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  • NOAC Patch Placement

    I’ve been involved in scouting, and the Order of the Arrow, for many years. I understand most uniform polices, and the reasoning behind them, however there is one I just can't figure out. NOAC is a national event on par with National Jamboree, so why can’t a NOAC patch be work above the right uniform pocket?

  • #2
    I would say that it can be placed above the right pocket. The right pocket patch placement is the most neglected rule of the uniform, for I have seen many scouts wearing "illegal" patches there, the most common ones are either NYLT or NAYLE.


    • #3

      All Cub Scout leaders can wear 1 temporary insignia either on the pocket, or above the pocket, just not 2 temp insignia.

      Female Boy Scout and Venturing leaders also have the option of one temp insignia either on the pocket, or above it. But again not 2 temp insignia.

      Why female Venturers who may have the same anatomical problems that the over 21 ladies have, I don't know.

      As for Sea Scouts, no temp insignia is allowed UNLESS it's the Sea Scout 2012 100th anniversary patch.

      Now as to why NOACs are not accorded the same respect as Jamborees? Don't know. But Philmont, Sea base, N Tier, etc are not accorded Jambo status either.


      • #4
        Eagle 92, I agree on our High Adventure Bases as well. I'm aware of uniform policy and right side patch placement; I just don't understand why NOAC and High Adventure base insignia are not allowed placement above the right pocket. A National program is a national program, isn't it?

        I've been to three NOAC's, did two Philmont Treks, and been to Northern Tier, and just fail to see how these events do not have the same importance as a National Jamboree.

        I like that you point out that just "one" temp patch can be worn on the right pocket; it makes me nuts when people wear multiple temps on the right pocket, or wear temps on both right and left pocket.

        For clarification, my post isn't an argument for wearing more insignia; it's an argument to have all National Programs correctly recognized.

        Eagle Scout 441, I'm not aware of any lack of clarity on what male scouts or leaders are allowed to wear above the right pocket. I have to admit the rebel in me is tempted to follow your suggestions, but as a Lodge Advisor I have to be very aware of the example I set.


        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          I also refuse to wear "illegal" patches and I frequently point it out when some other scout has their patches in the wrong order on the sleeve, have NYLT patches above the right pocket, or even as one of our scouts did: glue their patches on! I do these things because I take pride in my uniform: sewing on my patches myself, making sure all my patches are current, replacing any that are starting to wear from being washed, etc.. But I still think NOAC stands on the same ground as National Jamboree, and deserves to be allowed to be placed above the right pocket.

      • #5
        EagleScout441, the question is "how do we get this policy changed". I've never encountered anyone adverse to this change.


        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          I can think of only one good strategy: Gather support in Council leadership, Area leadership, and National leadership, then push for a change. Simple yet complicated.

      • #6
        Okay, I have a moment to play crumudgeon with opposing view ... Why should your Philmont, NAYLE, Seabase, patch be any more special than some week long council patch? What about some patrol's handmade patch for a 10 day adventure of their own design? Why isn't being able to put a dozen patches on the back of your MB sash enough?


        • #7
          I understand the point your making Qwazse, but the question I was raising is: why is one national event allowed the distinction of unique patch placement, in a place on the uniform reserved for national/world events, when events of nearly identical description, and composition, are not?

          Local events, and activities, are given a different place on the uniform. We could get into why each area of the uniform is designated for the stated set of insignia, but that's an entirely different discussion.


          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post
            Local events, and activities, are given a different place on the uniform. We could get into why each area of the uniform is designated for the stated set of insignia, but that's an entirely different discussion.
            The right front pocket is not just for local events. It's for any scouting event of the boy's choosing -- presumably it's the boys favorite event, but it could be the patch just brings out the color of his eyes! Likewise the back of the sash, pick 'em and place them how you like.

            Why does Jambo get it's own spot? Well, in dollars (not counting transportation) which has the highest fees? Maybe that's the difference.

            Honestly, I think it's because Jamborees are the most touted events in scouting. More scouts attend them (roughly 1.5% of BSA membership) than any other single event at one time, and enough of those folks want to wear the patch from that event *and* not disrupt the other insignia on their uniforms.
            Last edited by qwazse; 12-16-2013, 10:42 AM.

