Square knot insignia
|Square knot insignia|
Square knot insignia are embroidered cloth patches that represent awards of the Boy Scouts of America and Scout associations throughout the world. The insignia depicts a square knot made of colored ropes; the colors are generally dictated by the award the insignia is associated with.
In the earliest days of the Boy Scouts of America, military veterans were urged into service as Scoutmasters. The first Scout uniforms therefore resembled military uniforms. It was common for these veterans to wear their military decorations on their modified Boy Scout uniform — a national uniform was not to be developed until the early 1920s.
Military tradition dictated that the actual medal from a military award was only worn on ceremonial occasions — at other times, it was replaced with a thin ribbon bar with the same ribbon style as found attached to the medal. This carried over to Scouting, whose awards were medals, similar to the military, but were most often worn as ribbons. These ribbons differed from the military style in that, instead of being the same as the ribbon for the medal, they were instead all the same - khaki coloured, with a woven square knot in the centre. The colour of this knot was dictated by the ribbon for the medal. The choice of the square knot as the common emblem was made by James E. West, who is said to have chosen it for its use as the knot associated with first aid, thereby reminding Scouts to continue to be of service to others.
Initially, eight new ribbons were introduced and later a ninth, which represented the various national awards available at that time:
- Silver Beaver Award
- Eagle Scout Award
- Scouter's Key Award
- Scouter's Training Award
- Quartermaster Award
- Silver Buffalo Award
- Honor Medal
- Merit Medal
- Silver Antelope Award
Between the introduction of square knot insignia and today, over 40 new awards have been added. In addition, there are a number of unofficial awards using the insignia, and various other awards that use similar insignia but with different knots depicted.
Insignia of the Boy Scouts of America
Knots are worn in rows of three across the top of the wearer's left pocket. When less than 3 knots are worn in a particular row, knots are generally centered to the pocket, or the row below them.
Insignia available to youth
|Arrow of Light|
|Explorer Silver Award||1954||1958|
|Explorer Silver Award||1954||1958|
|Explorer Achievement Award||1977||1995|
|Exploring G.O.L.D. Award||1995||1998|
|Young American Award||1954|
|Air Scout Ace Award||1940||1950|
|Explorer Ranger Award||1933||1951|
|Venturing Silver Award||1998|
|Venturing Leadership Award|
|Sea Scout or Sea Explorer Quartermaster Award|
|Youth Religious Emblem|
|Medal of Merit|
|William T. Hornaday Bronze or Silver Medal|
|Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award|
Insignia available to adults
|Silver Beaver Award|
|Silver Antelope Award|
|Silver Buffalo Award|
|District Award of Merit|
|Adult Religious Emblem|
|Scouter's Key Award|
|Scouter's Training Award|
|James E. West Award|
|George Meany AFL-CIO Award|
|William T. Hornaday Gold Medal|
|Whitney Young Service Award|
|William D. Boyce Award|
|Vale La Pena Award|
|Asian American Award|
|International Scouter Award|
|Silver World Award|
|Distinguished Commissioner Service Award|
|Doctorate of Commissioner's Science Award|
|Community Service Award|
|Scoutmaster Award of Merit|
|Varsity Scout Coach Award of Merit|
|Venturing Advisor Award of Merit|
|Scoutmaster Award of Merit||2001|
|BSA Alumni Award|
|Philmont Training Center Master's Award|
|Den Leader Coach Award||2012|
|Webelos Den Leader Award||2012|
|Cub Scout Den Leader Award|
|Pack Trainer Award||2012|
|Tiger Cub Den Leader Award||2012|
|William H. Spurgeon III Award|
|Professional Training Award|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Square knot insignia.|
- "AWARDS - KNOTS; ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS". U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Guide to Awards and Insignia". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Square Knot Insignia used by the Boy Scouts of America". 1 October 1999. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
- "Holding out for a hero: How the BSA honors lifesavers". January 23, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2016.