Taughannock District
Baden-Powell Council, BSA
Advancement and Recognition

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Cub Scout | Boy Scout | Eagle Scout Procedure | Merit Badge Counselor List | Venturing | Unit Recognition | Adult Recognition

For contact information see the Contact Page


Advancement Updates

  • April 2022: The age for joining Scouts BSA was revised in April 2022. Youth may join Scouts BSA if they are at least 10 years old, currently in the fifth grade and register on or after March 1st; OR have earned the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 years old, OR are age 11 but have not reached age 18. Prior to this change, new Scouts had to have completed fifth grade. Now, fifth graders can join in March, allowing the new Scout to have a few month's experience in Scouting before they go to summer camp for the first time. 

  • March 1, 2022: The changes to Scouts BSA advancement which were introduced for Covid-19 expired, and the previous requirements return to effect. 

  • November 30, 2021: Ninteen Cub Adventures to be retired, effective May 31, 2022. See Cub section below for details. 

  • November 1, 2021: Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge. See the Scouts BSA section below for details.  

  • November 1, 2021:  Citizenship in Society will be required as of July 1, 2022. 

  • January 1, 2021 - Scouts BSA - a number of changes have been made to Scouts BSA rank requirements. See this page on the USSSP Website for details. 

  • January 1, 2021 - Extensions of Time for top ranks:

    • Effective Jan. 1, 2021, local councils will have the authority to grant limited extensions of time to complete Eagle, Quartermaster, or Summit requirements. 

    • Though the 2021 updated Guide to Advancement containing these changes will not be published until early next year, the new authority for councils to exercise these changes begins January 1, 2021. 

    • Advance copies of the topics and forms are published at https://www.scouting.org/advancement  (Items 2-6 under General Resources). 

    • Council Advancement Committees are advised that after Dec. 31, 2020, there is no plan to authorize COVID extensions as has been allowed during 2020. It is possible, however, that as of Jan. 1, 2021, COVID could become a circumstance that warrants an extension if it qualifies under the new guidelines. 

    • Note that existing COVID extensions granted between Oct. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, will expire three months after they were granted.

  • August 26 2020 - Announcements:

    • Hornaday Awards have been discontinued, effective immediately. They were be replaced by the BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Awards Program

    • Cub Scout advancement: due to COVID-19:

      • Each Den will be able to decide when to move from working on one rank to working on another. There was previously a cut-off of July 31, and that is no longer the case (this provides extra time).

      • Parents may continue to sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light adventures.

      • There will be updated Cub Scout handbooks for the 2021-22 program year, with updated Adventure requirements.

      • Multi-rank Dens: based on requests from packs, guidance on how to implement a multi-rank Den is forthcoming.

    • Venturing Advancement: See Venturing Advancement below for details. 

Questions about Advancement in the time of Covid-19?


District Advancement Committee Meeting Schedule

Note: In-person meetings are suspended during the Social Distancing mandate - e-mail advancement@tcscouts.org if you need a Board of Review or Eagle project approval. 

  • Fourth Thursday in Sep, Oct, Jan-Apr and Jun- 7:00PM 

  • Third Thursday in Nov, Dec, May- 7:00PM 

  • July meeting is usually at Camp Barton 

  • No August meeting  

The monthly District Advancement Committee meetings will be a "one stop shopping" place for prospective Eagle Scouts to get their projects reviewed and approved, meet with mentors, and have their Eagle Board of Review. The Advancement Committee is also charged with encouraging and coordinating advancement at all program levels (Cub, Scout and Venturing). Each unit is requested to send a representative to the District Advancement Committee - for more information, contact advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org 



Questions on Advancement Policy? 

National HQ publishes the Guide to Advancement, which is the official Boy Scouts of America source on advancement procedures at all levels - Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing.  

No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to youth members with disabilities. 

This publication clearly identifies mandated procedures with words such as “must” and “shall.” Where such language is used, no council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to deviate from the procedures covered, without the written permission of the national Advancement Team. Recommended best practices are offered using words like “should,” while other options and guidelines are indicated with terms such as “may” or “can.” Refer questions on these to your local district or council advancement chairs or staff advisors. They, in turn, may request interpretations and assistance from the national Advancement Team.

