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> updated 15/11/10
Official version of Crest of Leadership

The Crest of Leadership (shown above) was designed by "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt as a replacement for the various local Council youth leadership training courses. The Crest was used by the BSA (and is STILL used by some 30 or so local Councils) to award to youth leaders for completing a set of individual training application requirements (similar to a "ticket" which Wood Badge participants must complete) in order to receive and wear the emblem. The emblem was originally designated as a "permanent" emblem but that designation was removed by the BSA in 1980 with the end of the "ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING!" leadership training emphasis.

There are several versions of the Crest out there. In 1981, the leadership of the Blue Grass Scouting Alliance Club at Eastern Kentucky University asked and received permission to alter the Crest and to use it as its official organizational crest. More information on the Crest of Leadership and the BGSA can be found on a separate page.


All Uniform Right Shoulder Quality Awards

"Recognizing Quality in Scouting

(Thanks to David Crow for updating this page with information on the Centennial Quality Awards; also thanks to staffers at the Southern and Northeast Region for providing information on the new Journey to Excellence award program. There is a link to the Journey to Excellence program as well as PDFs of the initial award points and categories by BSA program!)

Currently only ONE of these emblems (regardless of which "era" it is earned from) is worn at a time under the Patrol/Den Medallion or one inch below the bottom edge of the U.S. Flag emblem on the right shoulder. If the U.S. Flag emblem is not worn, the Quality emblem is worn two inches below the right shoulder seam on the shoulder.

These emblems are worn by ALL members who have qualified to earn the award. For instance, if everyone in a local Council earned the Quality Council Award for a particular year, EVERYONE -- youth, volunteer and professional -- wears the same Quality emblem on the right shoulder.

Likewise, if a Pack or Troop earns the Centennial Quality Unit Award for a particular year, everyone who was registered with *that unit* in that year is entitled to wear the Centennial Quality Unit Award permenently. Members of qualifying Regions, Councils, or Districts who have also earned Quality Unit Awards as part of a unit wears ONLY ONE emblem -- the individual chooses which one -- between the Regional, Council, District or Unit Quality Unit Award emblems. Only ONE emblem is currently worn at any one time on the right shoulder.

The BSA's Journey to Excellence program is the latest in a series of ways that the BSA tries to recognize units and individuals within those units that have strong, quality programs. Here's a brief sampler of the history of the unit award:

All four of the National Presidents' Honor Unit Awards

The National President’s Honor Unit Awards were used between 1974 and 1977. These unit awards were the first BSA attempt to standardize each unit's program. Units who meet adult and youth leadership, outdoor activities, BOYS' LIFE, service projects, program and membership goals pre-set with their Commissioner receive the flag streamer and an emblem. These items became PERMANENT parts of the field uniform and were worn below the Patrol medallion as shown here.

The National President’s Honor Unit Awards were used between 1974 and 1977.
These items became PERMANENT parts of the field uniform and were worn below the Patrol medallion as shown here.

The problem with this first program was real apparent after the first year of the program. Did new Honor Units get the first patch (the blue patch without any stars) or did they receive the one with one star?? Did other units get to wear both the blank patch and the one with the single star, or do they just wear the one with the single star?? With very little guidance, this program became very hard to manage and in 1976 the National Office threw their hands up and told local Councils to "run it in the best way they chose to do so". Many local Councils started by then to develop their own unit recognition program based on these criteria and local Council programming criteria.

The BSA National Honor Unit Award was a standard set of required and optional program goals. These program goals -- in leadership training, membership, camping or summertime activities, service, planning, and development of a long-term plan -- are established by the unit leader and his/her Commissioner. Units who obtain 70 percent or better of their goals receive a certificate from the National office, a flag streamer, and patches to be worn below the Patrol medallion (or below the National Presidents' Honor Unit Award(s)) previously earned) as a PERMANENT award.

These awards were very popular with Scouters and units, but did not go far to measure the quality of the program, just that the unit "met the minimum". The BSA revised these awards when they introduced the Quality Unit Award. Also, units loved these awards because in many local Councils, the Council paid for the patches for each registered member that earned the award, therefore the unit did not have to pay for the patches. This too, was to change with the Quality Unit Awards.

