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  • Philmont patch..

    I was wondering exactly how set or official the Philmont felt bull has representative meaning. I know that the bull represents having been to the ranch and there are some traditionettes as to how the bull is sewn on the jacket. You see, I have aquired a wool jacket from another scouter and it has the the felt bull on it. I intend to wear the jacket, but don't want to wear any insignia which would indicate a false accomplishment or experience. I wouldn't wear the Philmont arrowhead patch or some award or training patch that I hadn't earned, but I have worn a Leave No Trace patch from a jamboree I hadn't attended. I received the patch at a high adventure base where I had received LNT training and just liked the design. My real quesion is, does the bull say I HAVE PAID MY FEE AND HIKED AT PHILMONT or is it just an emblem of the ranch and say "Hey, Philmont."? I wouldn't have any problem wearing a leather belt with one of the emblems on it to represent the national scout ranch. Is the bull more like the arrowhead patch or a coffee mug with a logo on it.
    Where I live, there isn't really a big Philmont cult like there may be in other places. It isn't exactly sacred ground in our council or the emblems "sacred vestments" like the Wood Badge paraphernalia. What are the views of every one else? What is the official designation? I will probably end up taking the patch off before I wear the jacket, but there will likely be an obvious lingering imprint. Perhaps I will modify or replace the bull with an felt elk to represent my experience at Elkhorn High Adventure base. Oops.. I'm bordering on sacrilege..

  • #2
    I am joking about the elk, of course.

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    • #3
      The red wool jacket (jac-shirt actually) was first introduced at Philmont and for many years was known as the Philmont jac-shirt. The Bull signifies that the wearer has participated on a trek or at the training center or has worked on staff at Philmont. The position of the bull's tail is folklore. Some say to place the tail over the shoulder signifies that you have climbed the Tooth of Time, but that has never been a requirement and the only regulated position of the bull is that of being on the left side above the pocket.

      Hope this helps,
      Bob White

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      • #4
        I like the elk idea.

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        • #5
          Now that we have the particulars of the Philmont bull out of the way I would like to address the comments about "sacred vestments". First I know of no such apparel or device in scouting. Secondly, one purpose of the scouting uniform is to tell a story of what you have accomplished or participated in as a scout or scouter.

          To wear uniform pieces that represent activities or accomplishments which you have not earned is being dishonest to yourself and others, and in my opinion, would reflect negatively on ones character and on their ability to set a good example as a leader.

          I see you were a chapter chief in the OA Adrianvs, does the Vigil Honor sash say "I have paid my fee and been to an OA thing, or is it just an emblem of the group that says "hey OA"? I don't believe it is either, nor do the emblems of Philmont or the other high adventure bases.

          There are no uniform police in scouting. The only thing that makes a leader wear a proper uniform is their own personal integrity. How you wear the uniform is an outward sign of that integrity. Should you wear the emblem of an activity you have not done or a place you have not been? What do you think is the honest thing to do?

          Bob White

          Bob White

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          • #6
            I think there is a little more grey area than what Bob suggests. Most folks aren't going to wear unearned awards or participation insignia. I think everyone is fairly clear that a Philmont arrowhead or a Jamboree participant's patch is earned by participating in those activities. But what about souvenir t-shirts or ball caps from those activities? Arguably those aren't officially uniform pieces. A buddy brought me a stack of stuff from the last Jamboree. The patches and JSPs went into the collection, the hat I wear from time to time.

            I can also see where the Philmont bull may be a little confusing. I don't know the practice now, but 30 years ago the arrowheads were presented at the end of the trek with great ceremony. The bulls were purchased off the shelf at the trading post. Of course, I understand the bull to be an earned participant patch, but if it hasn't been explained to you, you may not understand that.

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            • #7
              I never said the Philmont bull was an earned patch. It is only available through thre Tooth of Time Traders at Philmont and represents having been to or staffed at the Base.

              Since the red jac-shirt is an official uniform piece it should be worn correctly. As far as souvenir hats and t-shirts, to me they are only meaningful to the person who was there to buy it, but I see that as a different matter.

              Bob White

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              • #8
                Arrowheads are still the official recognition and are presented to crews with great ceremony at the closing campfire (which takes place nightly). Bull patches are still purchased at the trading post.

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                • #9
                  The Arrowhead is the emblem for the trek side. Remember that is one portion of the ranch. The Training Center is just as much a part of Philmont and has it's own recognition, based on the New Mexico state emblem.

                  BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for taking the time to see what I was referring to, Twocubdad. I agree with you that the bull is more like an event patch than a Philmont cap or coffee mug "carabined" to one's belt. I honestly wanted to know if the bull was a stylistic embellishment associated with Philmont (like the jacket itself), or had a more specific meaning. I understand now and plan to remove it as I don't want to misrepresent anything. I ask because these things aren't always clear. When I was a youth, I thought that red bolo ties were for Order of the Arrow members alone. I was mistaken. When I was a youth, I thought that jac-shirts and campaign hats could be worn by adults alone. I was mistaken. I know many youths who think that a blue neckerchief with a red, white, and blue ribbon border represents the eagle scout award, despite the commonality of this design in other settings. It was not clear on the bull so I asked. I did not intend to devalue the ranch or those who attend it.
                    I am glad that I was answered, but could have done without the insinuations about the state of my personal integrity. Yes, Bob White, it is the personal integrity of a leader (youth or adult) that makes them wear a proper uniform. That is why I asked the question. I always wear proper uniforming at every scouting event. I have been called a uniform "fanatic" not because of any critiques of others, but because the uniform's constant and correct presence on my body. Sometimes that's difficult, as when I turned 18 and felt it proper to remove a patrol patch that had significant meaning for myself and members of my troop. I'm sure that you had a similar experience when you removed your Wood Badge patrol patch after the training.
                    I believe that you are a man of integrity, Bob White. But please take care to interpret the intent of those less knowledgable than yourself.(This message has been edited by Adrianvs)(This message has been edited by Adrianvs)

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                    • #11
                      My point Adrianvs, was not to question your personal integrity but to point out that the reason to wear or not to wear it is not based in the depth of meaning in the emblem. It is in the very simple measurement of did you earn it or didn't you and no one knows for sure except the wearer.