There are lots of other resources on Scouting issues on the internet - but it's important to remember, as the Guide (Section 1.0.1.0) says:

Be aware that statements or interpretations offered from unofficial websites and other such sources may be out of date or incorrect. They will not be considered in resolving advancement questions and issues. In situations not specifically covered in this guide, advancement chairs, coordinators, or other administrators should make decisions based on the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Scout Oath and Scout Law, other applicable official and current BSA resources—and common sense.

Every unit should have a copy of the Guide - download it from the National Website (PDF - 12MB)
The Guide to Advancement can also be accessed through the web


Cub Scout Advancement

Nineteen Cub Adventures to be Retired
Effective May 31, 2022

Every year, Cub Scout Adventures are reviewed to identify trends and determine interests of our youth, den leaders, and Cub Scout families. In our ongoing efforts to keep the Cub Scouting Adventure program relevant to today's families, Cub Scout elective Adventures are reviewed for both content and popularity. The most recent review has identified 19 elective Adventures that do not meet the standards of youth and den leader engagement, with the lowermost being earned by less than 3% of eligible youth. They will be retired effective May 31, 2022. The retiring of these adventures allows Cub Scouting to be more agile as we make continuous improvements to the program.

We know that some families may want one last chance to earn these Adventures. Some den leaders may have already made plans for the upcoming program year. To help with transition, these Adventures will be available until the end of the 2021-2022 program year.

The elective adventures to be retired are as follows:

  • Tigers: Family Stories, Earning Your Stripes, Tiger Tales, Tiger Theater, Collections and Hobbies
  • Wolf Rank: Grow Something, Hometown Heroes, Motor Away
  • Bear Rank: Beat of the Drum, World of Sound, Make it Move, Robotics
  • Webelos/AOL: Looking Back Looking Forward, Maestro, Project Family, Build My Hero, Adventures in Science, Fix It, Movie Making

From National's FAQ on this action: 

  • Why are these Elective Adventures being retired? • In our ongoing efforts to keep the Cub Scouting adventure program relevant to today’s families, Cub Scout elective adventures are reviewed for content and popularity. These 19 adventures are the least popular among Cub Scouts based on sales and advancement data. By removing these adventures, it allows the Cub Scouting program to be more agile in the development of new programs. 
  • Why May 31, 2022? • We understand that some families may want one last chance to earn these adventures and some Den Leaders may have already made plans for the next program year, so we are giving a full program year to allow for this transition. June 1st is when the vast majority of Cub Scouts have transitioned to the next rank. 
  • Can Cub Scouts still earn these Adventures in the 2021-22 program year? • Yes! These elective adventures can still be earned during the 2021-22 program year. These 19 Adventures will remain part of the program until May 31, 2022. 
  • What happens on May 31, 2022? • Effective May 31, 2022 these Elective Adventures will no longer be considered part of the Cub Scouting program and the Adventure Loops and Pins for these adventures will no longer be available for purchase. These adventures will also be archived in Scoutbook and Internet Advancement removing the ability to mark these adventures as completed. 
  • Can Cub Scouts still wear the Adventure Loops and Pins after they retire? • Absolutely! In Scouting once an adventure is earned it is never taken away. These adventures are still considered official program and may continue to be worn after they retire on May 31, 2022.

Download a printable version of the above (PDF)


Cub Advancement Requirements:


Scouts BSA Advancement

Scout Advancement Resources 


Recent Changes to Scouts BSA Advancement Requirements

  • Advancement Changes for 2022: The following changes were announced in June 2022: 
    • Minor Modifications to Scouts BSA Rank Requirements
      • In 2021, all outdoor-related rank advancement requirements were reviewed and realigned based on guidance from the National Outdoor Ethics and Conservation Subcommittee. These adjustments will help more effectively build a Scout’s outdoor ethics knowledge and align with the information in the Scouts BSA Handbook and Fieldbook. The requirements now build in a logical way through the ranks, with Leave No Trace (LNT) and the Outdoor Code (OC) used as references throughout. Beginning August 1, 2022, these modifications to the Scouts BSA requirements for the ranks of Scout through Star will take effect. Scouts may continue using the existing requirements for the rank on which they are currently working, or they may choose to use the new requirements. Scouts must use the new requirements once they advance to their next rank. 
        The specific changes are detailed at  https:// www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-Scouts-BSA-rank-requirements-side-by-side
      • On January 1, 2023, all Scouts must use only the new requirements. 
    • New videos were created to support “Personal Safety Awareness” (chapter 13) of the Scouts BSA Handbook. These can be used as an alternative to earning the Cyber Chip. 
  • As of December 31, 2021: Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge and will feature a new merit badge pamphlet and new requirements, available here. The design of the merit badge emblem will not change, so, yes, if a Scout has earned both Medicine and Health Care Professions two copies of the same emblem can be worn. Scouts who have begun work on the Medicine merit badge may continue working on it until they are finished or turn 18. After Dec. 31, 2021, Scouts may not begin working on the Medicine merit badge and should instead work on the Health Care Professions badge.

