Jump to content

Are wearing old B.S. medals on a Cubmaster uniform OK?

Recommended Posts

I recently signed my son up with the Cub Scouts, and after discussing my past in Scouting when I was a child, I was asked if I would like to become the Assistant Cubmaster for the pack. The current Cubmaster is leaving in a year and wanted to train someone to take over at that time, especially someone who will be with the program for the entire term and had fairly extensive scouting experience.


My question is would it be within the guidelines to wear medals and/or a button patch that I had earned as a scout on my Assistant Cubmaster uniform? I have a Philmont button patch, a Palisades Historic Trails medal, and the Ad Altare Dei medal.


From the training modules I've taken so far, and from what I've read here, a Cubmaster's uniform should be kept neat and free of so many patches, with no unofficial buttons or medals allowed at all.


But are official patches and medals allowed, especially the ones that I was most proud to earn? If so, would they be more appropriate at the Blue and Gold dinner rather than the pack meetings?


Thanks in advance for your help. I'm really looking forward to getting back into Scouting, and have the additional pleasure and honour of sharing it with my son.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 35
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

From the BSA Insignia Guide -




"With the exception of the Cub Scout badges of rank and Arrow Points, members wear only the insignia that show their present status in the movement. Members should make every effort to keep their uniforms neat and uncluttered. Previously earned badges and insignianot representing present statusmake a fine display on a BSA red patch vest, a trophy hide or blanket, exhibited in the home of the recipient, or at functions where such a display is invited."


"In Scouting, the advancement program is intended for youth members only. Scouters should neither seek awards designed for youth members nor wear them on the Scouter uniform except for square knots representing the Arrow of Light Award, Eagle Scout Award, Venturing Silver Award, Quartermaster Award, or religious emblems earned as a youth member."


"The general rule is that badges awarded by organizations other than the Boy Scouts of America may not be worn on an official uniform. This includes military medals and service ribbons. There are, however, notable exceptions. Among them are religious emblems and those special badges approved by local councils in conjunction with the national Program Group Committee such as Historic Trails medals."



So, short and sweet, no, you may not wear any of the official BSA awards you earned as a youth on your adult uniform. A much better idea is to make up a display of some sort that can be brought to den, and Pack meetings.


However - You CAN wear BSA square knots that represent your having earned the award as a youth. See the list above from the Insignia Guide. You can also wear your Ad Altare Dei, and the Historic Trails medals above the left pocket. I would suggest only doing that on special occasions as they have a bad habit of falling off, and breaking.


You can also select ONE unofficial patch to wear as a Temporary Insignia, centered on the right pocket. You can change your Temporary Insignia at any time, but you can only wear one at a time.


Congratulations, and welcome!


Happy Scouting!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for the info and the welcome, Scoutnut.


I have a lot of old patches that I was planning on sewing onto something, maybe a jacket. But it's good to know that wearing the Ad Altare Dei and Palisades medals to special occasions like the Blue and Gold dinner will be within specs.




Link to post
Share on other sites



Shorter answer is wear them if you like. The part of the Insignia Guide Scoutnut posts are general guidelines. You have to look at more specifice parts of the book. For example, under the section on Boy Scout advancement insignia, it plainly says that the Eagle medal is for adult wear on formal occasions. Also, under the section on embroidered knots, it shows an Eagle medal and religious emblem being worn with the square knots.


The only time I wear my medals (Eagle and God and Country) is for Eagle Courts of Honor. For a Cub Scout leader, Blue and Gold would be an appropriate occasion.


By button patch, I assume you mean a temporary patch which hangs from the button of your right shirt pocket. You can wear just about anything you want in that location, including the Philmont Arrowhead or a camporee patch from the Nixon administration. It does, as Scoutnut's post shows, need to be an official BSA patch. Technically, your religious emblem was issued by your church and the historic trails medal issued by that organization, but as the policy says, both of those have been authorized by BSA for uniform wear. But your DAR History medal or your high school varisty letter are out.


Personally, I think some of the old stuff is pretty cool and is a great way to start conversations with kid, especially Cub Scouts. Wearing your Philmont Arrowhead or religious emblem medal is a terrific way to promote those programs to the boys. "You can earn one of these too...."


You'll get all sorts of varying opinions as to whether or not you should wear this stuff. Currently there's an 8-page thread on whether or not and how many knots you should wear. But that is a personal choice. If you're proud of the stuff, or thinks it adds to the program, wear them. If you think it's vain or detracts from the program, don't.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I put my 1973 Jamboree patch on my Tiger Den Leader uniform. Someone here on the internet said it was OK, which was good enough for me. I probably won't keep it there permanently, but I want to give people a chance to see it.


It's served as a conversation starter on a couple of occasions. It also gives other people fair warning that I might be senile. :)


Personally, I'd find it a little bit pretentious to wear any medals on my uniform, whether or not it's proper, and this would be especially true of anything earned as a youth. The only exception I would be comfortable with personally would be wearing my Eagle medal to an ECOH. I do have the square knots for AOL (which I was kind of suprised to learn existed), Eagle, and youth religious emblem.


IMHO, a Blue and Gold is supposed to be a fun event for the Cub Scouts, and not an occasion for adults to break out old regalia.


But then again, I'm slightly hypocritical, since I do have that 1973 Jamboree patch. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites



My two cents:


If your Philmont patch is your Arrowhead from a trek, of course wear it. It helps to tell a tale of Scouting to the youth of your Pack.


