Know Your Boy Scouts Square Knots

Boy Scouts don’t get to have all the fun. Sure, they can earn more than 125 merit badges, but that doesn’t preclude adults from enhancing their uniforms. But for grown-ups with the urge to advance, it’ll take more than consulting a merit badge pamphlet.

To earn a coveted square knot, Scouters must demonstrate continued leadership and service to the program’s ideals.

“It’s an opportunity to symbolize the dedication of our volunteers,” says Bill Evans, who supervises square knots as part of his job as director of youth development.

With 42 37 different square knots out there, it’s easy to get tangled up — but don’t worry. Here’s what you need to know to earn one.

UPDATE: The Fall 2011 “Training Times” announced that some of the knots/awards will be combined: “the Cubmaster Award will become the Cubmaster’s Key and use the Scouter’s Key knot. The Cub Scouter and Pack Trainer Awards will use the Scouter’s Training Award knot. The Tiger Cub, Cub Scout, and Webelos Den Leader’s Awards will use the Den Leader’s Award knot. Devices to be worn on the knots will be available to indicate which awards, and for which program awards were earned.” Note that Scouters who already earned the awards will still be able to wear the old knots. More details coming in 2012.



Alumni Award: The newest knot debuted in March 2011. It’s a tip of the cap to registered Scouters who help unregistered alumni rejoin and reconnect with the program. Click here for more details.

NESA Life Membership Award: If you’re a lifetime member of the National Eagle Scout Association, you can now get more than a certificate and a membership card. You’re now eligible for this knot, which adds a silver border to the traditional Eagle Scout knot. Click here to learn more.

Doctorate of Commissioner Science Award: The accolades can continue if you earn a doctorate degree in commissioner science, making you eligible for this knot. To earn it, you must serve as a commissioner for five years and complete tenure requirements. Click here for the full requirements (link downloads Word document).

Philmont Training Center Masters Track Award: Can’t stay away from that high-adventure mecca in northern New Mexico? You can snag this knot by attending courses at the training center, recruiting others to attend, and educating peers in Philmont ideals. Click here to learn more.

Speakers Bank Award: Got a penchant for public speaking? BSA Speakers Bank members who give at least 20 presentations are eligible for this knot. Click here to learn more.


Arrow of Light Award: You might not have thought about it as a child starting out in a Cub Scout pack, but earning the Arrow of Light means you can wear the corresponding knot as an adult.

Eagle Scout Award: Earn Scouting’s top honor for youth as a boy, wear this knot as an adult. Nice!  

Venturing Silver Award recipients can show off their accomplishment as adults.

Sea Scout Quartermaster Award: If you earned this as a youth, make sure others know it by sewing this knot above your left uniform pocket.


Honor Medal (above, top) and Heroism Award (above, bottom): You can aspire from an early age to be an Eagle Scout, but nobody plans to save someone’s life. These knots, which can each be earned by any Scout or Scouter, show that recipients did just that. The Honor Medal adds the distinction that the recipient put his or her own life at risk in completing the heroic task. Click here to learn more.

Medal of Merit: Recipients’ outstanding acts of service don’t involve rescue or risk but still have a profound impact on the lives of others. Click here to learn more.

James E. West Fellowship Award: Named after the first Chief Scout Executive, it honors donors who contribute an additional one-time contribution of $1,000 or more to a council endowment fund.

Religious awards for adults (above, top) and youth (above, bottom): With about three-dozen religious emblems available to youth and leaders, a separate knot for each could get a little cumbersome. Instead, unified knots represent the award presented to recipients by their religious institution. You can wear both knots if you earned the award as a youth and as an adult. Click here to learn more.

