Applications open for National Duty to God Award, a new honor from the BSA

A Scout is reverent, and some adult volunteers go above and beyond to help Scouts on their spiritual journey.

The National Duty to God Award, first presented in 2016, recognizes adults who help young people better connect with their faith.

The award is presented to up to four individuals each year. Recipients receive a handsome blue, white and yellow medal.

Applications for the 2017 award are due March 30.

Find the application, which contains additional eligibility and submission info, at this link (PDF).

Why a National Duty to God Award?

Three primary reasons:

  • It fits with Scouting. The BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principles says no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Approximately 75 percent of all Scouting units are chartered to faith-based organizations.
  • It embodies the principle “a Scout is reverent.” The BSA doesn’t define “duty to God” in religion-specific terms, and Scouting does not promote one religion over another. The award, also independent of any one faith, simply honors the principles of the Scout Law’s 12th point.
  • It fits in with other national awards. The BSA has awards for meritorious or lifesaving service. There are awards for service to youth on a district, council, regional and national level. The National Duty to God Award is a logical addition to this impressive lineup.

Who selects the recipients?

The BSA’s National Religious Relationships Support Committee. The award is presented during the Duty to God breakfast at the National Annual Meeting in May.

Who has received this award?

The two — and, to date, only — recipients of the National Duty to God Award are the Rev. R. Chip Turner and Rabbi Peter E. Hyman.

Turner, a Distinguished Eagle Scout, has been chairman of the National Religious Relationships Support Committee for more than 30 years. He has also served with the jamboree chaplains since 1981.

Hyman, also an Eagle Scout and part of the jamboree chaplain team since 1981, is the National Jewish Chaplain. He has been on the National Religious Relationships Support Committee since 1998.

Who can earn the award?

  • Nominees must be currently enrolled as an active, participating adult member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Nominees must have 10 or more years of leadership and service to Scouting and to his or her faith.
  • Nominees must have received the Boy Scouts of America’s faith-appropriate adult religious emblem at the time of nomination, or a comparable recognition from the candidate’s religious organization.
  • Nominees must have a demonstrative, exemplary history of transformational, spiritual, moral and ethical leadership, and edifying service in the advancement and promotion of a Scout’s duty to God.

How does one nominate someone for the award?

Assuming the person meets the requirements in the previous section, you’ll need to fill out this application form (PDF).

The nominator must provide and attach to the application at least three letters of recommendation for the nominee from the following:

  • Local council Scout executive or chief executive officer (or designee).
  • Nominee’s spiritual leader at the local, regional, and/or national level.
  • A current, active member in a leadership role from nominee’s faith congregation.

The nominator should include a summary of the nominee’s character and his or her service to faith and youth.

Do not notify candidates of their nomination.

To whom are nominations submitted?

All nominating materials and supporting documentation must be submitted in one electronic file to Gene Butler, Religious Relationships Support Committee staff advisor, at gene.butler@scouting.orgThe deadline is March 30, 2017.

There is no restriction on the number of applications submitted. Completed candidate applications will remain on file for two years. Afterward, if the nominee has not been selected, a new application must be submitted for future consideration.

Successful candidates will be notified on or before April 15, 2017, and bestowed the National Duty to God Award at the Duty to God breakfast at the National Annual Meeting in May.

Still have questions?

Contact Gene Butler at

Applications open for National Duty to God Award, a new honor from the BSA

Post expires on Friday March 10th, 2017

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