Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Patches Revisited

The other night, when I was rummaging through some old Scout handbooks, some of them dating back to the 1940s, I came across every patch I ever wore on the uniform, or otherwise acquired. Every one of them told a story; that time our troop bus threw a rod and had to be towed, the fourteen-mile hike in the Appalachian foothills during a snowstorm, crossing a river on a "monkey bridge" which was the only passage for miles. Some of them were multi-colored and quite elaborate (and the more colors woven, the more its value for trading). Then there were the simple ones, such as the insignia of my dear old Buffalo Patrol.

Last month, as part of our continued remembrance of the BSA's centennial year, it was written thus:

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?

Of course, we're talking about Scout badges and commemorative patches, and the never-ending opportunities to create tokens of special events, whether to wear on the uniform or a patch vest, or to carry with hundreds of others in a giant tackle box at the next jamboree.

Among the items being issued just for this year, are not only badges of Scout rank (Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, all the way to Eagle), but also badges of position. Mine is that of an “Assistant District Commissioner.” Normally I would not find favor with the excess of it all, but I much prefer the distinction and detail of the Centennial series of commissioner insignia (below), as opposed to the rather generic appearance of the standard issue (above). There is now more distinction between the steps of, say, Unit Commissioner, District Commissioner, Council Commissioner, their Assistants, and so on, that if they were just to eliminate the “1910-2010” reference beginning next year and stay with the new design, I would be quite satisfied.

No comments: