About Settummanque

Mike Walton (otherwise known to Scouters on and off the Internet as “settummanque (set-tum-man-quay), the blackeagle”) has had a long and quite exciting life – in and out of Scouting. The son of a professional beautician and a second-generation Army soldier, Mike has been involved in various youth programs since age 8. One of the first regular contributors to the Scouts-L youth programs discussion list in 1990, Walton continues to offer advice, support and information to Scouters around the world.
Author Archive | Settummanque
Author Avatar

USSSP Web Sites Unavailable


We regret that our USSSP web sites are currently unavailable to visitors at this time due to technical difficulties. Please try visiting at a later time. We are working to bring our web sites back online as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration and patience.

Settummanque/Mike Walton on behalf of the USSSP

Comments are closed
Author Avatar

Knots Knowledge

Recently I was asked:  “Do you have any updates on the knots?”   The Scouter asking wanted to know the new knot requirements and get a complete list of which ones are being phased out.  Then more and more emails started coming in, so I thought I’d share with you what I learned at the National Meeting.

There will be specific information along with glossy handouts given out during All Hands. In the meantime, the BSA approved the following changes, most of which we have posted on the U.S. Scouting Service (USSSP) Facebook page.

  • The six Cub Scouting (Training) Awards are history.  They end as valid training/service awards after 1 Jan 13.  Those who have earned any of those awards may continue to wear the medallion(s) and the associated square knot insignia until it becomes no longer serviceable.  There is no “grandfathering” — if you are still working on tenure, the tenure for the old award ENDS 31 Dec 12 and you must start over with new tenure anytime after the release of the requirements for the new training awards/key (which is planned for 1 Nov 12 now).
  • Cubmasters will be able to earn the Scouters’ Key Award as a Cubmaster.  The Scouters’ Key was previously only available for Scoutmasters, Varsity Coaches, Venturing Advisors, Sea Scout Skippers, Unit/District/Council Commissioners, and District/Council Committeemembers.  There are new requirements for the Key which incorporates current standards (Journey to Excellence, participation in civic and community activities, Roundtable attendance, etc.) which are DIFFERENT from the old Cubmaster (Training) Award.  It will take a Cubmaster between three and five years to earn the Key — same standard as earning the Key in other programs.
  • Assistant Cubmasters and ALL OTHER CUB SCOUTING VOLUNTEERS may earn the Scouters’ Training Award as a Cub Scouter. The requirements for Cub Scouters has been revised to include Journey to Excellence goal attainment, outdoor activities, community activities and other items. This award replaces the Pack Trainer and Cub Scouter (Training) Awards.  This award will take two years (like other Scouters’ Training Award catagories) to earn.  It may be earned once as a Cub Scouter.
  • Den Leaders (without regard to specific types of Dens) may earn the Den Leader Training Award.  There is a new blue and gold medal which will match the gold on blue square knot insignia which will be used for this award (but there is discussion about using the existing Pack Training square knot insignia instead, so stand by there since it contains the colors of the medal’s ribbon better). This award is unique is two regards: one, it will take ONE YEAR of tenure as a Den Leader to earn the award; and two, it may be earned three times (as a Tiger Den Leader, as a Wolf/Bear Den Leader, and as a WEBELOS Den Leader) with appropriate devices to be worn on the ribbon of the medal as well as on the square knot insignia.
  • There will be a “Unit Trainer Award” but there are still discussion on what form it will take and whether or not a square knot is the appropriate personal recognition for the Award.  It was not designed to go away until 2014 anyway. **The Cub Scout Pack Trainer (Training) Award will be discontinued 31 Dec 12.**
  • The old “origami” folding tracking/progress cards are also history.  Replacing them will be single sheets, with more space for signatures and more explaination (no more “eye chart” type) which fits better in folders and binders.
  • Somewhere around November of this year, the Guide to Awards and Recognitions (or GAR) will be released to the field.  There are significant changes in that publication which I’ve highlighted (again, if you are a holder of one or several of these awards, you may continue to wear the award and it’s associated square knot insignia until they become no longer serviceable).
  • The four “Relationship Awards” will all be represented by a single square knot insignia, currently referred to as the “Relationship Awards square knot emblem” (the Meany Labor, the Young Rural/Urban, the Pena Hispanic, and the Asian Service Awards). Small lapel pins/devices will be made to represent each of the four awards.  With that, the older square knot insignia will be discontinued.
  • The fourteen “Community Service Awards” will continue to be awarded through outside organizations, but there will continue to be ONE square knot emblem representing the various awards. Also, the decision on whether youth members who receive such an award can wear the knot emblem will be lifted (finally — it just made sense).
  • The Heroism Award we previously announced was going away has been restored and will continue to be presented. The issue has been the “level of heroism” between the four heroism awards (Certificate of Merit, Merit Medal, Heroism Medal, Honor Medal).  **This will remain in place until discussion within the National Court of Honor is complete**
  • The three Commissioner Service Awards will be consolidated but because the effective date of it is down the road (2014), there will be a little discussion about “in the future this award may be consoldiated with other Commissioner Service Awards” in the publication.
  • The Spurgeon Award along with the second version of the Silver Award, which is currently called the “Exploring Award” to avoid confusion with the current Silver Award will be discontinued.  The Venturing Leadership Awards and the associated square knot insignia has already been discontinued as of this spring; and the Boyce Organizer Award’s square knot insignia will be discontinued in 2014 although one can still receive the Organizer lapel pin and/or tie bar as personal recognition pieces.  Same goes with the Sea Badge — the Sea Badge will continue to be the Sea Scouting training recognition but there will be no BSA-manufactured “cloth patch” to go along with the emblem.
  • Finally, you already have seen the information about the discontinuance of the Speakers Bank and the local adaptation of the Alumni Award. There is a new certificate for the Alumni Award.

