> updated 10/04/09
The National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE, shown above) or National Youth Leadership
Training (NYLT, shown below) emblems are considered "temporary insignia" by the BSA and
ARE NOT JAMBOREE EMBLEMS -- therefore CAN NOT be worn in the location for Jamboree insignia
(even if you're not going to a Jamboree). The space for a World or National Jamboree emblem was decided by
INTERNATIONAL agreement and not something that a local Council can change on their own. The proper
location for either emblem is on the red or blue jac-shirt, centered on the right pocket with the large eight-inch
NAYLE emblem centered on the back side (or below the Order of the Arrow or National Eagle Scout Association
General Boy Scout Uniforming
(As of 2 April 2009, I do not have a complete set of images of the "Centennial" uniform which the Boy Scouts of America
introduced in 2008). When I get those complete set images showing the complete uniform as well as the differences, I will
provide a separate page for that uniform. In the meantime, MOST Scouts and Scouters are using what I am calling the "legacy"
uniform (it is NO LONGER the "current" uniform; the "Centennial" uniform is the current uniform for Boy Scouts and Scouters).
The legacy uniform for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts is illustrated below. Note the RED shoulder loops,
which distinguish Boy Scouts and Boy Scouters from Varsity Scouts and Varsity Scouters. The Varsity Scout shoulder loops are
Other than the shoulder loops, hat, neckerchief, and some Varsity-specific insignia items (which will be shown on a
Varsity Scout page), both Boy and Varsity Scouts wear this same field uniform (if they can), as shown here on this page.
The Scout shown here is wearing insignia on the LEFT shoulder and LEFT pocket. From top to bottom on the sleeve, the insignia is:
- Council Shoulder Patch (CSP) emblem: Each of the BSA's
local Councils, Lone Scouts and units supported through the BSA Direct Service, and the National Council has a special shoulder patch
which illustrates elements of the territory served by the Council.
During National Jamboree years, special Jamboree Shoulder Patches (JSPs) are worn by those participating in the Jamboree from
that local Council. These emblems may be worn six months before the start of the Jamboree, during the Jamboree experience, and for six
months after the conclusion of the Jamboree. After that period, the JSP should be removed and replaced by the current CSP of the local Council
for proper uniforming.
- Unit numbers: Unit numbers come in two varieties presently: a partially-embrordered single or set of numbers denoting the unit;
or a fully embrordered single or set of numbers denoting the Troop or Team number. Either is acceptable, although for proper uniforming, the
present partially-embrordered numbers should be used. Above the unit numbers may go a Unit Veteran Bar which
indicates the tenured years of that unit.
- Position Patch: Troop/Team members serving as an elected or appointed Troop/Team officer
should wear the appropriate position patch (badge of office) indicating the position serving.
A frequently asked question is "What if the Scout is serving in two or more positions -- like Patrol Leader and Troop Scribe, for instance?"
He must decide which position is of most importance to him and wear that badge of office ONLY. A BSA uniform axiom states that "Scouts and
Scouters wear insignia representing their current status and role in the movement." If he's elected as Patrol Leader and later becomes the Troop's
Scribe, he should wear the Troop Scribe badge of office because that's his "current status and role" in the Troop. If by chance he's elected as Patrol
Leader AND Troop Scribe at the same time, he has to flip a coin.
When I answer such questions via email, here's my simple "leadership determination chart" that helps me out:
|If the Scout has||...he should wear the...|
|Two "bar" positions (PL & SPL)||highest number of bars|
|One "bar" and one staff position||"bar" position|
|Two staff positions (QM and Lib)||highest staff position|
|One staff position and DC||Den Chief (DC)|
|One "bar" or staff position and JASM||JASM|
(The leadership in a Boy Scout Troop, in succession order are: Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guide,
Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader.
Supporting staff in a Boy Scout Troop, in succession order are: Scribe, Quartermaster, Librarian, Den Chief(s) (to include WEBELOS Den Chief(s),
Instructor, Historian, OA Representative, Chaplain Aide, other positions as determined by SPL.
While Junior Assistant Scoutmasters are serving
in a leadership role, their primary service is to supporting the Scoutmaster and make take on assignments dealing with supervision/training/coaching of
Den Chiefs and Instructors, for instance. See this page for more information.)
(The leadership in a Varsity Scout Team, in succession order are: Captain, Co-Captain (date of joining the team determines seniority), Program Manager,
Squad Leader, Assistant Squad Leader.
Supporting staff in a Varsity Team are similiar to what's in a Boy Scout Troop except that there is no Junior Assistant Coach position in a Team.)
Those no longer serving in those positions should remove their patches and keep them in a safe place at home. They may be displayed on a patch vest,
blanket or jacket.
