Recognize a Fellow Special Needs Scouter

The following article appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Abilities Digest.

Your Fellow Scouter Deserves the Torch of Gold

BSA Torch of Gold logo

If you are reading this article, you probably know a fellow Scouter who has been working diligently in support of Scouts with special needs or disabilities for three years or more. If so, they are a candidate for the BSA’s Torch of Gold Award. Like the Silver Beaver, the Torch is awarded to a nominated Scouter. It is up to you to nominate a worthy candidate.

The Torch of Gold is a council award given annually to an adult Scouter. It is not an award that is earned by simply fulfilling specific requirements. It is given in recognition for service in multiple areas for many years. The nominee should show a level of dedication and service comparable to a Scouter receiving the Silver Beaver Award, but for service specifically in the area of working with Scouts with disabilities.

A Scouter must be recommended to his or her council by another individual. Although there are specific criteria for this award, each council should have its own selection procedure. The nomination form can be found at

… And Perhaps the Woods Services Award

Woods Services logo

If you have nominated a worthy Scouter for the Torch of Gold Award (see above), consider nominating that same Scouter for the Woods Services Award. This is a national award presented once a year at the BSA National Annual Meeting.

The Award nomination form, BSA form #512-258, can be found at After being completed, the nomination must be signed by the nominee’s Scout Executive and received by the national BSA office by January 31 for the 2021 award. Because of the limit of one award per year, each council may only submit one nomination per year. You may email your application to

The Woods Services Award is given annually by the Woods Services and Residential Treatment Center, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, to one BSA volunteer each year for exceptional service and leadership in the field of Special Needs Scouting. The Center is a leading advocacy and service organization that provides educational, residential, and vocational services to children and adults with special needs. The award was established in 1978 in memory of Luther Wellington Lord, a residential supervisor for more than 23 years at the Center. An active Scouter, the award was established in recognition of his service to youth through Scouting at the local and national levels.