. The ASMs follow the SM’s lead in that. There is a huge difference in their respective roles in the Troop.

  7. I agree. I serve with a long time Scoutmaster as an ASM (and as a District Chair, WB staffer, etc, etc) and put in the same hours, and yet by the rules of the Key I stand a better chance at Silver Beaver than Scoutmasters Key… smh. Keys for SM, CM, and Crew Advisor should also encompass the Assistant roles.

Join the conversation