Those Boy or Varsity Scouts serving as Den Chiefs have two options:
- Wearing the Den Chief or WEBELOS Den Chief cord as shown above WITHOUT THE DEN CHIEF badge of office.
Wearing the Den Chief badge of office WITHOUT wearing the Den Chief cord.
- Trained strip: Those youth and adults whom have completed a training course for the position that they
CURRENTLY HOLD should wear the TRAINED strip. In other words, if he's trained as the Scribe, he should be wearing the "Trained" strip below the
Scribe badge of office. When he is elected Senior Patrol Leader, he should REMOVE the "Trained" strip until he has attended training for his role as
Senior Patrol Leader. This strip should be worn immediately below and touching the badge of office (position patch).
On the left pocket should go the following insignia:
- Centered on the pocket is Scout rank.ONLY SCOUTS wear rank emblems; adults wear the appropriate square knot insignia to
denote their attainment of Eagle Scout and other rank earned as a youth. The rank emblem (in this case, Life Scout) is
worn centered on the left pocket.
- If a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout is the holder of the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting's highest award, he wears the Arrow of Light BELOW
the left pocket. On the legacy khaki-tan shirts, the pockets taper down to a point...the Arrow of Light should be centered at that point and NOT sewn to
the pocket. If the Scout wears the older khaki shirts, the Arrow of Light is worn so that the top edge of Arrow of Light emblem touches the bottom edge
of the left uniform pocket. Again, ONLY SCOUTS wear the Arrow of Light; adults wear the Arrow of Light square knot
insignia to denote their attainment of this award.
- Nothing else is worn below the pocket.
Above the pocket would go year pins (if earned) and square knot insignia (representing
awards he earned or received). Adults only may wear special 50th or 75th Anniversary strips above the square knots
but below the World Crest emblem. Above those items would go the World Crest if
not already pre-sewn onto the shirt.
The Scout belt should be the belt worn by Scouts and Scouters. The beads and holder shown above left is an optional item available to units to recognize
immediate progress toward Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class rank as well as Troop and District/Council activities and events.
Neckerchiefs are a Troop option. If worn, the neckerchief should be worn UNDER the collar of the uniform shirt as shown above and below.
Wood Badgers belonging to units without a designated neckerchief should wear the Wood Badge neckerchief
in the same manner as shown here.
Hats are also a Troop option. Check with your unit to insure that you're getting and wearing the correct hat.
This page explains the various kinds of hatgear that's available.
The second illustration shown below shows the merit badge sash and the activity uniform for Boy Scouts.
The merit badge sash is worn during formal activities and events, and not during Troop meetings or campouts.
Only one sash may be worn at any time. Merit badges only are worn on the FRONT of the sash. On the back of the sash, additional
merit badges may be sewn and temporary insignia may be sewn. "Temporary insignia" is defined by the BSA as
special insignia for participating in unit, District, Council or national events or programs. Previous rank, service stars and pins are NOT to be worn on
the sash. The Varsity Scout Letter may be worn at the bottom of the front of the sash by Varsity Scouts who have earned the Letter.
Merit badges may be worn in any order that the Scout chooses, and not necessarily in alphabetical nor "required-non required" order. Most
Scouts choose to wear merit badges in the order in which they have earned them. Note also that the merit badge sash is worn over the shoulder loop and not
"jammed into" or "pinned down" to the shoulder loop.
On the wide sash, three merit badges should be worn in a row; on the narrow sash, two merit badges should be worn in a row. When NOT worn, the merit badge
sash needs to be *in a drawer someplace* or *hung in a closet* and NOT draped over a belt nor carried by the Scout. It is ONLY worn during ceremonies
and special occasions (like courts of honor or special dinners).
Under the sash, on the right side of the shirt would go the following insignia from top to bottom of the shirt:
- Jamboree Insignia: The BSA keeps going back and forth; here's the current policy: ONLY ONE Jamboree
emblem (one World/International or one National) is to be worn. I would imagine this policy was made because over the years, the size of the Jamboree
emblems have been increasing, especially the BSA's National Jamboree emblems. Please note the comment/update (upper left corner) about the wearing
of the NAYLE/NYLT emblems by participants and/or staff members in the Jamboree position
- Interpreter Strips: Take a look at the interpreter strip information for more guidance. For best uniforming, no more than
three narrow-sized strips should be worn at any one time.
- Order of the Arrow insignia: The Order of the Arrow has "dibs" on the right pocket flap. While other local Councils have
developed special insignia for Scouts and Cubs to wear on the pocket flap, Order of the Arrow Lodge
insignia should be worn (a current OA flap or a special OA activity or service flap) from THE LODGE IN WHICH YOU ARE A CURRENT MEMBER
OF. Those Arrowmen without a current Lodge affiation should not wear a flap but instead wear the Arrow pin suspended from the
right pocket flap button.
