At long last, thanks to prodding from the field and the persistence of dedicated Scouters, the Special Needs Scouting Service Award, proposed by the National Disabilities Awareness Subcommittee, was approved by the Awards & Recognitions Task Force on April 29, 2016.
This award differs from the Torch of Gold and the Woods Services Award in that those awards are made only to nominees. The Special Needs Scouting Service Award must be earned, and it can be earned by both volunteer and professional Scouters.
The new award will share a newly-designed square knot (left) with the Whitney M. Young Award, the iScouting, Vale la Pena award, the Asian American Scouting Spirit Award and the Native American Silver Wolf award. Additionally, a unique device to signify the Special Needs Scouting Service Award on the square knot, a certificate, a lapel pin, and a medal were approved for recognition for this award.
Here are the requirements for the Special Needs Scouting Service Award:
I. Complete the following two (2) requirements:
- Be a registered adult or professional staff with the B.S.A. and maintain current Youth Protection Training.
- Actively participate in activities concerning youth who have disabilities/special needs through either the unit (pack, troop or crew), or at either the District or Council or Area or Regional or National level for three (3) years.
II. Complete 6 of the following 12 requirements:
- Attend a training seminar or conference on disabilities/special needs sponsored and conducted by the B.S.A or through an organization that serves youth and/or adults with disabilities/special needs, i.e. A.R.C., Blind Associations, Cerebral Palsy Agencies, Independent Living Resource Centers, Autism Societies, Special Olympics, etc.
- Present one of the nationally approved disabilities/special needs classes (e.g., classes within the College of Commissioner Science curriculum or classes prepared by the National Disabilities Awareness Task Force) at any level.
- Serve as a Staff member at either a District, Council, Area, Regional or National event which presents a theme of youth with disabilities/special needs in Scouting.
- Create and organize a unit (pack, troop or crew) to primarily serve youth with disabilities/special needs and be open for membership by youth not possessing disabilities/special needs.
- Serve as a Mentor for a Scout who has disabilities/special needs for six (6) months.
- Serve as a Group Discussion leader on Scouting for youth with disabilities/special needs at either a Roundtable or District Commissioner meeting or similar gathering of volunteer Scouters and/or professional Scouters.
- Promote and assist in organizing and conducting an outdoor event for youth with disabilities/special needs, or one that promotes disabilities awareness and acceptance among those who don’t have a disability.
- Recruit and register either two (2) adults to volunteer in providing Scouting opportunities to youth with disabilities/special needs or recruit two (2) youth with disabilities/special needs to join Scouting and remain a member for one (1) year.
- Assist the District or Council in forming a Partnership with an organization that serves individuals with disabilities/special needs.
- Actively serve on a District, Council, Area, Regional or National Committee on Scouting with disabilities/special needs for two years.
- Assist the local council in efforts to raise funds for Scouts with disabilities/special needs concerning activities within the Scouting program.
- Assist the local council in a public awareness campaign to heighten knowledge of Scouting with disabilities/special needs.
This Award is retroactive for purposes of satisfying the above requirements.
This Award may be earned by volunteer Scouters and professional Scouters.
Once an individual has completed the requirements to this award, he or she shall forward the completed application to the District for review and approval by the Council Scout Executive. When a person completes the requirements for this award through participation on an Area or Regional or National level in Scouting, the completed application will be forwarded to the designated Area or Regional or National staff person (Special Needs Scouting Specialist) for review and approval.