“I do not do this for any recognition”. This may be something you commonly hear from people that volunteer with scouting, but that does not mean we should not offer it.
Recognition for a job well done takes a variety of forms from a simple thank you, to recording the fact in minutes, ensuring parents know and acknowledging it by inviting them to participate in new challenges. These are the every‐day things that do mean something to most of us.
You could consider implementing your own group award scheme? Recognising the work of your adult volunteers by presenting them with a special thank you certificate will be well received. It will also provide the adult with the feeling of belonging and that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
There is nothing better than presenting people with such awards in front of the young people they work with particularly at the group’s Annual General Meeting or some other group event.
The national adult award scheme
It may be appropriate to recognise someone’s efforts more formally through scouting’s national award scheme and nominating people appropriately when they meet the criteria.
The scheme recognises good service, length of service and special acts of heroism and bravery, courage, endurance and devotion to duty under suffering. Being a national system affords it prestige and allows all applications to be considered objectively according to national criteria. Except in the case of recognition of length of adult service, awards are not made automatically, and proper, detailed justification must be made in every case.
To nominate someone for an award you simply need to contact your District Commissioner. Some awards need a citation and more details on the scheme and citations can be found below.
Leaders, managers and supporters have a responsibility to complete obligatory training appropriate to their current appointments. In circumstances where the maximum period allowed for completion of this obligatory training has elapsed without the appropriate Wood Badge having been gained, it is generally considered inappropriate to grant any award. It is difficult to justify a claim of outstanding service where the nominee has not fulfilled the training obligation entered into when accepting the appointment.
The Awards Board is always prepared to consider exceptional cases where appropriate training has not been completed for good reason, but full details of the extenuating circumstances must be provided.
The Awards Board
The Chief Scout, who is advised by the Awards Board, makes all awards. The Board of Trustees of The Scout Association appoints the Chairman of the Awards Board. Members of the Board are drawn from individuals with a wide range of experience of the Association.
The Awards Board has to consider each case against the award criteria in order to ensure that standards for each award are properly maintained nationally. While the board endeavours to achieve an equitable balance in applying the criteria, it will be readily understood that it relies heavily on full, fair and accurate information provided in the application form. It is on the basis of what is written in the application form that the board considers which level of award is appropriate.
Applicants often forget that, while they know the nominee, it would be unusual for any Awards Board member to have first-hand knowledge of the nominee and of that individual’s contribution and service, hence the need for a full and proper citation.
The success of and esteem for the awards system depends on nominations being put forward in a timely and proper manner from the District and County with satisfactory and convincing citations.
Awards for Good Service
There are a number of Good Service awards available to adults in the scouting.
The Chief Scout’s Commendation for Good Service is given in respect of not less than 5 years good service, which stands out. It should be regarded as the Chief Scout’s recognition of the very real contribution made to the Association by the individual concerned.
The Award for Merit is given for outstanding service of not less than 12 years and 10 years exceptionally. It implies keen, conscientious, imaginative and dedicated service over a sustained period.
The Bar to the Award for Merit may be awarded after a period of not less than 5 years of further outstanding service.
The Thanks Badge is the means of expressing the appreciation of the Association to those who are not Members or Associate Members but who have been of service to scouting and is available through Badge Secretaries.
Chief Scout’s Personal Award
The Chief Scout’s Personal Award is awarded by the Chief Scout, in consultation with the Awards Board to recognise achievement not covered by the criteria for any other awards. The Award is available to everyone in scouting (youth and adult members). It may be accompanied, where appropriate, with a suitable commemorative item.
The Award may be applied for without the submission of a full citation, however a few narrative lines are required for the following reasons:
- To ensure the award is not used in substitution for a Good Service Award as an avenue to avoid the requirement for the appropriate training to be completed.
- To give the Association, Awards Board and Commissioners some idea of the achievement to enable them to decide whether or not a Gallantry or Meritorious Conduct Award is more appropriate.
