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Appropriateness of Scouter wearing patches earned as a Youth.

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Backpacker said:


"I don't know how many times I have heard some old time scouter say ,'I think I will attend that event to get another knot for my uniform.' "


I would really like to know which knots he is talking about. Most of the ones I have seen are either for a combination of training and service, top acheivements as a youth (Eagle, Arrow-of-Light, Religious award), or recognition for acts of bravery or meritorious and continious service over and above the call.


Tell me, which official BSA knots can one earn by simply attending an event? Training knots (position specific) require not only training, but also tenure in the position (serving Scouts), as well as completion of specific tasks in many cases. Now, you may have heard a scouter say, "I need to attend that event to complete my knot" since particpation is required in Roundtables or PowWows as well as the other requirements.


I believe the knots are a good recognition program. But I do agree that any Scouter in it just for knots should look elsewhere for their "fun".



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So in your opinion, adults should not be recognized for the dedication and contribution they make to scouting? Knots really are only a small token of appreciation and recognition for the sacrifices of time, effort, sweat, blood, love, talent and money made by volunteers. What would you suggest giving them instead?


Do you think it is showing off for a boy to wear his rank patch on his pocket or his religious emblem?

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You need to reread my post, I never said not to recognize adults, that is important. There are several scouters at my roundtable that wear between 30 and 40 knots and other awards on their uniforms, their entire uniform is covered and they look absolutely ridiculous to the point of overkill. My point is that it is the youth that should take priority not the adults. These guys sit around and talk about earning more knots since they are no longer active in units, a few are commissioners who rarely do their job. They talk about Philmont and Woodbadge and the old glory days when they were scouts. Many youth find them laughable when they do come to our meetings, it just gives adult scouters a bad image. These guys have never grown up and still want to be boy scouts, half of them are divorced because they said their wives did not understand them. SAD, SAD.


As far as youth they should be honored to display their advancement because the program is theirs. Most adult scouters use good discretion in what they choose to display on their uniforms, those who do not need to be reminded they are not in the service and the purpose of the BSA is not to make them feel important or superior with a plethora of badges.

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Backpacker said:

"There are several scouters at my roundtable that wear between 30 and 40 knots "


Hold on...BP you wouldn't be exaggerating a little there would you? Last time I counted there were only 36 total, and a lot of those are VERY exclusive.



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I am still waiting to hear which knots Backpacker thinks can be earned by simply attending an activitiy? Yes, many of the knots are for awards that are fairly exclusive. In our district, only 7 scouters are being recognized this year with the District Award of Merit, and this out of hundreds who attend the Roundtable every month, and even more who don't. And this was a big year. Other years have seen only 3-6 win the award.

Heroism awards are even rarer, as are the Council Silver Beaver awards and several national awards.


Perhaps Backpacker was exagerating a LITTLE! 30 knots (his low number) worn 3 across would mean 10 rows of knots above the pocket!


However, let's say the Scouter DID earn all 36 awards. It would certainly have taken him a long time to do so. Most of that time would probably have been spent working closely with the boys, or behind the scenes keeping the program going. Why else would their fellow scouters have heaped so many awards on them? Why shouldn't they be recognized within the Scouting ranks for their achievements? They are sure to get darn little recognition elsewhere for all their hard work!


It is very sad if they are divorced because "their wives didn't understand" the time they wanted to devote to the scouting program. For many people, serving Scouting IS a kind of calling, not unlike the ministry, the military, teaching, police and firefighting, forestry, nursing and medical practice, or non-scouting volunteer work (Red Cross, Salvation Army, Peace Corps, Weather spotters, Amateur Radio Emergency Service, shelter workers, etc.), where one puts service to others above one's own personal needs. Except for the ministry, where divorce rates may be low for religious reasons, you will probably find similarly high divorce rates among military and medical men and women, whose spouses "don't understand them".


Maybe Backpacker is just jealous of these old codgers. He should check out all the requirements of the various knots before he condemns those who earned them for wearing all of them. Yes, maybe their contributions to scouting have diminished at this point, and they may be "resting on their laurels", but let's think about how they got those "laurels" to begin with. It certainly wasn't by just "attending another activity". Those awards are called "temporary patches", and only one may be worn on the uniform at a time anyway. I only wear one knot, which is for earning the Arrow of Light as a Cub Scout. I am proud of it, but will be prouder still if I can earn other knots by serving in positions in my boys' pack and hopefully later in their Scout troop when they become Boy Scouts. If I am LUCKY enough to go on to stay involved in Scouting (as a Commissioner, Council staff, whatever) and HAPPEN to be awarded some other recognition by my peers, I will be very proud to wear those knots as well.


How can the wearers of all these knots be totally self-serving, as Backpacker suggests, when what most of the knots REPRESENT is essentially SERVICE to our youth?

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I have several awards, both earned and honored as an adult and a Scout. I feel that I shouldn't wear them because when I was a Scout and about to be awarded the God and Country, my Pastor remarked that I looked like a Chinese General and he was right. When I became an adult and I had been in Scouting for some time in one state, we moved and I began again in a new Council and District. I purchased a uniform but didn't sew on any of the knots. So, I volunteered for the NESA group and one person remarked that I didn't have the Eagle knot and began to question me. I was asked to be an instructor for an event and people asked me if I have been trained or had I been in Scouting long. Some of the participants remarked that the instructors were intimidating because of all of their awards. I pointed to my bare shirt and they agreed that I was not but I still felt like they would only believe what I had to say if it came from an authority and that meant one that had a bunch of awards. Other Scouters have looked at me with suspicion because of the awards absence.


