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I was reading a post about Wood Badge and it occurred to me that patrols today are not quite like the patrols of yesteryear.  

In Wood Badge, traditional animals are used for the patrol name and emblem. Owls, Bears, Eagles, Beavers....these are the things of patrol names for Wood Badge (which allegedly takes its inspiration from B-P, Brownsea, and the earliest days of scouting).

When I was a scout, things had changed only slightly. In the 70s, we still had a lot of animal name patrols, but I suspect it's because that was what the scout shop stocked for patches. My first troop mixed up the ages in a patrol, and we had a 17-year old Eagle scout as our patrol leader. He must have been reading Lewis Carroll because he named us the "Jabberwocky" patrol and our emblem was a blank patch. After a year, he aged out, we elected a younger patrol leader, and our first official act as a boy-led patrol was to change our name to the "Undertakers". The good thing was that we kept the blank patch, but got a marker and drew a gravestone with "RIP" on it.

Today, as an adult leader in a large troop with 7 patrols, I don't see a single traditional animal name.  When animals are used as the mascot, they invariably have an adjective preceding their name. "Toxic Kangaroos", "Nuclear Lobos"....you get the picture.

As I browse through the patrol patches on web sites like ClassB, I see two classes of patrol names that seem to dominate (presumably across the scouting world):  1) Mutant Animals, and 2) Whimsical Whatever.   Here's a few amusing examples of real patches that are in stock and ready for you to order today:


  • Angry Owl
  • Angry Squirrel
  • Bad Cat
  • Cosmic Cardinal
  • Dab Cat
  • Evil Blue Bunny
  • Flaming Chicken
  • Killer Panda


  • Amish Electrician
  • Bag of Mulch
  • Bozo
  • Chaos
  • Dancing Mummy
  • Flaming Sock
  • Loose Screw
  • Man in Blue Shirt
  • Bitten Donut
  • Cat Herder
  • Dancing Banana

Do you miss the innocent animal patrol names of yore?  Think Wood Badge should update their patrol for 21st century scouting?

Edited by mrkstvns
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Yeah, I kind of miss the simplicity of look at the catalog, pick a patch, that's your patrol for years.

On the other hand, I'm especially proud of one of the patrols in our Jambo troop's Swedish buddy troop. They were given (or chose?) names of importance to the historic center of town where they meet. The SM sent videos of each patrol introducing themselves, and of course I had no clue what they were calling themselves, except for one group whose name sounded oddly familiar and they seemed to have devilish grins on when they were saying it. The SM later E-mailed me the patrol names and explained that group was named the Swedish word for "Monks" but insisted on calling themselves "The Doughnuts" (the English, not Swedish, words).

I gotta invite them for breakfast. One really shouldn't have coffee without them.

Edited by qwazse
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I'm particularly proud of the names and emblems in our units. Our Webelos den is the "Merry Archers" den, the 11 year-old patrol is the "Savage Viking" patrol, and the older patrol is the "Knights of Light" patrol, all with attractive patches. What's fascinating about their titles is that, as a boy moves up through the different groups, he also moves through various phases of English history - first the Anglo-Saxons, then the invading Norse vikings, and finally the knights of the Norman conquest, each with successive advancements in warfare, technology and government - just as the boys themselves increase in skill and ability as they advance through Scouting. 

Oh, and their den/patrol flags are exceptionally handsome too, each one done in a style appropriate to its era. :cool:

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On 6/7/2019 at 1:47 PM, mrkstvns said:

Do you miss the innocent animal patrol names of yore?  Think Wood Badge should update their patrol for 21st century scouting?

I leaned on my scouts a little here.   I told them to pick a good patrol name,  a name that meant something to them,  a name that they would be happy to keep for a long time (years).   I told them that they could design the artwork for their own patrol patch so that they could have a good patrol patch.  (I also made fun of some of the existing patrol patches available from Class B and elsewhere:  the flaming nuclear biohazard something-or-others.)

Then I watched to see what they would come up with.  (They had had a couple of months to think over their patrol name before the decision time.  Though some scouts had started thinking of patrol name ideas before the troop was formed.)

They ended up (with no prodding by me)  choosing a very traditional patrol name.  They, collectively, came up with many reasons why it was a great name -- including that it was the name of one of the patrols of girls that showed up at the Crystal Palace boy scout rally in 1909.    



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