- To allow the achievement to be annotated on the Award certificate.
In recent times examples where the new criteria could have been used would include recognising:
- A Network member becoming the youngest person ever to trek to the South Pole
- A young person raising a substantial sum of money in memory of a parent
- A Scout Leader who secured funding to fully develop a new Scout HQ and then undertook the building project management benefiting over 100 young people. Due to length of service a Good Service Award was not appropriate.
Commissioner’s Commendation Award can be used by the County Commissioner to recognise adult and youth members and non-members for their contribution to Scouting. This award carries no criteria and is illustrated by a purple knot. It can be worn in the same location on the uniform as other adult awards to denote it is part of the family of adult awards, even though it is awarded and decided locally.
St George's Day awards
The following awards can usually only be awarded for St George’s Day, but can be awarded at other times in exceptional circumstances, (serious illness, for example).
The Silver Acorn is not normally awarded until after at least an Award for Merit has been gained and a further five years’ service has been completed. Thus, it is seldom awarded for less than 20 years service, which should be especially distinguished and appreciably better than outstanding.
The Bar to the Silver Acorn may be awarded for at least a further 5 years of similarly distinguished service.
The Silver Wolf is the unrestricted gift of the Chief Scout and is only awarded for service of a most exceptional nature. It is not normally awarded until at least a Silver Acorn has been gained. In practice this means that it is seldom awarded for less than 30 years service although, because it is the Chief Scout’s unrestricted gift, no length of service is prescribed.
Awards for length of service
Length of service awards are available to all Members and Associate Members of the Association, uniformed or not (with the exception of occasional helpers).
Any service given while holding an adult appointment as a member of the UK Scout Association counts towards the service awards. This includes service such as Secretary, Executive member etc. This does not cover service held in a training role such as a Rover Scout (or Mate) or Scout Network. However, if an adult appointment were held concurrently, this service would count.
Service in the Association is recognised by the Chief Scout’s Length of Service Award at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 year Intervals. It is not usually necessary to apply for one as every other month, the database identifies all Members and Associate Members with open appointments who have accrued the necessary service to qualify for these awards and are sent to our County Administrator who then passes them on to the relevant District Commissioners for local presentation.
However, sometimes the records on Compass are incomplete, which means that the appropriate length of service award may not be automatically issued at the correct time. If this is the case, the form TSA05/L should be completed and sent to the Awards Office via your District Commissioner.
Service counting towards these awards need not be continuous. The total amount of service rendered, over whatever period of time, must total the number of years appropriate to the length of service award being sought.
The Awards Board has many citations to read. Therefore, while not essential, it would be helpful if the script of citations could be typed.
In the report of especially good work it is not necessary to repeat the record of service since this has already been detailed on the Award Application Form and will be crosschecked against the data held in on Compass. In cases where a further award for good service is being sought, it will not normally be necessary to go into any great detail about the achievements of the nominee during the period prior to the last award: the briefest outline of this earlier service will suffice.
Awards for good service are made to those who render to the Association outstanding, specially distinguished or exceptional service. Length of service, while one of the criteria for a good service award, is separately recognised. Good service awards are made to those whose contribution to scouting stands out, and the citation should seek to explain and evidence how this is so. What makes the service special is the way in which the duties have been performed. This may mean that, in addition to running a good section programme, the nominee has, perhaps, given regular good service raising funds for the group, in the maintenance of a headquarters building or campsite, in the organisation of district events, serving on a campsite service team, editing a newsletter, helping with adult training in the county, and so forth. All this should be recorded in the citation. However, the successful organisation of a single large event, while praiseworthy, is not normally sufficient on its own to justify an award for good service, since it is sustained good service over a period, which is recognised by good service awards.