Now, with these kinds of mixed signals it appears that some type of solution should be found. I then read this column about some that disagree with the wearing of awards or the wearing of excessive awards. Let me share with you that when you do not wear them, other Scouts and Scouters do not know how to read you. If they do not already know you, it is like not wearing a name badge, which I do wear.


I suppose that an arbitrary limit could be set or maybe a rule made that one should only wear the major awards. It might be that those that are upset by the number of awards could help with making these guidelines. Remember, that the awards tell a story and give an instant background check for all to see.


If a person sacrificed his family for Scouting, then we all should be sad because a person's family should always be first for very good reasons, which I hope I should not have to list. Multiple registrations and overzealousness are the acts that should be condemned, not the knots.




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Hey I attended the 1981 Jambo and earned my Eagle. Shortly after earning my Eagle I got in the Order of DeMolay and attended a bunch of formal dances and I wore my Eagle Medal. Even had comment at one of the dances from another Eagle that he never thought about wearing his Medal but thought it was a good Idea. I still wear my Medal to Eagle COH's. I wear the Eagle and AOL Knots on my Adult Scout Shirt and the 81 Jambo patch.


My Feeling is that what harm is it to wear patches and or medals that were sometimes very hard to earn?

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Over here Scouters were not allowed to wear any youth badge other than bravery awards. This had been the case since BP stepped out of nappies. Consequently most youth members never saw the highest level of awrd being worn. Most would achieve the top level just weeks before progressing on.


A few years ago adults were allowed to wear the Queens Scout and Baden-Powell awards but no others. Now the Scouts can see that some people actually make it to those dizzy heights. It makes the possibility more possible (Great grammer Graham!)


Now the difference is that adults wear miniature badges in the same place that youths wear the full sized badge.


We also wear skill badges earned as a youth. Basically these are badges that recognise outside skills. First Aid certificates, Ham Radio operator, Surf Life Saver etc. These are the same for all Scouts regardless of age, section or job.

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I have a few friends that feel much the same way as Backpacker does. They and him are entitled to their opinion, I don't think that they will ever change their minds.

Still being that a Scout is Kind, I hope that no one would ever be so rude as to voice that opinion to a knot wearer.

"Too many scouters are in this program for their own self gratification and "look what I did attitude" than helping"

I have no idea why people do what they do in this program. I don't think it is any of my business.

I find that statement to be down right pompous.


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Wow I love all your responses. Let me clarify further for you Eamonn. There are six old timers in my district who are listed as unit commissioners but according to the DC they are not doing their jobs but come and disrupt roundtable and other district events. They wear all their insignia they have earned as both a youth and adult, including rank badges, religious awards, even non scout awards, etc. The DC has tried to get them to get their uniforms to standard but they refuse. The DC wants to get rid of these guys but can't find anyone to replace them, so he cuts them a lot of slack, and these guys think they are in control. The DE and DC are both intimidated by them and we troop and cub leaders want nothing to do with these walking badge museums. Most of their knots are not valid or were never earned but no one can stop them.


So we leaders all drafted a letter to the SE and council exec. committee demanding they take action otherwise we will not allow any FOS presentations this year to our units. The SE and council president said they will get to the bottom of it, that was three months ago. So now we wait and see what action, if any will be taken.

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Am I reading this right?

There are a couple of old timers that are not members of a unit?

These guys are wearing patches that upset you and a few other people?

Because of this you and a few other people are willing to see the Council cut programs, because the money that would come from FOS isn't going to be there?

How is doing something that hurts the Scouts going to teach these old timers?

I must have missed something!!

Commissioners are selected by the District Commissioner and approved by the Council Commissioner and the Executive Board. If you have a problem with the Commissioner Staff it needs to be taken to the District Commissioner and if things are still not worked out at the District level, it should be brought to the attention of the Council Commissioner.

Threatening to harm the program that our youth members participate in is not the way we do things.


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First of all no one is threatening, but after countless complaints that have gone unheeded this is a last resort. The council and DE have been little support to us, they sold our camp, there have been no district events for 2 years,the council store was closed, and the DE is worthless. I have seen you complain about your council and DE many times Eamonn, so don't cast accusations like your buddy someone who doesnt post here anymore used to do. The SE has said he is leaving soon and we all look forward to changes being made. The boys are still getting programs and we are doing events with a neighboring council which is much better organized and they have welcomed our troops with open arms.


Eamonn, are you sure you and someone who doesnt post here anymore are not one in the same person, your attitudes are too similiar to be a coincidence? (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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"First of all no one is threatening"

Yes I knew that when I seen

"So we leaders all drafted a letter to the SE and council exec. committee demanding they take action otherwise we will not allow any FOS presentations this year to our units.

That I was reading it wrong, silly me I thought that was a threat.

Yes Backpacker you are right I have moaned, groaned, ranted, raved, vented and complained about the Council in which I serve.

If you do a search you will find that I have posted that when and if (So far I have not heard that anyone is even talking about it) the BSA enforces a strict no smoking any where on BSA property, that I will pack my bags and and donate my time and my money else where. This might be seen by some as a threat. But the big difference is that I am only talking about me. I am not passing my moans and groans on to other people. I am in no way denying any one else the opportunity to donate to the Council or the BSA.

someone who doesnt post here anymore is far better looking than I am and is far more knowledgeable than I. So I will take what you said as a complement. You can check with our moderators and Terry our gracious host and they will attest that I am me and that he is him.

While I can't speak for someone who doesnt post here anymore , you might want to give some thought to the fact that while you are of course free to express your opinion, it does seem that you do have a knack of getting things wrong.

Eamonn. (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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