Earning the Special Needs Scouting Service Award

Special Needs Scouting Service Award medalDistrict and council volunteers who look over nominations for the Torch of Gold or Woods Services Award may learn of Scouters who don’t receive these awards, but deserve recognition for their service. These Scouters may qualify for the Special Needs Scouting Service Award (SNSSA), an earned recognition. It may be presented to adults, volunteer or professional, who show outstanding service and leadership to Scouts with disabilities.

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Be sure your council presents the annual Torch of Gold Award

BSA Torch of Gold logoThe Torch of Gold is a council award given annually to an adult Scouter for dedicated work for youth, particularly Scouts, with disabilities. 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 scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-495.pdf

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Woods Services Nominations: 10 Days Left!

Woods Services logo

The Woods Services Award is given to one Scouter per year nationally for exceptional service and leadership. The nominee should have served Scouts with disabilities in several capacities at the unit, district, council, or national levels of the Boy Scouts of America. The nominee for this prestigious award must have served Scouts with disabilities for at least three years strictly as a volunteer. This is a BSA award sponsored by the Woods Services Foundation in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, in memory of Luther W. Lord. The recipient receives a plaque from the Woods Foundation and may wear the BSA community service square knot. 

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Mary Lynne Capen receives the 2018 Woods Services Award

Mary Lynne Capen, 2018 Woods Services Award recipientReprinted from the Summer 2018 edition of Abilities Digest

Mary Lynne Capen of Patriots Path Council, Northeast Region, is 2018 Woods Services Award recipient. The award was presented at the BSA National Annual Meeting in May.

One award is granted nationally each year to the nominated BSA volunteer who best exemplifies exceptional service and leadership in the field of Scouting with disabilities. The award is sponsored by the Woods Services and Residential Treatment Center of Langhome, PA, in honor of Luther W. Lord, a pioneer in Scouting with disabilities.

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Stephen Marriott, Advocate for Scouting with Disabilities

Stephen Marriott statue in front of dAC at 2017 JamboreeExcerpted from Scouting Magazine, March-April 2018

On Action Point, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, there stands a bronze statue of young Stephen G. Marriott (1957-2013) in his Scout uniform. Stephen was a business leader, Distinguished Eagle Scout, and advocate for people with disabilities. His statue overlooks the site of the Disabilities Awareness Challenge during the 2013 and 2017 National Scout Jamborees. In the future the site will contain a permanent facility dedicated to disabilities awareness.

The forthcoming center will give Scouts the opportunity to experience some of the disabilities that people with physical challenges must live with every day. Scouts will take training and complete exercises to help them get a feel for what it would be like to have these kinds of challenges.

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Special Needs Scouting Service Award Medal and Device

Include the Torch of Gold in Spring Council Recognitions

Torch of Gold Award medalThe Torch of Gold is a council-level distinguished award of the Boy Scouts of America to recognize adults for exceptional service and leadership in working with Scouts who have disabilities. Each council may recognize one Scouter per year with the award. Details are listed on the nomination form, available online.

The nominee must be a registered Scouter with at least three years of volunteer service supporting Scouting with disabilities. The service may be in any Scouting leadership capacity related to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers with disabilities, including educating other Scouters about disabilities and working with youth who have disabilities.

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