Service Program Awards
The State and International Service Program Awards competitions annually recognize the best programs conducted by local councils in the areas of Church, community, council, family, culture of life, and youth activities. The international winners are selected from the winning entries submitted by each jurisdiction.
Your council’s Service Program activities should be a source of pride for you and your fellow Knights. Each year state councils honor the best program or activity in the areas Church, community, council, family, culture of life, and youth at their state conventions. Any council not under suspension is eligible to enter. Each jurisdiction is responsible for selecting the single best Church, community, council, family, culture of life and youth activity program conducted by an individual council in the 12-month period between the state/provincial conventions.
Each year the top international winners are honored at the Supreme Knight's Awards Session at the annual Supreme Convention.
Entries are judged first and foremost on the effectiveness of the program. The content of the award application itself, however, is extremely important in conveying to the judges just how effective the program was. A few simple pointers can assist your council in producing winning entries and can improve your council's chances of being recognized as having some of the best programs Orderwide.
To enter a program, complete the State Council Service Program Awards Entry Form (#STSP) located in the Council Report Forms Booklet (#1436) or at www.kofc.org/forms. A separate form should be used for each program submitted.
Use this link for a sample council service program awards entry. (Special thanks to the members of Council 5396 for the use of their entry.)
Send the form, along with supporting materials (newspaper articles, photographs, etc.) to your state council. Do not send these forms to the Supreme Council office. Contact your district deputy or state program director, or check your state council’s Web site, for your jurisdiction’s entry deadline and the address to send entries to.
Here are some tips in preparing your council’s Service Program Awards entries:
You can't win if you don't enter. Each year the Supreme Council provides plaques to each jurisdiction to award to their top program in the five categories at the state convention. Every jurisdiction should then submit its state winners for the international competition. Your council, like other councils, works extremely hard on volunteer efforts and deserves opportunity the recognition the awards program offers.
To qualify, activities must have been held during the current fraternal year.
Only one activity may be submitted per category.
Late entries are non-entries. The best of programs don't have a chance if received after the deadline and your jurisdiction’s judging has taken place.
Entries in the wrong category risk being disqualified. The easiest way to determine in which category a program belongs is to ask the question, "Who benefits from this program?" For example:
- A community-wide art auction to benefit the refurbishment of the parish church is a Church activity, not a community one.
- A free throw competition for all youths throughout the community is a youth activity, not a community one.
- A blood drive among council members to benefit a Knight is a council activity.
- A council-sponsored blood drive to benefit area hospitals is a community activity.
- A fund-raiser to benefit a member and his family is a fraternal project and thus it is considered a council activity, not a family activity.
Each year good programs go unrecognized due to entries submitted in the wrong categories. Contact the Department of Fraternal Services if you are unsure before you submit your council’s entries or refer to the Service Program chart in the Surge...with Service manual (#962). Only one entry in each category will be accepted.
Remember, these awards are based upon one project or activity conducted by the council and not upon a series or accumulation of activities in a particular section of the Service Program. Consider the following areas when preparing an entry for a project or activity:
- Nature of the activity. Does it demonstrate the objectives of the Service Program – Catholic, family, fraternal service?
- Participation of membership. How many members participated? What percentage of the entire membership participated?
- Results. What were the benefits derived from sponsorship of the project? How did the results affect the Church, community, council, family, culture of life initiative or youth?
- Program originality. Was the program something new?
- Committee planning. How effectively was the program organized? How much detail was involved in staging the event?
- Delegation of responsibility. How many members served as workers? Planners? What type of organization was established for the implementation of the project?
- Publicity. How effectively was the program publicized throughout the area – radio and television, local and diocesan newspapers, and council newsletters?
The cover page of every entry must be the standard entry form (#STSP) provided by the Supreme Council office. Judging dozens of awards is a difficult task, especially if information is buried in pages of text. Though not the only basis for judging, the number of members involved in a project and number of volunteer-hours expended are statistics that make comparison of one project with another an easier task. Similarly, the brief project synopsis that is part of the entry form is important in determining the extent of the council's involvement. If these and other important facts are either difficult to find or not included, an entry might not be judged as effective as it really was.
Clear and concise is your best bet. The judges must be able to easily identify what each program intended to accomplish and how this was achieved. Entries should be designed to make that information as straightforward and accessible as possible; information should be typed if possible. Submitting too little or too much information can make judging difficult. Photographs and newspaper articles are good additions to entries, but the projects are primarily judged on the basis of the effectiveness of the program as explained in the project's description. Videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs should not be submitted as part of the program entry.
Following these guidelines will help to streamline your process in preparing your council's entries and ensuring that they are ready for your jurisdiction's competition. If any questions arise, be certain to contact us for assistance.