Introduction to "Square Knot" Emblems

To see information on the "Square Knot" awards listed in the navigation panel to the left, click on the name of the award. Information related to the award will display here. Note that not all of the emblems are actually "Square Knots", but we'll refer to all of them as "knots" for convenience. Our thanks to Paul Wolf and Mike Walton for much of the information provided here.

About BSA's Knots: Many Scouters have asked about how to properly display knots on their uniforms. You may wear as many different knots as you would like (the uniform insignia committee in the past had recommended that not more than 15 knots be worn). However, you may only wear one of each knot. If you have earned the same knot more than once - for example, the Scouter's Key and Commissioner's Key, you would wear a single knot with two devices to denote multiple awards. There is no order of precedence as to what knot is worn in what order. You can wear them in the order of importance to yourself, the order earned, etc. To keep your uniform sharp, however, you attach the knots to your uniform shirt properly. Mike Walton (Settummanque!) developed this handy chart to show the proper way to wear knots above the left uniform pocket flap.

Diagram showing proper alignment of knots on uniform shirt

The knots are worn centered on the left side of the uniform, above the left pocket and in rows of three with the bottom edge of the knot emblem(s) touching the top edge of the pocket flap. Subsequent rows of knots are placed above the initial set, in rows of three and again, at the discretion of the wearer.

As a general rule, the knots should not be worn when the medal, medallion or device is worn. The knots are designed for informal, everyday wear by Scouts and Scouters including Professional Scouters.

A few years ago Professional Scouters were discouraged from wearing training awards or other awards except for those related to achievement and training. During his years at the helm, Chief Scout Executive Ben Love, changed this policy and encouraged professional members of Scouting to wear all of the square knots that they were entitled to wear. He also lifted a longstanding restriction on allowing exceptional professionals to receive the Silver Beaver, District/Division Award of Merit Awards, and other service awards. Now, if a professional is nominated for a BSA service or tenure award, in addition to the approval of the local Council's Scout Executive, the award must also be approved by the Director of Operations at the National Office, BSA.

Page updated on: May 23, 2014

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