Whitney M. Young Jr. Award: Named for the African American civil rights leader and executive director of the National Urban League. Young earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon B. Johnson in 1969. The square knot acknowledges extraordinary efforts by Scouters to extend the Scouting program to inner-city areas. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF)

Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award: This knot serves as a Scouting “thank you” to leaders who deliver the program to Asian American youth. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award: This knot recognizes leaders who help Hispanic youths discover that Scouting is “worth the effort,” as the Spanish expression implies. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award: Identifies volunteers who help start a new Scouting unit. It only fits, then, that the award bear the name of Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Community Organization Award: Honors recognition from civic or fraternal organizations such as the Elks or Lions Club to community organizations, a vital part of Scouting. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo awards (above, from top): Gold may be the metal of choice at the Olympics, but for Scouters, silver shines the brightest. Unlike Olympic medals, however, these awards are only given based on nomination through the council, region, or national office. We’re referring to the Silver Beaver Award for service to local councils, the Silver Antelope Award for regional efforts, and the Silver Buffalo Award on the national level. The Silver Buffalo, Scouting’s highest commendation, is one of just two awards that can be presented to a civilian who isn’t a member of the BSA.

Silver World Award: The other award that can be presented to non-BSA members, it honors world citizens who serve their nation’s youth. U.S. citizens are eligible, but only if they aren’t members of the BSA.


The previous awards represent the very best of Scouting and extraordinary efforts taken by Scouters to improve the lives of young people. But Evans says that the program’s real strength rests with the volunteers who do the little things every day.

“The target is changing kids’ lives, and the way we do that is through volunteers,” he says. “We need to recognize their dedication.”

Tiger Cub Den Leader Award: This knot, for many volunteers, symbolizes their first foray into the program. After completing training and serving as a registered Tiger Cub den leader for a year, sew this knot above your left pocket. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF). NOTE: In Fall 2011, it was announced that this award will use the new Den Leader’s Award knot.

Cub Scout Den Leader Award (above, top) and Webelos Den Leader Award (above, bottom): As your child or children grow, your knot collection can grow, too, with these knots. Each requires the appropriate training and one year of service. Click here to learn more about the Cub Scout version or here to learn more about the Webelos version (links open PDF). NOTE: In Fall 2011, it was announced that these awards will use the new Den Leader’s Award knot.

Cub Scouter Award: Keep up the good work and serve for two years in a pack, and you’re on your way to this knot. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF). NOTE: In Fall 2011, it was announced that the Cub Scouter Award will use the Scouter’s Training Award knot.

Cubmaster Award: Ready to take on a greater challenge? To earn this award, complete the training and serve for one year as an assistant Cubmaster and one year as a Cubmaster. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF). NOTE: In Fall 2011, it was announced that the Cubmaster Award will become the Cubmaster’s Key and use the Scouter’s Key knot.

Pack Trainer Award: Pack Trainers, who ensure that pack leaders are trained in their position, can now receive one of the newest knots after completing two years as a pack trainer and fulfilling other responsibilities. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF). NOTE: In Fall 2011, it was announced that the Pack Trainer Award will use the Scouter’s Training Award knot.

Scouter’s Training Award: Don’t worry, Boy Scout leaders, plenty of knots exist to fill up your uniform shirt, too. This one represents a leader’s devotion after completing training, serving two years as a Boy Scout leader, and fulfilling at least seven performance-driven goals. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Scouter’s Key: For leaders in key positions, this appropriately named knot is given after three years. The following positions are eligible: Scoutmaster, Commissioner, District Committee Member, Skipper, and Venturing Advisor. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Scoutmaster Award of Merit and Venturing Advisor Award of Merit: Separate awards, one common square knot. The knot acknowledges that its wearer has completed training and donated time while leading a unit.

Venturing Leadership Award: For those who go above and beyond for the Venturing program, this award honors youth and Scouters on the council, regional, and national level. Click here to learn more.

Seabadge: Sea Scout leaders who have completed Seabadge training wear this knot as proof. You’ll probably also notice that the Seabadge, which features a trident, is one of just three square knots that isn’t actually a square knot. The others: The Silver World Award and the District Award of Merit. Click here to learn more.

District Award of Merit: Shaped like an overhand knot, only one of these pretzel-shaped awards can be given for every 25 units. The award honors a volunteer or professional for service beyond normal expectations. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Distinguished Commissioner Service Award: The council bestows this knot for commissioners who meet benchmarks in their tenure. In addition to service as an active commissioner for five years, applicants must recharter at least 90 percent of units and ensure that the Centennial Quality Unit Award is garnered by at least 50 percent of units. Click here to learn more (link opens PDF).

Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award: Speaking of distinguished, this knot is presented at the biennial National Order of the Arrow Conference for service beyond the local lodge level. Roughly 500 of these awards have been given since the award was created in 1940. Click here to learn more.