All of this will be explained during All Hands coming up, either in person or via electrons/paper.  Once the status of most of the awards have been made, I’ll be adding an additional catagory piece on my Badge and Uniform Site called “currency” or “status” along with this information and in the case of those awards being discontinued, why and when.

Hope this helps out!!



Comments { 11 }
Author Avatar

Discontinued Square Knots

Welcome Mike Walton (Settummanque) as a guest editor!

Imprompu photo for a Scouting event. I have learned since then that I need to have someone more professional to do these photos!! This was taken in the summer of 1992.

Okay. Looking at the Scout shirt attached to this note, one can tell that I’ve been around Scouting a long, long time; that I’ve saved a life, protected the outdoors, gave some money to Scouting (actually, someone else gave some money to Scouting in my name). Earned the highest youth awards in each program — Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and Exploring.  Did some other things as an Exploring volunteer.  Did some other things as a Boy Scouting volunteer. Church things, community things, international things.

Well, the BSA wants to consoldate some of the more than 40 or so square knot emblems — those little things on the left side of my shirt which resemble military ribbons — they are the Scouting version of ribbons — and I’m okay with this. Not all together cool, because under the plan I will technically be unable to wear one of those things for saving the life of a kid when I was a kid. Oh well… the BSA says that the things I and others have earned or received will continue to be valid for the life of the wearer/receipient.  Just that those “coming up” won’t be able to earn/wear/display those awards — because they will be “discontinued.”

Two people from the BSA’s Supply Group tell me that while the plan was to remove anywhere from 12 to 15 of the square knot insignia, that the current plan is to remove eight initially, with another four to be removed in 2014 or 2015:

This year (2012), the five former Cub Scout “Training” Awards — the Cubmaster, Cub Scout Den Leader (Training) Award, the WEBELOS Den Leader (Training) Award, the Tiger Cub Den Leader (Training) Award, and the Pack Trainer (Training) Award — will all be CONVERTED to other training recognitions, to make thing consistant across all programs.  The Cubmaster (Training) Award will be discontinued and new holders will earn the Scouter’s Key Award and wear a small Cub Scout program device on the ribbon of the medal as well as on the square knot insignia (as it was prior to 1987, when the new Cub Scout awards was first introduced).  The three Den Leader awards will be rolled up into the Scouter’s Training Award recognition, with program devices to be worn on the medal’s ribbon and on the square knot insignia signifying the program in which the award was earned within.