  • As of July 1, 2022, the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge will be added to the Eagle list, to increase the required list to fourteen badges. The requirements have been released, and can be downloaded from National's website.  

  • The rank changes for 2021 are minor. First Class requirement 4.b was changed to clarify that the Scout has to show use of a GPS on a hike or campout, and the wording for Life requirement 3 about how merit badges are counted was rewritten to be more complicated. 

  • There have been a number of changes to merit badge requirements effective in January 2021. These changes affect the following badges: Archaeology, Collections, Digital Technology, Disabilities Awareness, Electricity, Fish and Wildlife Management, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Lifesaving, Motorboating, Nature, Photography, Public Health, Rowing, Sports, Theater and Woodwork

To keep up with the latest changes, see the BSA National Program Updates Page and the US Scouting Service Project page for 2021 changes.


"Serve actively ... in ... positions of responsibility" and "Active Participation"

For many years, these phrases in the requirements for the ranks in the Scouts BSA program has been a matter for dispute and inconsistent application. The Guide to Advancement has sections "4.2.3.4 Positions of Responsibility" and "4.2.3.1 Active Participation" discussing and defining what does, and does not, count as satisfying these requirements as well as what a unit can, and cannot, do in defining them. Every troop leader should review these sections, and note that the Guide explicitly points out that "must" means must - waivers from something which "must" be done cannot be given by unit, district or council personnel. 


Eagle Scout 

  • Eagle Scout Forms:  Be sure that you are using the very latest forms. You can find the printing year above the barcode on the back of the application. Better yet, always download a new form before you fill one out - you can find the latest forms on the District Forms page

  • Life-To-Eagle Procedures: The Council Advancement Committee have set up the following required procedure for all of the districts in the Baden-Powell Council. 

    • Life to Eagle Training: All Scouts should attend a "Life to Eagle" training session as soon as they earn their Life rank. These training sessions are offered at Roundtables several times a year - watch the District Calendar or Training Page for upcoming dates. 

    • Find a project and get troop approval: 

      • The Scout, with the help of the Scoutmaster, finds a project. 

      • Complete the Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal, pages A thru E, and Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application, page A, found in the Eagle Project Workbook, making sure to collect all signatures except for the District Advancement Chair's.

    • Schedule a meeting to present the project: The Scout then schedules his first meeting with the District Advancement Committee. He should contact the District Advancement Chairman at advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org no later than two weeks before the next Roundtable and make an appointment for that month's Advancement Committee meeting (see District Calendar for times and place).

    • Present the Project Proposal:

      • A Scout should Be Prepared to: 

        • Arrive on time in full uniform with a notebook and pen/pencil to take notes.

        • Bring the completed and signed Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal, pages A thru E, and Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application, page A.
        • Bring enough details, sketches and photos to help the Board fully understand the Service Project concept.
        • Be able to discuss the details of the Service Project Proposal in enough depth that you show the Board the Five Test of an Eagle Scout Service Project, page A, can all be met.
    • Project will be discussed with board

      • Any problems are discussed and explained to the Scout

      • Chairman gives go ahead with project and signs workbook.

      • A Mentor is assigned to Scout.

      • Now - and only now - the Scout can begin work on the project. Don't jump the gun and start work before you get approval!

    • Execute the Project - The Mentor should stays in contact with the Scout, calling every once in a while if they have not heard for the Scout in a while.

    • Once the Project is finished - The Scout should:

      • Collect required signatures for the rest of the packet.

      • Finish project write up and after-action pictures

      • The Troop Committee or Scoutmaster, not the Scout, contacts three of the six references listed on the Eagle Application, secures a sealed confidential letter of recommendation from each of those individuals, and includes them in the Eagle Scout Application package.

      • Once all merit badges are completed, collect all needed signatures on the Eagle Scout Application up to and including Baden-Powell Council certification.

