Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

James E. West Award

The James E. West Award is a national award that is not represented in Scoutbook. In these uncertain financial times, we should be promoting this award to strengthen our councils. Can this be added to Scoutbook in an effort to move in this direction?

1 Like

Adult awards are not currently supported in Scoutbook. There is an item in the backlog to add support for adult awards. I understand youth can earn the James E. West Award but the number doing so is probably very small.


We have numerous youth in our council that are recognized with the James E. West Award annually. It is promoted at a “thank you” for serving as OA Lodge Chief, as a gift honoring the youth for earning Eagle Scout rank, and other situations meriting additional recognition. So we do not see it as an “adult” award in our council.

Is it really that much effort to implement it into Scoutbook?


I’ve always wondered if it’s an “award” if you can buy it. I earned all my awards.

See you soon Jeff. :slight_smile: If we ever have meetings again.

1 Like

Who in your council is donating the $1000 for the Scouts presented with the James E. West Award?

It isn’t an issue of how much effort is required, it is an issue of priority. The BSA has items that are of higher priority on the backlog.

1 Like

The Lodge does it for Lodge chiefs
Usually parents of Scouts for youth, but sometimes troops / charter orgs

Understand on the priority issues…

Just that when we are trying to standardize on a national platform to track youth, would be nice if we could track everything needed. Perhaps a used defined set of categories/awards/requirements until you have time to implement a uniform platform version?

Virus-free. www.avast.com

1 Like

User defined awards have been previously requested. The BSA is not interested at this time in such a feature. There are many issues with adding support for user defined awards which are not easily solved.

1 Like

The James e West can be “earned” by anyone it not just an adult award youth can wear it to.

1 Like

By “earned” you mean “bought”…

1 Like

@SteveCagigas I meant what I said thanks.


LOL! Funny, David! Yes, we’ll meet again, someday!

I see the James E. West as a recognition of support of the progam, and important in its own right. As for “buying” it… one could make that argument. But in many cases donations are made to recognize the recipient’s services to the program or unit that makes the donation. In my mind, that is, in fact, “earning” the award. Recognized in a very special manner.


@DavidSchilpp - The James E. West is truly earned if it is received because one or more people made the contribution in the recipient’s honor. As @JeffreyBozanic has pointed out, I too know a few people who have truly earned their James E. West.

Even if one makes the contribution in his or her own name, the award is still earned (I dropped truly). For many folks, making a $1,000 contribution is a sacrifice, and they are giving up something to do so.


Peter, most Christmas I got gifts. I don’t think I earned them. Even if Santa Claus had to stretch a bit to get what he did, I don’t think it was because I earned it. It was a gift.
I was taught that gifts were given without thought or expectation of return. Otherwise it’s just an exchange. And, I was taught an exchange for money is a purchase. Looks like my stinking economics degree messed me up.

It’s symantics. Depends on your definition of ‘gift’ and ‘earn’.
On the other hand, I’ve seen Scouts come back from summer camp saying they earned a merit badge when it was really a gift. (As I define words)

I haven’t yet had it in my budget or finances yet to make the donation. I assume with the declining numbers, and now the virus, the council could use the donation now more than ever. I may have to move to a specific savings over a year or 2 to do it.

I would agree it isn’t earned. It is a recognition. Some recognitions are awarded for hard work, this recognition is awarded for a monetary donation.

(did you see what I did there? :slight_smile:)

1 Like

@DavidSchilpp - If you hadn’t earned them by being good, Santa would not have brought you those gifts. He knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

I know a gentleman who was never married, never had children, never had a high-paying job, lived a simple life, showed up just about every week to volunteer as an assistant Scoutmaster for about 40 years, and was an active Vigil Honor member of his OA lodge. Even in his 60s, he’d be the first one to volunteer to scrub pots, if that’s what the lodge chief needed.

Some folks pitched in and got him the James E. West Fellowship award to honor him. In my book, he earned it.

I am a James E. West fellow. I made my contribution in 2002. I asked the council not to present the recognition items to me, in case I wanted to designate it to go to someone else. I really wasn’t sure who. At the time, I was active as a Scoutmaster, and I didn’t want people thinking that I did that to get noticed for things like the District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver. The council complied by not presenting the recognition items, but my name was listed a few months later in the program for the council awards banquet as a James E. West fellow. Oh, well.

Last summer, I attended Cub Scout resident camp with my daughter, he first chance at doing so. I called a friend at the council and asked to have my certificate presented to me. He did the presentation during a meal in the dining hall. It was perfect. Low key. Hardly noticed. Probably half of the adults there don’t know for sure what it is.

There are certainly other things I could have done with that money, but I wanted to do it for the council. I never did identify anyone I wanted to designate as the recipient. In the end, I decided that 17 years was long enough to wait with my name still appearing annually in the banquet program. But I don’t feel like I earned the James E. West. I bought it. When you don’t pay a dime for it, like the gentleman I described above, you’ve earned it. What you gave for it is worth far more than money.


Well spoken!!
You provided a perfect example… I wish more people would think about that!

1 Like

I personally have not thought about the James E. West Fellowship. I do a Dollars for Hours contribution through my employer that based on my hours gives them a 5k check. I do that because I believe in the program and want to provide support to the council.


@Stephen_Hornak - it took 17 years before I put the knot on any of my shirts. Last year, I noticed the current National Commissioner, who I met in 2003, wears it on her shirt. Seeing that and realizing that it may encourage others to buy a knot for themselves convinced me it’s a good idea.


Or to put it another way… it’s not so much “buying a knot for yourself” as it is an act that demonstratively shows your support for your council. In fact, because the West fellowship goes towards a council’s endowment, it’s really a gift of support that lasts in perpetuity. The Fellowship knot on your uniform showcases your support, and one hopes that it will set the example and encourage others to do the same.

For some, $1,000 may require some sacrifice, while for others it may be far easier to give at that level. (But for those, one hopes they would give more over the years, since $1,000 is just the minimum. Let’s be honest, $1000 is really only about 200 Starbucks coffees, which is less that 1 per working day in a year if you succumb to that vice. :wink: )

As we all know, Scouting needs many kinds of support, and while fundraising may be much maligned, frankly, nothing else can really happen without it.

All that said, I knew one longtime Scoutmaster (now passed) who was lividly against the knot when it came out. While he was a reliable FOS donor, he refused to “buy the knot”. Many years later, the Lodge donated to the endowment in his honor, and much to my surprise, he proudly wore the knot from then on. He was extremely honored the youth of the lodge chose to honor him, regardless of how the award came about.