                      Bob White

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                      • #12
                        "is in the very simple measurement of did you earn it or didn't you and no one knows for sure except the wearer."


                        I was asking if it was earned. You responded with the implication that since it is earned, one who is considering wearing it is of suspect personal integrity. Some camps give berets or other headwear to staffers. Yet these are not exclusive to the program or earned in any real since. I wouldn't refrain from wearing a black beret because Camp Sakima in St. Louis gives them to staffers. Nor would I refrain from wearing a FDNY cap if given to me because I was not a member of the city's fire departments. I simply asked if the situation was like these or if it was an earned patch. I wouldn't have even considered buying the patch and sewing it on, but was asking because it is already present on an article of clothing that I have yet to wear. I am sure that a person of your illustrious knowledge can stoop to conceive of the state of mind of an ignorant individual such as my self. That the jac-shirt began as a specific camp tradition and became standard national wear while the felt bull began as a specific camp tradition and stayed camp exclusive is not a priori knowledge and it is not obvious that the bull's historic association with Philmont makes it earned while the jac-shirt's historic association with Philmont doesn't. Philmont jac-shirt and Philmont bull. Not an obvious distinction to the uneducated. I understand now the difference and the nature of the bull. The reason to wear something IS based on the depth of the meaning of it. The campaign hat is associated with the military in a weak sense and the jac-shirt is associated with Philmont in a weak sense. The bull and the arrowhead are associated with Philmont in a strong sense, indeed a specific sense. The depth of meaning in the Philmont grace dictates that any scout or scouter may say it without deserving a lecture in personal integrity from his or her fellows. The depth of meaning of the arrowhead dictates differently. Native American regalia is associated with the Order of the Arrow in a weak sense. The "flaming meatball" and current arrowhead sign as well as the sash are associated with the Order in a strong and specific sense. It is not true that mere association always dictates a specific meaning.

                        REPEAT: I understand that the patch is earned and will not wear it because I now know exactly what it represents to others.


                        Adrianvs
                        (Who asks for meaning and defends his integrity)


                        Just a note, the example of the black scouting beret and Camp Sakima was hypothetical. Please do not lambast me with the hard facts as I do not recall if black berets were ever offical or what the Camp Sakima staff uniform consists of.

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                        • #13
                          On the Camp Sakima issue, just for reference, GSLAC does not issue staff any uniform parts specific to any of the GSLAC summer camps (Sakima, Gamble, Famous Eagle, and Lewallen) except for a neckercheif, slide, and nametag. GSLAC's NYLT Staff recieve a neckercheif, slide, hat, and NYLT Gold Border Sheild. Participants earn a yellow bordered sheild.

                          In reference to the placement of the bull, from my experience, the tail above the jacket means that the wearer summited Baldy at night and saw the sunrise.

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                          • #14
                            The following is quoted, without editing or correction of apparent typographical errors, from the website of Tooth of Time Traders (the official Philmont Scout Ranch trading post):

                            QUOTE
                            "The Philmont Black Felt Bull originated in 1944 by Dr. E. K. Fretwell, who was then Chief Scout Executive. It was patterned after the bull found in the tile mosaic located at the downstairs entrance to the Villa Philmonte. In the beginning a first year camper or leader received only the head of the bull to sew over the left pock of the shirt. After another year's participation, one qualified for the body portion and the bull, and with three years, the tail. Eventually the bull was made in one piece, black for men and white for women, and the shirt was changed to a red wool jacket. The white bull was discontinued in the late 1980's." http://www.toothoftimetraders.com/philmont/product.asp?s%5Fid=0&dept%5Fid=3195&pf%5Fid=PAAAAA DBFLJAAGAC& END QUOTE

                            It seems clear that the original intent was to recognize "campers or leaders" at Philmont. There is no direct indication of whether staff or participants at the training center are considered "campers or leaders." I am not sure when the white bull for women was introduced, but if it pre-dates backcountry programs including women (corresponding with Exploring becoming coed in 1969), that would indicate the bull to be for women participating in training center related activities.

                            There are various "traditions" associated with "the felt bull," including requirements that one "hike in the backcountry," "climb the Tooth of Time," "climb Baldy," or some variation thereof (note that Baldy was not part of Philmont property in 1944); and, various "traditions" associated with Philmont in general, such as, viewing the sunrise from the Tooth of Time or Baldy. While rather popular, these "traditions" are rooted in folklore, not stemming from any Philmont requirement or program. Also, when I first went to Philmont many years ago, hiking to "the tooth" or any other place at night was discouraged; now, Philmont has a policy against it (for safety reasons).

                            I hope this helps.

                            David B. Wilson
                            622-D-2 (1979)
                            612-D-2 (2000)
                            609-E-1 (2003)

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                            • #15
                              I proudly wear the bull over the shoulder seam on the left side of my jac-shirt. The reason for this is I was told in 1975 that I was entitled to this placement because I climbed the Tooth of Time.

                              Don
                              807-H-4 (1975)

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