William D. Boyce didn’t start the BSA all by himself.
Sure, he was the man who signed the papers to make the Boy Scouts of America official — at exactly 11:03 a.m. on Feb. 8, 1910. But just like the volunteers who start new BSA units every year, Boyce had plenty of help.
For Boyce, that help came in the form of names you might recognize, such as Daniel Carter Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton and James E. West.
Think about the men and women who started your pack, troop, ship or crew. I’m guessing you’re not thinking of just one person but at least two or three.
In recognition of the team effort often involved in starting a new Scout unit, the BSA has revised the requirements for its William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award to allow multiple volunteers to be honored in a single unit.
Previously, the award was maxed out at one volunteer per new unit.
The revision is retroactive for the entirety of 2019, meaning volunteers who organized traditional units any time after Jan. 1, 2019, are eligible under the revised requirements.
What about those Scouts or Scout leaders who are founding members of a new unit but weren’t significantly involved in starting the unit?
They’re eligible to wear the Founder’s Bar, which we covered in detail in this post.
How many volunteers can receive the William D. Boyce award?
Your council can help you decide the right number of volunteers to receive the award in your new unit.
In order to keep the award special, the BSA suggests that you keep the recognition to “an appropriate number of volunteers who made significant efforts to start the new unit.”
What are the requirements for the William D. Boyce award?
It’s a little more involved than simply starting a new unit. The unit should be organized using the BSA’s Unit Performance Guide (No. 525-025) and the four pillar steps:
- Know the Market
- Make the Call
- Build the Team
- Grow the Unit
A volunteer is eligible to be considered for the award after the new unit renews its charter for the first time and receives Journey to Excellence recognition at the Bronze level or above.
See the full requirements in this PDF.
What do recipients of the William D. Boyce award get?
The highest-profile recognition item for the William D. Boyce award is a gold, green and red square knot.
Scouters who organize more than one unit don’t wear a second knot. Instead, they wear what’s called a “program device” — a small pin that goes on the knot itself and represents the type of unit organized: Cub Scout pack, Scouts BSA troop, Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship.
The knot and up to three program devices may be worn in recognition for organizing up to four new traditional units. One volunteer could receive and wear multiple program devices for organizing more than one unit in the same program.
Who was William D. Boyce?
William D. Boyce was in London in 1909 when he got lost in the fog. Out of the fog stepped a “little lad of 12” who offered to help him find his way. Boyce tried to give the youngster a tip, but the boy refused, saying he was just doing his Good Turn as a Scout.
Boyce was intrigued by the Scout Movement, which had begun in 1907 in England. He returned home from England with pamphlets, badges and a uniform. Six months later, on Feb. 8, 1910, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.
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