Re: Uniforms, Patches & BSA Requirements
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Fri, 15 Jul 1994 19:45:27 CST
Susan Ganther <susan@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU> writes:
>On Thu, 14 Jul 1994, alan houser wrote:
>> By the way, our Council came out with the reminder this past year that,
>> despite their shape, neither the Totin' Chip nor the Firem'n Chit are
>> authorized to be worn on the pocket flaps.
>This brings up a question I have been pondering. Since there are unofficial
>stock patches available that could be worn to show that a Scout has
>earned certain privleges in his unit, and it seems like it would be
>useful to be able to tell at a glance whether or not the Scout is
>eligible for what he appears to be doing, why not at least tolerate if
>not encourage the units to make use of the pocket flap and various other
>reasonable places as long as there is some standards decided upon and
>enforced within the unit as to how to wear them?
The right pocket flap is the sole "area" in which the Order of the
Arrow pocket flaps are to be worn. They cannot be worn any other
place. There's reasons for this, and it has to do with the nature of
the Order of the Arrow (remember what I was talking about "talking in
circles?" This is one of them!) and the reason why all OA items seem
to have a certain direction to them. You have a good point, minus
being aware of the reasoning behind the placement of the flap; but
there are more important reasons why...it's NOT a unit's call.
The reason is two-fold: one, there are specific places identified for
specific items. What if a "holder" of the Totem Chip becomes a member
of the Order of the Arrow? Since you cannot wear two patches in one
place (the right pocket flap), one has to go.... All of the OFFICIAL
patches and insignia of the BSA has a SPECIFIC location, a SPECIFIC
lenght of time in which to wear it, and a SPECIFIC reason why that
particular place was chosen. Second-party patches like the Totem and
Fire'm'n Chip patches (which are NOT approved by the BSA) are not
*really supposed* to be worn on BSA uniforms; however, many local
Councils have turned their backs from units that decide to present
those patches to their membership...indeed, some local Councils have
PRODUCED their OWN "versions" of the second-party patches.
("really supposed" needs some brief explaination: The BSA *used* to
allow anyone out there that made a patch to give them to Scouts and
Scouters to wear at any time. During the 1973 National Scout
Jamboree, the first one held at two locations, so many "nice-looking"
"official" patches showed up, more than ever were imagined! Since the
BSA couldn't put the small "(c)" on each patch it produced, the BSA's
National Executive Board did something better, to the detriment of
many patch traders, collectors and those that really like the patches
nice and colorful: Starting with 1974, ALL of the BSA's patches to be
worn on it's uniforms MUST have one or more "copyrighted indica"
which tells Scouts and Scouters "it's official". This included the
fullcolor or one color fleur-de-lis, the lettering BSA or B.S.A., the
words Boy Scouts of America, Exploring, Explorer or Order of the Arrow;
the lettering W.W.W.; the "Big E" design, the Varsity "V" or the words
Scouting/USA. All local Councils were told to comply by 1980, which
all did. The OA lodges were the last to comply, because the
fleur-de-lis don't really go great with many Lodge's patches. Some
lodges have went as far as "camoflauging" the small BSA emblem in
order to meet the requirement while not distracting from the design.)
ALL patches and insignia MUST go through the National Uniform and
Insignia Committee (since delegated in 1978 to the local Council in
coordination with Regional Operations) before issuance.
The places for ALL of the BSA's insignia is detailed in excruiating
detail (left shoulder sleeve, position one, etc.) in the BSA's
Insignia Guide (and previous versions called the Insignia Control
Guide). This gives Commissioners and Executives the "final word" on
where ALL of the BSA's OFFICIAL insignia belongs and who is supposed
to wear them or become entitled to them.
Non-official insignia can be worn on the BSA uniform, but ONLY as
temporary insignia and only ONE can be worn at any given time. It
cannot be worn on the merit badge sash or on the hat or jackets
The second reason is because the BSA has delegated the local Council
to be the FINAL say on "uniform and insignia items developed in
concert with BSA programs and program options" like summer camp
patches and medals, pins for various activities, badges and insignia
for special events, and even hats and teeshirts displaying either the
Council or a part of the Council's program (like summer camp tees).
Every time a patch or insignia item is developed, the local Council
has to send a copy of the patch or design, along with guidelines on
whom would be eligible, when , and how it would be funded in the
Council's budget to the Regional Director of Operations in their
Region. If the Region buys off on it, then the local Council can
permit wearing of them.
The BSA's Uniform and Insignia Committee has several times refused to
allow second-party patches to be worn anywhere else EXCEPT as
temporary patches on the right pocket, centered; and as Exploring
unit identity items on the left shoulder, worn instead of the CSP and
unit numbers (positions one and two).
That's why Alan's Council reminded their Scouters that "although they
know that the patches are out there, they CANNOT wear them anyplace
EXCEPT as temporary patches." Alan's Troop had a ingenuous idea on
how to "get around this policy" and still recognize those Scouts that
earned this right.
You are asking yourself (and me for sure), "What right do they have to
tell me what I can wear and what I cannot?" The same rights you have
as a volunteer to be a member and follow the BSA's policies or not.
While the "patch police" are not out in massive numbers all over the
country, ready to pounce on poor Johnny that got his Totin Chip card
and patch and wants to wear it; there are *some* folks that feel that
it's THEIR ROLE in life to embarrass and humiliate folks wearing
improper uniform items. If it's a kid, so much the better in their
eyes, because they will learn that "there's a place for everything".
Personally, I follow the Insignia Guide and the policies of my local
Council with two exceptions: the Order of the Arrow flap and (in this
local Council), the number of square knots to be worn on the shirt.
When one of those "wise boys and girls" come my way, wanting to know
"when I'm going to shave off those two top rows" off of my shirt, I
politely tell them where they can send their knives. I also respond
that the BSA has stated FOR THE RECORD (and our Scout Executive, who
don't like the policy in the first place..it was a holdover from the
guy before him and he don't want to rock things before he leaves) that
"there's no order or certain number" that volunteers or professionals
So there. *hehehehehe*
Seriously, that's a great comment, Susan...someday perhaps we'll have
a Totin Chip patch through the BSA. But for now, its only a card.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
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