The Role of Recognition

Recognition has been a fundamental part of Scouting from its beginning.  Effective recognition is essential to effective unit service:

  • It provides clear definition of success: the attitude, skills, training and behaviors needed to perform effectively
  • It helps identify and recruit volunteers to serve as commissioners
  • It helps retain commissioners


In Scouting, only professional staff members and commissioners are eligible to be commissioned. Just as the wreath of service is a unique design element of their badges of office, commissioning is a unique opportunity for individuals in those positions to publicly commit to providing service in Scouting and to celebrate their commitment.

Commissioner Recognition

Commissioner recognition has three objectives:

  1. Establish recognition opportunities for all commissioners.
  2. Establish consistent requirements that incorporate the contemporary tools and techniques commissioners use.
  3. Provide easy access to information, including opportunities, requirements, progress records, certificates, and available recognition items.

There are three categories of commissioner awards and recognition:

  • Recognition of an individual’s commitment to serve.
  • Recognition of an individual’s development.
  • Recognition of an individual’s impact.

There are also three classifications of commissioner awards and recognition:

  • Recognition from an individual’s selection to serve.
  • Recognition from an individual’s application for an award.
  • Recognition from an individual’s nomination for an award.

Commissioner Awards and Recognitions

Unit Commissioner patch
Badge of Office
Trained leader patch
Trained Leader Emblem
Commissioner's position
Ink sketch of an arrowhead
Arrowhead Honor
Scouter's Key square knot patch
Commissioner's Key
Doctorate of Commissioner Science Award
Doctorate of Commissioner Science
Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service knot
Commissioner Award of Excellence
Commissioner's position
Certificate of Commendation
Distinguished Commissioner Service
Distinguished Commissioner Service

How to verify an out of Council Merit Badge Counselor.

First, try to connect the Scout and counselor in Scoutbook. If that is successful, the counselor is registered and qualified. If unsuccessful, go to the counselor’s home council and search for their Advancement Administrators. Most will have an email address for either the Council Advancement Committee or Professional Advisor. Send an email asking if the counselor has been registered and qualified for the merit badge(s) in question and the status of their Youth Protection Training. Ask California councils if the counselor has completed AB506 training and LiveScan. The unit leader’s “blue card” signature verifies their counselor credentials verification.


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Order of the Arrow