Square knot insignia used by the Boy Scouts of America
Square knot insignia
Advancement Square knot insignia
Advancement "knot emblems" of the BSA
PAY ATTENTION!! YOUTH MEMBERS DO NOT WEAR ADVANCEMENT KNOT INSIGNIA. THESE SQUARE KNOT ITEMS ARE WORN ONLY BY ADULTS WHO HAVE EARNED THESE AWARDS AS A YOUTH MEMBER.
These are sqaure knot insignia items representing awards which are earned by YOUTH members of the Boy Scouts of America. Each of these awards have an associated cloth emblem
which is worn only by the youth member. When those youth members become adult members of the BSA, they SHOULD remove the cloth emblem(s) and instead wear the appropriate square
knot insignia shown below (in some cases with a device signifying in which "version" of the program they earned the award within; or in the case of the Eagle Scout Palms, how many additional merit badges
above Eagle have they earned).
Example of all eight youth award "knot emblems" worn together.
Arrow of Light Award
Arrow of Light Award (error)
Arrow of Light Award
Description: Square knot made up of the WEBELOS badge colors: a gold border, with kelly green and scouting red
rope strands, worn with green rope to wearer's right; there is also a square knot, which is shown here, with the colors reversed. Either
one may be worn, although the top one shown is the one which was originally designed for wear in 1973.
Worn by: Male Scouters
The Arrow of Light is the highest youth award earned by Cub Scouts. In order to earn the Arrow of Light, a WEBELOS Cub Scout must complete the
seven requirements outlined in the WEBELOS Cub Scout Handbook,including learning joining skills and participating in a Boy Scout Troop visit, in
addition to earning several WEBELOS activity pins. Youth members DO NOT wear the knot emblem. They wear the Arrow of Light patch (shown
right) on their uniform in the places prescribed for the wearing of the Award.
In 1990, two emblem manufacturers made an
error when reordering this knot emblem to be worn upon the present tan shirts, and it was too late before the BSA's Supply Division caught the error; As you can
see from the two knots above, in getting the new tan backgrounded knots to the field, the two companies reversed the colors of the strands.
The BSA's Supply Division says that more than 40,000 of the "reversed" Arrow of Light knots exist out there.The BSA's Insignia and Uniform staff knows about the
error, and has informed local Councils and Scouters that EITHER knot is acceptable for wear but NOT BOTH. Future orders returned the color combinations back to the
original combination shown in the top knot shown above..
Eagle Scout Award
Description: Square knot made up of the medal ribbon colors -- red, white and blue -- intertwined as one rope. Ends showing blue tips are worn
to wearer's right as shown.
Worn by: Male Scouters
The Eagle Scout Badge is the highest youth rank in the Boy Scouting program. It is earned by Boy or Varsity Scouts or by Venturers or Sea Scouts whom complete
a number of merit badges , including several from a required list of badges
for the rank, a series of successful leadership positions in a unit, a series of service projects including a cumulating project in which he must plan, prepare, execute and evaluate,
and personal appearance before a review board at the local Council level. Youth members DO NOT wear the knot. They wear the Eagle Scout rank patch (shown right)
on their uniform in the places prescribed for the wearing of the Award. Eagle Scouts may earn and wear Bronze, Gold and/or Silver Palms
(if earned) on the ribbon of the medal for the completion of additional merit badges, leadership experiences and tenure since Eagle. These palms are worn in the highest
combination which illustrate the number of merit badges over Eagle in multiples of five. Unofficially, youth Eagle Scouts may wear the Palms on the center portion of
the Eagle Scout cloth badge. Adult Eagle Scouts may wear their Eagle Palms centered on the square knot insignia (the knot emblem can hold seven palms, so if an adult
earned ALL of the merit badges, he would wear six silver and one bronze palm on the knot emblem. There exists no square knot insignia item for earning ALL of the available
present Quartermaster Award knot emblem
Description: Square knot made up of sea blue ribbon color from Quartermaster Medal. Difference between old and new knot is only
background in which worn on field uniform.
Worn by: Male and Female Sea Scouts, Male and Female Venturers,
Male and Female Scouters
The Quartermaster Award is the highest rank in the Sea Scouting portion of the Venturing program. In order to earn Quartermaster, Sea Scouts must show nautical profiecency, leadership,
and service over a period of time, as well as to earn several rating awards. Quartermaster Awards are conferred after a review board at the local Council level. Rare award.
Silver 1st version
Silver 2nd version/Exploring
Achievement/ G.O.L.D./Young American Awards knot emblem
More information on these Exploring awards can be found here
Description: Old square knot emblem made up of three Exploring colors:dark blue for Sea Exploring, amber for Air Exploring and red for "traditional Exploring", with red to wearer's right.
