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> updated 15/03/13
George Meany Award
George Meany Award

This is the official, BSA-issued version of this square knot insignia. Most of the ones which were purchased by holders of the Award with the background colors reversed have been returned to the Relationships Division to be destroyed. Of course, there's several memorabilia dealers and patch collectors who have both versions in their personal collections!

"Square knot" insignia

All Insignia Left Front Fake/Unofficial knot emblems

FAKE or Unofficial "square knots"

Good-intentioned Scouts and Scouters created several "square knots" for things they felt that the BSA either was not moving fast enough on or in which they felt that "we need to wear a knot for that too..."

If they would have thought about it before having these mostly useless pieces of cloth made, they would have relized that:

- the BSA more than likely ALREADY have an emblem (cloth badge, pin, other item) which is either worn with civilian wear, with the field uniform, or with equipment or personal gear (like jackets, vests, etc.)

- there's not a lot of people who are "entitled" to the award represented by the "knot emblem". The BSA bases whether or not a "knot emblem" will be developed on a formula. Basically, if an award has the potential for 500 or more holders of the award or emblem in the next ten years, a "square knot" could be developed to represent that award.

- again, and I can't stress this enough -- the BSA's square knot insignia REPRESENTS NATIONAL, REGIONAL OR LOCAL COUNCIL AWARDS and is worn during informal occasions. During FORMAL occasions, the ACTUAL AWARD or MEDALLION is worn by the reciepient.

(And to my Order of the Arrow brothers who state that "nobody knows what the thingy for the Founders' Award is but they understand what a "square knot" is for", I ask you to ask a TYPICAL volunteer or Scout what does the EXISTING square knots on a uniform shirt mean. Yes, you need to educate fellow Arrowmen about what the "dangle" for the Founders' Award means -- just like we have to explain what the regular "Arrow pin" means. It doesn't take a square knot to do that...)

THESE ITEMS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR WITH THE BSA'S OFFICIAL FIELD UNIFORMS. They make great collecting or trading items, however...

ALL of the insignia shown below are unauthorized for wear on the official Scouting field uniforms says the BSA. This insignia is posted here with the reason/justification for their unauthorized wear. Exceptions are noted.

fake Silver Award Square Knot
fake Silver Award square knot

Emblem Description: square knot created from red and gold strands on a white background.

Why not: The BSA created a Silver Award square knot a year and a half after introduction of the Venturing Silver Award. The square knot is located on a separate page.

Diversity Square Knot
Diversity Award square knot

Emblem Description: square knot created from strands representing the "rainbow colors" on the Diversity for All flag, popular within the LGBT community on a tan background.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- it does not represent any BSA award, certificate or plaque.

Trail Medal/Historic Trails Award Square Knot
Trail Medal/Historic Trails Award square knot

Emblem Description: square knot created from green and blue strands representing a trail medal's ribbon colors on a tan background.

Why not: the Historic Trails Award is NOT a uniform item but instead an equipment decoration item despite having a cloth as well as leather patches. A separate page addresses the Historic Trail and other equipment decoration items. With regard to trail medals, each trail medal also has a cloth patch which may be worn centered on the right pocket of the uniform or on a vest or jacket.

Merit Badge Achievement Square Knot
Merit Badge Acheivement square knot

Emblem Description: square knot composed of silver and khaki strands on a red, white and blue background and border. Silver strand is worn to the wearer's right as shown.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- the justification is that there exists no recognition for the Eagle Scout who have earned ALL of the available merit badges. There *is*: the wearing of SEVEN Eagle Palms and displaying them on the Eagle Scout square knot or on the ribbon of the Eagle Scout medal is the appropriate recognition for a young man who has earned ALL of the available merit badges. By adding the Palms (105 for the seven Silver Palms and remembering the 21 required for the Eagle Scout Award), gives a total of 126 or ALL of the available merit badges.

More information on this emblem may be found at this site, which explains the rationale and justification why they feel that such a recognition is needed. Earning Eagle is a great accomphishment. Earning a single Palm to the Eagle is greater and earning the entire "sequence" (Bronze, Gold and Silver) even greater. Not every Scout will want to or feel the need to earn EVERY merit badge offered at their time. But the recognition for such additional accomphishments have *already been designed* and a suitable uniform item *has been developed a long time ago*.