Where possible it is helpful to quantify in the citation the benefit derived as a result of the quality service given. For example, someone running a good, lively programme will almost certainly show an increase in membership or sustained full membership of their Section. For someone battling against the odds in a deprived area, the fact that they have continued to run the Section over a significant period, maintaining numbers and providing a new dimension to the lives of young people, possibly in the face of local community hostility, is noteworthy.
Although awards for good service relate to service rendered to scouting, service with other organisations and associations (such as the Red Cross or St John Ambulance), may be taken into account where this has been in connection with scouting (for example, as a Skills Instructor or Examiner) and should be included in the citation.
If the individual has given service to the community as well as to scouting, this should be noted on the application form. It may be that this service will assist the nominator if the individual is to be considered for a National Honour.
While it is appropriate to indicate within the citation whether, in the author’s opinion, the service has been good, outstanding, specially distinguished or exceptional, it is not normally appropriate to include in the citation any indication of the level of award, which is being sought. However, the County Commissioner may do this in his or her Recommendation.
The following citations are reproduced from recent applications. Each is a great example which tells the Awards Board exactly what they need to know to help them make a decision on what level of award to present.
Chief Scout’s Personal Award – Example Citation
For 15 years, Sheila has been the dressmaker for the District Gang Show. The whole process begins in the August of each year when she starts to design, cut and sew all the outfits that are used for the show, which takes place some 10 months later. The show has a cast of around 50; with each member needing more than one costume, she designs and makes around 400 costumes each year.
For a large amount of the year, her daily routine is to come home from work, prepare dinner for the family and then begin making the costumes until late into the night. Her enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to make the costumes to the very best of her ability are evident for all to see. Sheila works quietly and efficiently, and her hard work enables others to enjoy the limelight of the stage.
Sheila has shown such long-standing devotion and enthusiasm that I feel her dedication is worthy of official recognition.
Chief Scout’s Commendation for Good Service
A citation is not required for this award.
Award for Merit
A citation is not required for this award.
Bar to the Award for Merit – Example Citation
Richard has continually provided outstanding service, firstly as an Assistant Cub Scout Leader and more recently as a Group Scout Leader. Since he received the Medal of Merit in 2004, he has consistently supported his thriving Group, which comprises 120 young people across in 2 Beaver Colonies, 2 Cub Packs and a Scout Troop, not to mention the Explorer Scout Unit with which the Group has a seamless active partnership.
Richard ensures that the Group turnout at the District St George’s Day Parade and Church Parades is always strong, partly due to the high esteem in which he is held.
He has recently undertaken specific training for his new role as a Training Adviser in order to maintain and progress the development of leaders with the Group. Richard accepts that he cannot do everything himself and has recently recruited an Assistant Group Scout Leader and Group Administrator, delegating some of the responsibilities inherent in the successful running of the Group. This has enabled the Group to grow further, with the recruitment of more than 40 Occasional Helpers from parents of young people within the Group. Richard has been able to maintain focus on essential tasks, developing and supporting his leadership team, leading section meetings where necessary and contributing to programme planning across all the sections.
Richard is still in touch with grassroots Scouting and remains an active volunteer in the Scout Troop and Explorer Scout Unit. He takes part in the twice‐yearly walking weekends and regularly visits their camps and activities during evenings and weekends.
Within the wider community, Richard promotes an active partnership with the Scout Group’s sponsoring authority, the local Church, and is the Group representative on the Church Council. He recently led the Group in delivering an inspirational service to the congregation. It was such a success that the Group now plan to make it an annual contribution.
Richard has given further outstanding service to Scouting and within the local community. His dedication and contribution is truly inspirational and we feel that he should be considered for a Good Service Award.
Silver Acorn – Example Citation
Simon has a long history of involvement with the Group and has supported it throughout this time, which began when he became ASL. His father was one of the founders of the Group in 1974, when it opened with a single Cub Pack. Within a few months, a Scout Troop was formed and Simon became the ASL. He remained an ASL with the Group until the end of 2001. During this time he took the Scouts and Venture Scouts to Kandersteg, the first and only time the Group has been abroad.
