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Where to find custom troop number patches??

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Craig (The7Hiker) is someone who will make you a "custom" patch. He can make it green numbers on a tan background, with a tan veteran bar across the top, or if you want, he can make you one in a silly shape, or with extra words on it. There are lots of examples of this on his web site.


It's not necessary to go with an unofficial or incorrect patch, made by an outside vendor, in order to get a one-piece unit number patch. You can just order "the real thing" - a one piece unit number with veteran bar included - from BSA. It's cheap and easy - you go by your local Scout Shop and fill out an order form, or you just call 1-800-323-0732 Ext.488. In either case, you ask for "2-digit unit number with Veteran bar, item no. 10412." They are $3.49 each, with a minimum of 12.


(That's the item number and cost for a two digit pack number, in red, with a veteran unit bar. Three digit numbers or green-and-tan ones are a different item number with a slightly different price.)



Looking at Craig's web site, I was stunned by the silly unit numbers I saw there. Every unit number on there is, well, wrong. Some of his "custom unit numbers" include the town name... some are made in funny shapes, like states... some include nicknames like "CRAZY EIGHTS"... some have a red and white arc reminiscent of the patches of the 1970s - _none of which_ is in accordance with the BSA Insignia Guide.


The word "uniform" means "the same," and the bootleg "custom unit number" patches Craig is selling are anything but. Evidently that doesn't bother Craig or his customers, but it sure seems wrong to me. While I'm the first to agree that delivering a good quality fun program to the boys is far more important than wearing the right patches, I find it sad to see entire units mucking up their uniforms with "bling."


You're from a fancy town? Well lah-dee-dah, good for you. Your unit has been around since 1953? Congrats. Does that mean your troop is "too good" to follow the uniform manual, "too special" to make do with a 50 year veteran bar, or "too historic" to stoop to wearing your council strip and a couple of digits, like everyone else? (Is it because the troop from the next town has a "custom" number patch? Maybe some misguided leader in that troop has decided they need a "custom" patch that says "TROOP 99, BEVERLY HILLS, SINCE 1911, CRAZY EIGHTS, THE BEST OF THE BESTEST." Just because they've decided to ignore "that part" of the uniform manual doesn't mean that your troop has to make a patch that's even "more custom" in order to prove your troop is as "special" as theirs.


I find it sad that the adults are teaching the scouts that "it's OK to follow some of the rules, but it's not necessary to follow all of them." The name of your town, your troop's nickname, and what year it was founded - all this stuff can go on your unit hat. Please, don't mess with the classic troop numerals that belong on the uniform.

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I am amazed that the topic of customized unit numbers has provoked this level of discussion.


Over the years, the Council Shoulder Patch (CSP) has evolved from a simple red and white patch to unique, multi-color patches. Many councils produce special and limited availability CSPs for special events and for recognition like National Jamborees, Eagle Scouts, and Friend of Scouting. So in one council, there can be many variations of the CSP. BSA "National" does not seem to have a problem with this. CSP designs vary from one Council to another. The common denominator is the shape and placement of the CSP.


At the National Jamboree, many units from "square-shaped" states (e.g. CT, PA, CO, etc.) have unit patches made in the shape of their state. This is a common for Jamboree Contingents from the multiple councils in my state, Connecticut. I am unaware of any problems with this practice by BSA. The common denominator is the color and placement of the unit number.


When the 2010 Centennial Uniform shifted the unit numbers patch colors from white on red to green on khaki, this triggered the design of of new patch. My Troop, Troop 125 in Wilton, CT, had used a white numbers on a red field shaped like the state of CT since 2001. Out new design, green numbers on a khaki field in a rectangular shape were designed to follow the 2010 Uniform design. We added "Wilton, Conn" to the design (white letters on a red field) to reflect the TRADITION of 1960s/70s Community Strips.

We follow the BSA uniform guideline for the shape and placement of this patch.


We are fortunate that there are cost effective options to design and produce this type of custom unit number. Over the past 6 months, we have received many compliments from both professional Scouters and long-term Scout volunteers on our unit patch. Many have complimented the subtle integration of the community strip into the design. In addition, it adds a level of "unit pride" to our Scouts and Leaders.


I remain puzzled why some folks have such a strong negative opinion on this small patch of cloth.

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