Re: merit badge sash
Mike Walton ("settummanque,)
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 02:19:01 -0600
Rich Locke wrote:
>I have no desire to engage in public humilition and bashing via Scouts-L
>but when you set yourself up as some kind of quasi-official Scout icon,
>you have a particular obligation to be accurate and objective with your
>information. I believe that instead you have mixed some ascertainable
>fact with a good dose of opinion and agenda.
>Don't take this too personally but I have a problem with self styled
>experts and purveyors of Scouting Apocrypha.
What I state here and elsewhere, Rich, is a combination of what the BSA
states officially to their local Councils and to their professional cadre,
what I view as common Scouter sense (and I state so when I do this) and what
has been viewed by the majority of BSA local Councils as "what we do".
You may have disagreements with what I state on Scouts-L or in other forums,
but in checking and verifying, many Scouters have found that what I've wrote
is pretty much "on the money" and in line with what their local Council view
as "interpreting the BSA's policy".
I don't take anything here on this list personally, and I don't set myself
up as the "ultimate authority on Scouting".....I'm in this game to learn
more about the program just like everyone else....my main role here as I've
stated from the outset is to provide *a* (not neccessarily *the*) response
that if we had a senior professional from the BSA here, would state.
In particular, dealing with the merit badge sash issue:
I've stated on Scouts-L:
>> First, a local Council CAN and HAS allowed for localized modifications
>>and localized patches and insignia in connection with national or local
>>Council programming. It's explained in the Insignia Guide.
>Is it clear to you that there is a semantic and legal difference
>between "CAN and HAS" and "may and should"? Clause 11, which I believe
>is the regulation which allows local councils (with advance approvalof
>the Corporation) to produce their own CSP, for instance appears to be
>limited in scope to special badges and insignia. I don't get the sense
>that any local council/district/unit is authorized to make "localized
>modifications" to the uniform.
A local Council can and has (and I have examples of these if you care to
*Create special insignia for Council activities and events (that's a given)
*Create special insignia for Council participation in National events and
activities (examples here include Order of the Arrow Lodge flaps, special
CSPs, and special neckerchiefs and slides which support Council contingents
to National or World Jamborees, National Order of the Arrow conferences,
National Exploring conferences, and other national events.)
*Create special position patches (the BSA adopted the Philly Council's
Exploring Executive and Exploring Director patches and made it "national";
the BSA also allowed local Councils to produce "Exploring Commissioner"
patches instead of the lapel pin which IDed Exploring Service Team members).
*Create and allow for wear "square knots" for local Council service in
various areas (the Paisono Award, the Silver Scouter Award and several other
local Council awards have knot emblems which local Councils have sought and
received permission to have Scouters to wear on the field uniforms)
*Authorized commissioners to wear special neckerchiefs which serve to "point
*Create special recruiter patches to replace the generic "recruiter strips"
that the Supply Division creates each year for Scouts and Scouters to wear.
*Authorized special shoulder strands (like the green and red cords used for
color guards in some Councils) to be worn along with the Musician patch.
Local Councils have the authority to allow units to:
*wear the older uniform shirts with bluejeans
*wear the older hats with the current BSA uniforms
*wear or not to wear the long sleeved shirt with shorts
*wear or not to wear special hatgear with BSA uniforms
The authority is vested in the Council Scout Executive, whom as lead
adminstrator of the BSA's program in that territory, is responsible for
responding to the BSA's National Executive Board or their representative
dealing with insignia and uniforming matters with regard to uniforming
within their territory. This, Rich, is why the BSA's Rules and Regulations
are written so vaguely instead of coming right out and saying that "No local
Council can make any patch, adopt any uniforming options, or allow or not
allow uniforming options within their Council".
Imagine, not being able to let your Scouts and Scouters to wear short
sleeved shirts and pants in southern Texas, in Panama, in South America or
in Saudi Arabia. The BSA's Rules and Regulations are written to allow the
largest amount of *reasonable lattitude* with regard to how local Councils
operate and manage the BSA's programs in their local territories.
I continued in that posting and stated:
>> Second, a Chartered Organization CAN and HAS provided for direction >>(as
it is THEIR UNIT) as to what kind of neckerchiefs, what kind of unit
>>insignia, and other uniforming policies (for instance, a urban unit can
>>state in their bylaws that youth may wear bluejeans in lieu of the BSA
>>standard pants and the older khaki shirts in lieu of the current khakitan
>>shirts) *with approval of the local Council Scout Executive (or his or her
>> representative)*. That's explained in that same Insignia Guide but not
>>to the degree that I've explained it here.
>The reason the two things you mention are left out of the answers of
>"some here" (slap acknowledged), is probably because they appear >nowhere
in the rules and regulations.
This "local modification" is addressed in several professional publications,
including the BSA's Adminstration of Scouting guidebook that all
professionals should have lying around in their offices. As an Exploring
leader, you are already aware that the Exploring Leader Manual and other
publications allow for a DDI, a Distinctive Dress Identity, which is jointly
agreed upon by the membership of the Post or Ship and with consent from the
Chartered Organization and the Scout Executive or his or her representative
(usually the senior Exploring executive or another senior executive).