Honor unit emblems worn with Patrol medallion and Baden-Powell Patrol star

Shown above is a blank Patrol medallion used between 1974 and 1989. The full-color patrol medallions were a part of the "improved and revised" Scouting uniforms introduced during this period. Below that, is a Baden-Powell Patrol Star. This is a unit program and the star is awarded to Patrol members who meet activity, patrol membership, outdoor and leadership requirements for a three-month period. A Patrol can earn up to nine Baden-Powell "stars". The specific requirements for the award are located within the current Scoutmasters' Handbook as well as within the Troop Leadership Guidebook as well as electronically.

All eight of the National Honor Unit Award emblems

With the major overhaul of the BSA's program, the Quality Unit Program was introduced in 1986. It ran through 2007 its last year when it overlapped with the Centennial Quality Unit program. For that year only a unit could earn both Honor and Quality Unit Awards. The Quality Unit program is a BSA consolidated effort "...to recognize units and for the first time publically, Districts, Councils and Regions..." that have met the narrow requirements established on a charter-year basis.

Units meet six of the eight categories (membership, adult leadership and training, camping/outdoor activities, youth advancement, committee meetings, service projects, BOYS' LIFE, and assistant or youth leadership) for the unit-level award. The specific requirements depend on the type of unit (Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, Varsity Scout Team, Explorer Post or Ship, Career Awareness Exploring unit) and those requirements change every two years to reflect current programming emphasis.

Units who meet -- or surpassed -- their unit goals receive a special flag streamer and receives PERMISSION to purchase plaques, pins and these emblems to be worn below the Patrol medallion (or below either of the other unit awards) as a PERMANENT award.

examples of most of the Quality Unit/District emblems

In 1990, the BSA revised the Quality Unit program to only allow that the LAST QUALITY UNIT AWARD earned to be worn. This eliminated shirt sleeves that looked like Christmas trees as members or leaders would wear all of the Honor/Quality Unit emblems that their unit has earned since "the start of time".

Also, for the first time, members of Quality Councils or Districts can wear the special Quality District (shown here for several years) or Quality Council (not shown here because I do not have one to scan...if you have one, please send it my way!) emblems IN THE PLACE OF but not IN ADDITION TO the Quality Unit emblem. In other words, starting in 1990, only one Quality Unit Award can be earned.

These awards are the indicators of a quality program and should be earned by units, districts and councils that have achieved a level of quality programming during a past year. By correctly wearing these emblems, other members and units can visually see this special achievement status by "the best of our best" units -- and now their Districts and Councils to which they belong to.

Centennial Quality Unit Award (2007-2010). The Centennial Quality Awards program is designed to recognize units, districts, councils, areas, and regions in achieving excellence in providing a quality program to a growing youth population in America at all levels of the Boy Scouts of America. The Centennial Quality Award is named in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

examples of the Centennial Quality Unit emblems.  There are also special emblems to recognize 100 percent Boy's Life units.

The award began in 2007 and continues until 2010. Each year that you qualify, you will qualify to receive recognition for that year.

There was a red background in 2007, a white background in 2008, a blue background in 2009, and 2010 will have a red, white, and blue background.

Like with the previous awards, only ONE Quality Unit emblem is worn at a time under the Patrol/Den Medallion or one inch below the bottom edge of the U.S. Flag emblem on the right shoulder. If the U.S. Flag emblem is not worn, the Quality emblem is worn two inches below the right shoulder seam on the shoulder.

The Journey to Excellence program was announced in 2010 and consists of Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. The first year of this program will be 2011. The "Journey to Excellence" Program will replace the Centennial Quality Unit recognition program. This page links to the BSA's Journey to Excellence program information. Additionally, there will be PDF files showing the 2011 points and category descriptions at this location as part of the Leaders' Online ™ initiative.

In addition, the BSA has been hosting a series of webinars (web-based seminars) to help prepare units to succeed in this new program. The “district and unit series” of webinars is intended for district level staff and volunteers as well as unit level volunteers to introduce the criteria for recognition.

Like the older Quality program, there will be categories for units (Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop or Varsity Scout Team, Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships) as well as Districts, local Councils, and Regions.

Again, thanks to David Crow for the additional graphics, the additional information and for assisting me in updating this page. Great job...and thanks!


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Credits: Scans courtesy of David Crow and Mike Walton

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