The Pack Trainer (Training) Award will be discontinued and a new Trainer’s Award will be developed for all programs, with Cub Scouters wearing the small Cub Scout program device to signify that they met the requirements as a Pack Trainer.

Additionally, the two remaining Exploring Awards will be discontinued — the Spurgeon Award and the “Universal Exploring Award” square knot will be no longer available in 2014. The red/white/blue and silver square knot insignia represented some six former Exploring awards (the first two versions of the Silver Award; the Ranger, Ace, Exploring Achievement Awards; and the the Growth Opportunity in Leadership Development (GOLD) Award) as well as holders of a local Council or national Young American Award.

Several of the awards formerly presented to segments of the Scouting community will be rolled up in 2014 and a new Scouting Community Awards square knot emblem will be created to replace the:  George Meany Award, the Young Service Award, the Pena Award and the Asian Scouting Service Award.

The Philmont Training Center Award square knot and device will be discontinued in 2013 along with the Doctorate of Commissioner Science and the Commissioner Award of Excellence (which, as you stated, was just introduced last fall).  The Commissioner Award of Merit will be rolled up into the Scouters’ Award of Merit and a small Commissioner emblem is to be attached to the square knot signifying the attainment of the award.

(I am pettioning the BSA to reinstate the Doctorate of Commissioner Science Award as a special shoulder insignia — perhaps fully embrordered with the shiny Mylar thread since we’re going back to the 70s with this stuff…)

The Speakers Bank and Alumni Connections Awards have become local Council-based awards and their square knots will continue to be available until exhausted (like, perhaps, in the next few months).

The Sea Badge cloth emblem also is going away and the BSA is not allowing the Sea Scouting community an exception — the metal Sea Badge will continue to be the highest training recognition in that program; it just will no longer have a  “knot emblem” — official or otherwise. (not a big loss there, because the official “knot emblem” really sucked and the unofficial ones never could get the size right to match the other square knot insignia.

And…I have been told that the Heroism Award is being discontinued, so that square knot insignia will go away as well as the medal.

First version of Pack Trainer Award square knot. Didn’t fly because the blue knot was similiar to other knot emblems.

Holders of all of the previous awards — and their square knot insignia — will continue to be able to wear them on the official uniforms; however, your best bet is to make friends with someone who has several of those knot thingys so that you can have replacements as the uniforms go onward.

And just so I can keep the rumor going; part of the reasoning for the reduction in the number of square knot insignia pieces is so the BSA can start re-manufacturing the knot insignia with the green backgrounds to match the Venturing field uniforms as much as they do the current “Universal” field uniforms.

Why to do away with these?  Two big reasons: low demand (not enough people were actually earning the awards) and a need to stem the tide on “we need a square knot for the X award because otherwise it wouldn’t get any traction”.  In both cases, one sees that this is NOT the case (exhibit “A”, the Alumni Award.  Less than 200 people earned the thing since its introduction two years ago) (exhibit “B”, the PTC Trainers Award. Less than 75 people have earned the award since it’s introduction three years ago) (exhibit “C”, the Spurgeon Award is no longer awarded to BSA members and only four Learning for Life/Exploring leaders received the award whom are also eligible to wear the knot as BSA volunteers).

There’s a rumor that it’s mainly because there’s a bunch of Scouters out there who have, like, fourty billion of these knot thingys on their shirts and the BSA is jealous that with the number of things on the shirt, the more “power” one has.  Stupid. Even with the reduction and consolidations listed above, there’s still going to be something like 15 or so square knot items in which a 40-year BSA volunteer will be able to wear.  Most BSA volunteers are going to continue to wear many of the discontinued ones way into the ’30s.  The impact of these awards will mainly be limited to Cub Scouters who will not be able to wear two rows of training awards and instead two square knot emblems with Cub Scouting program devices on them.

This is all I know…the official announcement about many of these awards has already been made — check out SCOUTING and Training Times, the BSA’s online training e-zine for more details.  Other discontinutions will be announced during the BSA’s Annual meeting in Florida this spring.

Comments { 46 }