Service Star guidance
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 10:42:02 -0500
Good Morning everyone!!
I have received a LOT of personal email over the weekend addressing the
issue of the youth service stars and the adult service star. I'm posting
this information this afternoon to my website so that folks in the future
can take a look and see the different colors OFFICIALLY used and the way
that they should be obtained and worn.
Here's some basic rules concerning them:
*The Service star program is a UNIT PROGRAM. There are no records
concerning how many service stars you've received kept at the National nor
local Council levels. HOWEVER, registration data IS kept at both locations
for the various Veteran Awards starting with the ten-year Veteran's card and
pin awarded by the local Council and going upwards from there.
*There's only SIX OFFICIAL BSA service star backings:
- Orange for Tiger Cub YOUTH
- Yellow for Cub Scout YOUTH
- Green for Boy Scout YOUTH
- Brown for Varsity Scout YOUTH
- Red for Exploring/Career Awareness Exploring YOUTH
- Light Blue for ADULT service (either as a volunteer or professional)
The colors correspond to the program in which they have been associated
with; green has been used for Boy Scouting since the program started, which
is why that instead of red (for Exploring) has been chosen for Boy Scouting.
Yellow, and not light blue, is used for Cub Scouting because of
the piping. Light blue is traditionally associated with the local Council
(the Council flag is lighter blue).
*ADULTS WEAR ADULT AWARDS AND YOUTH WEAR YOUTH AWARDS with some exceptions.
This means that adults needs to wear the adult backing (light blue) with
their service star if they have NO youth
service; if they did participate in Scouting as a youth, they wear the
HIGHEST youth service star for each level of the program that they have
This means that if you've served as a Tiger Cub leader and later as a Cub
Scout leader for three years, you would wear ONLY a four year pin with a
light blue backing...NOT pins with either orange nor yellow backings,
because those are ONLY for youth members.
Look at this as the same thing behind the wearing of the youth Religious
emblem knot by those adults that have earned a religious emblem(s) as a
*SOME COUNCILS MAY LET FORMER GIRL SCOUT LEADERS WEAR THEIR SERVICE STARS
WITH THE BSA UNIFORM. Please check with your local Council Executive for
guidance. Some will allow former Girl Scouters to wear their service stars
(which is of a different design and color backing than the Boy Scout service
stars, so there's no confusion there) while others believe that those items
belong onto the Girl Scouting uniforms. Whatever the local Council Exec
says, goes, because it's THEIR
call to make. Not yours.
*SERVICE STARS ARE CALCULATED BASED ON REGISTRATION INFORMATION. That's the
reason why they are called "service stars". They are not based on
"graduation" or "movement" from one program element to another (from Wolf to
Bear, for instance) nor from program to program (from Cub Scouting to Boy
Scouting, for instance). Each period of service starts with the date of
registration (which is why the capturing of that information is important by
the UNIT) and goes for a one-year period to the following year.
(there is some consenus on the fact that since this entire thing is up to the
unit to present, that those Cubs and Scouts that "advanced early than the
time period" (for instance, earned the Arrow of Light two months before the
end of their fourth year as a Cub Scout; or has six years and eleven months'
tenure as a Boy Scout at age 18) to be presented and to wear the service
star for the following year. That's a UNIT'S CALL)
*EITHER THE "NO NUMBER" or the "NUMBERED" SERVICE STAR MAY BE USED AT THE
INDIVIDUAL'S OPTION. The original service stars were unnumbered, and
required the wearer to wear multiple stars to combine and represent the
lenght of service. In 1971, the BSA went to using service stars with
numbers in the center to represent the year of service and to reduce the
amount of pins worn on the field uniform. Either is acceptable; it's the
backing and the number that matters more than anything.
*Finally, SERVICE STARS ARE WORN AT THE OPTION OF THE WEARER. There's
nothing that says that you HAVE to wear them; but if you do decide to do so,
wear them properly and with pride.
Service stars are worn centered on the left pocket button slightly above the
left pocket seam. If you wear one or more square knot emblems representing
special awards, the service star(s) are worn above those knot emblems as if
that became the new pocket seam.
One other note about the service stars: COMMISSIONERS and other leaders are
responsible for insuring that we adults and our youth wear the service stars
correctly and in the appropriate location on our uniforms. I always buy a
pack of 12 Cub, Scout, Explorer, and adult backings ($1.00
a package) from my local Council's service center before I go to camp or off
to some event that has "high vis" all over it. When I see a Scout or
Scouter with the pin in the wrong place, I politely ask their permission to
either add the backing (the most typical problem) or to repin it in the
right place. Know what I hear more than anything?? "I didn't know it
*goes* there....I was pinned on the pocket" or "on the shirt" and I just
thought it belonged there!"
I'll be uploading an illustration and this same information to my website
(http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle) this afternoon. Look for "Insignia".
The Service star has been used since our earliest days in Scouting. It's an
important part of uniforming, and all units should be using those pins to
recognize adult and youth tenure in the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl
Scouts of the USA's programs. It's inexpensive to purchase and the rules
are fairly simple to follow.
Thanks for the personal email...I enjoyed reading and replying to it all,
and keep it coming please; but also thanks for bringing up a GREAT topic and
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City