District 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.
The 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
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.Continue reading
Reprinted 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.
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.
There is now a medal available for the Special Needs Scouting Service Award: Item #641463, available from Scout Shops. The design features an international logo for Scouting with disabilities. A device with the same logo is available to wear on the Scouting Service Award square knot: Item #641462.
Previous recipients are eligible to wear this new medal. It must be special-ordered by the Council.
The 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.