George Meany Award: American labor leader George Meany, who was president of the AFL-CIO for more than two decades, lives on through this knot. Every year, each AFL-CIO council and state federation recognizes one individual who helps expand the use of the American Labor merit badge or forms Scouting units connected to labor unions. Click here to learn more.

International Scouter’s Award: Added in 2003 to cheer on leaders who promote the Scouting program worldwide. Potential honorees must give leadership to international Scouting or international events held in the United States or abroad. Click here to learn more.

Professional Training Award: Non-volunteers can earn this after completing training courses and working for the BSA for at least four years.

While it’s essentially impossible to earn every square knot, adding a few to your collection can prove to you and your Scouting family that your leadership experience has no loose ends.

“Most knots are pure recognition,” Evans says. “They stand for the organization’s appreciation for what you’ve done.”

Bryan Wendell is the associate editor of Scouting magazine.


Know Before You Sew

Before you show off your accomplishment on your uniform, it helps to know how to properly place the knots.

First, a simple rule: Wear knots above the left pocket in rows of three, and make sure the front loop of the knot faces the left side of the shirt as you sew.

Other than that, you’re free to be creative about knot placement. In 1980, the BSA mandated an order in which knots must be worn, but those regulations have since been eliminated, ending the need to constantly reorder your square knots.

The BSA Insignia Guide (BSA Supply No. 33066) suggests that the knot “deemed most important by the wearer” be worn on the wearer’s right.

And if you dread bringing out the needle and thread, know that rows of fewer than three knots don’t necessarily need to be centered. Many wearers prefer to make partial rows flush left so that adding future knots is easier.

From a Thought to a Knot

With four knots added in the past year and dozens more in existence, it might seem as if new knots are added all the time, but that’s far from true, says Keith Christopher, who formerly sat on the committee that selects new knots. In fact, less than one per year is added on average, even though the committee anually gets 10 to 12 requests.

New knots start with an idea. When a volunteer believes there is a need for his or her colleagues to be recognized, he or she can submit a request to the insignia committee in the Council Solutions Group.

Ideas that are deemed worthy must first make it through a selection committee that consists of six “anonymous representatives of Scouting.” If they like the idea, the knot could find its way to your uniform shirt.

Replacing the Ribbons

Square knots are familiar insignia now, but in 1934, the BSA issued ribbon bars to represent awards. These thin, multicolored rectangles resembled what you’d find on a military uniform.

To distance itself from the military look, the BSA in 1946 debuted square knots. The first six were the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, Silver Buffalo, Scoutmaster’s Key, Scouter’s Training Award, and Skipper’s Key. Like the ribbon bars, knots are presented alongside medals or large plaques so Scout leaders can wear a lightweight piece of fabric instead of a heavy, bulky medal.

Since 1946, there have been 50 knots, not including updated versions of the same knot. Some, such as the Air Explorer Ace Award, have been discontinued after certain Scouting programs disbanded. Most of the knots that have been discontinued are associated with the old Exploring program.

You Won’t Find These Everywhere

Typical patches become rare over time as they go out of circulation and their numbers dwindle, but square knots mainly become rare based on the infrequency in which they are awarded.

The BSA doesn’t keep statistics on the number of square knots presented each year, but BSA officials such as Bill Evans and Keith Christopher can name a few especially uncommon knots.

The Silver Buffalo, of course, doesn’t make its way onto many uniforms. When an award lists among its recipients 13 former U.S. presidents, Colin Powell, Neil Armstrong, and Charles Schulz, you can bet it’s rare.

Also uncommon is the OA Distinguished Service Award, which has been given only 500 times since 1940. If you see someone with this knot, you better snap a picture.

You also aren’t likely to find someone wearing the Professional Training Award. It’s the only knot that volunteers can’t earn.

Beyond the Knots

If knots just aren’t enough for you, knot devices may add to the allure. The most prestigious is easily the Distinguished Eagle Scout award, which is a small gold eagle pin worn on the Eagle Scout knot.

To be eligible, you must have attained the Eagle Scout rank more than 25 years ago. In addition to that lofty requirement, recipients must have given “outstanding service to others.” Past honorees include former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, President Gerald R. Ford, and H. Ross Perot, founder of EDS.