      • Make an appointment for final project review at the next monthly District Advancement Committee meeting

    • Final Project Review (by District Advancement Committee)

      • The Scout should bring all complete project materials as well as blue cards for all merit badges, and be in complete uniform

      • Board gives tentative approval if acceptable, if not the Scout gets feedback and fixes issues and makes new appointment with board

      • If project is acceptable, merit badges are completed, and all paperwork completed the Scout is given his final board of review

    • Final Paperwork Processed - District Advancement Chairman delivers all paperwork to office including Eagle Application  (link to National site) and Eagle Scout Biography and Project Summary (Locally updated form)

    • Eagle Court of Honor - once the Eagle application is approved by BSA National, the troop should schedule a Court of Honor to present the award to the Scout. Don't forget to invite anyone who had any part in the Scout's progress to Eagle!


    Merit Badge Counselors

    • How to become a merit badge counselor: 

      • Check the Merit Badge Counselor List - please don't sign up for a badge just because your child or a Scout in your child's troop wants to take a badge. If there's already a Counselor in your town who is listed for one of the badges, encourage the Scout to call them first. This serves two purposes: (a) it has always been a part of the Merit Badge program to encourage Scouts to meet with outside experts in the area of the badge; and (b) recruiting many duplicate Counselors in the same area weakens the system (if there are too many Counselors for a badge, none of them gets contacted very often, and we wind up losing most of them).  There are over 100 merit badges - why not pick some for which there aren't already Counselors in your area? 

      • Qualification: A Merit Badge Counselor must be at least 21 years old, and must meet the requirements for any BSA adult member, including taking Youth Protection Training (YPT) and keeping that training current. A Counselor should be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training - as the purpose of the Merit Badge system is to allow Scouts to meet people who are well informed in a given area, please do not apply for badges unless you are very familiar with the field. 

      • Choose your badges: While there is no specific limit for how many badges any one person can sign up for, as a general rule the District would prefer that Counselors limit themselves to five or six badges. Pick the ones you're most qualified for or which are most needed. You can find a complete list of merit badges, with requirements, on the US Scouts Service Project website

      • Register and Apply: (Two Options): 

        • Register online: for the renewal of current Merit Badge Counselors only. All new applicants need to use the "register on paper" option. 

        • Register on paper: 

          • Fill out and sign the following forms: Be sure to include your e-mail address and phone number on both forms. 

            • Merit Badge Counselor Application (fillable PDF form) 

            • Adult Membership Application (Note: you must fill out a new application if you were not previously registered as a Merit Badge Counselor, even if you are already a registered BSA leader. There is no fee for registering as a Merit Badge Counselor. If you are not already a registered BSA leader, then you must take Youth Protection Training before registering and enclose the completion certificate with your application - see the Training page)

          • Send the original signed forms to the Council Office (you can drop them off or mail them to the office at  2150 NYS Route 12, Binghamton NY 13901, or give them to our District Executive or District Advancement Chair at Roundtable)

          • Send a copy of the Counselor Application form (only) to the District Advancement Chair - scan and e-mail it to advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org or hand it in at Roundtable or an Advancement Committee meeting (See the District Calendar for times and places). Do not send the Adult Application to the District Advancement Committee, which neither wants nor needs it. Please be sure the counselor's e-mail address is on the form. 

      • Approvals: 

        • The Council will do the routine background check, as for any adult application. 

        • The District Advancement Committee will review the application at its next monthly meeting

      • Listing: If approved by the District and Council, the counselor is notified, and listed on the Merit Badge Counselor list on this website. 

    • Baden-Powell Council Merit Badge Counselor List: All of the counselors on the current list have been contacted and are presently registered and willing to serve. The list is Council-wide - any Scout may work with any counselor, whether or not the counselor lives in the same district as the Scout. If the counselor is flagged with a "Y" in the "Troop Only" column, he or she has asked to work only with Scouts from their own troop - out of troop Scouts should be considerate and contact them only if there are no other available counselors.

      The list can be downloaded in three different sort orders:

      NOTE: In order to protect the data on the list from being indexed by search engines, the merit badge counselor PDF file is password protected. You will need to enter a password to open and print the list. The password is the Scout Motto, in lower case, without a space between the two words. (And no, that doesn't mean the password is "scoutmotto", wise guy. Two words, first letters "b" and "p" - you do have that memorized, don't you? Of course you do.)  

