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Merit badge sash + OA sash

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You should wear your OA sash normal and MB sash on the waist. This is how my troop does it. And, to those who are saying the OA sash should not be worn at a non order function, WHY? I believe that if you earned it, you should wear it. It is an honor to be chosen and it should be worn with pride. It is in accordance with the BSA and therefore should be considered part of the BSA uniform. Its the same as rank patches or merit badges. You earned them, so wear them. If that is not what the OA book says, mine is not with me, then something should be done about it. That rule should be changed.

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The proper wearing of the uniform and placement of insignia (including advancement) is covered in the Insignia Guide book. This is the book that the Boy Scouts of America says what's what and where everything goes.


Using your same logic, then I can wear rank advancement on my pants pocket. I can wear merit badges on the back of my shirt! Sounds absurd, doesn't it? There is rhyme and reason for the placement of badges and the proper wearing of the uniform.


You don't wear OA sash on non-Order of the Arrow functions. When you do, it it worn in the same manner as the merit badge sash (but not at the same time).


Merit badge sashes and oa sashes should NEVER be worn on the belt. I know, I know --- that is the way we did it when I was a Boy Scout "way back when." But that is not the way it is done today! Gotta go with the flow ...

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You do understand from the previous psots that the BSA uniform policy currently (and for many, many, years) says that you never wear the merit badge sash on your belt.


Now that you know that is is the policy what will you choose to do?


Perhaps your troop does this only because no one in the past knew the uniform rules? Now that you know you could help the others learn more and wear the uniform more correctly. (A Sout is Helpful)


Or you could make the personal choice to followe the BSA uniform policies and set the examle of good uniforming in your unit? (A Scout is Obedient)







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If you do not like a particular policy regarding uniforming, feel free to contact the National Uniform and Insignia Committee. They are always open to suggestions.


Changes to uniforming, if any, usually take a while.

Make your case and it might be changed in your favor in the future.


You won't know until you do it!

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In reply to what am I to do now that I know the official BSA policy about sashes on the belt, I will make the decision to keep things the same way. I do agree with you that a Scout is Obedient, but a scout should not be Obedient blindly, or Obedient because he is told to do something that a leader tells him to. Scouting is a BOY RUN FUNCTION. A good scout should consider his options and then make a decision based on what he believes is right. Otherwise, we would turn into the Chinese with their little red books and devotion to a leader that is overpowering. Surely you dont want that. I dont. This is my opinion. Now we each know how the other feels on the subject.

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Sorry Meteu but Patrol and Troop activities are boy lead. Do not think that Scouting is Boy run, it is not.


No one is asking for blind disobedience. You have not been told to do anything morally repugnant or illegal.


You have been given the rights and responsibilities as a memebr of the BSA. Your rights do not include to use the BSA's image and uniforms as you please. As a Scout you have a responsibility to follow the rules of your community.


You also have the right to try and change them, but I remind you of the words from the Boy Scout Handbook as they explain the values of the Scout Lasw which you have pledged to follow.


"A Scout is Obedient. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to change them in an orderly manner rather than disobey them".


You have an opportunity now to help your leaders and fellow scouts learn something about the program they did not know. Being a good citizen in any community is not about doing only what you want to do. You have a responsibility to obey the rules of the community. Your troop leaders have that same responsibility.


It is possible that they have no idea that they are wrong and would welcome your help. I am sure that you and they would rather feel you were properly uniformed and not violating the uniform regulations.


The choice is yours, your decision will speak more about your integrity than about your uniforming.


(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Sorry, but have to agree with BW.


Invoking 'boy led' is a poor justification for not following uniforming policies (or any other scouting policies for that matter).


No sash is worn from the belt, nor has it ever been.


OA sashs are only to be worn at OA functions or when you are doing stuff on behalf of the OA. This has ALWAYS been OA policy.


There are already items on your uniform that show your OA membership: you flap and the arrow dangle. Insisting that you also need to wear the sash to indicate OA membership is a bit silly.



Personally, I prefer to see boys wearing their merit badge sashes at courts of honor. Why? Because there are really few times when its appropriate for them to wear them (get really sick of seeing kids wear them at events like jamboree, camporees, or scout shows). So wear the merit badge sash at court of honor and not the OA sash.


