The release of a new square knot is always cause for celebration. But one square knot that combines five different awards? It’s party time.
Square knots, which are primarily earned by adults, recognize an individual’s service and commitment to Scouting. There are more than 30 different knots recognizing leaders in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing and Sea Scouting.
The new Scouting Service Award recognizes adult volunteers who have earned one of five different awards, each celebrating a leader’s dedication to a special segment of Scouting.
The new knot recognizes Scouters who have earned one of these five awards:
- Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award*
- ¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award*
- Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award*
- American Indian Scouting Association Grey Wolf Award
- Special Needs Scouting Service Award
Each of the awards marked with a * above currently has its own square knot. But once supplies of those knots run out, the new Scouting Service Award knot will be used to recognize recipients.
The Scouting Service Award knot has khaki and white loops on a black background with a yellow-and-red border. You can purchase the $1.99 knot by bringing proper documentation to your local Scout shop.
How to earn the Scouting Service Award
There aren’t really any requirements for the Scouting Service Award. The knot is presented to recognize Scouters who earn one of the five awards listed above — each of which has its own special set of requirements that I link to below.
Each award has other recognition items — some combination of a certificate, letter, plaque, ribbon, lapel pin and medal — but the square knot is the item honorees can wear on their uniform.
The knot goes on the official field uniform (informally known as the “Class A”). Like all square knots, it’s worn over the left pocket, as seen from the wearer’s perspective.
Line them up in rows of three in any order you choose. Typically, the knot you deem most important is worn on the bottom row on your right, but that’s your call. If your knot total isn’t divisible by three — aka you have a row of one or two knots — you can either center them in the row or keep them aligned to your right. The latter method means you won’t have to re-sew those knots if you get a new one.
Notice how one loop on the square knot appears to be on top of the other? The knot should be oriented so that the top loop is on the wearer’s right.
Learn more about square knots and how to wear them in this post.
Details about the five qualifying awards
- Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award: Honors an adult or an organization for bringing Scouting opportunities to Asian-American youth. Learn more here.
- ¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award: Honors an adult or an organization for bringing Scouting opportunities to Hispanic/Latino youth. Learn more here.
- Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award: Honors an adult or an organization for bringing Scouting opportunities to youth from rural or low-income urban backgrounds. Learn more here.
- American Indian Scouting Association Grey Wolf Award: Honors an adult for bringing Scouting opportunities to American Indian youth. Learn more here.
- Special Needs Scouting Service Award: Honors an adult (volunteer or professional) for bringing Scouting opportunities to Scouts with special needs. Unlike the other awards here, it can be earned. A provisional application form can be found here.
Hat tip: Thanks to Edward, the eagle-eyed commenter who let me know about this, and to Mike Lo Vecchio, the BSA’s in-house expert on awards and insignia.