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Scouting Forums

AOL Uniform in ScoutingBSA

Looking for the “Official Policy” on at what point AOL Scouts convert their uniform over to Scouting Uniform. Trying to find it in the uniform code tonight but also wondering how others do this. Our Cub Pack graduates the AOL (5th graders going into 6th) traditionally around March 15. This year it happened in April. At that time, they go through a crossover ceremony and start attending (boy)Scout meetings, and start camping with the Scouts and working on ScoutsBSA Advancement. They completely stop participating in Cub Events (except a few this year because of Covid rescheduling). At what point should their uniforms reflect that change? When I crossed over in 86, it was easy, we just started wearing the tan uniform. Because of them starting to wear tan as Webelos, they will need to remove their AOL Colors, Change from Red/White to Tan/Green Unit numbers, remove (Cub Scout) Emergency Preparedness pin, etc. and their oval Webelos Rank Patch (I’m assuming), but retain their AOL Rank Patch as is the newer policy. In other words, I’m wondering if this should happen #1. immediately upon crossover or #2. do they retain the AOL Rank until the start of the next year (in the fall), or #3 do they wait until they earn their first ScoutsBSA Rank which could be by summer (so before fall)? Or #4 something I’ve not listed? My father passed away two years ago and was involved with my trail to Eagle and spent his last 25+ years in Council positions. I sure could use him on this one. Pleasant trails everyone. Everyone here is such a great help, thanks for your input!

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When a Scout officially joins a troop, he or she should be encouraged to wear the uniform of the Scouts BSA program.

The Scout will not have a rank initially, until he or she earns Scout rank. However, Scouts who earned the AOL rank are allowed to wear it on their Scouts BSA uniform.

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I have seen most new Scouts not remove their Webelos oval. I assume that is more or less the intent.

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Per this page forth and fifth graders in the Cub Scouting program wear the tan uniform:
Cub Scout Uniform | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)

Most Scouts who were in Cubs should earn the Scout Rank within a matter of weeks upon joining and that replaces the Webelos badge. It’s because the Scouting Adventure badge for Arrow of Light is basically the same content and they just need to give it again. This is given in the guide to advancement

I see little value in nitpicking about it’s removal but technically, yes, it should be removed before the first meeting because it’s not a badge for that program

The Arrow of Light patch stays on the bottom of the pocket until they turn 18


I agree with everything you’ve said 100%. I grew up being a “by the books” type Scout. I appreciate your input. It will help in my getting my point across to others that I’m not being difficult, just trying to work within the program.

Where does the age 18 limit come from? I believe Special Scouts who are in the Scouts BSA program beyond age 18 can wear the AOL emblem since they are still wearing the youth uniform.

In the advancement guide, Webelos and Arrow of Light, it states:

The Arrow of Light rank is the only Cub Scout badge authorized to be worn on the Scouts BSA uniform once a youth transitions into a troop; it is worn below the left pocket. On an adult uniform, the Arrow of Light rank is recognized with a red and green square knot worn above the left pocket.

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No, not past 18, at 18 they start wearing the knot above the left pocket. Thanks for the input.

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Kevin & Dave,

Again, what is your source for this rule? I would like to know if there is a document BSA needs to correct.

A disabled Scout participating in a youth program beyond the age of 18 wears the youth insignia and is not required to remove the youth rank insignia. (It is possible to have a 40 year old fifth grader in a Cub Scouting program.)

Youth insignia includes their current Scouting BSA rank (e.g. Tenderfoot badge) as well as the AOL badge.

Guide to Advancement

Advancement for Members With Special Needs

adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America. Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility

Youth and adults who are developmentally disabled, or youth with severe physical challenges, may be considered for registration beyond the age of eligibility for their program: age 11 or older for a Cub Scout, 18 or older for a Scouts BSA member, or 21 or older as a Venturer or Sea Scout. …

A past troop committee chair
for a disabled Scouts’ troop.

I agree a disabled scout has that ability.

Although my question was not regarding special circumstances, here’s the BSA Policy on those with differing needs.

I did not include this document in this discussion because I could not find anything in it addressing the uniform and insignia issue.

This is getting off the original topic, but:

BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia
Section 3: Scouting Honors and Special Recognitions

Arrow of Light rank, red and green knot, green to right, No. 5018; Scouter only.


BSA Glossary of Scouting Terms
Scouter. A registered adult member of the BSA who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.

An 18+ year-old with a time extension / Unit Participant would not be considered a Scouter.


Let’s see if I can give you a general rule to follow:

Participants in any BSA program wear the same uniform (if a uniform is worn) as other participants.

They are not required (nor should they) to switch to wearing the adult leader uniform and insignia if they are participants in the program, even when they are 18 years old or older.

P.S. It should be noted that other programs, for example Sea Scouts BSA, have their own rules about what insignia can be worn on their uniforms.

Bill - no one is talking about special needs Scouts. You are making the conversation very complicated by introducing this into the discussion. Scouts switch from youth rank to adults at 18. Are there rare exceptions? Sure. They are not general.


Yeap, I’m big into those policies. My wife is a Special Ed Director for a dozen schools. So I’ve kept up with those also.

Thanks Bill,
I was fully aware of the policies for Scouts with special needs too. And not trying to complicate things with anything other than the typical situation, as you pointed out. Thank you for understanding where I’m coming from. I’m just wondering if there’s a definitive cross over time. In theory, it would be at their ceremony, but wanted something more concrete than common sense. I learned long ago mines burned me if I don’t recover the rules, snd get extra input. There is that lag time when a Cub can join early, should they be wearing their Webelos rank till that next fall or immediately remove, then earn their Scout Rank. It was much easier when I was a kiddo. We switched from blue to tan, done.
“Still and Eagle w/palms @ 46 years young”.

Yeap, totally agree. Also, think back to when it was blue for Cubs of tan for Scouts. Once we had our crossover, we wore our tan shirt without rank till we earned it. I was just trying to find a definite policy that says “once crossing over and joining a Scout Troop, AOL Scouts should remove all Cub awards”. But I’m not finding one that specific.

I looked too, but could not find it. It seems simple enough. Keep it on until earning Scout.