Service is an integral part of Scouting. For many Scouts, the practice of a daily Good Turn leads to a lifetime of service to others. On rare occasions, service performed as a Scout or Scouter earns that individual national recognition. Here’s an overview of Scouting’s meritorious action awards.
WHAT AWARDS DOES THE BSA PRESENT FOR MERITORIOUS ACTION? Two recognitions are available for youth members and adult leaders who perform significant acts of service that don’t involve lifesaving attempts: the Medal of Merit and the National Certificate of Merit.
WHAT’S THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE TWO AWARDS? The Medal of Merit recognizes those who have performed acts of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflect an uncommon degree of concern for the well being of others. The National Certificate of Merit recognizes those who have performed significant acts of service that are deserving of special national recognition. In both cases, the actions must reflect Scouting skills and/or ideals.
HOW RARE ARE THESE AWARDS? In 2011, the BSA awarded 101 Medals of Merit and 57 National Certificates of Merit.
WHAT IF AN ACT OF SERVICE IS SIGNIFICANT BUT NOT WORTHY OF NATIONAL-LEVEL RECOGNITION? The local council may present the Local Council Certificate of Merit (No. 33732).
ARE FAMILY MEMBERS OR SIBLINGS OF SCOUTS OR SCOUTERS ELIGIBLE? No, a recipient must have been a registered member at the time of the nominated action.
WHO ELSE IS INELIGIBLE? BSA employees and trained lifesavers such as doctors, nurses, and EMTs who perform lifesaving or meritorious actions while on duty.
HOW CAN I NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR AN AWARD? Find the nomination form at scouting.org/awards_central. Then, contact your council advancement committee or volunteer recognition committee. The committee must investigate the case, interview the principals and witnesses, secure signed statements, and make a recommendation within 30 days of receipt of the recommendation. You may not self-nominate. Nominations are approved by the National Court of Honor.
WHAT IF WITNESSES ARE NOT AVAILABLE? No nomination form should be forwarded without a signed statement from the applicant and at least one eyewitness.
CAN MORE THAN ONE MEMBER BE RECOGNIZED FOR THE SAME INCIDENT? Yes. However, a separate application is required for each member being nominated.
IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR MAKING A NOMINATION? No application may be considered after a lapse of 12 months of the incident.
WHAT RECOGNITION ITEMS ARE AVAILABLE? Recipients of the Medal of Merit receive a medal with a gold and blue ribbon and pendant, as well as an embroidered blue-and-yellow square knot (No. 05025). Recipients of the National Certificate of Merit receive a printed certificate.