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I can not tell you for certain why the sash is only worn when you are acting as an Arrowman. They may be found in early documents, but likely the original reason is lost. I can give you some possibilities. Take them for what they are worth, educated guesses.


The most obvious reason is that constant wear cheapens the sash, it makes it common and no longer special. This is certainly the case when it is worn at anything with the only reason being to brag. Remember, the OA is based on cheerful service and service should always be done with humility.


The most likely reason goes back to traditions outside of the OA and Scouting. The sash symbolizes the binding of the wearer to the Order. That is a very powerful symbol. When you wear the sash it indicates that you are acting as a bondsman of the Order and by its authority. If I were to wear the sash during a COH then when I present an award or honor I would be doing it as an Arrowman, not as the Scoutmaster of the troop. Unfortunately, modern culture has weak symbols, and the old ones are treated poorly. The elders have not passed on their importance as they should have.

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meteu: I appreciate and understand your opinion, but you could use "boy-led" to ignore every rule in the book.


Suppose your "boy-led" troop started a new "tradition" that a project wasn't necessary for Eagle -- what would such a candidate Scout tell the EBOR who turns him down?


Sorry, we may differ on what the uniform and insignia rules mean, but we can't pick and choose which ones we'll follow or ignore.

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Greetings All,


Wow, what a tremendous amount of discussion. I just need to throw my two cents in because I want to.


As to wearing two sashes, I remember as a scout at summer camp in the old Firelands Area Council, seeing staff members wearing merit badge sashes for campfires and having thes little white square packets on their belts...OA sashes, I would later learn. Many Scouts, and Scouters, emulate the young men who serve on camp staff. They have been trained to wear the uniform properly as part of their staff week and other staff development. Sadly they were wrong. Only one sash at a time may be worn, and no sash is to be worn over the belt.


When is it proper to wear the OA sash? That's a toughie. I attended National Camping School at Bolton, MA 10 years ago. All participants who belonged to OA were instructed to bring their sash with them on the second weekend as it would be the time we recognized members of OA in camp. As a Camp Director trainee, I was advised that the weekly calendar should have an opportunity for recognition of OA members in camp and that they should be invited to wear their sashes during that day at camp. This was not a fellowship, an ordeal weekend, a conclave or any other such event; this was pure and simple asking a group of boys to take pride in the accomplishment of being recognized by their peers. The person telling us this should be done...the Regional Director for Training. Indeed, it's been a while, but I do believe that an opportunity for recognizing OA members is a part of the National Standard Camp elective elements.


As for sash at Eagle COH...many of my satff members were also active members of the OA. They used the OA Eagle COH. Members of the Order were invited to wear their sashes as were the presentation team and those who emceed the program. Guidelines do just that...they guide. There will always bee a little where there is black and white.


Just my two cents, for what it's worth.


Have a great day!



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A followup...


I'm cleaning out EagleSon's bedroom after his departure for college. I just encountered a 2006 BSA Supply Division annual catalog.


There, on the front cover, for God and everyone to see, is a Texas troop welcoming a bridging Webelo.


In the background, what do I see? Yeppers, Arrowmen wearing their sashes and (horror of horrors ;) ) a Eagle Scout wearing his MB sash folded over on his belt.


And that gives me perspective on the whole thing: If National Executives aren't losing sleep over absolute precision, than why should I?


I've said more than once here, BSA devotes minimal resources to compliance on this matter. There's not professionals charged with uniform accuracy. In fact, the National Professional Service, as seen on more than one occasion, lets photos go to Nationwide press with "technical" errors.


I'm not going to lose sleep ever again about a young man putting whichever he chooses his second sash over his belt. In fact, I may well compliment him on the fun he's having in Scouting.

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I don't think that program design based upon technical issues is a practical way of running a program. The "Communicating Well" video which accompanies the TLT program is a good example. Both the "scouts" in the video (SPL and ASPL, according to the insignia on their sleeves) are wearing Eagle knots. Is this a validation that we should allow scouts past the age of 18 to run for, be elected to, and run troop operations?


Use a little common sense. If the Uniform and Insignia guide states a uniform policy, why go to such trouble to dismiss its relevance? I can think of no OA function where wearing a MB sash is appropriate. Likewise, the MB sash is generally worn only at a CoH or maybe an Eagle CoH. Why would anyone wear an OA sash at these functions?

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