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Cubmaster Jerry

Patches vs. Program

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Hello,

While participating in another forum, someone mentioned how prominent patch trading is at Jamborees. As a Boy Scout, I certainly remember trading patches myself. However I do not recall it being the focal point of the week. The indications I got from the other posting was that many boys elected to spend the majority of their time trading patches instead of taking part in any program activities. It was even mentioned that these patch collections are valued at hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

 

Is this accurate? I admit that I have no first hand experience or previous explanations on this topic so I may be way off base (that's why I came to this forum :) ) But if it is accurate my simple question is what is the point? I understand the excitement that the patches provide but is that what the Jamboree is all about? Shouldn't we be directing the boys to program activities?

 

Also, how do you value patches? Is there a Price guide somewhere? Just curious. It would seem that applying a value to the patches pulls that activity even further from Scouting philosophy.

 

Thanks for the info,

Jerry

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Wow Jerry, here you are a Cubmaster and you're willing to tackle the sacred cow of patch trading? ;)

 

Your points are VERY on point. I have been too all the major National High Adventure Bases, and while I'm willing to say that I have engaged in the described behavior, I am not willing to say it was the highlight of my time. I would be VERY concerned as a Scouter if one of my charges felt that patch trading was the highlight. On the other hand if a comment was made along the lines of, "While trading patches I met some really cool people, and we are e-mailing each other, or we hung out, or ???" I'd just smile and tell them how cool that was.

 

I'm of the opinion that my 500 patch collection is a reminder of people I've met, friends I've made, places I've been, and I think that is what it will always do.

 

I trade patches to have fun, and meet new people, I don't trade patches like stocks. I don't do it for the money. Yes there are books that tell you 2 of my patch is worth 1 of yours, or whatever, but what I have always explained as I have traded is "I'll gladly trade 2 of mine for 2 of yours." That way you can grow your personal collection, and your trading pool. I have traded some of the dirtiest, sewn on patches with boys with dirty fingers for my prestine, zip-lock baggied wonder patches, since it's all about the boys anyway.

 

You'll find people that won't like my responses, but you'll also find many that are reading this thinking "yup this is exactly what patch trading is". I hope you always run into the latter, and never come across the first group.

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Jerry,

 

Respectfully, I think you miss the point of patch trading. It IS part of the program at the Jamboree. Moreover, it is very nearly the ONLY part of the program that is run BY youth, FOR youth. No adult was telling the boys that patch trading would be at this place or at that time - the boys decided. And each scout got to decide for himself how much time and energy to spend in trading, just as he did for working on merit badges or doing Action Alley stuff. Patch trading certainly isn't for everyone. A few fellows may get obsessed, but many more couldn't care less for patches.

 

Long after the scouts return home and the clothes are washed and the gear is stowed and the pictures are mounted in albums, those guys will have their bag of patches. Just touching and feeling those patches brings back memories. And they will have fun going though them and remembering, "This is the one I got from that scrawny little guy from Minnesota, and this is the one I had to trade three of mine for to that big dude from Kentucky!"

 

At the Jamboree, after a long shift, I very much enjoyed strolling along the roadways watching the fellows trading back and forth. And every single trade I witnessed ended with a smile and a handshake.

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Trevorum, I am certainly not doubting that for many it offers a chance to meet new people and make new friends as well as provide a stimulus for memories years later. I know mine do. However, you bring up a point that I was directing my concern at. If the patch trading is initiated by the boys "And each scout got to decide for himself how much time and energy to spend in trading, just as he did for working on merit badges or doing Action Alley stuff" does that lead to boys not participating in non-patch trading activities?

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With all the cool and fun activities offered at Jambo, I can't imagine that anyone whould choose to spend ALL their time doing any one single thing. But in any event, who are we (adults) to tell them (youth) how to spend their free time during their week at the Jamboree? It is their choice!

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Having been to 2 jamborees I feel that the boys who are toally obsessed with patch trading to the exclusion of everything else are few and far between. Most do it to meet new people, like other posters have already stated.

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I have collected Scout paper since 1980. There are others across the country that does this also but it is a small market with varied collections few that are the same. Occasionally, I will run across a paper collector that has specialized but inevitably they have found something that fits mine. It is as if a door opens and the opportunity arises simply because of the meeting; kind of like the item was waiting for me. I have driven to places near and far to trade and find, bought things through the mail, by internet, over the phone. Some of my collections have been completed or as close to completion that I plan to get. There is a feeling of elation in acquisition, a feeling of satisfaction in completion, and a thousand conversations remembered.

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WARNING!!! Patch trading and collecting is an addiction..If you have been diagnosed with this disease, please do not seek treatment..

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My wife said that if the line existed at all, it was much too fine for someone like me. As I look around at my accomplishments, it doesn't take much insight to make that determination either. I would like to make a defense for it but it is like defending the results of a tornado with an explanation like, 'our house needed remodeling anyway'.

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If it were my money I was betting I would surely put it one the fact that the program at Jamborees is so cool that patch trading fills that time in which nothing else is going on. As far as the value attached to them, I can only hope that the only value received is that of new friends and good fellowship and not dollars.

 

Thanks to all!

Jerry

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Patch trading was not the high point but it was fun and there were no lines. I came prepared to go the the merit badge midway and earn several merit badges (geneology for example). It just was not feasible; it would have consumed too many hours. I really wanted to do the mine, but I had to earn my rockers. There were a lot of times the activities weren't available so patch trading was the thing to do. The buddy system hurt too. I couldn't go to my own Church because of it - that didn't result in patch trading, but shows a problem. The Jamboree was great. I want to go the world and be on staff for the next national.

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I was able to visit the jambo back in '93 as a cub scout. I had 2 scouters come up to me and the one guy gave me a scuba pin from the '93 jambo and the other guy gave my his council's boy scout camp patch from that year. It wasn't about the patches but it was about how nice and friendly people are. It is one of my favorite memories.

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