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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Timely presentation of awards

It’s so important that we thank and recognise our fellow Scouts for their incredible service and achievements. Formal awards are just one way to do this, and while the awards themselves are important accomplishments, it’s also vital that they’re presented in a timely fashion and during a suitable occasion in a way that is meaningful for the award recipient.

Sending congratulations and presenting awards

A congratulations letter from the UK Chief Volunteer (for Silver Acorn/Bar to the Silver Acorn awards) and from the Chief Scout (for Silver Wolf awards) will be sent directly to the award recipient in the month after their award is mailed out (March, June, September, December).

A congratulations letter from the Chief Scout (for Meritorious Conduct/Gallantry awards, the Cornwell Scout Badge and the Chief Scout's Personal Award) is mailed out locally along with the award certificate and corresponding award items, so the announcement of this award can be controlled locally.

UK Headquarters encourages local communication (via various methods including letters, emails, phone calls or in person) to inform and congratulate members on their approved award to be completed as soon as the award is received locally. In this communication it’s suggested that the award recipient is also notified as to when/where/how they’ll be presented with their award (which should, where possible, be within three months of the award date).





Local approval of Silver Acorn award.


Locally made Silver Acorn award decision submitted to UK Headquarters via Good Service award completion form

31 March

Quarterly submission deadline.


Processing of Silver Acorn award submission by UK Headquarters Scout Awards Team.


(01 May = date listed on Silver Acorn award certificate).

Approved Silver Acorn award sent locally (to County level or above) via quarterly awards mail out.

Local congratulations given directly to award recipient.


UK Chief Volunteer congratulation letter sent directly to award recipient.


Silver Acorn award appears on award recipients’ membership record.


Silver Acorn award presented to award recipient.



Learn more about award deadlines and processing timeframes

Points to consider

Promptly receiving a letter of congratulations from County is not only good practice, but it also ensures the recipient is made aware of their award via the correct channels. Finding out about their award themselves via Compass or from a third party who spotted it (e.g. in the Roll of honour), can sometimes make the recipient feel undervalued.

Scout locations usually have several formal opportunities throughout the year when awards/Wood Badges can be presented (e.g. St George’s day, AGM’s, a dedicated Awards presentation event), but there are also many informal opportunities which could be used.

When presenting awards (including Youth Top Awards) as well as Wood Badges, it’s important for this to be done in both a timely and appropriate manner. To do this you should consider the following points:

To ensure members feel suitably recognised for their achievements, it's vital for them to be communicated with as early as possible on the subject:

  • Let members know asap what they’ve achieved (i.e., the same month the award is received locally)*.
  • Congratulate members asap on their achievement (i.e., the same month the award is received locally).
  • Liaise with members appropriately concerning possible presentation opportunities (i.e., the same month or the month after the award is received locally).
  • Present members with their award/Wood Badge within three months of the award being received locally.

*The initial local correspondence with a member to notify them of what they’ve achieved, could also congratulate them on their award/Wood Badge, and offer a few designated opportunities for when/where the award/Wood Badge can be presented to them.

The decision over where the presentation of an award/Wood Badge takes place will be both significant and personal to the recipient. Some may wish this to take place at Group or Section level, whereas others may prefer a more formal setting in the District or County, and some may want no fuss made at all.

By ensuring the award recipient is comfortable with the presentation setting, they’re more likely to come away feeling valued, so it’s imperative to consult with them (or someone who knows them extremely well e.g. a partner or parent/guardian) on this matter.

The person presenting the award/Wood Badge can also affect how the award recipient feels about the presentation and so again, consultation with the recipient (or someone who knows them extremely well) on this matter is central to ensuring a positive experience.

If the award/Wood Badge is presented at Group level, the recipient may prefer their Group Scout Leader or Section Leader to make the presentation rather than someone from the District, however for longer Length of Service awards, or higher Good Service awards (e.g. the Bar to the Silver Acorn/Silver Wolf) a presentation by someone from County level may be more appropriate.

For some situations, it may also be suitable to ask the local Lord-Lieutenant to make the presentation (especially when presenting youth members with their King’s Scout Award).

Whilst a surprise presentation can be well received by some, it could result in some award recipients feeling uncomfortable. Consulting with someone who knows them extremely well before proceeding with this option is therefore imperative.

Example Length of Service congratulations letter

There are several ways that letters can phrased, but here is just one example that could be used to thank a member for their 30 years of service:

Dear Anne Example,

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on achieving your 30-year length of service award.

On behalf of the young people and adults of Location County I would like to thank you for your amazing and dedicated service of over three decades, this is quite an achievement.

I've copied your District Lead Volunteer into this email, so they too can share in your achievement. Please contact your District Lead Volunteer to discuss how you’d like to have your award presented locally.

In addition to a local presentation, the County has three award presentation opportunities in the coming year where I would be delighted to formally present you with your award:

  • Event name on Day Date Month Year at Event location
  • Event name on Day Date Month Year at Event location
  • Event name on Day Date Month Year at Event location

Please let me know if you’d like to attend one of these so I can arrange for a formal invitation to be sent.

Once again, thank you for your dedicated service to the Scouts.

Best wishes



Location Lead Volunteer