      Want the list in Excel format? Send an e-mail to webmaster@TCScouts.org - I'll be happy to e-mail it to you, but I really don't recommend this approach as your local copy will not be updated periodically when the PDF's on the website are. 

      If you have technical problems downloading or opening or reading the file, contact webmaster@TCScouts.org 

      If you have any updates or corrections to the information on the list, contact  advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org for Taughannock District counselors or contact the B-P Council for counselors in the other three districts.

    • Merit Badge Counselor Training  is available through My.Scouting.org as is most BSA training. Log in to My.Scouting.org, go to "My Dashboard", then select "Training Center". Click on "Boy Scouts" and you should find Merit Badge Counselor training on the list. Click "+Add Plan" next to the training, and take the course.

    • Merit Badge Resources: see our Forms and Links page


    Most Recently Added Boy Scout Merit Badges

Health Care Professions Merit Badge

Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge and will feature a new merit badge pamphlet and new requirements, available here. The design of the merit badge emblem will not change - so, yes, if a Scout earns both Medicine and Health Care Professions, he or she can wear two copies of the same emblem. Scouts who have begun work on the Medicine merit badge may continue working on it until they are finished or turn 18. After Dec. 31, 2021, Scouts may not begin working on the Medicine merit badge and should instead work on the Health Care Professions badge. 

Citizenship In Society Merit Badge

Citizenship in Society Merit Badge (originally called "Diversity", then "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion") has been officially released on November 1, 2021. The badge will become Eagle Required as of July 1, 2022. The requirements can be downloaded from National's website. There will not be any pamphlet for this badge - it is intended to be an open-ended discussion between the Scout and the Counselor. The official announcement can be found on National's website

The Scouts BSA recommends that anyone wishing to become a merit badge counselor for this takes the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training, available through the BSA Learn Center at my.scouting.org, and also released this video last month to help guide prospective Citizenship in Society merit badge counselors: https://vimeo.com/613861523 

Troop 43's Scoutmaster Mike Martinez notes, "I look forward to working with Scouts on this merit badge soon, and would encourage all units to develop a plan to offer this merit badge as soon as possible so prospective Eagle Scouts will Be Prepared and not face a delay when it becomes required next summer!" He can be contacted at scoutmastermike43@gmail.com 


For the latest information on changes to the merit badge list see the Scouting Magazine blog


Your Scouts, Explorers and Venturers, 14 years old and older,
can earn the Duke of Edinburgh Award!

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Boy Scouts of America have joined forces to expand the internationally renowned DofE Award into the world of Scouting. This year, the BSA national office launched the pilot program in five councils nationwide: Baden-Powell, Circle 10, Los Angeles Area, National Capital Area, and Yocona.

Founded in 1956 in the UK by Her Majesty The Queen's husband, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a non-competitive, self-development program for youth ages 14 to 25. Dedicated to achievement in community service, physical fitness, special skills, and adventurous journey, the Award aims to build self-esteem and promote character development within every participant.

The Award is an exciting, non-competitive experience that cultivates and instills confidence and self-worth within every participant. Through its proven and trusted quality framework, participants enjoy an unparalleled experience that hones their talents and skills and instills within them a crucial sense of belonging and achievement.

Over 7 million people have received the Duke of Edinburgh's Award since its inception. The Award's fundamental philosophy and Four Tenant operational format have proved resilient, attractive, and adaptable to many cultures, languages, and environments, and it remains as relevant today as ever before, experiencing record levels of interest annually. Last year, more than 140,000 participants from around the world earned a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

A letter introducing the Pilot Program can be downloaded here in PDF format. 

For more information or to get involved, please contact Tim Woods,
Baden-Powell Council DofE coordinator, at 607-844-3921 or
Email wwwoodsw@earthlink.net


Venturing Advancement

As a quick summary, there are four ranks, going from the joining-level Venturing Rank to the Summit Rank, the highest honor in Venturing. The ranks blend adventure, leadership, personal development and service to give Venturers a structure for developing their own personal vision into manageable goals. That’ll translate into recognition by peers, mentors and the larger community. Each rank has a focus. For the Venturing award, it’s joining; for Discovery, it’s participation; for Pathfinder, it’s leadership; and for the Summit rank, it’s mentoring. 

Each patch incorporates the Venturing logo, and the design gets progressively more intricate as a young man or young woman progresses in Venturing.  

