> updated 4/10/14
> 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.
Wearing the Scouting (Field) Uniform
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.
More importantly, many Scouters have inconsistant ideas about when and under what circumstances should Scouts and
Scouters wear the official field uniform. Let's start with the basics:.
The field uniform is designed to be worn at three general groups of instances: in the field (hence the name of the uniform), which means "while out and about" at camps, hikes, travel to, around or from camping or outdoor events; during formal or informal meetings or gatherings of Scouts and Scouters -- basically unit meetings, ceremonies, flag raising/lowerings, parades, holiday observances, retirements, award events, and the like; and in cases or circumstances whereby Scouting or elements of the Aims and Methods of Scouting are being illustrated -- service projects, escorting duties, traffic or storm damage relief, other forms of service and of course during Scout Week, Scout Sabbath and/or Scout Sunday, and similiar type events or activities.
The extent to and whether the full, a partial, or some substitute for the official field uniform, is left to the local leaders and organizers of the specific occasion and the youth leadership of Boy/Varsity Scout and Venturing/Sea Scouting units along with their adult advisement/mentorship -- and in Cub Scouting's case, the adults leading the Pack and/or Dens.
Whether a person owns the current or any previous version of the official field uniform, it is considered suitable for wear provided it is clean, well fitting, and complete.
Only those holding a current registration card should wear a Scout uniform. Scouting field uniforms should ONLY be worn during activities and events which further the Aims and Methods of the Boy Scouts of America. For instance, wearing a uniform at a high school pep rally does not fit the "standard". Wearing it during a funeral for a fellow Scout or Scouter most certainly does. The BSA is tough but understanding about the following situations in which a former Scout or Scouter may wear the official field (outdoor) uniform of the movement.
Those situations involve those former Scouts and adults who were, at one time, registered members of a Scouting unit, local Council or District/Division of a local Council, former members of a regional or the national Boy Scouts of America volunteer and/or professional structure. One does not "have to be an Eagle Scout", for instance, or a "Silver Beaver" nor Antelope, Buffalo or World receipient in order to wear the uniform. Likewise, one does NOT have to be a "part or former part of a specific unit" or local Council to wear the field uniform.
It is requested that if you are not currently registered with the Boy Scouts of America, that you contact by personal visit, email or phone the local Council of the location in which you are going to be wearing the uniform PRIOR to wearing the uniform. The uniforms and insignia of the Boy Scouts of America belong to the "Corporation" (the BSA is a corporate entity) and you should get permission from the Corporation (represented by the local Council Scout Executive) to wear the uniform if you are not currently registered, and therefore entitled to wear the uniform and/or insignia items. Will the BSA take you to court if you don't get that permission? Unless you're a rockstar using the BSA's uniform and/or insignia as a concert costume or outfit for Halloween..., no. But it makes sense to let the BSA -- through the local Council -- know that you're going to be wearing your old Sea Scout uniform at your granddaughter's Quartermaster recognition ceremony; or your old 1962 Boy Scout uniform with the "V" neck collar and a 1960 National Scout Jamboree neckerchief and slide to your old Troop's Eagle Court of Honor.
Nobody other than your Council's Scout Executive -- not a Field Director, District Executive or other professional manager -- can authorize non-registered members of the BSA to wear the old uniforms. Just because you've got an old Eagle Scout pocket card or a plastic National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) membership card gives you permission to wear the old uniform and insignia -- ask the local Council. In most cases, they will allow it and assist you as much as possible.
Former Scouts and Scouters -- who can still get into and comfortably wear their old uniform -- should wear the uniform as you had it stored. Many of today's Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts -- and adults also -- have no idea as to the varations, designs, colors and fabrics used for the uniforms used back in the 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s or even earlier. Your attendance at that Scouting event wearing your old uniform -- with the insignia in the correct places for that period of time -- would allow a bit of Scouting history to leap out at those individuals. Consult some of the archived pages here or an old Scout, Explorer or Sea Scout manual which shows the correct placement of insignia.
