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Time to talk of beads, knots and other things...

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I agree with Sylvar, this is a topic worthy of its own thread


" I see folks who pile on the beads and other assorted things for a round table. That is not a place to wear the Eagle (or the beads and such in my mind, but thats another thread)."


Actually one of the main impetuses (or is that impeti?) for earning my Wood Badge beads was to be able to wear them to Roundtable. It always seemed when discussions were held the guys with the beads were recognized and while I was beadless I might make a comment or give a suggestion virtually nothing happened then someone wearing beads would say the same thing and it would be received with a chorus of "here here's"


After I got my beads, when I say something it gets acknowledged and I swear I have no more volume now then I did pre-Wood Badge. I also resisted sewing knots on my uniform, I am in scouts for the youth, not to see if I can collect fruit salad over the top of my shoulder. Well, after getting heard in meetings because I was wearing beads, I took one shirt and put my knots on it, Eagle, Arrow of Light, Religious Award as a Youth and Boy Scout Training, and then the COuncil VEnture Leadership Award I just received. Now I notice scouters who previously barely acknowledged my existence look at my knots, look at me, look at the knots again and pay attention to what I have to say. Now all four shirts, (2 boy scout and 2 Venture) have all the knots on them. I wish it was not like this, I would hope all scouters would treat all those in uniform as equals, but to paraphase the pigs in Animal Farm, apparently All scouters are equal, there just are some more equal than others, and that equality is based on the number and types of knot worn. (beads are of course a given)


When do you wear what, when ?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Your beef is with the BSA who has seen fit to recognize leadership with knots to be placed on uniforms, not the people who wear them.

It's the nature of the human beast, upon first meeting, to size up others based on visual cues. In caveman days, cues might have included height, facial expression, size of club, among other things. Among scouters, knots and other regalia serve to cue others as to that individual's standing. In a roundtable room full of scouters, how does one separate the wise old sages from the new wet-behind-the-ears?


Knots and beads don't prove anything conclusivly. But everything else being equal, knots and beads are evidence of training, experience, accomplishment, and recognition.


I'm not so sure that it's a bad thing for some scouters to be "more equal". All surgeons are equal too, but which one do you want cutting on your innards?

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Knots are sewn on so like a quality unit award, once it goes on it stays on (yes I remove the QU award after the 'term' expires.) I rarely wear my WB beads or service stars because it takes effort to put them on and I have to remove them when washing the shirt! However, I'll wear them to one or two COHs a year just to spark interest in the other adults to GET TRAINED!


Most of the boys are clueless on what the knots, sashes, beads, etc. mean so it sure is not to impress them!


As a UC wearing all of my "regalia" is a double edged sword. You want to convey that you have experience and knowledge but do not want to appear pompous or arrogant.


What I get the most enjoyment out of wearing is my black boonie hat around the boys. It is our troop hat. Every time the troop goes to a new place for an outing I try and buy a souvenir pin to place on the hat. Right now it weights about an extra half-pound or so. It is a great recruiting tool for the boys. When I give a SM conference to Webelos, the Scout badge, or Tenderfoot rank, many will comment about what all the pins represent. It gives me a chance to point out all of the places we've been to over the years. They could care less about the knots and beads I'm wearing.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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About the only thing I wear are the Wood Badge beads, and the Eagle Square knot....i.e. the plain Jane look...other than that I try to follow the examples set in the Desidrata; and, as training Scouters in high adventure is my primary scouting focus I take no offense if no one wishes to heed my advice in this area. As I see it, sometimes the best way for some to learn is through the school of hard knocks....


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Ok, I spun off a new thread before I realized OGE had beaten me to it! Here is what I posted there:


I have only been on this forum a short while but, Wow....I had no idea that there were so many folks who did not think it right to wear the adult knots that they earned. I have even heard folks complain that there are too many cub level knots. True enough, the focus should be on the boys, but many of these knots (especially the cub knots )require your dedication to the boys in order to earn them. Some you can't even apply for, you have to be nominated for.


I only have 2 knots (Eagle and Tiger Leader), but I wear them with pride. Part of that pride is pride in the uniform. Part of it maybe a desire to be like the great scouters I grew up with. They wore their knots and as a scout I knew that those really did mean something about that persons dedication to scouting. I never looked at it as someone trying to decorate their chest.


Another similar item is the service pin. I wear mine. As a scout I was encouraged to wear them and I have continued out of habit. However, I have seen very,very few in my district who do.


So, What are everyones thoughts on Knots and service pins.

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About the beads. I do see those with wood badge beads at round table, but those aren't the ones I was talking about. They give out attendance beads at roundtable. turn in 11 of those and you get a larger wooden bead for your cord. There must be something else as well, but I am not sure what. I have seen flag grommets worn on a carabiener through the sholder loop. I don't know, some times it seems a little over the top. I know some would say the same about knots, but at least they belong on the uniform.


