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Adult Uniform Question - Square Knots

I have been a Cub Scout leader for 5 years and have earned the Den Leader Training Award and the Scouter’s Training Award. I am also moving into an assistant scoutmaster in a troop. I am finishing out the school year as a CS leader.

Question: Am I allowed to wear the square knots earned as a CS leader now as a troop leader? Not sure where to find the info.

As far as I know, @HarryHanna, the answer is yes. I haven’t seen anything indicating that adult leader knots “expire” when you move from one program to another.


Yes. once you earn a knot you can wear it as long as your a scouter. there are devices that you can wear that signify what program you earned them with.


Yes. Knots are kinda like a totem pole that tells a bit of the wearers’ scouting story.
Now, some people think lots of rows of knots above the right pocket looks too cluttered for them. So, you don’t have to put them all on. You can pick your favorites. But I’d suggest a scouter not worry about that until he/she has more than three rows of knots.


I suspect the hazardous weather training being added to direct-contact leader requirements now requires this training to be renewed every two years to keep certain training award “knots” current. See:


When Hazardous Weather Training became a requirement to be trained, it was only for new leaders. Leaders that were already trained, remained trained without taking Hazardous Weather Training.

I have never seen an official statement that says an earned knot expires.

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The hazardous weather question is an interesting one. It is expires every 2 years like YPT. We had a leader who came in already trained from quite awhile back. So, the system had the trained patch etc for her. For others the “Yes/No” in my.scouting training reports said a red “No” until they did everything including the hazardous weather. For this experienced leader, it said “Yes” but was in blue and showed hazardous training as a needed training. As a willing person who likes to learn (and be compliant) she dutifully did the hazardous weather training. Her blue “Yes” turned green.

@Matt.Johnson The Hazardous Weather Training FAQs include this:

Q. If I am trained in my current position, will I be required to take Hazardous Weather
now to retain the trained designation?

A. No, if you are currently trained in your position you will not be required to take the
additional course now. We recommend if you have not taken the updated course
(SCO_800) that you do so to have the most current content.

So the blue “yes” probably meant that she was grandfathered as being trained in her registered position. But it is good for her to retake the course and keep current on the content.

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My interpretation was and still is that:
a. Those who had unexpired old training did not have to immediately take the new course, but did need to renew the training before it expired.
b. New leaders had to take the new course because the old course had been retired.


Wearing knot awards

Some references and articles

@Qwazse - The clutter above the right pocket is no longer a problem since a limit of nine knots was established in 2019. See page 64.

The limit on the Sea Scout uniform remains six knots.

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This could be broken out as a separate thread, but I sent the national safety committee a question and got a response…

“The training requires that you retake the course every two years to be current. No different than YP.
Want to call yourself positioned trained requires that you retake the training every two years.”

I followed up with what about the FAQ. I assume, like Bill_W, that it was for at the time of the rule change.

So, to be position trained, you must take Hazardous Weather training every 2 years, just like YPT. No grandfathering in (as we are now 2 years past 2018).

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I’m not one to go against the rules but I think limiting knots is ridiculous. As someone who has more than 9 knots I wear them all and use them as teaching aids for my units. When the scouts ask what a specific knot is I tell them what is entailed and from what I’ve seen it helps motivate them on their trail to Eagle. Also For the knots that get awarded like The district award of merit/silver beaver or higher I feel obligated to wear the knot since the nominators put in their time to fill out the paperwork to nominate and present that award the least I could do is to wear the knot as a thank you.

@JeremyPenner - I don’t disagree with any of the sentiments you expressed, and I’m glad you respect the uniform enough to follow the rules. I think those making the decision to impose a limit weighed those ideas against how the uniform looks. A very large number of knots can look silly to some and intimidating to others. Although Scouts usually think they look cool, they can sometimes lead to Scouts deducing a hierarchy among adults.

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@JeremyPenner, if it means a lot to keep those extra rows, just grab some red epaulets (assuming your leading a troop) and claim that yours is a vintage uniform! :grin:

Really. Who’s going to dock you on inspection? And, if they are, how many points will you lose?

I’m saying that as one who was brought up to not be a fan of the “third world general look.” My SM was a minimalist. Not sure if he ever wore his silver beaver knot. One of my sons’ ASMs was council (then area) president and occasionally got dressed down by scouters (who put less time and $ into the organization) for not wearing any of his knots on his field uniform. That “keep 'em in a drawer unless you earned them as a youth” attitude permeates the troop to this day. On the flip side, most of the “five row” scouters who I’ve met are very helpful and kind.
So, I file this under “not a hill to die on.” If you’re helping my youth be a better citizen, that’s all the knot I need to see.


First off the epaulets are what the blue/forest green/venturing green/silver/orange/ or yellow shoulder loops go on. :slight_smile: Second all my uniforms were assembled before the “three row rule” so I am not going to remove knots due to stitching marks that will be left behind so either way I would be docked for “cluttered” or ragged look. When I was brought up in scouts I had leaders on both ends of “knot spectrum” Where a few would only wear Eagle/nothing and some would wear everything. I’m also not one of those people that have every square knot either so i’m not anywhere close to knots that someone has that’s been around longer than I have. To each his own. If my scouts like and ask me questions Ill keep wearing them.

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I agree to an extent. I think Each person has a different opinion on to many. I feel that 4/5 rows isnt to many.

I could see that but I also think how the leaders interact with the scouts, from what I’ve seen, will dissolve that deduction. I have leaders in my unit that have been awarded the silver beaver/antelope/buffalo, distinguished eagle and many other knots who doesn’t wear a single knot where others wear multiple. The scouts in my unit don’t care who has more knots when it comes to hierarchy.

@JeremyPenner -

Of course, when I said this, I was addressing reasons in support of the limit. There are still others not mentioned in this statement who think a large rack of knots looks inspiring, impressive and sharp.

You’re right about that. While Scouts may get their initial impression from knots, they will ultimately be sways by how adults interact with them and with other adults.

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This conversation has veered off a bit… there was some discussion that you now need to retake Hazardous Weather Training every 2 years, like YPT, in order to stay “current” with your training.

To be clear, being current on your training is different from earning the Den Leader, Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting Training Awards, or the similar CM/SM Keys. Those awards, once earned, are earned, and you can continue to wear the knots on your uniform (but you don’t have to), even as you move into different programs.

Also, as mentioned, the Training Awards and Keys can (and should) be earned multiple times for each program level, including as a District Volunteer. While you only wear one knot, you can add a special “device” to designate each award (but again, you don’t have to).


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