> updated 11/05/09
This special emblem may be worn by ALL members registered during 2009-2011 and is worn ON TOP OF
(with the World Crest emblem in the center) as shown below:
Kente Cloth Neckerchief
Source: Instructional Services Dept,
Office of High School Instruction and K-12 Curriculum Services
Fairfax County Public Schools
Kente cloth is made in Ghana, a country on the west coast of Africa. Kente cloth is known as the cloth of kings.
The term "kente" has its roots in the word "kenten" which means basket. The first kente weavers used raffia to
weave cloths that looked like "kenten" (a basket) and thus referred to as "kenten ntoma," meaning "basket cloth."
Kente is woven by men on narrow looms. The strip is woven 2 1/2" to 4 1/2" wide, but is often a continuous strip as
long as 200 feet or the length of a football field. When the strip is finished, it is cut into equal pieces and sewn together.
Kente cloth can be traced back to early weaving traditions in ancient West African kingdoms that flourished between
300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. The origin of the kente cloth is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. A legend
has it that a man named Ota Kraban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw from the town of Bonwire, learned the art of
weaving by observing a spider weaving its web. Taking a cue from the spider, they wove a strip of raffia fabric and later
improved on this skill. They reported their discovery to their chief Nana Bobie, who in turn reported it to the Asantehene
at the time. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved
for special occasions.
---------end of included citation--------
One of the things that were recommended and approved by the BSA's Urban Scouting Task Force in 1996 was the
adoption of a special version of the Kente cloth to recognize Scouters and non-Scouters whom have made significant
contributions to Scouting in their communities. This would be different than the mere presentation of an office certificate
or plaque, because by the presentation, would spur this person to forever associate his or her involvement in the
development of youth with those of Scouting in that community.
Kente Cloth Neckerchief
Why award a neckerchief? The first Scouts in England wore a special bandana around their necks, tied with a square knot.
They wore this because at that time, there existed no official uniform for Scouts. The neckerchief became the outward
"symbol" of a Scout, and for that reason, there existed several designs of neckerchiefs in various colors, designs and
patterns over the years. Today, not many Scouts and Scouters wear a neckerchief. I continue to wear one, to serve as
an example to other Scouters that the neckerchief is part of the uniform, and that Scouts and Scouters should be wearing
one as part of the uniform.
So far, the Kente cloth idea has only caught on in a few rural and some urban communities. Many of our larger cities don't
use the Kente cloth (which explains why even though places like Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans stock the neckerchiefs,
they don't sell very many because the demand isn't that great for them -- or because people don't understand what they are
The Kente cloth neckerchief is NOT really designed for usage as a Troop or Team neckerchief; it's a little larger than the
standard one, but some urban and rural Troops, attracted by the special design and the fact that it bears NO "Scouting
emblem", have used it as such. I believe that the Baltimore Area Council even developed a script in which the Kente
neckerchief is to be presented to new Scouts.
The final point is, gang, that although the history of the Kente cloth neckerchief is rooted in African lore, IT IS NOT
A "Urban" nor "black unit" award. It is a SCOUTING award, folks, and those in ANY community whom have taken
the time to assist your Pack, Troop, Team, Crew or Ship in an outstanding and special way should be presented with this
neckerchief (and an appropriate neckerchief slide from your unit or an BSA neckerchief slide).
The Kente cloth neckerchief is pricy, and for this additional reason Scouts and Scouters should NOT use this as a "regular
unit neckerchief". The Kente Cloth Neckerchief is BSA Supply item W634A and is sold or can be ordered from Scout Shops™,
Council Service Centers and through the BSA's Supply Group line for $15.55 each.
One can also order it online through the BSA's official Supply Group online catalog.
National supply phone numbers are 1-800-323-0732 and fax 704-588-5822.
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Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton
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