Prompted from discussion from my podcast with Mike Walton, the World Scout Crest Emblem raised more than an eye brow.
Let me give you some background (I am not going to rehash the discussion from the podcast, you can listen to it using the link on the left).
When I became a Boy Scout, I joined Troop 100 in Brunssum, Holland. A terrific Troop in the Transatlantic Council. The Troop was like every other Boy Scout Troop except for the fact that we lived in Holland and at our meetings every Thursday there were Scouts from Holland, Germany, Belgium, England, and Canada in attendance. They all met with their respective leadership, but we shared the same building and we met on the same night…. and we did many activities together. Most camp outs had an international flavor, although at 12 years old.. it all just seemed like a normal part of Scouting to me.
After a Scout completed an international event, camp out etc, he was presented with this little purple patch. Everyone in the troop was wearing it as were our “foreign” counterparts. I remember my Scoutmaster making a big deal about us “getting to wear” this patch, “The kids in the states” he would say don’t get to wear one of these.
You see, from 1956 to 1991 the Boy Scouts of America used the World Scout Crest emblem as an award, presented to those Scouts and Scouters that participated in international events, councils were allowed to come up with their own requirements for the award, but by and large those Scouts that lived within the Transatlantic Council and Far East Council got the nod to wear it. In 1991 the Boy Scouts of America made it a part of the Uniform and the International Activity Patch replaced it as an award.
Scouts from all over the world have been wearing this little patch for years. In England the World Scout Emblem is the “joining” badge. I think this is fitting as once a Scout joins he is in fact joining the World Brotherhood of Scouting.
It’s just a little patch, but from it’s beginning it has been a symbol of a great movement, a movement of peace, adventure, life skills, citizenship, and the spirit of what can happen to this world if we all lived the Scout Oath and Law.
Part of our discussion since the show came out was the fact that we sometimes don’t really do a great job of instructing our Scouts on why we wear the patches we wear. To most this little purple patch is just a part of the uniform, as much as the American Flag that is proudly worn on the sleeve. It is just there, we take it for granted that our moms sewed it on when we got our first blue shirt and it just has always been there.
That little purple patch ties us to the founder and to one another in the Brotherhood of Scouting. I for one will be taking a closer look at how I instruct my Scouts on important things like this.. I suppose since I have been wearing the World Scout Crest Emblem since 1978 I too have taken it for granted.. not any more.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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