A much more common device found on Eagle Scout knots is the eagle palm. These small bronze, gold, or silver pins are presented for earning merit badges beyond the 21 required for Eagle.

For the especially giving, the James E. West knot can be adorned with devices, including the 1910 Society pin for gifts of $25,000 or more or the Founders Circle pin for gifts of $100,000 or more.



  1. 7 years I see Adult leaders chasing after beads and knots and patches like the kids. I still have yet to adorn my uniform with anything other than is standard issue.

    I do it for the Kids not for some knot to pretend to be someone important in scouting, like those with a chest full of stuff. Because in the end I am the one they turn to for fun in the Pack and Troop, the one who turned a rainy camp out into a fun one, and the one who showed them what scouting was really all about, whats on the inside of the uniform.

    • I see many that say that they don’t want to put on knots “for the kids”. I beg to differ, put the knots on FOR THE KIDS. Those knots are not to show how important you are, but to show how experienced you are. If you put in your time, get the training and are awarded the know, wear it and let the kids and other parents know of your commitment to the youth served by the BSA, not to show how important you are. I never wear more than 3 rows of knots and I do not go out to seek those knots. The three that I cherish most were awarded based on service to the youth and adults in the BSA. The others while not as important to me, are still a sign of my 20+ year commitment as an adult to the program.

      • I will never understand the negativity towards square knots that some scouters have. Just about every knot that an adult can earn has some part of it thats in direct support of youth. As a 20 year vet in the army I have 16 ribbons and 3 skill badges on my uniform for service to my country. People shake my hand and thank me for what I have done (deployed 3 times) but as a scouter with 12 knots and a couple other unique awards the same people that would shake my hand would now look down on me as “i am in scouting for me”.


      • @ Kenny L – I’m just getting back into the program as a Den Leader now that my 6 year old is a Tiger Cub. The two knots that I EARNED (Arrow of Light and Eagle Scout w/ GoldPalm) are worn with pride; as are the service pins (4 years cub, 8 years boy scout, and 2 years adult leader). These devices are meant to symbolize experience in the program and give others a quick glance at your experience. Youth look up to those who are experienced and they want to know “what did you do to get that “…’s all about building the boys excitement for the program and showing them that it is a life long commitment. I am looking forward to the next 15 years of service!! Thank you for being the “go to guy” in your troop! If you have dedicated yourself to the program – wear your knots with pride.

      • Agreed. Many of those with a “chestful” of knots started helping as Tiger/Cub den leaders, and there was a knot for everything at each stage. It’s a real resume of service, as long as intentions were good. Were and are there knot chasers? Probably. But I don’t think that’s the majority.

        That said, I’m glad knots were consolidated – it will probably be rare to see more than a couple rows outside of those who got 2-3 youth knots first. It will look “cleaner” for sure.

    • @ John – Thank you for your service to the United Stated and to BSA. If anyone looks down on you for such commitment, they are wrong. Thank you.

    • For someone who claims to “do it for the kids”, while detracting from adults wearing their earned square knots, you seem to put yourself above all others as “the one they turn to for fun in the pack and troop”, etc.. It really sounds like you think the program couldn’t exist without you. Maybe that’s why you haven;lt earned an square knots.

  2. While I agree with you to a point.. and our pack has typically ignored the knots, we are starting to encourage them. The reasoning is that if you do the things required to get the knot, it makes you a better scouter. Also, for parents coming in who are familiar with knots, it gives them confidence that their den leader/cubmaster has some experience. It is also a nice way of saying thank you and recognize scouters for all the hard work that they do… not they they should be doing it for the knot or recognition.

  3. I have seen other leaders in our Pack and when attending Scouting events (camp, Pinewood Derby, Roundtable ect… I started last year with a Den of Tiger Cub Scouts with my son. I am not a full fledged Den Leader but an Assistant Den Leader. My son and I are very into all that is Cub Scouts if there is something to earn my son is working on earning it! We had to buy a bigger sized shirt just so we could fit all of his segments on the front of his shirt. I would like to start putting Knots on my shirt as well. Once again at least right now I am still an Assistant Den Leader… I feel for all that I do and time I put in I still feel that I have earned at least one knot for now. I hope to one day make the trip to Phillmont and take the leaderships training they offer.

