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Patches from other organizations

So the Wisconsin DNR has a wisconsin Explorers program. I had read somewhere that some places, state parks etc have patches available that can be worn with the cub scout uniform.

Would these patches fall into that category


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I wouldn’t have a problem with a Cub wearing one of these on their right pocket. I don’t think there is really any restriction on what can be worn there.

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I would leave it up to the unit leadership, personally. My general rule of thumb is that any patch related to Scouting activities, whether issued by the BSA or not, may be worn in the temporary patch space on the right pocket. I’ve had scouts wear their NPS Junior Ranger patches in the temporary patch space, which generated a lot of interest in the program among the other scouts and parents. I consider that a win. If a patch is consistent with scouting values (e.g. does not contain obscenities, avoids political speech, etc), why would anyone really care?

There are “guidelines for review and approval of custom patch and emblem designs incorporating the Boy Scouts of America’s trademark words, phrases, symbols, or mottoes.” (emphasis added) in the Guide to Awards and Insignia. Since these patches don’t contain any of the BSA’s trademarks, I don’t see any reason that they would have to receive clearance by nationals to be worn as a temporary patch.


I would certainly agree with what Charley has posted but would add a bit of advice. Make a point of saving those patches. My son is in the process of making a patch blanket with all of his from tiger onward, and has had to expand the size of the blanket a few times.


Absolutely. 41 years later I have every pin, patch, hat, neckerchief, etc. that I ever had. All of these things are treasured and kept safe.


My reading of the Guide to Awards and Insignia is that everything that goes on the uniform must be an official BSA patch.

That said, someone getting upset that a temporary patch of that sort isn’t kinda missing the forest for the trees. I’m happy if scouts are wearing the class a.

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BSA has allowed some affiliated organization members to wear their non-BSA insignia as a temporary insignia on the right pocket. For example as the council/district Scouting advisor to a local Alpha Phi Omega chapter I wear the national Alpha Phi Omega pin-emblem patch as a “temporary badge” on the BSA uniform.

NPS Scout Ranger Program

NPS has a Scout Ranger program for Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA

The Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger program invites Boy and Cub Scouts to participate in educational and/or volunteer service projects at national park sites to spark their awareness of the national parks and to provide Scouts with the opportunity to explore the national parks and learn more about protecting our natural and cultural resources. Scouts are awarded certificates and/or patches for participating in the program.

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@DenisPohlman, the Guide to Awards and Insignia says that all patches worn on a BSA uniform must be obtained from official sources. It also says that council-approved badges must also bear a BSA identification to help protect the BSA brand. See page 12. “BSA identification” means that the patch says “BSA” or “Boy Scouts of America” or it has a fleur-de-lis.

One of the important purposes of this rule is to control what ends up on the uniform. If the patch has BSA identification, somebody approved it. That means that, at a minimum, it is not in poor taste. Without this rule, what (aside from common sense) would stop a pack that hiked a historical trail in Alexandria, Virginia from distributing “Virginia is for Lovers” patches for their Cub Scouts to wear? It is easy to imagine that patches in even poorer taste could end up on somebody’s uniform.

Those Wisconsin Explorer patches do not meet the criteria, and that’s the rulebook answer.

Almost no one would have a problem if you thought that allowing Scouts to wear the patch anyway provided a better outcome, taking into account the effort required to earn one and the local significance of the patch.

The National Park Service (NPS) Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger program patches are approved awards by the BSA in partnership with the NPS. For Scouts BSA (Scouts in troops), it is listed in the Scout Requirements book.

Per the Wisconsin Park Service web page:

Educators and youth leaders (This includes Cub Scout Leaders.)

The Wisconsin Explorer program is designed for individual children visiting state properties with family members or adult friends. As an educator, you are invited to use Wisconsin Explorer booklets and activities with children in your class or group. However, children in these groups cannot earn patches.

Thanks for the input. I was not looking to do it as a den but with my son.

I thought it would draw interest. I am sure our cubmaster and committee wont have an issue with it even if it is not official.

Another reason I ask is that our humane society also has patches for scouts and I am not sure if those are official. Is there any resource that I could look at to see what the BSA approved patches are.

I think if the activity was done under the auspices of scouting or had some sort of scouting points I would have no problem with the scout wearing the said patch on their temporary patch location

Looking through the Guide to Awards and Insignia for the words “temporary insignia,” I did not find a definitive reference that only authorized patches can be worn as temporary insignia.

Patches earned with (awarded by) a different organization do not qualify as temporary insignia.

page 11
The general rule is that badges awarded by organizations other than the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may not be worn on an official uniform. This includes military medals and service ribbons.

Temporary insignia are issued by different levels in BSA scouting, page 11-12. It does not say that ALL temporary insignia MUST be issued by some level of BSA scouting.

pages 11-12
Temporary insignia are issued for such events as summer camp, camporees, and Scouting shows. Order of the Arrow regional and national meetings and training activities may also provide such insignia (the Totin’ Chip patch is also temporary insignia).

The closest thing I found was on page 12. Initial reading is that every patch must be a BSA authorized patch. However, this is qualified in paragraph three to mean that all Scouting patches must be officially approved and sourced, including council approved temporary patches. This makes the reading seem to be “All regular uniform patches and scouting temporary patches must be officially approved and sourced.”

page 12
Scouting Identification

It is mandatory that all patches, emblems, and other products worn on the BSA uniform or created for a Scouting event or activity be obtained from official sources, such as Scout shops and www.scoutshop.org or a BSA licensee at www.licensingbsa.org.

Badges of rank, advancement, position, patrol, or numerals that are manufactured or authorized by the Boy Scouts of America as official patches do not require corporate identification.

This means that all council-approved badges for Cub Scout, Scout, and Venturing events and activities must also bear a BSA identification to help protect the BSA brand, and must be obtained from an official source authorized by the National Supply Group.

Page 15 provides guidelines for some level of BSA scouting to make custom scouting patches. It does not limit temporary patches to only BSA sources.

Further comments of temporary insignia refer to specific patches.

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I definitely think they could be worn as a temporary patch. My son doesn’t like hanging patches on his pocket, so we sew ours on his red vest.

There is no patch police. Short of someone having documents to show you @PeterHopkins is the most knowledgeable person I have come across on what the official rules say.

I will say that there are all kinds of “secret rules” that nobody can reference and I am sure one of them says you can do what you want. :slight_smile:

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Thank you, @KirkWood. That is very kind of you to say.

I agree with your frustration over the secret rules. When I answer a uniforming question, I try to provide the reasoning for my answer and sources. If I don’t think it’s clear, i say so. If I don’t think the rulebook answer makes sense, I say that too.

Uniforming is one of the several methods of Scouting. Understanding the rules and trying to comply with them encourages discipline and obedience. That’s the purpose of uniforming.

As a Cubmaster, I use uniforming to make points. The 2019 Pinewood Derby patch that was produced by National Supply did not contain “BSA”, “Boy Scouts of America” or a fleur-de-lis. Our pack gave one to each Scout who made and raced a car. When I handed them out, I made sure the Scouts understood that the patches failed the definition of temporary insignia and could not be worn on the right pocket. I also told them I had not seen any explanation for this, and that it was probably an error. I suggested they might want to keep the patch in mint condition, because it might someday be valuable, since a mistake was made. (My daughter immediately wanted it sewn onto her red patch vest.)

The whole situation gave me an opportunity to make several points:

  1. Everybody can make mistakes.
  2. The uniform has rules that make it a uniform and not a patch blanket draped over our shoulders.
  3. Even if something does not turn out as planned (like a patch that is not temporary insignia), it may nevertheless have unanticipated value.

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