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How to Deal With Custom Shoulder Loops

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Over the summer, I was asked to attend summer camp with the troop my crew is affiliated with. While there, I saw a youth a with gold shoulder loops on their uniform. I instantly though they were a section chief or a VOA officer who put their loops on the Boy Scout uniform. I quickly came to understand that, in addition to "optional" patrol patches, their troop uses different color shoulder loops to represent each patrol. Later that week at the adult leader social, I confirmed with this with their Scoutmaster. Fast forward, one of my troop's committee members pictures of them on our Facebook page and quickly fell in love with the idea of them. This last committee meeting, she brought in her two sons sporting gold shoulder loops for the older youth patrol. I informed everyone there that: 1) shoulder loop color have specific meaning in the BSA, 2) wearing certain colors are liable to rub certain people the wrong way, and 3) having "custom" loops is likely to make the troop stand out like a sore thumb.

 

Since then, I think the idea has lost traction, but it still raises the question: "Why has nobody stopped the original troop from wearing theirs?"

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They were probably willing to score five points lower than your troop on camp wide uniform inspection. Hope your boys enjoyed the complimentary ice cream from the trading post for best dressed!

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As much as there is Uniform Code in scouting, it cannot stop you from wearing it.   Our Council gave the OA "special permission" to wear Purple loops ontop of their normal color (smaller width), but even then, its not up to code.

 

 

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This is true. I do know National was talking of overhauling shoulder loops two years ago. One of our crew parents went to Philmont Training Center for a Venturing course. The guy from National on her course talked about a possible consideration that shoulder loops, instead of identifying program affiliation, would be used to recognize achievements, e.g. Eagle Scout, Triple Crown, etc. Last I heard though, this idea was scrapped pretty quickly.

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On 11/30/2017 at 12:06 PM, Tampa Turtle said:

I have seen tri-colored Eagle Scout shoulder loops that I was told they got from their counsel store.

Seems odd considering the BSA’s fairly recent change to green loops for Boy Scouts in order to make the uniform more subdued, color-wise.  Now at least one council is adding a little bit of red back into some uniforms? Go figure.

The only “rogue” use of shoulder loops that I have seen with my own eyes is a couple of troops around here that have a Venture Patrol and decided to use the orange/blaze loops for that patrol. The late great OldGreyEagle once reported seeing such a troop (from NJ) in an airport. There have been very few (if any) Varsity Teams around here and I suspect most Scouters here don’t even know what those loops mean. I wonder whether the BSA is going to discontinue making/selling them, considering Varsity is being discontinued.

If any Scouts were to wear gold loops to any district event or summer camp around here, without holding a regional or national position, I suspect that some of the silver-loopers would get upset.

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On 11/30/2017 at 9:06 AM, Tampa Turtle said:

I have seen tri-colored Eagle Scout shoulder loops that I was told they got from their counsel store.

They may have told you as much, but that doesn't make it so. No such loops exist; the only distinctive loops produced by the BSA in the past few years have been the special Jamboree loops, which are NOT to be worn once the event has ended. 

It seems people just can't bear the thought of looking united as an organization; they just HAVE to find some way to stand out. And they lose something in that desire I feel ...

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Well...if we go by current National Policy change methodology...just sort of do what you want with the shoulder loops, if it may in their opinion increase revenue or add members, no doubt it will be quickly codified.

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Special Belt Loops for Camporees, Ranks, High Adventure Basis, Friends of Scouting, Councils! Thinking of the possibilities...at $3.50 a pop!

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Ugh ... the loops are actually one of the easiest parts of the uniform to get right; messing it up like this only seems intentional. Is it SO HARD to conform to a standard of uniformity?

Alas, I think I already know the answer, lol.

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3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Loops are like in-laws, when I didn't have them my life was easier.

That's strange, in my family we call them out-laws.

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5 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Ugh ... the loops are actually one of the easiest parts of the uniform to get right; messing it up like this only seems intentional. Is it SO HARD to conform to a standard of uniformity?

Actually when BSA decided to remove the red loops, and replace them with a second shade of green loops, it did get confusing. It didn't help when distributors and council shops were giving out wrong information on loops, as well as other insignia that came out with the Centennial Uniform. And don't get me started with the wrong info I got from a NATIONAL SCOUT SHOP ( emphasis) I still see folks wearing the bright green Venturing loops instead of the  dull green Boy Scout ones. 

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I much prefer the new olive green to the red though; its a more streamlined look, much classier. As for confusing the two shades of green, well, I suppose getting the wrong hue of one color is far more forgivable than blatantly ignoring the intention of the colored loops just to indicate achievements for which there are already insignia. 

Really, what could you show with different colored loops that can't already be shown by other means? Rank is shown by patches or knots; patrols are identified by their medallions, troops by number and neckerchief color, achievements with their own patches - resorting to the misappropriation of loop colors is just looking to stand out. Which is, in effect, a form of vanity, which is something from which we want to steer our kids as far away as possible I should hope. 

Too oft, Vanity, thy name is Scouting. :rolleyes:

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With the exception of the olive green loops, and the entire remove green from the Boy Scout uniform insignia, but leave the red insignia for Webelos Cub Scouts and Cub Scout leaders who wear the tan uniform , I concur. There are a lot of different ways to say the same thing with the uniform.

i'm even against the specialty loops for jamboree. that's why they got jambo insignia, belt buckles, etc for.

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