If you cannot confortably fit into the uniform of your younger days, that interview with the Scout Executive may assist you in getting a loaner Scout uniform provided with the current insignia reflecting your older status. If the Council cannot assist you with a loaner uniform, you may wear a small Universal Scout emblem on your lapel or collar; and you may wear other awards either suspended around your neck or pinned to the left breast pocket or left lapel. Consult other pages here for specifics concerning wearing those awards -- the most frequently asked is the Eagle Scout Award .
Uniforming and Unit Insurance coverage:
Ray wrote: "I keep running into people whom are keeping this myth alive about the fact that unless your Scouts show up in full uniform -- whatever class that is -- your unit isn't covered under the BSA's insurance! I sure wish people would stop scaring others about that..."
Ray: I was one of the many people keeping that myth going until I attended a National seminar about six years --this is 2014, um...seven years ago now -- in which the BSA's Risk Management folks told us the ground truth.
The BSA's liability insurance makes no distinction between the uniform or outfit of those participating in a Scouting activity -- it also covers "visitors" and potential members attending a Scouting event, youth and adult; and of course, they are not wearing a Scouting uniform. It is ALWAYS a good idea, they said, to have some positive way of IDing Scouts and Scouters as well as visitors and guests participating with your unit. This can be done by neckerchief, distinctive "activity tee-shirts", hats, or something like that.
Remember also that the BSA's insurance is SECONDARY to whatever personal insurance you or other Scouters have, to the insurance coverage your chartered organization has, and if it's a Scouting activity hosted by your local Council or their District, whatever insurance coverage they have.
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, neckerchief and slide, for instance). 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".
Unregistered people and the Uniform:
Steven asked me over on LinkedIn™ : "We have a parent in our pack who occasionally wears a scout shirt. He is not a registered leader. Are there any guidelines about this? Is there anything wrong with an enthusiastic leader wearing a khaki BSA scout shirt on occasion even though he doesn't hold a leadership position? As long as he doesn't have a patch that says "Den Leader" or anything to incorrectly identify him as a registered leader, is there an issue? He does volunteer with some pack events such as our model rocket launch and he's also our summer camp liaison for next summer. The question isn't specifically about him, but in general, can a non-registered adult wear a BSA adult class A shirt? I'm sure he'd complete an application if we asked him to, to make it official. I couldn't find much on the topic. Any insights appreciated. Thanks."
From the BSA's Uniform (Control) Guide, Steven:
"The badges and other official insignia and the uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America shall be made available only to, and used only by, registered youth members or officials and other members who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements prescribed by the Corporation."
("Corporation" meaning the Boy Scouts of America, Inc.)
-- BSA Rules and Regulations, Article X, Section 4, Clause 1
Okay. Sit down with Mr. or Ms. Wannabee and explain the following to him or her:
- the uniform goes with the program. I'm tickled to no end that you want to wear it to our meetings, our outings -- you want to be a part of us. I get it...and I love it. However, the BSA says "only those *registered* with the BSA gets to wear the uniform, to include the uniform shirt. Whether it has patches or not on it, doesn't matter...
- we can resolve any issues you have with being registered...and if you're really in a bind, I'm sure we can come up with the registration monies for you to be registered with us. I understand that you may be concerned that we "have to put you on something" you don't want to be a part of...I've got a solution for that also. The BSA has a catagory of membership called "Scouter Reserve" which allows you to wear the uniform, participate with us to your extent, and even get some more of that training (in addition to the Youth Protection training you've already have) if you want to.
- bottom line: I'm going to ask you to please NOT wear the shirt until we get you registered with the BSA. The shirt comes with the program, and I am sure you don't want to mislead anyone in thinking you're an official part of the program when you're not.
Hopefully this will help. Otherwise, a meeting with him and the chartered organization's representative or your unit's Commisioner may be in order.
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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