Scouting Forums

Adult Uniform Help ~

Good day,

Since I just turned 18, I need to create a separate adult uniform. What is and is not allowed to be correctly worn on the uniform? I had many things on my youth shirt, but I am unsure if they carry over or not. For example, do I put the recruiter strip, interpreter strip, and each service star back on my shirt - a five-year one with yellow backing for cub scouts, a seven-year one with green backing for scouts, and a one-year one with red backing for sea scouts? I have done extensive research and desire to wear the uniform correctly, and I came across an article stating that adults may wear one service star pin with all the years of participation in Scouting, which is currently 12 years for me. Is there an article that covers the correct placement and even dimensions of everything? I only have four square knots currently. Thank you for your time and help!

Have you reviewed the Guide to Awards and Insignia?

You may wear the interpreter strip but not the recruiter strip. You may not wear any ranks or youth awards but you may wear any square knots you earned as a youth with Arrow of Light and/or Eagle square knots if you earned one or both.

Adults do not wear a patrol patch unless they are a Webelos Den/Assistant Den Leader and the den has chosen a patch. Den/Assistant Den Leaders wear a den strip.


Is this a Scouts BSA or Sea Scouts uniform?

Scouts BSA
Service stars - yes, or combined on single blue if you prefer
Recruiter strip - no
Interpreter strip - yes
Square knots - yes AFAIK (may be some specific ones that don’t carry over, but I’m not aware of them)

Not sure about Sea Scouts.

Cub Scouts/Scouts BSA Leader Uniform Inspection Sheet

Courtesy of @JenniferOlinger:

1 Like


yes. can even wear multiples

yes you can can wear all of your start with the corresponding color background for each program OR you can combine them into one/two stars on a blue background. personally i wear each color and reserve the blue background for my adult years served.

you can wear all of your square knots that you’ve earned

1 Like

Thank you for the help! I really appreciate it. Do you happen to know the training that I must undergo to receive the “Trained” patch or is that position-specific?

Is wearing all of the service stars most correct than just wearing one or two with light blue backings? Also, if I wanted to combine my Scouting years to be shown one service star, how would I do so with 12 years?

Thank you! The links are really helpful. Much appreciated to a youngling like myself.

Position specific. If you are registering as an ASM it includes Hazardous Weather training and IOLS.

1 Like

@iOrca both ways are considered “most correct”. It just depends on how much you want to have on your uniform at any given time. there is no “12 year” service star. you would have to wear two stars one with a “10” and one with a “2” both with blue backgrounds. I personally wear my service stars only at courts of honor/ district dinners/ blue and golds or any other “special event” so I like to show the different tenures for each program when i do wear them and the scouts love seeing them and keep asking what the different colors are.

1 Like

Why doesn’t Scouting designate the left side of the adult uniforms for specific adult training taken such as Leave NoTrace Trainer or Advanced Wilderness First Aid Trained. Sure the left pocket could be used more constructively…

1 Like

Our council OE Advocate created a Leave No Trace Trainer “interpreter” strip. “Congratulations. You speak the language of the Earth.”

1 Like

If you are continuing in Sea Scouts BSA as young adult (19-20 years old) you continue to wear the Sea Scout participant (youth/young adult) uniform for Sea Scouting.

If you have been awarded a Quartermaster Award or Eagle Scout Award I believe there are “square knots” for those awards that may be worn on the BSA field uniform.

You wear “trained” if earned for the position badge worn. There is a “Basic Leader Requirements” link on the adult leader training web page at:

There is no basic position-specific training required for “unit college reserve” or “college reserve” positions.

1 Like

Our adults have their own patrol patch with a rocking chair on it. It’s a reminder that the adults are supposed to sit back and let the Scouts run the program.


Some troops do that and I don’t care when they do it, but those that are the uniform police will call them out. I have seen adults with patrol patches of coffee cups, ask your SPL, old men with a cane, rocking chairs, etc.

Since I have served on several Wood Badge staffs and may serve again, I have to keep my uniform in line with the Guide to Awards and Insignia.


I’m starting a campaign to use “insignia dorks.” Because most of the time that’s what we mean. I’m kind of an insignia dork, but when I point out a non-uniform practice to someone, I also take the time to show where I am also not adhering to the letter of the Insignia Guide.
@iOrca, thanks in advance for all you’ll do for the youth as an adult leader. Find out when your district roundtables meet. If possible attend them with your unit leaders. Don’t let the grey hair full you. A lot of us never really grew up. (Just ask our spouses!)

1 Like

[quote=“Qwazse, post:15, topic:134823”]
“insignia dorks.”
[/quote]:nerd_face:e I like the idea of that name rather than uniform police or uniform Nazi.

1 Like

@BrianWheeler, that’s a good question worthy of it’s own topic! Bottom line: there’s always been a push and pull between those who think leaders’ uniforms should be spartan vs. those who buy into the “third world general” look.

1 Like

I think there is a happy medium between sparse and as you say “third world general”. I have been involved in scouting for a while and have “earned” and been awarded quite a few square knots. I wear them all because the scouts love asking what they are. Also I use the ones that you have to earn as a teaching tool for their badges. When I have to explain that the green training knot requires you go to x trainings and be a leader for a minimum of two years and so forth I see their face light up because they realize that adults have to complete requirements to “earn awards” as well. I purposely don’t wear all my medals ribbons patches etc. all the time because it will become cluttered.


Thank you for asking. In Scouting we teach others by setting a good example. The following may be useful:

Bill_W question: The Guide to Awards and Insignia appears to have statements left over from when Sea Scouting was combined with Venturing. For now the “red back” (background disk) appears to include time served in the Venturing BSA program and Sea Scouts BSA program. I would like to see a dark blue (Sea Scouting program blue) back for time served as a participant in the Sea Scouting program. Is there one already defined in the Sea Scouting guides or Scout Shop catalog, that I have missed?

1 Like

You have the option of either combining all your youth years of service into 1 pin w/blue backing…or 2 pins w/blue (such as a 10 and a 2 w/blue for 12 years adult or total), or using separate colors and stars for each. I’ve chosen to use 1-2 w/blue for adult, 1 w/green for scouts, 1 w/yellow for cubs. Not sure what color is for Sea Scouts. Square knots that can be worn include Eagle, Arrow of Light, youth religious award, Quartermaster (Sea Scouts), Summit (Venturing). I’m not sure of any others. No rank patches allowed. No medals. No youth training patches. Jambo allowed, right pocket or above. Philmont/SBR or other HAB allowed, same location. Trained patch on left arm is earned for completing position-specific adult training (usually online at Good point about turning 18. If you are just going to be in Sea Scouts, no need for a different/adult uniform at all…only if you’re planning to be an ASM for a Scout troop. You can’t be an adult leader for Sea Scouts until you are 21…but you still have to complete YPT and background check and adult application at 18…you are considered an “adult participant” wearing youth uniform until 21 (unless again you’re doing ASM for Scouts BSA). Great questions, young leader!!

1 Like