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One Piece Unit Numeral Patch

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Hi Wilton125,


Make your own unit hat? Why not - I see this all the time. Any unit that wants to can develop its own hat.


Make a custom neckerchief for your troop? Sounds good to me.


But when you start taking the items on the uniform as specified in the insignia guide, and mucking about with them (adding the name of your town, adding a unit nickname, changing the shape of the numerals to the shape of your state, etc.) then you've crossed the line from "unit pride" into "bling."


The insignia guide says what can be worn where on the uniform. It says that sleeve gets the council shoulder patch; the veteran unit bar; and the unit numerals. What makes people need to mess with that? Why do 98% of the units wear rectangular unit numerals, as issued by (or nearly identical to) national supply... while 1% of units feel the need to screw around with the number patch?


If you want to wear the name of your town, the year your unit was established, or a unit nickname, put it on your troop hat, or your troop neckerchief, or even a troop neckerchief slide! But don't bend the uniform insignia rules in order to include it on your shoulder. It doesn't belong there.


By the way, I wasn't trying to pick on Wilton in particular; it just appears at the top of Craig's page of "custom" (or put another way, "wrong") unit number patches.


(Looking at that patch, I can't help but imagine the thought process that went into it. Someone in troop 125 said "I saw someone from some other troop wearing a colored bar above the troop numerals. Let's do that too! But instead of having it be tan with a unit longevity number in it, let's make that bar red, and put our town name in it! Yeah, that would be cool.")


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On 6/7/2009, LindaBob wrote:

> When our veteran unit number changed to 60 this year, I wanted to

> order a patch with all the numbers plus our hometown on it, as I had

> seen a different unit [wearing]. Then I discovered that BSA discourages

> the hometown to be on it, which is why you can't order the hometown on the patch from BSA supply.


> The reason given was that certain towns in a given locality might be

> thought of as more "elite" than others. B-P wanted uniforming to equalize

> all Scouts, regardless of economic class, etc.


LindaBob, that was very well put - I couldn't agree more. Folks from fancy towns say "we want to add our town name to our unit numeral out of pride, that's all" - but as B-P desired, the uniform is supposed to put an end to "look what town I'm from" and instead emphasize "we're all scouts - wearing the same uniform (with the same numerals). We all follow the same rules."


The idea that "regular rectangular unit numerals are good enough for "plain old" troops, but ours is so old (or so special, or from such a fancy town) that we need something fancier" shows a real disregard for the uniform rules.


When one scout has a patch in the wrong place, that's a simple honest mistake. But when an entire unit decides together that they are ALL going to ignore the rules, and that it's OK for them to do that, that's something else entirely.

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"If you want to wear the name of your town,.......But don't bend the uniform insignia rules in order to include it on your shoulder. It doesn't belong there."

Actually, community strips indicating your town and state pre-date council patches and were official at one time.  Wearing community strips (if you can find them) is acceptable in my opinion if your Troop chooses to go that route with their uniforming.  They look great, historic, classy, and do not violate the "spirit" of the insignia guide.  The BSA consider uniforms that were once official always official.  Even the red berets can still be worn by Troops if you can find them.

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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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