You'll have to check with a Catholic to be sure, but I believe the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem qualifies for the youth religious square knot (purple background, silver knot). If so, then wear the knot. It will help be a conversation starter.


Outside of those, the general policy is stuff earned as a youth member is not a part of the adult uniform. The universal exceptions are AOL, Eagle, religious emblems (as before), Venturing Silver, James E West Fellowship, and the National Court of Honor heroism medals. All of those have authorized knots.


Have I answered your question, does this help?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep the Ad Altare Dei qualifies you to wear the Religious Youth Award knot (silver knot on purple background) and the Boy Scout Device.


If ya got the Parvuli Dei as a Cub, depending upon if Webelos was a 1 year or 2 year program, then you are able to put a Cub Scout device on it (if Webelos was 1 year) or a Webelos Device ( if Webelos was 2 year program, yes evan if earned as a Bear)



Link to post
Share on other sites

"If ya got the Parvuli Dei as a Cub, depending upon if Webelos was a 1 year or 2 year program, then you are able to put a Cub Scout device on it (if Webelos was 1 year) or a Webelos Device ( if Webelos was 2 year program, yes evan if earned as a Bear)."


Actually, with the knot devices and the religious youth knot, WHEN you earned the awards has NOTHING to do with the knot device you wear, but the particular award.


For those awards available at several levels, you wear a particular device for particular award level, not when you earned it. For instance, if a boy scout earned the older boy version, he wears a Venturing device even if he earned it as a Boy Scout, not 2 boy scout devices.


Just not sure on the Catholic awards where each one falls.




Link to post
Share on other sites

This particular phrase in the guidelines allows for a bit of parsing - "Scouters should neither seek awards designed for youth members nor wear them on the Scouter uniform".


There are a number of awards that can be earned by either a youth or an adult. As such, those awards are not really "designed for youth members", but rather are designed for everyone. The historic trails award, the jamboree patch, and many knots fall into this category, for example. The guide specifically lists the five knots that can *only* be earned by youth, but there are roughly seven other knots that can be earned by either youth or adults.


No merit badges, no ranks. Otherwise, I'd say that anything that could be earned as an adult could be worn by an adult, regardless of his age when he earned it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oak Tree wrote: The guide specifically lists the five knots that can *only* be earned by youth, but there are roughly seven other knots that can be earned by either youth or adults.


My total count is 11: Arrow of Light, Eagle, Quartermaster, Venturing Silver, Heroism Award, Honor Medal, Medal of Merit, Hornaday, OA Distinguished Service Award, religious emblem, James E. West.


Only earned by youth: AOL, Eagle, Quartermaster, Venturing Silver, youth religious emblem.


Am I missing one?

Link to post
Share on other sites


I stated what I did because at one time, way back in the day when Cubs was a 3 year program, and tigers didn't exist or was considered a separate program, the Cub Scout device was worn for the Parvuli Dei. That's why I and others wear a Cub device on our knot for PD as that was what the reg was at the time we earned it.


Now that Cubs Scout have expanded to five years and included Tigers, and the Light of Christ is for Catholic Tigers and Wolves, a Cub device is worn for that award,and the Parvuli Dei gets a Webelos device.


Also for the older scout religious award, for Catholics it's the Pope Pius XII, a Sea Scout device can also be worn inplace of the Venturing. And for old fogeys like me, an Exploring device ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Two points to mention:


1) Shortridge: there are also the old exploring square knots (Ace, Ranger, Silver I, Silver II, Explorer Achievement Award, G.O.L.D. Award, Young American Award) and the NESA Eagle Scout Life Member knots.


2) A question: which device does one wear if he is a member of a Boy Scout troop and a camp staff venture crew if he earns the Pope Pius XII award (Catholic; older Scout/Venturer/Sea Scout)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Thanks for the replies, everyone. I had no idea that there was so much thought that goes into a subject like this.


I had planned on wearing the medals and the Philmont arrowhead (hanging from the right shirt pocket button) patch as both a conversation starter with the boys, and a way to let the parents know that their new Cubmaster wasn't just some shlub that walked in off the street. Not to insult any shlubs that might be reading this, lol. I never thought of it being for self-aggrandizement, but I can see how it could become something of that nature, or at least be viewed as that.


I've been to all of 1 den and 1 pack meeting, and I'm already expected to take over the pack next summer. I figured showing the boys and parents a few of my old accomplishments might break some ice and get a good Scouting rapport going. I'll be sure to only wear them to the Blue and Gold Dinner, and hopefully the folks who seem really tightly wound up about a subject like this won't notice. ?;>)


Otherwise, I'll look into the square knots.


Thanks again, everyone, for very interesting and informative replies.




Link to post
Share on other sites

What exactly is a "device"? Am I supposed to have a "device" to indicate that I earned my religious award as a Boy Scout? (Incidentally, that was the only way to do so, since, as far as I know, there was no such thing as a religious award for Cub Scouts back then.)


I'm not going to run out and buy a "device", but I'm curious to know what it is. If I'm not going to get one, I really ought to know what it is that I'm not getting. :)


And how much does the "device" cost? A Scout is Cheap....I mean Thrifty, so I balked a little bit at paying $1.49 for my Arrow of Light knot. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Traditionally" devices are only attached to knots when you have multiple awards.


I have a Scoutmaster's Key, Cubmaster's Key (yeah, long time ago, '87 or '88), and Commissioner's Key, so I have one knot, three devices (and not three knots).


This is also true in the Youth Religious Awards, which 92 explained quite well.


And there are some others that qualify for devices ... I don't have a complete list.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...