- Temporary Insignia: ONE temporary patch or a temporary patch with segmented patches ("segments") not to exceed the dimensions of
the right pocket are to be worn on the field uniform. Patches suspended from the right pocket button of Boy Scout/Varsity Scout uniforms are considered as
"sewn on" for proper uniforming. "Temporary insignia" is defined by the BSA as special insignia for participating in unit, District, Council or national events or
programs. NAYLE/NYLT and other leadership development training, along with National Camping School/staff emblems are considered "temporary insignia" by
Previous rank, service stars and pins are NOT to be worn on the pocket.
- A special "Recruiter" strip may be worn below the right pocket by members of local Councils that authorizes the wearing of such a strip. In other
local Councils, no other strips or patches should be worn below the right pocket.
The activity uniform (right side) is worn during travelling or other occasions in which the field uniform would not be appropriate wear. The Wood Badge is
NOT worn with this uniform; however, a small pin denoting the rank of the Scout may be worn on the left side below the words "Boy Scout" or the
Universal Emblem as shown (there are two versions of the shirts which were made:
one version has the words "Boy Scout" or "Varsity" below the Universal emblem or the special BSA emblem; another version does not have any lettering
below the emblems).
I have seen Wood Badgers wear the small Wood Badge beads and axe-log combination pin in gold below the "Boy Scout" emblem and words.
Not shown on either illustration is the items worn on the right shoulder. From top to bottom:
- U.S. Flag emblem. The US Flag emblem is an OPTIONAL item for the BSA's uniforms, and newer uniforms have the emblems pre-sewn onto
the shirts. The older uniforms had the flag detached. No other nation's flag emblem is to be worn in the place of the US flag emblem; and only the BSA version
of the US flag emblem (with the blue border and the flag looking like below) is to be worn with official uniforms
This is the official BSA US Flag emblem...the only one which should be worn on our uniforms.
- Patrol emblem. Patrol emblems are worn by patrol members. Adult Scouters should NOT wear Patrol emblems except during Basic training,
additional training experiences and Wood Badge, for adults do not belong to patrols with the except during those training periods and in the case of Wood
Badge, until the Scouter has received his or her Wood Badge.
- Quality emblem: The Quality Unit, District, Council and Region emblems may be worn by those members that
have attained Quality status during the present or previous year. Only ONE such Quality (either unit, district, council, or region) emblem may be worn
at any one time. If a unit becomes part of a Quality District, the unit emblem is replaced by the Quality District emblem. Likewise, if the Council becomes a
Quality Council, and authorizes members of the Council to wear the Quality Council emblem, the Quality District emblem is replaced by the Quality Council
emblem. Both youth and adult members of the Quality unit, district, council or region may wear the Quality emblem during the year in which Quality status has
Nothing else is worn below the single Quality Unit emblem.
Uniforming is important to Scouts and Scouters. It is part of the eight methods of Scouting. However, don't confuse "uniforming" with "Scouting", because if one
recalls, the earliest Scouts and Scouters had no official uniform and they did just fine with the presentation of Scouting to their communities. Having a uniform
allows the Scout to take pride in his Troop or Team, gives the Scout a place to put all of the personal achievements and participation items that will become a
part of his Scouting experience, and to share and show others the extent to his experiences in our programs.
Every Scout should have a uniform, either the current "Centennial" uniform, the legacy uniform as illustrated above or one of the
older versions. Every Scouter should set the positive example and wear as complete a uniform as he or she can, either as illustrated above or one of the older
uniforms, during all Scouting activities and events and programs in which Scouts may be present, with or without uniforms. Scouts -- kids -- take their cues from
us, the adults of the movement. If we show up with sloppy uniforms or uniforms with insignia not in the right places, they will do likewise and will wonder why
we get "bent out of shape" when we correct their uniform problems!
Parents or Scouts with concerns about "where things go" on the uniform can look in the first section of the Scout Handbook for full-color line drawings showing
where everything should go. They can also ask their Scoutmaster or Commissioner.
The BSA's Insignia Guide is a publication which contains information on many of these badges and insignia; check also with your local Council for the wearing
of insignia and items which come in conflict with the information presented within this unofficial online guide and within the Insignia Guide. In many cases, your
local Council may not be aware of the wearing of a particular item -- its hard to keep up with well over 2000 pieces of BSA insignia and uniforming options !!!
Here's hoping that your Scout or Troop's Scouting experiences are positive and grand!
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Here are templates for good uniforming:
Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton
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