Simon was heavily involved in the early growth of Scouting in the District and the success of the Group was driven by his enthusiasm. The waiting list increased and therefore a second Cub Pack was formed. As the Group expanded, it was decided that they needed their own headquarters. Simon helped conduct the initial search for suitable premises along with his father. When it was identified that fundraising would be needed to help fund the move, Simon was responsible for leading the project. Initially, the fundraising focused on securing a suitable site, and thereafter it provided the capital to fund the construction of a new headquarters building.
Simon established a link with a local businessman, which enabled the Scouts to begin a successful newspaper recycling campaign. At first the funds raised from this venture were used to fund the expedition to Kandersteg, but the arrangement still exists and monies raised are now used to fund the running of the Group and maintenance of the headquarters.
On two separate occasions the Group was left without a GSL. In both instances Simon took over as Acting GSL until a new volunteer was identified. He was very efficient in this role and gave up his time freely to ensure the smooth running of the Group.
In 2005, Simon took on the appointment of Assistant Explorer Scout Leader with one of the District’s Explorer Units. During this time, he was instrumental in increasing numbers by offering a good quality programme and support to the Explorer Scout Leader.
In 2008, he became a member of the Group Executive, taking on responsibility for maintenance of the headquarters building and identifying opportunities to improve the facilities. His previous Scouting experiences as well as his practical skills have proved a real asset to the Group, as unfortunately virtually nothing had been done to the headquarters for several years. Simon identified the needs of the Scouts using the building, obtained costs for the various jobs and has made good progress towards their completion.
Simon has been involved in Scouting for more than 40 years and his service has been of an especially distinguished nature. He has not yet been recognised for this service and I would therefore like to recommend him for the Silver Acorn.
Bar to the Silver Acorn – Example Citation
Sam has held the role of Assistant Scout Leader for over 40 years. During this time, he acted as Scout Leader for a neighbouring Group when required. He recently retired from work, and accepted the District Commissioner’s request to undertake the more demanding role of Group Scout Leader. Sam’s Scout Group is one of the biggest in the District and has its own headquarters. Since taking on the role, he has completed his own modular training and subsequently encouraged other members of the Group to complete their training.
He has produced a challenging development plan in consultation with the Cub and Scout section leaders, which has resulted in the recruitment of a new Group Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to join the newly‐formed Executive Committee.
He regularly attends District GSL meetings and makes regular visits to his sections, encouraging them in a range of activities as well as supporting award presentations and moving on ceremonies. He also developed and maintains the Group’s website, a key point of contact. The expanding Group, which has a large Beaver Scout Colony, a Cub Scout Pack and a very active Scout Troop, enjoy an ambitious and challenging programme of weekend activities as well as an annual summer camp. Sam ensures that sufficient funds are made available to support and maintain such activities, which he sees as a vital element of Scouting.
One innovation Sam has introduced to the Group has been the annual parents’ camp, where Scouts’ families camp with the Group and join in the activities and events that are provided for young people. The camp not only encourages more active involvement from parents, but also affords an opportunity to ensure greater attendance at the Group’s AGM, which Sam holds during the camp. This personal contact with parents has been an excellent recruitment tool, resulting in increasing numbers of helpers, section assistants and leaders.
Sam also works tirelessly to promote water activities for Scouts across the County. His enthusiasm for a large range of water activities helps to inspire both young people and adults to take to the water. As County Adviser, he has led a team of assessors and promoted a successful series of assessment days to encourage leaders to demonstrate the skills needed to gain activity permits. He also undertakes a key background role as a Boat Inspector in order to sustain water activities and to ensure their safety. He also manages the annual District Canal Challenge event.
Sam was awarded the Silver Acorn in 1998, and since then has continued to provide particularly distinguished service to Scouting in both the District and County. As such I feel that he is worthy of consideration for the Bar to the Silver Acorn.