NESA Square Knot
NESA Award square knot

Emblem Description: overhand brown knot with a silver Eagle in the center of the emblem on a red, white and blue background and silver border.

Why not: This unofficial "square knot insignia" started appearing after the National Eagle Scout Association created a special plaque to honor Scoutmasters who have provided a longtime lenght of service to Scouting in their local Councils. Each Regional Area nominated two Scoutmasters (typically these were Scoutmasters producing the most Eagle Scouts in their Council over a lenght of time) for the plaque. The knot emblem was never authorized but some Scoutmasters wore them. The BSA later created the Scoutmaster (later to be expanded to other key leaders in ALL programs ) Award of Merit. The Award is now called the Unit Leader Award of Merit. There is a separate page with the official knot emblem.

Alpha Phi Omega Square Knot
APO (Alpha Phi Omega) square knot

Emblem Description: square knot created with dark blue and white strands with the letters of the Fraternity on top of the square knot on a tan background.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- it does not represent any BSA award, certificate or plaque. Membership in APO is denoted by a pocket patch which may be worn on the right pocket of the APO member.

Friends of Scouting volunteer Square Knot
Friends of Scouting volunteer square knot

Emblem Description: a middle blue square knot on a light blue background and dark blue border.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- it does not represent any BSA award, certificate or plaque. The West Fellowship award knot emblem recognizes volunteers and professionals who have contributed to their local Council's financial campaigns over and above their regular Friends of Scouting contribution.

Fake Vigil Honor  Square Knot
Fake OA Vigil Honor square knot

Emblem Description: blue overhead knot with the Vigil Award triangle superimposed in front with a red background and white border.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- The Vigil Honor pin has a is worn either suspended from the Arrow Pin "dangle" or the Founders Award Pin "dangle", either of which is worn suspended from the right pocket as shown here. The Vigil Honor pin may also be worn on civilian clothes at the option of the Arrowman. (Additionally, many Lodges still have special Vigil "flaps" which may be still avialable even though officially the Order of the Arrow discourages Lodges from having separate Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil Honor "flaps" any more.)

Fake Founders Award Square Knot
Fake OA Founders'Award square knot

Emblem Description: gold square knot representing the gold Founders' Award medallion on a red background.

Why not: There is no reason to wear such a square knot insignia -- The Founders' Award has a uniform item (a gold arrow suspended from a red ribbon which is worn suspended from the right pocket flap of the receipient) as shown here.

Lifeguard BSA Square Knot
Lifeguard BSA Award square knot

Emblem Description:

A light blue square knot on a tan background and border. The light blue refers to water.

Why not: The Lifeguard BSA insignia already exists and is designed to be worn on the right side of swim trunks or other swim gear by the holders of the Award.

Antarctica Service Medal square knot
Antarctica Service Medal square knot

Emblem Description:

White square knot on light blue background with black border. Unknown as to the justification for the color scheme; the ribbon on the military medal is composed of light and dark blue lines with a white line in the center.

Why not: While starting with Eagle Scout Paul Siple in 1929, Scouts and Explorers have been selected to go to Antarctica with the United States expeditions, hosted by the National Science Foundation. American citizens who participate in such ventures receive the Antarctica Service Medal through the National Science Foundation. Scouts and Explorers could wear the medal on the field uniform until the late 70s. This square knot started appearing in 1978 with some "justification" that "National created this" for those Scouts or Explorers to wear. Only thing is, the BSA's Outdoor Programs Division (now part of the BSA Program Group) did not authorize or create the knot emblem; nor has such an insignia item be approved by the BSA's National Executive Board for wear. In the early 90s, someone reported that the National Science Foundation actually created the insignia. The National Science Foundation's Scouting liaison office confirmed that they DID NOT create any insignia and only issue the medal with an authorization letter.

In order for the BSA to produce a square knot insignia piece, at least 500 holders in a ten-year period has to be documented. Since only one or two Scouts/Venturers go on the expedition yearly, the BSA would not invest a large amount of money on insignia pieces worn only by a very small number of people.


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