Unofficial Why Knot
The "Why Knot" ("Why not?") was a "joke patch" which eventually became the prototype
for the Scoutmaster Award of Merit. It was said that during a visit to a local Council
in the Northeast Region early during his new tenure as Chief Scout Executive, Ben
Love talked with several uniformed Scouters. All of the Scouters were wearing this
strange-looking square knot and when Love asked "what's the knot for?", his staff
members nor the Council Executive could answer. So, Love asked the Scouters. The
Scouters explained that new Scouters were sometimes "put off" by older, more senior
Scouters that seem to have "rows of those things" on their shirts. So, in their
District, they decided to include those new Scouters that have "stuck around" for
18 months after being trained with a "why knot". When asked about the name, a Scouter
responded "why not? We have knots for everything else, why don't we recognize the
relatively new Scouter?" Love took this back to National, and later when discussions
were being made about the NESA Scoutmaster Award, he related the visit to that Council
and asked "Why don't we recognize EVERY Scoutmaster that have achieved a certain
level early in their tenure? It seems that they had the right idea, even if it was
'just a joke.'"
The difference between the "Why Knot" and the Scoutmaster Award of Merit is the
color of the background and border color (this is a off-white background, and the
Scoutmaster Award of Merit is on a tan background and border, the standard background
and border of most Scout knots.
Credits: Text and scan of the knot provided by Mike Walton.
Page updated on:
May 23, 2014