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Soooooooo, perhaps we shouldn't have the boys sewing their rank patches on their pockets. We don't want them bragging or other scouts giving them undo attention based on their acomplishments and experience in the program. Understand, I have not been in scouting long enough to have EARNED any knots and I'm still about half a ticket away from my beads. It does not matter to me how much fruit salad a guy has, I'll listen to anyone and weigh their suggestions against what I already know about scouting. If something is suspect, I'll look it up. But the knots and beads they've EARNED DO show a certain level of committment and experience. There is nothing wrong with an adult being recognized for their achievment and displaying the symbols for it. Isn't it doing a disservice to the boys to downplay one of the very things we encourage in them? If you earned them, wear them. Humility is a wonderful thing. Pride can be too.


I have a non-spoken desire to one day be awarded the Silver Beaver. Why? For prestige? No. There is a gentleman who was very instrumental in my youth. He was my first baseball coach when I was in 1st grade. He was my Cubmaster. He was one of the adult sponsors of my church youth group. He was a Captain in our fire department and went into the ministry after retiring. He was a Scoutmaster. One of his sons was a best friend thru high school. The man sang at my dad's funeral. He has lived a life of service. I have turned to him for advice when I had become disillusioned with problems in a former troop. He has promised to attend my beading and wants to know if/when my son earns Eagle so he can be there. He earned the Silver Beaver 25 years ago because of his hard work and dedication to scouting. I want to earn the Silver Beaver someday because I honor and respect this man and I want to follow in his scouting footsteps. I don't delude myself. If I expect to be nominated someday, it will be because of hard work and dedication to assisting young men to be the best scouts and persons they can be. I want it for the right reasons and not for prestige. I see no problem wearing knots and beads for the right reasons.

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Call me vane (or is it vain??) but I like wearing my knots. I have not earned my woodbadge yet but when I see someone wearing their beads, I think it really cool. We have several scouters in the district that have a "salad bar" of four rows. Looks good to me. I know some people say that they are showing off but to me and some of my fellow scouters, it inspires me to go to training. Yes the program is for the boys but if we are not all boys (and some of us girls) at heart, then why are we still scouting? Rows of knots and beads does not mean to me a showoff-rather a person who is dedicated and involved.


Now to really go against the flow, I have some older uniforms (all wool) that all I wear is my knots and a name plate with my name and position. Looks pretty cool too, at least in the eye of the beholder.


As cubmaster, many of my cubs ask me what the knots stand for. When the boys recieve thier religious medals, and they earn a knot, they thinks its great that they are wearing something that I have too.

The same interest goes for my OA lodge flap and service stars (all my boys wear stars too).


I feel that knots and beads are up to the wearer (much like the military rules about medals): wear what you want, just wear them right.


One final note. I was training my new den leaders and told them to use the den leader award application as a guide for applying what they learned in training. One they stated, "You mean that we get stuff too!" She was very excited about a little knot patch. And i was excited to have a dedicated and interested leader.


Just my 5 cents worth.

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What a Scouter wears on his uniform is a personal decision, as long as it is authorized. I too wear what I have earned. Last year I was awarded the District Award of Merit. I feel that, if someone took the time and trouble to fill out the form and nominate me, then secretly had my wife and two sons show up at the District Dinner for the ceremony, I have an obligation to wear it with pride and gratitude. As for the other knots, as a trainer, I feel that wearing my service stars and training knots tends to lend credibility to the training. I am someone who has, "been there, done that" and am passing on the benefit of my experience, not merely reading a prepared script, as some have suggested should be done. I wear four service stars, yellow, green, red and blue, signifying that I progressed through all phases of the program (pre-Venturing era), although it would be allowable to combine all the years into one blue star.


Bottom line...do what makes you proud and happy and don't worry about what others may choose to do.

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I have earned 4 knots and have my woodbadge beads.

I do not have any knots on any of my uniforms, and no plans to put them on. If I was a Eagle scout, I think I would wear that knot and if I had the religious knots I would wears those also. I have only worn my wood badge beads a few times. One COH and 3 beading ceremonies.

I am in it for the boys not to try and impress other leaders.

Looking at the leaders with knots filling up the uniform I only fell sorry for them, they do not understand the program.

When I have someone training me or explaining scouting to me with their shirt full of salad, I know I am not going to get much from this person, this is from past experience.


From the Scoutmaster Handbook, page 153


While Scouters may wear the insignia to which they are entitled, a total display may not be in the best taste if the uniform is overdecorated.

The Scoutmaster who wears only his Scoutmaster emblem, council or community strip, troop numeral, and service star on his uniform is never quality of poor taste.


