In recent years, representatives of several national chartered organizations have inquired about the development of a recognition that could be given to registered adult leaders in units chartered to community organizations, similar to the adult religious awards presented by various denominations and faith groups. After study and evaluation, the BSA National Court of Honor approved the concept of a Community Organization Award square knot. This square knot would be available to be worn by uniformed Scouters who have been recognized for their service to Scouting youth in the community.
The concept of the Community Organization Award is similar to the adult religious recognition program in that the award itself and the criteria for granting the award is under the ownership and auspices of the particular national chartered organization which presents the award. The intent of the National Uniform and Insignia Committee is to provide a square knot for Scouters who have received a BSA accepted and authorized award from a national community organization.
The Boy Scouts of America’s Community Organization Award square knot consists of an embroidered gold square knot on a purple background with a gold border and is the means by which the BSA recognizes Scouters who have received an approved community organization service recognition. As with all other square knots, it is worn on the Scouter uniform shirt above the left pocket.
Development of the Award
Community Organization Award is a generic term used by the BSA to identify a category of awards used by secular, national, community organizations to recognize their members for voluntary service and achievement. The organization must also be a BSA national chartered organization. The recognition piece, the concept of the award, and the criteria for awarding and presenting it are developed and owned by the national community organization which is also a chartered organization with the Boy Scouts of America.
To ensure compatibility with the objectives and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, the concept, requirements, and criteria for presenting the award must be approved by the BSA National Relationships Committee.
The Awarding Process
A Community Organization Award (COA) square knot is available for registered volunteers to wear on their Scout uniform. This square knot denotes that a Scout volunteer has been recognized by one of these approved national chartered organization partners for Scout service within that organization. Those organizations are as follows:
- AFL/CIO George Meany Award
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Good Turn Service Award
- Alpha Phi Omega Herbert G. Horton Youth Service Award
- American Legion Scouting Award
- AMVET Boy Scouts of America Youth Outreach Award
- ARRL Amateur Radio Service to Scouting Award
- Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Marvin M. Lewis Award
- Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, George D. Hedrick Volunteer Service Award
- Department of Defense-United States Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians Cliff Dochterman Award
- Kiwanis International – Boy Scouts of America Community Organization Award
- Lions Club Scouting Service Award
- Masonic Daniel Carter Beard Scouter Award
- Military Order of the World Wars
- National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Boy Scout Volunteer Award | Requirements
- Nonprofit Leadership Alliance H. Roe Bartle Training Award
- Philmont Staff Association, Silver Sage Award
- Ruritan National Service Clubs Scout Leader Community Service Award
- United States Power Squadrons, Raymond A. Finley, Jr. Sea Scout Service Award
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Scouter’s Achievement Award
- Woods Services, Woods Services Award for Scouting With Special Needs
Notes: This is not a BSA award created for partner organizations to give as a recognition/award for their members, but is offered to allow our Scouting volunteers to wear an approved BSA recognition device (the square knot) on their uniform as the BSA has a policy that prohibits the wearing of non-BSA awards on our uniforms.
How to get the square knot: It’s simple. Once a volunteer has been recognized with one of the 20 approved awards above, just take documentation of having received that award such as a certificate, letter, medal, etc. to a Scout Shop to purchase the Square Knot, No. 613864. The Program Impact Department of the National Office no longer process orders for this knot as they previously had done. The knot is only available from Scout Shops.