        • #8
          Perhaps not everyone thinks NOAC is on a par with jamboree? It's basically a convention, staying in a hotel/dorm room and eating in a cafeteria. You can argue attending the BSA annual meeting is on the same par.


          • #9
            Twocubdad I don't see the accommodation distinction from Jamboree, except scouts sleep in tents that typically have been erected for then, on cots, with mattresses.

            The programs are similar, except NOAC has more hands on training in AIA, and more training sessions; in place of merit badge classes (different, but similar). NOAC has more of a leadership and skill development focus, as compared to Jambo's personal advancement focus.

            Activities are similar, scout skills, team building, with fun activities designed to inspire and motivate.

            The themes are somewhat different, as they should be.

            Attendance numbers are similar, although NOAC attendees are typically a few years older on the average.

            NOAC typically is more reasonable on price, but that's mostly because Council groups add a bunch of unneeded bloat to Jambo trips, that jacks up the price.

            Have you attended both events?


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              If less than 10,000 is comparable to more than 30,000! Then you can say they're equivalent.

              NOAC does not even attract 1% of BSA membership. Although, that's partly because less then have of BSA members join O/A.

              Of course, that all may change in the next few years if national keeps jacking up the price of Jambo and holding the line on weight restrictions!

              But for now, NOAC strikes me just one of many awesome "special interest" scouting opportunities that can rightfully vie against local first-aid meets for the coveted spot on the right pocket.

              There are two common questions asked of me from non-scouts: "Did you make Eagle?" and "Did you go to a Jamboree?"

              I just pulled Webster's off the shelf, and there it is right after "jambeau". Maybe when the name of your favorite conference has it's entry right after "No" and before "no-account" (or perhaps when nobody looks at paper word-lists anymore ), we can talk about equal footing for insignia.

          • #10
            I’m not sure I follow the intended purpose is in making reference to the definition of slang terms, and jargon, listed in what were once useful, if cumbersomely bulky reference volumes, now devoid of any redeeming quality , housing such gems as Tweaking, and aint … which Microsoft Word correctly fails to identify as words.

            We’re comparing the two big national scout gatherings, conventions, which by tradition, and design, are intentionally distinguishable. The key isn’t how they’re different, and the different purposes of each event, but how they are similar. These two events are the only two single session national scout gatherings in this nation; as such, both are clearly defined as national events, and thus the insignia for each should be able to be worn on the uniform in the place reserved for national event insignia.


            • EagleScout441
              EagleScout441 commented
              Editing a comment
              Not sure what you mean by "single session," but there are three national events I can think of:
              1. National Jamboree
              2. NOAC
              3. Venturing's BSA Winterfest in Gatlinburg.
              Last edited by EagleScout441; 12-18-2013, 02:46 PM.

            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              So the issue is: ignoring the number of participants, are they equivalent enough?

              Name recognition. NOAC simply does not have it.
              Broad base: NOAC is not open to scouts who were never elected as honored campers. Nor are invites sent to BSA members who have no access to being elected - not even for them to volunteer as event staff.
              Global: there is no international equivalent ... no World-NOAC.
              Curb appeal: no tent cities? 'Nuf said.

              There is no doubt going to NOAC is its own reward. It rightly can claim a place on a boy's right pocket or sash-back. But, I can imagine that for someone writing the insignia guide, it takes a street-recognized, broad-based, global event with lots of curb-appeal to justify coloring up the region between Epaulet and right pocket.

              NOAC, NAYLE, the HA Bases, Sea-Scout Conventions, Venturing Summits, and the first-aid meet at the neighborhood gym are simply not that event.

          • #11
            Attendance at 2013 National Jamboree:
            24,682 Boy Scouts ages 12-17 years old and 2,118 Venturers ages 14-21 years old
            2,782 Boy Scout leaders and 455 Venturing leaders
            6,224 staff members
            Approximately, 15,732 visitor days purchased
            Total attendance, including visitors: 52,319

            Attendance at NOAC 2012 was around 8,000(couldn't find exact numbers). NOAC 2015 is expected to have 10,000.