Silver Wolf – Example Citation
Jean has been a member of The Scout Association for all her adult life – more than 45 years in total. She has previously been recognised for her dedication to Scouting with Awards for Good Service. However, since the date of her last award, when she received the Silver Acorn in 2005, Jean’s service has been most exceptional and warrants further acknowledgement. This has been shown in many ways.
Jean has continued to give exceptional service to the District and holds a number of roles, as shown by the membership database. In her role as Appointments Committee Secretary, she has attended every meeting for the last 38 years and given her expertise tirelessly when it comes to reviewing and appointing members within the District.
Jean is a fount of knowledge regarding all Scouting matters, particularly within the District. In the last 2 years, 2 Scout Groups have reopened and Jean has provided a copy of the original registration forms for both Groups, even though these were closed in the 1980s. Her attention to detail as an administrator is such a help to the District team and she ensures records are maintained to a very high standard.
Over the last 40 years, there have been numerous changes in the District. Jean has worked very hard to make sure that changes to leadership roles are carried out effectively, by supporting the leaders and ensuring a robust system is in place, so that changes are made without affecting the young people. An example of her efficient and excellent service is the implementation of the new CRB system where she made sure that the whole District had completed CRB forms ahead of the national time scales. Jean’s enthusiasm and commitment to Scouting was highly effective whilst these changes were taking place.
Jean is a vital link between local Scouting and Guiding. She often attends Guide meetings, and she is involved with the bi‐annual District Scout and Guide show. During preparations for the show she attends every committee meeting as well as the rehearsals, which run for 6 months prior to the opening night. She gives her full commitment in the week leading up to the show and attends all the performances.
Jean has been the District Secretary since 1980 and has consistently given her full support to the District Commissioner, which has proved invaluable. Her continuing enthusiasm remains undiminished despite lengthy service in the Movement.
Given the exceptional standard and nature of Jean’s service to Scouting, I would like to nominate her for the Silver Wolf.
|the nominee’s current appointment is the same as the appointment held on their Compass record|
|the nominee holds a Wood Badge (if applicable), for their current appointments?|
|a valid DBS check is held|
|five years has elapsed since the last Good Service Award?|
The citation can include:
- How the person joined the movement, e.g. parent of youth member; former youth member (Venture/Explorer Scout); family member/work colleague/friend/neighbour
- Year of joining, especially if not recorded on Compass.
- Very brief outline of good service for any previous award.
- Skills/expertise/technicalities which have contributed to Scouting
- How programmes have been interesting/exciting/adventurous/creative
- Types of activities arranged – camps, hikes, expeditions, shows, trips
- International activities
- Inclusion of special needs youth members
- Financial targets reached for special events or projects e.g. camps/expeditions/transport/equipment/accommodation
- Ability to recruit, retain and develop leaders or committee members
- Major contributor to activities/fund raising at section/group/district
- Ability to identify individual or general needs of youth members
- Maintains high standards of scouting in specific or general
- Identifies opportunities for group/section to develop, undertake different activity
- Ability to plan, lead, co-ordinate an activity as Leader or as part of team
- Gives good/excellent/first class service, advice, guidance, support
- High number of youth members achieving top awards
- Specific progress of individual under identified or difficult circumstances
- Increase or growth in Group or section membership over long periods
- Section remained open in difficult circumstances
- Contributed to others gaining or making significant progress towards Wood Badge
- Increased involvement with local communities
- Increased level of communications
- Increased level of parent involvement
- Increase in leadership with Group/Section/District
Include such words as
- Enthusiasm; commitment; dedication; loyal; distinguished; challenging; ambitious; invaluable; valuable; tireless; quality;
- Outstanding; exceptional; motivation; effective; efficient; excellent; first class; calm; practical; active; regular; consistent
- Steady; key member; encouragement; involvement; significant; adaptable; innovative.