The Boy Scouts of America has approved a large number of official awards for adults. Typically, the formal award is a certificate and a medallion suspended from a colorful ribbon which is worn around the adult's neck. Sometimes the award is in the form of a medal that can be worn.
The knot badges that scout leaders are allowed to wear over the left pocket of their uniforms were originally intended for "informal" occasions in lieu of wearing the medallion or medal. However, the standard practice within the Sam Houston Area Council is that recipients of many of the "training awards" receive only the certificate and the knot badge (they can purchase the medallion and ribbon if they wish). Thus, although technically incorrect, it had become common practice to refer to the knot badge as being the actual award instead of being only an emblem of the award.
These knot awards can be divided into the following three general groups:
- awards earned as a youth, such as the Eagle knot, Arrow of Light and religious awards
- awards earned as an adult, often referred to as "training knots"
- awards received as an adult based upon nomination and selection by others
If you are entitled to wear a knot based on earning the award as a youth, you can simply purchase the knot at the Scout Shop. For other knots, see the link below for a description of the recognition process.
The website of the US Scouting Service Project, Inc. has a great series of webpages describing the various knot awards. Please note that some information at that website may not have been updated recently (see note below) .
- See http://usscouts.org/usscouts/awards/knots1.asp for pictures of each knot award.
Click on the award name for a listing of the requirements for each knot award.
History of knot awards (click for details)
Process for receiving knot awards
How and where to wear knot awards
The information on this GAD website is only an informal summary of the process for recognizing adult leaders.
The official source for information on adult leader awards is the Leadership Training Committee Guide, BSA Pub #34169E (2001 Printing), or its successor publications.
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