I take this to mean that a overdecorated Scouter is in poor taste. AND IT LOOKS REALLY REALLY BAD!


Most of the knots IMHO, mean nothing, any decent leader earns the awards, just by doing what they are suppose to be doing.


Please call me Slick Shirt Dan.


And that is all I have to say about that.

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As I stated in the other thread , Are you in this for the youth or in it for personal gain, prestige, or a deep desire to somehow be personally recognized for doing the job we all signed up to do? Motivation or our personal motives makes us the leaders we are. It is not about fruit salad on our uniforms its about the boys. SRBeaver you are still barking up the wrong tree comparing apples to oranges.

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I own a lot of Scout Shirts.

Some have none of the knots on. Some one row of three, some two rows of three. and two have three rows of three. There will be very soon a couple of new shirts with four rows of three.

The shirts with no knots are the ones that I used for Wood Badge. Knots are not allowed.

The shirts with only a few knots are ones that her that must be obeyed never got around too.

The shirts with all the "Salad" are the Jamboree shirts. Kinda like OGE,I think that if I dress to impress at the Jamboree it might help!!

I normally wear the loops that go with the position patch on the shirt. If I'm wearing a shirt with a Scoutmaster patch -Red Loops. District Chair. - Gray/Silver loops. Regional Committee - Yellow/ Gold loops.

I think not wearing my beads would be like forgetting to wear my belt. I don't need the belt to hold up my pants, but I wear it. (Philmont tooled leather.) I wear the four bead necklace because I in "Wood Badge Land" I'm now entitled to wear four beads. Wearing two or three would be like telling a lie!!

My friends don't give a monkeys uncle which shirt I wear. I do get teased a bit when I wear the gold loops!! Some friends of mine opt not to wear any knots, some select which ones to wear.

Many of the knots don't have very much meaning to me. I am very proud of my religious knot and the Saint George Award that went with it. Both the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver, as I feel that my peers selected me for those awards. I'm also very proud and have to admit to being a little smug about the International Scouter's Award, as I'm the first and only person in our Council to earn it. Add to that it took me 27 years to complete all the requirements.

As to the "Dressing For Success" thing. Please forgive me while I take up way too much space retelling a Jamboree Tale.

The Sunday of the Jamboree was anything but a Sun day, in fact the rain came down in buckets. My new rain suit was not working I was soaked. I had walked with the Catholic Scouts to attend Mass. All the way praying that the Mass would be a very short one. Seeing the Swiss Guards and hearing that the Pope had sent a special Bishop over from Rome, I knew that my prayers had got lost in the rain. In fact I wasn't feeling very Scout-like or very Christian as we stood in the rain waiting for the start, when a group of adults arrived and stood right in front of us with a big tarp that they were using as a rain cover. The big blue tarp blocked our view of the stage where the Mass was to be said. So we moved in front of this group of adults. They were a nice group and soon invited us in to share their tarp. Next thing they were taking photos of us and them under the tarp. They were from California. After the mass they invited us back to the VIP tent where they had their gear. They wanted to give all the Scouts a patch.

The VIP tent was a nice set up. It was dry!! and a continental breakfast had been laid out. Everyone was being very polite, the trays of donuts and Danishes weren't attracting much attention. That was before Eamonn and eleven Scouts seen them. Soon even the wet gear we had on wasn't so uncomfortable, I had some coffee and along with the Scouts was making sure that the food was being put to good use. The group from California were taking more photos, patches were being exchanged as were names and addresses. All was well until the VIP tent people came over. They informed us that this was a VIP area. One member of the VIP Police was explaining this to our hosts, while one guy came over to me. I had taken my wet top off. He was just into his this area is for James E. West members, when he seen the knot. He then apologized. I explained that I was also a Heritage Society member he turned a little green. I was really nice to him. However one of the people from California was not as nice as me. He was giving this other VIP Policeman a good telling off. I drunk my coffee and we were about ready to leave when one of our hosts asked about the Scouts back in the site? He then proceed to give us trays of goodies to take back.

Knots and beads really shouldn't make any difference. But ...


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I just attended my younger sons' first "Tiger" camp out. During the daily activities, I proudly wore my uniform with my three knots. I was surrounded by many experienced and brand new scouters (including my sons new tiger den leader). By the end of the day, the Tiger DL was asking me what uniform she should be wearing, and where was the best place to aquire it. There are way too many cub scouters (that I have seen) that do not wear the uniform.

I must admit that I like to wear the insignia that I am entitled to, but I actually get as much interest in being able to meet new scouters (and scouts) and be able to know a lot about them instantly by the uniform insignia they are sporting. I am often asked questons during scouting events and it is nice to know the context of the question.


By the way, aren't those beads visable in pictures of Baden Powell?



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