Recipients of the Summit Award get an awesome patch but also receive a medal. Plus, as adults, Summit Award recipients may wear the green, white and silver square knot pictured. It’s the same knot worn by recipients of the old Venturing Silver Award, which was retired at the end of 2014.

There are also Specialty Awards and Leadership Awards for Venturers to earn. 

The following changes were announced in August, 2020: 

  • Certain restrictions regarding prior credit for Venturers have been changed. Effective immediately, Venturing Advisors have the discretion to give a Venturer credit toward Venturing award requirements for work previously completed by the Venturer while a registered member of a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship. This change aligns the Venturing advancement program with the Scouts BSA and Sea Scouting advancement programs.  Under the current edition of the Guide to Advancement and the latest printed edition of Venturing Awards and Requirements, a Venturer was required to complete all work on Venturing awards while registered as a Venturer, and Venturing Advisors were not permitted to give credit toward Venturing award requirements for work previously done by a youth in Scouts BSA or Sea Scouts. Neither Scouts BSA nor Sea Scouts have these same restrictions. Except as stated in the temporary transition rules covering first-time members entering Scouts BSA after February 1, 2019, in both Scouts BSA and Sea Scouts, unit leaders are currently able to consider work done in any program when giving credit toward completion of rank or award requirements. To improve consistency within the three programs and to encourage membership in Venturing Crews, Venturers may now receive credit toward Venturing ranks and specialty awards for work completed while registered in a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship.

  • Another recent update to the Venturing Program is also intended to improve consistency among the different programs within Scouting. Since the adoption of the ALPS model, the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards have been referred to as core awards and not as ranks. The National Venturing Committee is also pleased to announce that effective immediately the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards will be referred to as Venturing ranks. The Quest, Ranger, and Trust Awards will remain as part of the Venturing program as specialty awards and are not considered Venturing ranks.

  • Venturing Advancement Requirements: 


    Unit Recognition
    "Scouting's Journey to Excellence"

    “Scouting’s Journey to Excellence” is the BSA’s performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It replaced the Quality Awards Program as a means of encouraging excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA. 

    "Journey to Excellence" marks a change in emphasis from year-end numbers to year-round quality. Rather than set numeric targets for results, the program tries to help units judge their performance on those factors which create quality program for the youth members, which in turn helps units retain members and grow. 

    Units earn points in a number of areas (13 areas for Packs and Troops, 11 for Crews and Ships). In most of the areas, there are three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Bronze level is supposed to represent those things which are a minimum for a quality program, a unit which earns all Gold would be one of the best of the best. To earn the annual "Journey to Excellence" award at the Bronze Level, a Pack or Troop has to be at least at Bronze Level in a specified number of objectives, and must also have a total number of points at the Bronze level (see the worksheet for the specific requirements for your type of unit). If they have met the Bronze requirements, units can progress to Silver Level with more points and more objectives, and to Gold Level with still more points (again, see the worksheet for the specific number for your type of unit). 

    Click on the links in this table for forms and information specifically for your type of unit: 

    Unit Type 2022 Requirements
    (Adobe PDF documents)
    Cub Pack PDF
    Scouts BSA Troop PDF
    Venture Crew PDF
    Sea Scout Ship PDF
    Explorer Post PDF

    One of the requirements for Journey to Excellence is Service - units must perform service projects for their community. In order for the service projects to count, they have to be reported - be sure to log your service hours! Enter them on the National Service Hours website or through Scoutbook. 

    National has a Journey to Excellence website with additional information. 
    Note: For this year, at least, the Journey to Excellence program only applies to units. 
    It has been suspended at the District and Council level for 2021 and 2022. 


    Adult Leader Recognition

    E-mail recognition@TCScouts.org 
    For more contact information see the Contact page


The following awards will be given at the Annual District Awards Program:

National or B-P Council Awards: 

  • Training and other Recognition Knots: Ever wondered about all those knots you see on other leaders' uniforms? Here's a page giving the meanings and requirements for all of the square knots (offsite link to The US Scout Service Project) (also see this web page from boyscouttrail.com).  Training knots are available for Cub, Webelos, Boy Scout and Venturing Leaders as well as Commissioners and District Committee members - you can apply for those yourself. Contact Kathlene Gross recognition@TCScouts.org to apply for the knots. 