    • I’m probably a few years too late in posting this to be helpful to you, Stephanie, but in case anyone else has a similar question about recognition for Assistant Den Leaders:

      As a long-tenured Pack Committee Chair I’ve always regarded adult recognition as a part of my job. We use knots when earned, but also other things (like medals of appreciation made of wood and ribbon or plaques). It’s important to find a way to recognize volunteers, and in my opinion, even more important to do it in a way that let’s their Scout(s) see them being recognized for their service. A knot isn’t the only way to do it. But, with that said, we have presented Den Leader knots to some of our Assistant Den Leaders in the past. Depending on the situation, an ADL might really be more of a co-Den Leader, and even the person who puts in the most time or work. If that’s the case and they have met all of the requirements outside of actually holding the title I’ve not been shy about presenting them with a Den Leader Knot. As I see it, it is consistent with the intent of the program (if not the letter of the law) and to the extent that it supports us having happy and motivated volunteers it helps us achieve the aims of Scouting. Consider using adult recognition in all of its forms as they strive to build and maintain a great team of caring, talented, and well-trained adult leaders to support your unit, and be creative in doing it. Maybe that means knots, and maybe that means something else. Know your people and what’s important and motivating to them.

  4. I originally looked at the knots the same as Kenny L, bling that could distract me from my primary purpose – to help the BOYS. But after 3 years as a leader, I started to see it more like Randy S, that my knots show them that Advancement is an important and livelong activity. So by getting a knot or two, I demonstrate that I can put in the extra time to advance, which gives me “street cred” when I encourage them to start or finish a merit badge or a rank.

    Plus realizing I could get the Training knot gave me that extra push to get that last bits of training I hadn’t bothered with, which makes me a better leader. And that definitely helps the boys.

    • I agree with Stew
      Knots do show you put in the extra effort to make sure the boys program work’s the way it is meant to be.

  5. How about some Varsity related knots? Surely there are some deserving coaches as well as Denali earners who should be recognized as well.

    • Training and Key knots are used by Varsity, Venturing, and district committee and commissioners as well. Just need to wear a device.

  6. For those who are true insignia buffs – there are at least two other new knots I didn’t see listed on this page: 1) the Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service (and) 2) the Unit Leader Award of Merit which replaces the Scoutmaster / Crew Advisor Award of Merit and now recognizes Cubmasters.

    • There is more than that. The Commissioner-mouthful award knot can be found digitally on the internet, but the patch won’t be available until May 2013 (when the 2 years tenure can be met from its inception in April 2011). There is also the Explorer Ranger knot (1940s), Explorer Ace knot (1940s), Explorer Silver I knot (1950s), Explorer Silver II knot (1950s-present), the Den Leader Coach knot (1990-2008, preceded Pack Trainer knot). All said, there have been 51 (arguably 53) different knots in BSA history. The Explorer Silver II is the most versatile, as it has come to represent 7 different awards over time, with the Young American Award the only one still awarded at the council level as of 2012.

    • The 2 that are arguable…the Hornaday Gold Badge (adults) and Hornaday Badge (youth) are metallic pins the same dimensions as a knot and are designed to be worn amongst the square knots in placement. The BSA does not make knot-sized patches of these two badges (you can find unapproved aftermarket ones) but they can arguably fall under the category of square knots given their uniform placement.

  7. Is there any thought about some type of a knot for military service? I have been a cubmaster for 3 yrs but had to deploy (for the 14th deployments to date) to Afganistan. While I was away, I still logged in via Skype and watched every den and pack meeting. Thank you for consideration and any thoughts

      The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (M)VSM) may be awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces and their Reserve components, who after 31 December 1992, perform outstanding volunteer community service of a sustained, direct and consequential nature. The MOVSM is intended to recognize exceptional community support over time, not a single act or achievement. It is intended to honor direct support of community activities. For example, attending membership meetings or social events of a community service group is not considered qualifying service, while manning a community crisis action telephone line for a sustained period of time is considered qualifying service.
      To qualify for MOVSM award, a service member’s volunteer service must:
      • Be to the civilian community, to include the military family community.
      • Be significant in nature and produce tangible results.
      • Reflect favorably on the service member’s Military Department and the Department of Defense.
      • Be of a sustained and direct nature.
      • Be of a voluntary nature, not detailed or

    • BSA will never make a knot for military service. If they did then every other profession will want a knot. The closest thing you can wear on your uniform for military service is the Community Org. Knot IF you have earned the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. If you have a MOVSM then the Com. Org knot is automatic. If your in the Americal Legion you can also earn the Com org knot. VFW also but its alot harder. I would write up your MOVSM on a wards form (DA 638) and send it to your supervisor to recomend to your battalion commander who can approve it.