> Of course that again is an opinion and just my guess. I don't assume that
>just because I can choose a troop neckerchief, I can also choose my own
Rich, units have been doing this for *years*. There are some units that
wear a special hat, wear a special tee-shirt, wear a special patch in lieu
of the unit numbers....the chartered partner organization can approve a
specific uniform if the local Council is involved and can agree that this
"local modification" retains the spirit of Scouting and the ideals and yet
allow for that unit to develop an localized identity.
The Madison Scouts is one such example. Scout members of that marching band
unit wear kilts with their Scouts shirts, and have the Scout Executive's
blessing on this "uniform option". Another example is what eventually
developed into the "Kente cloth" for many African-American Church chartered
units in the Northeast and the South. There are many units that choose to
wear the red berets or the older blue or khaki "boonie hat" that previously
only female Scouters wore as hatgear.
The Jamboree uniforms over the years, the NOAC uniforms over the years
and the Exploring Conference uniforms all were varations on the main theme
of the BSA field uniform.
There's a lot of variations with regard to Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and
Exploring units out there that all center around "trying to get our Scouts
in the common uniform but we can't because of societial or financial
reasons....and we're doing the best we can with whatever we've got".
The program's not going to die if in the pursuit of getting everyone in a
common uniform, that the unit decides that we're going to wear green jackets
instead of the red ones!
>In my opinion, you should take great care when you engage in
>"explaining" the meaning and intent of published policies, regulations,
>official statements etc. of the BSA or any other corporation. On whose
>authority do you presume to provide "explanations"? My explanation is
>that nowhere in the Insignia Guide does it state that anyone other than
>the National Executive Board can give approval for a modification of the
>uniform, policies, regulations..... Note that Clause 2 defines the
>official uniforms of the BSA so, I suppose, if you can find a "handbook,
>catalog or other official publication" of the BSA which "illustrates and
>correctly describes" a uniform consisting of blue jeans and the "older
>khaki shirt", you can and may stick it right there in your unit
>by-laws. I think my explanation carries as much weight as your
Yeah, I guess so. I don't have any "authority", Rich, at all. What I post
on Scouts-L or any other forum is free for those to use or not to use. I
try to give a reasoned answer, with the resources I have here and the
resources to which I personally have access to. I stand behind what I post,
even if others disagree with me.
And its the Rules and Regulations of the BSA, not the Insignia Guide, Rich,
that determines what rights local Councils have with regard to uniforming
and insignia issues, and as I've explained above, I've pointed to three
separate places whereby National has given (or delegated) authority to local
Councils to develop localized versions of National programming or events or
For instance, Tiger Cubs may wear either the Cub Scout pants or bluejeans
with the Tiger Cub teeshirt. Local Councils may provide (and I've got two
examples here) special Tiger Cub Graduation patches if they choose not to
use the National versions. Boy Scouts and units may use the special "bead
advancement program" to track individual advancement within their units.
Councils can create special plaques or insignia (like special CSPs) for
those contributors that donate a large amount of money to the local Council.
I can go on and on with examples on how local Councils, WITH NATIONAL
APPROVAL AND PERMISSION, can provide uniforming and insignia options for
their youth in their territories.
>I note with interest that you affix a copyright symbol to your
>postings. That's interesting. Speaks volumes. I guess it's OK for you
>to protect your intellectual property but the good and valuable
>trademarks and copyrights of the Boy Scouts of America can be modified
Just like with my permission, Rich, a person can and has modified what I've
wrote for their webpage or site, for a local Council or unit newsletter, or
for resending to their friends....the National Council, Boy Scouts of
America has given some authority for local Councils to modify and localize
what the Boy Scouts of America produced as far as national programming or
programming emphasis...WITH THEIR PERMISSION. Not "if we wanna do it, we
can do it..." Even Explorer Posts and Ships have to have their uniforming
options and DDI (Distinctive Dress Identity) approved by their local Council
before they can wear it. The local Council usually faxes the option or
patch design or whatever to the National Uniform and Insignia Director for
his concurrance, and sometimes, those things are disapproved at the National
level, particularily when it comes to national advancement insignia. But
most of the time, because the BSA has a great deal of confidence in its 229
local Council Scout Executives, the National Office will pretty well go
along with whatever the local Council wants to do.
And the local Council will pretty well go along with what most of its units
are doing, as long as the "good name and good will of the Corporation" is
not diminished by this option or change or modification.
It's like me...you're welcome to use my posting(s) as long as you're not
making any money from it and as long as the spirit of the posting isn't
diminished by your changes or modifications.
>Hey folks, this is the Internet. You are responsible for verifying and
>validating the information you get here. This forum is a terrific
>source of ideas and opinions. It's amusing and diverting. It's also
>anonymous and unsecure. And, I could be wrong.
I encourage those that have concerns with how *their local Council* does
things to rely on their local Council and not the list. That's what makes
the BSA work in *your neck of the woods* and what makes it sometimes
confusing and irratating, Rich. I'm glad you're enjoying the comments and
the banter here on Scouts-L!! And you could be wrong...I'm wrong sometimes,
so that's a possibility! *laughter*
If you're concerned about whom I am and how I come to this amount of
information that I share, I invite you to visit my website and find out.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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