One of the three promises of the Scout Oath is duty to other people, and service of various kinds has been a central part of the Scouting experience since the beginning. In fact, the Scout slogan is, “Do a good turn daily!” Great Smoky Mountain Council Scouts have plenty of opportunities to their good turns.

Conservation Good Turns

A Conservation Good Turn is an opportunity for Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews to join with local conservation or environmental organizations to carry out a needed project. Projects range from planting trees and building nature trails to cleaning up neighborhood parks and conducting public outreach work. Many Conservation Good Turn projects also help Scouts meet rank and merit badge requirements.

Hornaday Awards

The William T. Hornaday Awards program encourages and recognizes units, Scouts, Venturers, and Scouters who design, lead, and carry out exceptional conservation projects.

Since 1917, about 1,100 Hornaday medals have been awarded. Dr. William T. Hornaday, an ardent conservationist, established the awards program to recognize Scouts who undertook and completed truly exceptional conservation projects.

Earning one is hard work, but it’s worth it. A good idea is to start with the badge and then work up to the bronze or silver medal. You must be a First Class Scout or a Venturer, and you must have a conservation adviser.

The following merit badges and project categories are the building blocks for a Scout to earn a Hornaday Award.

Environmental Science
Fish and Wildlife Management
Public Health
Soil and Water Conservation
Bird Study

Insect Study
Landscape Architecture
Mammal Study
Nuclear Science
Plant Science
Pulp and Paper
Reptile and Amphibian Study

For the Hornaday Badge, Scouts earn three of the merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any two others. Then plan, lead, and carry out a significant project in natural resource conservation.

For the Hornaday Bronze Medal, Scouts earn the Environmental Science merit badge and at least three additional merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any two others. Then plan, lead, and carry out three significant projects.

For the Hornaday Silver Medal, Scouts earn all the merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any three others. Then plan, lead, and carry out four significant projects in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements.

For additional details as well as application and nomination forms, please visit the Hornaday Awards section of

Community Service

From Cub Scouts to Venturers, Scouts participate in all kinds of community service.

Memorial Day Flag Placement

Prior to each Memorial Day, Scouts from the Great Smoky Mountain Council place American flags at the markers of veterans interred at the East Tennessee State Veteran’s Cemetery in Knoxville and Knoxville National Cemetery.  Decorating the cemeteries is our way of honoring those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom and serving their families.

Adopt A School

The hope at the heart of the BSA Adopt-a-School program is to build strong, sustaining relationships with your local schools, creating thousands of lasting community partnerships across the U.S. Through committed volunteer efforts — from school cleanup and landscaping to Scouts’ active participation in school events throughout the year — the BSA® will become a defined presence in improving our nation’s schools.


Scouting for Food/Good Turn for America
through our partners at Second Harvest

Since 1985, Scouts across America have joined together annually to collect food for local food banks. Great Smoky Mountain Council Scouts cooperate to visit homes in their local communities in late January or early February and distribute door hangers explaining the program and bags for food donations. A week later, they return to collect bags, which are then delivered to the council service center, a local food bank, or a collection site.

Wreaths Across America

Again during the holiday season, Great Smoky Mountain Council Scouts visit the East Tennessee Veteran’s cemetery, volunteering with the Wreaths Across America organization in wreath-laying ceremony.