      • Interesting! There once was a time when military decorations were acceptable on a Scout uniform but that time has now passed. Maybe some forty years ago, I actually wore my aviator’s wings on my Scout uniform … but no more.

  8. I know everything comes to an end sometime. But, now that I have completed everything for Webelos Leader Knot. There is no WL knot. I think this is a bad idea. Knots give that push for us to complete all the training and go much further than the extra mile for our boys. We award leaders in front of the Pack and this not only encourages the other leaders to push it shows the boys everyone advances in some way. This builds the bonds between leaders and Scouts. I think this is a very bad idea.

    • You can still wear the WDL knot. The award does not officially end until Dec. 31, 2012 and so long as patches exist, they can be worn. No BSA uniform has ever expired and neither has any knot. So buy a few (as long as your WDL Award paperwork is all filled out) and wear them with pride.

    • I have four “discontinued” knots and they generate quite a bit of conversation with the new generation of Scouters when I explain what they are. Make sure the paperwork is squared away and wear them with pride.

  9. I believe I understand why some of the reasoning why they are consolidating a number of knots. Now leaders could possibly have multiple devices pin to the same knot. Now there will be nine different ways to earn the Scouter’s Key and 6 ways to get the Scouter’s Training Award. Will there be guidance on how many devices a person should wear per knot? Also the ¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award pictured is incorrect.

    • The devices occupy a small but significant portion of the territory on a square knot. In reality, I think that you will find it impossible to place more than three devices on a single square knot. Choose wisely. YIS, Jim Costello

  10. Have to agree. Wear them for the kids. They look up to adults, and seeing adults are going that extra mile, and also going to training, and working hard will encourage them to do the same. I only have three knots on my Uniform, I wear them. I earned them, I also wear my three beads and my Taupe Scarf to events, and CoHs. The boys see this, they strive to earn awards, and the journey to earning awards is what’s important. Every boy deserves a Trained leader, and Trained leaders should show it.

  11. The Scoutmaster Award of Merit and Venturing Advisor Award of Merit knot(s) went out in 2010 and were replaced by the Unit Leader Award of Merit, which Cubmasters may also earn. Can we please update this for that?

    Thank you.

  12. A friend and fellow Scouter was wearing a blue square knot that I did not recognize. When I asked what it represented he said that it was for BSA Lifeguard. I have done the 40 hour, week long BSA Lifeguard program three times and would therefore be entitled to wear the knot, but I can find no reference to it anywhere. Has it been retired?

    • Kevin-

      That’s an unofficial, unapproved knot. It has never been a knot that I’m aware of. Instead, trained BSA lifeguards wear this patch on their swim trunks or other swim gear. I hope this clears things up.


  13. One of the things I have noticed with regard to the knots is there is a lack of recognition for Boy Scout leaders. As a active adult leader is a Boy Scout Troop for over 9 years, the only knot I was eligible to obtain was the Scouter’s Training Award. Beside that, there really isn’t any recognition for the Assistant Scoutmaster’s ot eh Committee members, yet there is an award for practically every position in Cubs. I see that some comments made suggest that wearing the knots show the Youth that you have experience , but it really doesn’t. I personally believe there should be additional Recognition to those Boy Scouters that participate in those very important positions because the Scoutmaster can’t do his job effectively without the support of the ASMs and Committee.

    • As I recall, the Scouter’s Training Award was originally created especially for Assistant Scoutmasters and Troop Committee members. The other additions were made in more recent times. I cannot recall the exact timing of the original award but my memory goes back to the 1940s when I was a youth member of the BSA. Since the support of the entire Scouting family program goes well beyond the local unit, it was deemed important to recognize Scouters with other important roles to play in the world view of Scouting. Hence, the other awards are now in significant use.

