Re: origin of blue and gold
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sat, 10 Feb 1996 00:46:42 -0500
You asked about the origins of the colors Blue and Gold in Cub Scouting.
In 1929 when the first experimental Packs were authorized in 102
communities there was great concern that this "experimental" program not
be confused with Boy Scouting or take leaders away from Boy Scouting.
The visible signs of the program had to be different. The first uniforms
were designed in Blue and Gold to distinguish this program from the Boy
Scout program. Now to sell the colors concept it was integrated into the
Akela legend and it appears that Seton developed the idea of what the
colors would represent.
In the 1951 Den Mother's Handbook, the Blue and Gold are explained thus:
"The Cub Uniform is entirely different from the Scout Uniform. Blue and
Gold are the Cub Colors and signify the loyalty as symbolized by the true
blue of the eternal skies, while its gold represents the brightness and
worth and light of the Cub's smile and happy ways. These are the same
colors, thereefore, which appear in the Cub Flag."
Seton's influence is evident in the Cub Scout advancement ceremony
frequently promoted in early Cub Scout literature.
>From the "Cub Scout Program Quarterly" Spring 1961:
"THE STORY OF THE CUB SCOUT COLORS: AN ADVANCEMENT CEREMONY
"Personnel: Akela, two Indian Braves, a narrator. Equipment and
arrangement: Tripod with pot suspended over fire; small container --such
as coffe can-- that will fit inside the large pot and hold a Cub Scout
neckercheif and any awards; dry ice to pack around the small container.
Dry ice will vaporize and cause a smoking effect and it looks as if the
pot were boiling. The smoking increases when water is added. You will
need two clear bottles. Fill one with diluted yellow food coloring to
color the water gold. In the other use blue food coloring to tint the
water a sky blue. Have an Indian headdress for Akela.
"Narrator (speaking to audience, seated in a circle with Akela standing
behind the smoking ceremonial fire): Many moons ago the great chief
Akela called a council to see what could be done to make the Webelos
tribe the best of all the tribes. After many hours, Akela called his two
most trusted braves to the council fire.
"(He continues as two Braves come in and stand on each side of Akela.)
He told the first Indian Brave to climb the mountain and tell the great
eagle to fly high into the sky and bring back part of the beauty of the
sun. (First Brave leaves.)
"He told the Second Brave to go into the forest and tell the sparrow to
fly high into the sky and bring back part of the beauty of the sky.
(Second Brave leaves. Then, both Braves return immediately. One carries
a bottle of blue water and other a bottle of yellow water that were
located just outside the room. They come in and kneel, one on each side
of fire, and hold up the bottles of colored water for everyone to see.)
"Akela (orders First Brave): Pour some of the beauty of the sun into our
council mixing pot. (The Brave with the yellow water pours some of it
into the large pot containing dry ice, being careful not to pour the
water into the small container. The water causes the dry ice to smoke
more, and it seems as if the pot is boiling faster. Akela signals the
Second Brave.) Pour some of the beauty of the sky into the council mixing
"(The rapid boiling action starts again. Then raising his right hand,
"From this day forward, blue will stand for truth and loyalty. Yellow
will stand for warm sunlight, happiness, and good cheer.
"(Then Akela stirs the pot, reaches in, and pulls a Cub Scout neckerchief
from the small container. He holds the neckerchief open so everyone can
see it, and speaks.) And that is why the Cub Scouts use the colors blue
and gold. Now let us meet the Cub Scouts and parents that helped us keep
the blue and gold of Cub Scouting alive and growing this month.
"(Akela stirs the pot again and takes out the boys' awards from the
container in the middle. Boys and parents are called forward to receive
BTW this same issue of Cub Scout Program Quarterly announced that the
June 1962 monthly theme would be "Noah's Ark." :--
Speaking Only for Myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
a/k/a Professor Beaver (WB), ASTA #2566, OA Vigil Honor '71, Eagle
Scout '67, Serving as Deputy District Commissioner for Training,
G.W.Dist., Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City