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All Insignia Term Background on GIFT

GIFT - Background

The following information is provided as background from Ed Yarbourgh:

28 May 2000


I was cruising around the normal Scouting websites I go to on occasion and managed to get a great first time "hit" to your family of sites. I am most impressed with all the history and background. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into it. Things like this really help us adult Scouters, especially when we try to explain or understand why things are or how they got to be.

My biggest surprise was to find a section on GIFT - "Get Involved for Them" - and found my old patches and coins staring back at me.

If you would allow me to tell you something about the patches themselves as I was the designer in 1972.

During my role as the 1972 National Youth Representative for Scouting, which included presenting then-President Nixon with the BSA annual report (not sure if I'm proud to tell that anymore), was to help on various projects. GIFT was just beginning at the time, and no one had any good ideas for patches to follow the themes. I was pretty active as Youth Rep, and was asked for input. I was really "into" vexology (the study of flags) and did several patch designs for my Council (activity and anniversary patches and the lodge flaps for Maka Ina #350), and suggested we try to find ties between early US historical flags that fit the yearly themes.

A couple were stretches, but we made it work. I actually got invited to a GIFT planning meeting with all my flag research and we created them all in a conference room in NJ Scout Hqs. The inscriptions on the back of the coins were actually taken from my handwritten explanations of the flag and the theme fit. At the end of the GIFT program my Youth Rep advisor (Dave Boshea) invited me to the old New Brunswick NJ Hqs and the national office staff presented me with the paperweights, coins and what was described as the original proof set of the patches I had designed. Imagine the surprise of a 19 year old kid from very small town Chillicothe, Ohio (Chief Logan Council #464 at the time) later realizing that every Scout in America was going to wear my patch! (It actually really hit me when I saw them in Scouting magazine and Boys Life)

If you want specifics, I could try give you more on names and dates (if I can find them). I might even have yellowed photocopies of the originals. Everyone seemed to like the flipped up flag edge with the fleur-de-lis underneath. Can't tell you how that idea came to me. It just did.

I've stayed in the patch design business, having done the Desert Pacific patch which they still use, and just did the NESA 2001 CSP. (Also discovered my old Maka Ina lodge flap got used periodically nearly 30 years until Chief Logan merged with Central Ohio in 1994.) We've since moved to DC. My oldest son Steven, a Life Scout, is even better at patch design than I ever was, and has done Troop 970 T-shirts, Troop 970 30th anniversary and the National Capital Area Council Amangamek Wipit Lodge Fellowship and Banquet patches.

Well sorry to be bragging to you about past achievements on my first email to you. It just seemed that you like having the background story on the things you write about in Scouting history.

Yours in Scouting,
Ed Yarbrough
National Capital Area Council Scouter

And I responded back that day with:


What a way to wake up on a Sunday morning, Ed!!!

If you don't mind, I would love to include your posting within the description and background of those patches, please!

Paperweights?? I thought that that the only things out there were the five patches (and a prototype for a sixth local Council patch, which would include a city, county or other historical flag of that area....I don't have a prototype patch, but I was told that it existed somewhere out there; and that some Councils actually used it .....I am still looking!), a certificate (mine, including a blank one, were destroyed by my Mom when I left for college), and the coins -- were the only things out there!!

Tell me about the paperweights!! I would love to have my hands on one of them!! And one of the certificates too....

You are the second National Youth Representative that I've ran into...the other one works with me at the Army Reserve headquarters here, Ken Beale, Jr.

(he won the Readers' Digest contest in 72 and was a part of the America Bicentennial committee as a youth member...still has his flag and citation in his office as our full time Staff Chaplain....)

(additional note: Kenneth Beale Jr., was also a volunteer and later District Executive and Field Director for the council now known as Indianhead/BSA, out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Like Ed, Ken is another Eagle Scout who used his skills and strenghts to make things better for others...)

Wow...what a small world.

Yes, please, Ed...anything you wish for me to include, please send it my way. I'll take good care of it, scan it and return it you. Oh thank you for your comments...they clearly made my day today. I am waiting here for my wife and mother-in-law to get ready for church, and I was just looking down my email this morning to find and read your note.

I earned all five because the patches looked 'cool' -- and because I enjoyed doing those other things that most of my fellow Scouts thought "stupid".

Mike Walton

Just goes to show that first, this is indeed a very small world and two, that one just may never know who reads your content on your website!

Thanks ever so much, Ed!!


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