            So yes, qwazse, NOAC can hardly compare to Jambo in attendance, but it is still the second largest National event. Then I think Venturing's BSA Winterfest comes in third.


            • #12
              EagleScout441, thank you for the reminder about Venturing’s BSA Winterfest, I didn’t intend to exclude it when discussing national events.

              Qwazse, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. However, I don’t think the numbers attending an event is the key criteria in recognizing it’s importance as a key National Event.

              When looking at numbers it’s important to note, as you pointed out, National Order of the Arrow Conference is a mass gathering of a very select group, the scout’s recognized as their fellows as exemplifying the Scout Oath and Law, those who are looked up to my their fellows as models scouts. Following this recommendation, these scouts underwent an arduous test to prove they were worthy, and undertook a binding obligation of servant leadership. Having completed the above, the scout then earned the right to attend the National Order of the Arrow Conference, where he will pay to spend a week learning how to be a more effective servant leader, so he my strengthen the scouting program, his church, and community.

              What grants a scout the right to attend Jambo, oh yea, writing a check. What do scouts do at Jambo, oh yea, have fun and work on personal advancement.

              If you’re going to compare numbers it’s important to view things in the correct. I’ll restate my original statement, both Jambo and NOAC are important BSA national events, and deserve to be recognized as such.


              • #13
                Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post
                What grants a scout the right to attend Jambo, oh yea, writing a check.
                But that's the point isn't it? Jambo is there for anyone who can raise the funds to get there. It's the American dream. You don't have to be one of the elites. Sock away $100/month (plus $3 for membership fees) ... within a 2-3 years, you're good to go!

                Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post
                What do scouts do at Jambo, oh yea, have fun and work on personal advancement.
                I think that's "have fun or ..." not every Jambo participant comes back with an MB. And "have fun" doesn't count because scouts are cheerful generators of their own fun anywhere.

                But what do they really do? They meet other scouts from everywhere ... even scouts -- and this is really really important because this is something that NOAC does not provide -- who HAVE ZERO INTEREST IN O/A as well as scouts who are all about the Brotherhood. Free from biases that may exist in their home troop, they can make a side-by-side comparisons of O/A and the many other opportunities that scouting affords.

                The Jambo patch recognizes the boy who took time out of his scouting career to meet the most diverse group of scouts that will ever be gathered in one place. All other "sub-culture" patches come in a pale second.


                • #14
                  Qwazse, the OA program is hardly a sub-culture, having been national program for almost 100 years, and a staple program in nearly very camp and council. The last number I saw for the annual value of service provided by the OA to BSA properties, and outer outdoor program areas, was in the billions, that's "billion", with a "B". No matter your personal opinions, you can't deny the good this program does for scouting in this nations, on so many levels. I'm guessing you have either had a bad experience somewhere, are part of one of the unofficial honor societies, or have never participated in a strong OA program.

                  We are the same in that we each have a strong preference, but different in that I recognize the importance, and strong contributions, of both these national programs, where you do not.


                  • qwazse
                    qwazse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    To be precise, it's been a national program for 66 years (the first NOAC starting 13 years after the first national jamboree). Still, nothing to sneeze at.

                    Don't misconstrue me, I am incredibly pleased with OA, especially our lodge, and what it's done for our boys. I actively promote the NOAC to my youth. And, as much as I loved going to Jambo as a youth, I'm in no rush to go again.

                    In fact I believe the OA definitely deserves to be recognized with its own piece of real estate on the national uniform. How 'bout that pentagon, wider than tall, flapping downward at the top of that right pocket? Let's not use that flap for anything but a patch designated by the OA lodge (even if it looks like Totin' Chip or Firem'n Chit would fit) .

                • #15
                  Qwazse, I don't misconstrue you, as you said in your first post in this thread you're presenting the other point of view. Certainly none of this is personal; I think we're done pretty well exploring the topic. I didn't think I'd change your opinion to begin with, nor did I think you'd change mine; but I think it was productive to explore the topic.