> updated 5/12/13
The Crest of Leadership (shown above) was designed by "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt as a replacement
for the various local Council youth leadership training courses. The Crest was used by the BSA (and is
STILL used by some 30 or so local Councils) to award to youth leaders for completing a set of
individual training application requirements (similar to a "ticket" which Wood Badge participants must
complete) in order to receive and wear the emblem. The emblem was originally designated as a "permanent"
emblem but that designation was removed by the BSA in 1980 with the end of the "ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING!"
leadership training emphasis.
There are several versions of the Crest out there. In 1981, the leadership of the Blue Grass Scouting Alliance
Club at Eastern Kentucky University asked and received permission to alter the Crest and to use it as its official
organizational crest. More information on the Crest of Leadership and the BGSA can be found
on a separate page.
The uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America have changed many times since the first uniforms were introduced in the early 20s. Before that time, military uniforms were used as the first uniforms for Boy Scouts and Scoutmasters.
Today, the BSA's uniforms are among the most recognizable uniforms within the United States. There's different styles and options, which has caused some minor concern among some Scouters that feel that the ONLY uniform is the CURRENT one. Only those holding a current registration card should wear a Scout uniform although there are situations whereby someone not currently registered can wear a uniform.
This page, along with the linked graphics and diagrams, answers most of the common questions dealing with the wear and usage of the uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America. A
separate page will address when to wear the field uniform and whether or not you are "covered by insurance" when you wear it.
There are currently FIVE CURRENT official field uniforms of the BSA:
There are other official uniforms which may be worn:
- the blue and gold uniform (blue shirt and pants or shorts with gold/yellow trim) used by most Cub Scouts and WEBELOS Cub Scouts
- the "legacy" or "khakitan" uniform (khaki-tan shirt with shoulder loops, olive green pants) worn by some Cub Scouts, WEBELOS Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, volunteer and professional Scouters; this uniform is the "default" BSA field uniform
- the "Centennial" uniform (featuring shirts with either the "technology pocket" on the left shoulder or without it; and either olive or green-brown microfiber pants or shorts with or without cargo pockets) which may be worn by some Cub Scouts, WEBELOS Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, volunteer and professional Scouters
- the kelly green and gray uniform (green shirts with green shoulder loops; gray slacks, pants with cargo pockets, or shorts) worn by Venturing youth and adults
- and the white, tan or blue Sea Scouting uniform, worn by Sea Scouting youth and adults, depending on task and/or occasion.
- the blue blazer jacket, various ties and grey slacks worn by some volunteers and professional Scouters;
- and I am reminded that the gold blouses and blue slacks or skirts may STILL be worn by female Cub Scouters! (Thanks, Marsha Adelson!!!)
Pictures of all of these current uniforms are found here. As this page matures, individual pages will address and illustrate each program's uniform and insignia to wear for "proper uniforming." The BSA has
developed an interactive site which illustrates these uniforms and you are invited to use those pages as well.
Additionally, members of Venturing units may develop their own uniforming items, called a "Distinctive Dress Identity" for their youth and/or adult members in their Crew or Ship. These can include the uniforms listed above, other items which can be worn or attached to the unit's uniform, and informal or activity uniforming.
Each unit can decide their uniforming standards in accordance with the BSA's uniforming policies.
For instance, two Packs in the same town can have two separate "standards of dress" for their youth members: One pack can have ALL youth and adult members wear the "legacy" uniform with the approviate dark blue shoulder loops which indicates Cub Scouting and Cub Scouters. The other pack can allow WEBELOS Cub Scouts (those in the last two years of the Cub Scouting program and whom are transitioning to Boy Scouting) to wear the khakitan "legacy" uniforms while all other Cub Scouts wear the traditional blue and gold (yellow) uniforms.
Likewise, two separate Troops can decide on which uniform options are to be worn.
Which brings up the following important points about wearing older uniforms (Those uniforms manufactured before 1973 and are basically a olive green color or shade for both pants and shirts):
The question was whether or not older uniform parts (hats specifically, but in
general uniform parts) can still be worn by Scouts and Scouters today.
