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To Wear or Not to Wear Merit Badge Sash?

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  • To Wear or Not to Wear Merit Badge Sash?

    I have got an important question that I need answered quickly.

    A former Scoutmaster of our troop, one from the sixty's that no one really knows, past away and the troop was asked to help out and do the color guard.

    My question is should the scouts wear the Merit Badge to the Memorial Service?

    PS: Bob White I am raall intrested in what you have to say on the issue.

  • #2
    If it were me, I'd wear every bit of stuff that I have to show respect for the deceased. Just as Marine Honor Guards don't wear utilities for funerals, you should wear your finery.

    BTY, the verb is "passed."


    • #3
      Choose the Scouts who have the best complete uniforms and can do the ceremony right. Go for quality not just quantity, and pay attention to the details like real Scout pants, socks, and hats. No bright colored tennis shoes. It isn't so important that the merit badge sashes be worn (they fall off easily) but that the whole group of boys be uniformed fully (no missing neckerchief slides) and lined up straight all marching in the same direction at the same time. Do a rehersal with the flags the day before and work out all the "I didn't know what to do" questions the boys will have.


      • #4
        I would ask the boys to dress in as complete and as correct a uniform as they can, to show their respect to a the man and the program he gave his time to. I see nothing wrong with wearing the MB sash. If the man had been in the OA I would see nothing wrong with them wearing either the OA or the MB sash (just not both).

        Bob White


        • #5
          As far as the merit badge sash slipping off the shoulder goes, some scouts in the troop undo their epaulets and then button the sash down and they know the sash doesnt come off, I dont know how proper it is.


          • #6
            Although each Scout may be properly uniformed but still wearing different things (like sashes, hats and neckerchiefs), I'd suggest having all the Scouts coorinate and all wear the same uniform elements.

            Personally, I'd vote for everyone wearing their meirt badge sash, or the OA sash if you are representing the OA, as Bob suggests.


            • #7
              A group of Scouts look great when they boys all wear the same uniform parts. They should try to coordinate to the greatest extent as long as they don't try to coordinate street clothes. If one kid has uniform pants and the rest don't, he should wear his pants, even he if doesn't match the rest of the boys. Do like Bob says and wear the most complete uniform you have.


              • #8
                If the rest of the Troop is wearing them then I say yes. If not, then no. Uniform also means the same.

                Please pass along condolences from my Troop to his family.

                Ed Mori
                Troop 1
                1 Peter 4:10


                • #9
                  I'm going out on a limb here but it really is a matter of taste and not BSA policy.

                  You mention that the troop was asked to "help out and do the color guard." The center of attention should be on the deceased and his family and not on the Scouts so I would shy away from medals, service stars, etc. I would even ask the deceased family (or whomever asked your troop) if they had any preferences for your attire (what sash if any, etc.). I would assume that if your head gear and or neckerchief has the deceased troop number on it, by all means wear it. Without any outside input, I would personally wear my BSA socks, belt, pants, shirt, neckerchief, least flamoyant neckerchief slide (i.e. gray BSA metal slide), neckerchief, and hat. Not to have gallows humor, but our troop wears black with gold trim hats and neckerchiefs so they would fit in with a funeral.

                  A lot would depend exactly what kind of Memorial Service was being conducted. Is it a typical memorial done before interment, a ceremony celebrating his service to Scouting, a religious service, etc.? If it was a ceremony celebrating his service to Scouting, I would be more inclined to having the boys wear their MB sashes. Again, it is all really a matter of personal taste and the taste of the deceased family should take precedence.


                  • #10
                    The trouble with looking "uniform" with non-uniform parts is that the uniform that is worn is reduced to the lowest common denominator. If all the boys except one have Scout belts, should they all remove their belts for the sake of uniformity? If one boy has only a shirt, a hat, and nothing else, do the rest of the boys take off their neckerchiefs, socks, and pants so they can all match?

                    A boy should not be discouraged from wearing his complete uniform just because some other boys are incomplete.


                    • #11
                      First of all, I think it's great that this guy's old troop is willing and able to honor him as he passes on to what I believe is Heaven.

                      I think any Scoutmaster (dead or alive) would like to see the boys wearing what they have earned and would like to see them wear it properly. I also like to think that any Scoutmaster who cares enough about Scouting has an understanding that boys are not perfect and that we're not finished with them yet.

                      Allow a little leeway. I suggest the boys be told to "look their best and as proper as possible" for the ceremony.

                      I say what I'm about to say as bluntly as I'm about to say it only because the original post said that no one in the troop really knows the deceased -- he's going to be just as dead after the service as he is now.

                      His family will have memories. It's for them that the boys are doing the flag ceremony. I think it's important that the boys understand that their actions, dress, etc. will become part of the memory of the family of their father/husband/brother/son, etc.

                      I agree with the poster who said the Scouts should practice. I think that's good advice.

                      In terms of uniform -- I think it's important, but on a secondary level.

                      I would rather see a Scout in poor uniform treat a funeral with proper decorum and respect than see a perfectly uniformed Scout who didn't take the funeral seriously.

                      Focus on the family, not the uniform.



                      • #12
                        You have some really good answers here. One last piece of advice might be to make sure the boys know they need to be quiet and respectful BEFORE and AFTER the color guard event. I am sure they will be fine when they are center-stage and all eyes on them, but before and after they will be bored looking for something to amuse themselves with... the normal noisy Scout pushing and shoving, stealing hats etc. which we all know and love, but would be unappropriate behavior at this kind of service.


                        • #13
                          Okay, just got a few things to say real quick.

                          1. I, as the 'troop coordinator for funerals' have decided upon the following uniform based on the troop uniform policy.

                          BSA Tan Shirt
                          BSA Merit Badge Sash
                          Black Dress Pants
                          Dress Shoes

                          2. Unfornutly, our troop has had about three funerals to do in the past year. He had the Executive Chief of our troop's father, an Asst. Scoutmaster who past away after a battle with a brain tumor, and now this one. The only reason that I have posed this topic is that at each funeral we have had a dispute on if Sashes were correct or not. It was myself, some of the scouts, and a few adults saying no and some adults saying yes. So since the decision was left up to me since I got everyone together and was the SPL I said no since not everyone had them with.

                          I figured that if I asked you guys I would be able to get the best uniform out of the guys and show the we have learnt from the last two funerals.




                          • #14
                            "I, as the 'troop coordinator for funerals' have decided upon the following uniform"

                            The problem, Hotdesk, is that no matter what title you may have, you have no such authority to determine the uniform of the BSA.

                            The uniform determined by the national executive committee of the BSA and no one else. While a member may not own the entire uniiform, he or she is expected to wear as complete and correct a uniform as possible. The BSA does not allow any individual or unit to alter the required BSA uniform pieces.

                            The official shirt, pants, belt, and socks make up the official Boy Scout uniform. It is not within your authority to change any one of those pieces.

                            Bob White


                            • #15
                              Excellent choices. The only two offical BSA uniform pieces you are requiring are the shirt & sash. You guys should look good and uniform.

                              I suggest you re-read hotdesks' last post. Nowhere did he state he was setting official BSA uniform standards. And you didn't include his entire post. All he is doing is setting Troop uniforming standards for these type of situations. Once again you assumed wrong.

                              Ed Mori
                              1 Peter 4:10