  14. If anyone knows how I can contact the “Insignia Committee” in the “Council Solutions Group.”
    I can’t find anyone who even knows that a committee like this exists. I actually have an idea for a couple new knots to recognize an adults activity while a youth.
    I have also been asked to look into adding one of my veteran’s groups to the Community Service Award groups.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Who really cares if someone doesnt like you wearing knots! If your in Scouting long enough you will find that there are negative people there just like everywhere else in this world. Ignore them. Enjoy the program and enjoy the quality time spent with the boys and wear your knots with pride! There is nothing bad about feeling good about yourself or your accomplishements regardless of whether it is in Scouting or some other part of your life.

    Yours in Scouting,

  16. I am a former Eagle Scout who has since reconnected with Scouting with my youngest son, who is 12. Unfortunately, as soon as the leadership found out I had a background in Scouting (Philmont, AT, etc), I was tapped for Patrol Advisor. But I have actually had a lot of fun with it and am getting used to sleeping on the ground again.

    However, I need a uniform to chaperone the kids to Summer Camp. Not a big deal but when I asked about the Eagle square knot, they said I had to have my Eagle card. Now I have all my old patches, but that card has long since disappeared and I’m sure I earned my Eagle well before that registry was created. I’m not even sure of the year I earned it. It was in the early 1970s.

    I don’t need to wear a lot of patches – I was gonna leave off the OA flap that I still have – but I am proud of that Eagle and sweated blood for it. There were no merit badge academies back in the day. I do want to wear that knot.

    Any suggestions?

    • Contact the NESA (National Eagle Scout Association) office at BSA headquarters and they can look you up and you can purchase a replacement Eagle card. Almost all Eagles over the last 100+ years are in the data bse.

  17. I just received the District Award of Merit. I was wondering if you could tell me why it is a different knot than the other knots? Is there some place that describes the significance of colors used and knots being different in shape?

  18. As a Boy Scout I really appreciated the adult leaders in my troop and all the knowledge they shared with us. The only two square knots I remember are the Eagle Scout knot and the Order of the Arrow knot. Remember this is the Boy Scouts of America. Scouters are supposed to be there for the kids, not personal recognition. Having said that, I understand the fact that the square knots and service pins and such help show the experience of the Scouter. However, there are Scouters that lose their way and obsess about all the adornments sometimes losing sight of the reason to be a Scout leader…to guide the Scouts not only on the trail to Eagle Scout but also down the trail of life.

  19. I some times look at the younger fellows with a dozen or more knots compaired to myone and then look at the other pocket with four stars that total over 60 years, the downpointing arrowhead on my sleve and the NCS patch on my right pocket and I don’t worry about it because I know they are thinking “wow, I hope I can last that long” and smile while I answer their questions about how to do something or how we used to do it.

  20. “Show Scout Spirit” This includes wearing the scout uniform properly. This includes all the badges, patches and pin. Keep it in good taste.

  21. The Scouter’s Training Award that I received has a white border. No where can I find a representation of this knot that isn’t simply a green knot on a khaki background. Is this a new design?

    • I’m a registered Scouter. I have earned a number of awards that are recognized with the appropriate square knot including the Scouter’s Training Award. The square knot that I wear on my field scouter uniform is khaki and green. However, I have the same square knot on my Sea Scout Leader (white) uniform. It is a green knot of a white background … and is especially designed for use on the Sea Scout uniform. Perhaps that is the square knot you are questioning.

  22. Knots
    Its sad to see that people who earn knots don’t wear them or even fill out the paper work for them. I find it hard to tell a boy who is wearing a rank a level or two below what his rank really is, to keep his uniform up to date when we as adults are not up to date, were suppose to set the EXAMPLE.

    If you earn them fill out the paperwork and wear them it’s only fair to set the example for the boys.

    I know National has suggested only 3 row of 3 but remember it’s only a suggesting 3 of 3.

    Most scouters who have earned or received awards, agree that wearing ALL you have earned or received should be worn regardless of what is suggested.

    I have found the boys and many of their parents are more impressed with the more you have. Many volunteers are so impressed with the fact that they can earn things just like the boys. Again setting the example, on earning ranks and badges.

