Thursday, May 20, 2010


Tonight I put on the Scout uniform, to attend the annual District Dinner. Adult volunteers from Arlington and McLean honored Eagle Scouts from the past year, as well as Scouters (adults in Scouting) who went above and beyond "one hour a week," as we like to say. As this is the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Scouting's perennial cottage industries is having a field day -- or should I say, a field year?

Patch collecting, as well as patch trading, is a really big deal. Special issue insignia, commemorative patches, either one from exotic lands whose contingents attend world jamborees -- all are cause for serious negotiations. The rule has always been that youth and adult members may not deal with each other (which avoids an unfair advantage), but both young and old revel in it. And this year, there are tons of special issue items.

Both of our illustrations here are displays from our brethren in the Plains states. The first illustration features a series of CSPs, or "council shoulder patches," which are worn at the top of the left sleeve to give one's location by council (local jurisdiction). But it's the second one that gets carried away. Some councils have a huge five-sided patch around which five different CSPs in a series can go. Obviously you can't wear them on your uniform, but they can go on the back of the standard-issue red field jacket. This one commemorates a particular railroad system that settled the West. The entire ensemble of eleven patches, properly assembled, is apppoximately eighteen inches high. (Go ahead, click on it for a closer look. You know you want to.)

I sure hope someone has a jacket big enough.

To find out more, go to The Scout Patch Collector's Base Camp at There's also There is even got a club for these maniacs -- The International Badgers Club.

Get it? BADGERS???

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