The answers are:
*if you have a COMPLETE older uniform, that you have purchased in parts or in
whole, you may continue to wear that uniform as it is considered an official
uniform of the BSA. Same goes for units whose members cannot afford the
current uniform and have purchased/was given/found older uniforms. As long as
the uniform is COMPLETE AND SERVICABLE, the BSA considers that uniform to be
the same as the current uniform sold for retail. Insignia placement on those
uniforms are identical with the exception of shoulder loops and cords. Cords worn
Den Chiefs/WEBELOS Den Chiefs, Denners and Assistant Denners may be safety-pinned to
those uniform shirts if desired.
*EVERYONE should be striving to wear the CURRENT COMPLETE UNIFORM.
Yeah, the older uniforms were more confortable and fit better; but we're living in the
10s and not in the 60 or 40s, and our image to our public should in the current
However, there are plenty of older uniforms out there to be worn, and lots of
Scouts and Scouters to wear them. The lack of a current uniform -- or any uniform--
should NEVER deter nor bar a Scout or Scouter from becoming a part of the
fun and action of Scouting today.
*Current BSA advancement policy prohibits unit leaders, board of review
members, and volunteer or professional Scouters from denying advancement nor opportunities
to be reviewed because a Scout or Venturer does not have a uniform, either complete or in
part (just the shirt). The uniform has never been and is currently NOT a requirement to become
or to verify "status" as an "active member of the Boy Scouts of America".
*Hats, belts, and socks change with the times. However, those items are still allowed
to be worn with any current uniform as long as there's some uniformity within
those choices and as long as the items can still be obtained. There's some
uniform and auction houses which still offer the red beret or the older khaki "earmuff hats"
around...you'll have to find them and purchase them, since the BSA no longer
markets those items. Same with the older socks and other uniform items.
*BSA uniform policies does NOT allow for "mixing and matching" of new and
previous versions of uniform parts, except for hats, neckerchiefs and socks.
Some people were confused with this policy as the BSA briefly SUSPENDED but RE-ESTABILISHED
this policy with the introduction of the "Centennial" Scout uniform in early 2002. Production issues
at that time prevented the rollout of the olive pants to match the uniform shirt and the BSA Supply
Group decided that the older olive or khaki pants would be a good substitute until enough stock was
manufactured and distributed. Again, the POLICY is "NO MIXING AND MATCHING of current and older
uniform shirts and pants. Old pants cannot be worn with the current khaki-tan uniform shirts; the older
shirts cannot be worn with the current olive pants or shorts. We all do it...but it's not correct.
The reference to all of this is found in several places, to start out, the
BSA's Administration Manaul that your Council's Scout Executive and every
District Executive has. It's also found in five different editions of
_Scouting_ magazine, published in 1976, again in 1987, again in 1993 and in 2003 and 2010 in
the "News Briefs" column. It's also found in the BSA publications dealing with
the Improved Scouting program; and finally, the Supply Division Director has
sent memos to the field and posted notes on the Supply Group's Scoutstuff website in the past
seventeen years reminding everyone (but in particular Scout Executives) of the BSA's current policy
dealing with uniforms and uniformity among its youth and adult members.
Bottom line: what you wear reflects the BSA and more importantly sets the positive example
for our youth members! Wear whatever you have with pride in the program and yourself.
If you choose to wear the older uniforms, wear them complete and with a high degree of pride as if it
was a brand new uniform.
Don't mix and match. If you find older hats or other items, look for the BSA's
Official Seal to insure authenticiity. Finally, if the stuff's raggety, go out and earn some money and purchase a new uniform!!
Every Scout and Scouter deserves to wear the official uniforms of our movement,
complete and servicable.
Every Scout and Scouter should also insure that the uniform is complete and
when worn, shows the world that he or she is proud of the organization they
belong to and proud of themselves for being a part of it.
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Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton
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