    I have seen as many as 18 Knots on a leaders uniform, at the time I was not overly impressed, but after seeing the BOYS response I couldn’t help but start earning them.

    I have found that earning them has helped me be a better leader not just for the boys, but also a better mentor in mentoring new leaders. The better you can mentor leaders the better for the boys.

    I’m not an expert, and when people ask me I tell them the best thing to do is read the books. Then consult if need be.

    • I love the Scouting movement. I like what it did for my father who started in Scouts in 1918 and ultimately served as a Field Scout Executive in Baltimore Area Council. I like what it did for me as a youth and the moral code that was instilled in me for my lifetime of values. I like what it did for my two Eagle Scout sons and the impact it has had on their lives and families. I have served the program as an adult volunteer since my eighteenth birthday in 1959 and participated in every volunteer position within several councils since then up to and including council president. I have been recognized, in turn, by the organization and awarded some twenty-one square knot representations. I proudly wear these square knot awards that tell others where I travelled to learn to serve our kids better. My oldest youths for whom I served as a Scouter are themselves now 66 years old. Thank the Lord there is such a program as ours.
      YIS, Jim Costello

  23. The advancement/recognition program is designed to lead scouts down a path where they learn the skills needed to succeed not only in scouts, but life. Adult advancement/recognition program serves the same purpose, and achieves its goals in to same way. Advancement is a key method of scouting, and it works.

  24. I was never a scout as youth. I became involved with scouting
    in 1999. I was 43 years old through a VFW Post. I’m a recipient of Distinguished Commissioner Award and Arrow Award. I research criteria of some of the awards available when I began.I realized that I always missed one criteria so I just had fun with the boys. I have served as Unit
    Commissioner since 1999. Started a cub scout unit before the newly organized knot came about. Along with my service served as a Committee Chair for two units. I’m proud of my service knots or no knots. My proudest recognition came when a State Senator of Texas recognized me with a proclamation for my service to Scouting Program.

  25. I am working on a Boy Scout display T our local museum and have discovered an award square knot not known by fellow scouters in my area. Does anyone know the meaning of a white on white square knot with a white background? Any help in identifying this would be appreciated.

  26. I have gone through all of the responses on the subject of square knots to wear or not wear on leader uniforms. There are both good reasoning as well as bad for some of the things National did with the profusion of knots.

    I have been involved with the Scouting program off and on since 1962: 3 yrs in Cub Scouts; 3 yrs in Boy Scouts; 3 yrs in Sea Exploring. Then, during my time in the service, I was a leader for a troop for 2 yrs (1976-78), and 2 yrs in Sea Explorers (1979-1980). It was extremely difficult to be active when I was on sea duty. Very hard to work very short time with a unit over that time.

    I was unable to continue working in Scouting after the Navy because I was in a pastorate until 1997.

    I have been involved in a plethora of leadership positions within one district of one council. I’ve been a member of OA since 1977 (Brotherhood 1998), earned by Wood Badge in 2012. The new Sea Scout requirements for square knots says that we are allowed only 6 knots to be worn on the uniforms, and no insignia of OA or Wood Badge to grace the uniform. I have two knots that I had earned in another council, but are being told I can no longer wear them because they don’t know what I’m talking about after a merger with another council. We can’t even wear the Sea Scout uniforms so they are easily discernible from the military.

    Where does that leave those of us who have used hard work to earn the square knots we fought for. Or, are we just getting hoses like the military did to us many years ago.

    • Square knots: You earned them, you wear them. Anyone says differently is not correct. Ask them to show you, in official writings or documents, where their position is justified. Too many uniform police and not enough youth leaders.

  27. Are all of these knots still available for one to get? Have there been new ones introduced since 2011?

  28. We inherited a box of BSA insignia from my father in law who was a Scoutmaster in the 70’s. A knot in the batch I can’t find. It is a square knot on a dark navy blue background. I will be passing on the kit to my youth’s Scoutmaster, but it will help if I know a little about it. Any help out there?

  29. Sorry left out that the square knot is white on the adtk navy background. Thanks for any help identifying it.

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  2. 006 - What do those knot patches mean? - Cub Scout Pack 457

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