Current square knot emblem made up of silver knot with background colors from ribbon colors from second version of award: red, white and blue. Award is worn with red side or red strand to wearer's
right as shown
Worn by: Male and Female Explorers, Male and Female Scouters
The Old Silver Award was created as a replacement for the Ranger and Ace Exploring Awards. National awarded 533 of the first version of the
award before reformulating the entire Exploring program. The present Silver Award knot may be worn by previous holders of any Exploring
advancement award less the Quartermaster Award and also by holders of a national or local Council Young American Award, a special plaque and/or medallion award
designed to recognize achievements in various areas by young adults (whom may or may not be Exploring members). The Exploring Growth Opportunity in
Leadership Development (G.O.L.D.) Award (which was originally called the Exploring Achievement Award) was earned by male and female member of
any Explorer Post or Ship after a period of service, leadership and tenure. Each Explorer creates their own set of of "requirements" for the
award, which included learning the Explorer Code. At the end of the period of service and leadership, and at the conclusion appears before
the District or Council Exploring Committee to review the path taken to complete the requirements for the award. Silver 1 Very Rare award.
Exploring G.O.L.D./Silver 2 Rare award. Present Silver Rare award.
Silver Award bar emblem
Silver Award/Summit Award square knot emblem
More information on all of the various Venturing Awards may be found here.
Description: The Bar is taken from the top part of the Silver Award Medal. Until the square knot was approved, the Bar was the only approved insignia to be worn representing
holders of the Silver Award. The present square knot insignia is a silver knot on white and dark green background, with a silver Mylar border The award knot is worn with the green background
to the wearer's right as shown. The current square knot is used to represent holders of the Summit Award. Previously, Venturers earning both awards would wear a small Venturing program device in the center of the square knot emblem. This is no longer needed.
Worn by:Male and Female Venturers, Male and Female Scouters
The Summit Award is currently the highest recognition which a Venturer may earn as a member of a Crew. The Summit Award, introduced in 2014, replaces the old Silver Award and the advancement track is different for the current award. The last Silver Award was shelved until 1999, when the Venturing Division decided to bring the award back with updated sets of requirements. The Silver Award was officially discontinued on December 31 2013, and replaced with the current Venturing advancement sequence leading to Summit. The specific requirements are listed in the Venturing Handbook. Rare award.
Scan of square knot provided by George Crawl; medal scan provided by Jay Oakman
Ace Award Medal
Description: Square knot made up of red and blue ropes on a middle blue background. The colors are from the traditional colors of Exploring, while the middle blue background was made to
match the sky blue uniform of the Air Explorer.
Worn by: Male and Female Explorers, Male and Female Scouters
The Ace Award is the highest rank in the former Air Exploring portion of the Exploring program. In order to earn Ace, Explorers must show flying profiecency, leadership, and service over
a period of time, as well as to earn several rating awards. Ace Awards are conferred after a review board at the local Council level. The Air Exploring program does not exist anymore and present
Aviation Exploring members cannotearn this award. Rare award.
Old Ranger Award square knot emblem
Scan of square knot provided by George Crawl
Present Ranger Bar
(Current Ranger Award medal is shown at right)
Description: Square knot made up of green and brown ropes on a kelly green background. The colors are from the traditional uniform colors
of Exploring. The current bar is taken from the top part of the Medal.
Worn by: Male Explorers, Male and Female Venturers, Male and Female Scouters
The Ranger Award was presented to Explorers that participated in a rugged series of training and advancement work within an Explorer Post.
The first version of the Award was presented in the 50s' ; the Award was shelved in the late 50s' until 1999, when the Venturing Division decided to
bring the award back with updated, yet just as rugged, set of requirements. Male and Female Venturers may earn this award, and do not have to earn the
Silver Award prior. The square knot emblem was used for the first version of the award; As of this date, the Boy Scouts of America has NOT approved
the wearing of the Ranger Award square knot to represent the present version of the award; those holders of the Ranger Award must (for the time being!)
wear the RANGER silver bar shown centered on the left pocket flap of the uniform. (Some local Council Scout Executives are permitting the wearing of a remake
of the Ranger square knot emblem with the current Venturing green uniform.) Rare award.
If you feel the square knot should return to the kelly green uniform, please write to the Venturing Program Task Force, BSA and let them know this. In the meantime, the
wearing of the Ranger Award square knot emblem by holders is limited to those whom have received permission to do so from their Council's Scout Executive.
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Credits: Knot scans courtesy of Mike Walton and George Crowl. Some medal scans provided by Jay Oakman.
Statistical information and dates provided by Michael Brown and Mike Walton
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