  • Veteran Scouter Recognition - Veteran year pins are awarded every 5 years (5, 10, 15, 20...). Note that pins up to 20 years are awarded by Council, 25 years and up have to be obtained from BSA National HQ. Submit this form (fillable PDF from National website) to the Council office for all veteran awards. 

  • National Unit Leader Award of Merit - This award is presented at the request of the unit to the unit leader - Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Venturing Crew Advisor or Varsity Coach. The unit committee chair completes the Unit Leader Award of Merit Nomination Form on behalf of the unit committee. For Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturer crews, the nomination must include endorsement by the senior patrol leader, team captain, or crew president, respectively (Cub packs, being adult led, do not have this requirement). The unit or district commissioner certifies that the form is complete. The unit submits the nomination form to the council for approval by the Scout executive and council commissioner or president.
  • District Award of Merit - The highest award a District may give. Each year, Taughannock District gives one or two awards. To nominate someone for the District Award of Merit, use the nomination form on the National website, or get a copy from District Recognition Chair. There are no specific hard-and-fast requirements for the District Award of Merit, but a general rule of thumb is that someone should have been active at least five years and have done at least some Scouting service outside the unit in which he or she is registered (although long service unit leaders will be considered). You can download a complete list of previous recipients of the District Award of Merit (PDF).
  • Silver Beaver - The Silver Beaver is the highest award a Council may give. Each year, the Baden-Powell Council gives about four Silver Beaver awards to deserving Scouters from around the Council. To nominate someone for the Silver Beaver, use the nomination form on the National website, or get a copy from the Baden-Powell Council or the Taughannock District Recognition Chair (recognition@TCScouts.org ). There are no specific hard-and-fast requirements for the Silver Beaver Award, but a general rule of thumb is that someone should have been active at least ten years and have done at least some Scouting service at the Council level (although long service district- or unit-level leaders will be considered). You can download a complete list of previous recipients of the Silver Beaver (PDF).

Taughannock District Awards

These "unofficial" awards are given by the District, among others which pop up from time to time. If you know someone you think would deserve one of these awards, nominate them! Download the Nomination Form  MS Word - PDF - and send it to  recognition@TCScouts.org or give it to our DE.

  • Spark Plug Award - Does your unit have a leader who gives real "Spark" to the unit and its activities? Give leaders the recognition they deserve and tell them "Thank You!" The Spark Plug recipients are selected by the Unit, and confirmed by the District. No more than one Spark Plug per unit per year, please, and no one can get the Spark Plug twice in the same unit. 

  • The District may award one or more of the following each year, as selected by the Key 3 (Chair, DE, District Commissioner). If you know someone who should be considered for one of these awards, send an e-mail to recognition@TCScouts.org

    • Rising Star - may be presented to "newish" leaders who have done special service, either at the District or unit level.
    • Old Guard- may be presented to an Old F... we mean, "Distinguished Elder Scouter" who has been serving the District and/or units for many years. 
    • Patriot Patrol - a group of current Scouters who have done outstanding service for the District over the past year.
    • Taughannock 76'er - as a youth leader parallel to the Patriot Patrol, this will be awarded annually to a group of  outstanding youth leaders in the District.  
    • Old Scout - given occasionally to repeat members of the Old Guard
    • Founders Award - awarded from time to time to Scouters with especially long and distinguished service - download a list of recipients of the Founders Award (PDF)
    • Good Turn - awarded to a non-Scouting individual or organization who has done particular service to Scouting or to youth in general.
    • Outstanding Unit - awarded from time to time to Scouting units - Packs, Troops, Crews, Posts - who have delivered outstanding program to their youth members. 
    • Gorget Award - presented to an outstanding youth leader nominated by unit or district leadership.
    • Unit Service Award - presented to a unit which has provided outstanding community service during the previous year. 

    Masonic Scouting Awards

    The Masons have two awards available for Scouts and Scouters. 

    The General Douglas MacArthur Youth Award recognizes distinguished or outstanding voluntary community service by non-Masonic orgaiznations or individuals. It is given to "those who have given of themselves, that ultimate goal in life, serving our youth."  Download a nomination form here (PDF).

    The Eagle Scout Award "recognizes the dedication of a Scout to the pursuits of Scouting and of his achievement leading to Eagle Scout. The recipient will get a special personalized commendation certificate and letter from the Grand Master, along with a medallion. Download a nomination form here (PDF). 

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