Badges… we don’t need no stinking Badges…

patch1While it is true that we don’t need no stinking badges… We do have a need for patches and lots of them.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I am in a patch phase.  Well truth be told, I have been a patch guy for a long time, but until recently, as in this year, I have made the transition from one who acquires patches to one that has a patch collection.
What the heck does that mean?  Well, in looking into collecting patches I have been researching some collections and getting focus on the type of patches I want in my collection.  While I have a bunch of patches.. and I mean a bunch… I have looked at what I really want to collect.
patch2I have an extensive collection of Scouting literature.  Scout handbooks being the the center piece of the collection.  I collect Handbooks, Fieldbooks, and Scoutmaster Handbooks.  The rest of the collection is miscellanious Scouting pamplets, booklets, and Boys Life magazines.  I have been collecting these for years now and enjoy the style and history found in the collection.  I have not really been a collector, I did have a small collection of Baseball cards at one time, but I can’t say that there was any passion in that collection.
patch3Scouting patches tell a story.  They mark a place in time and share Scouting’s history in the threads that make up the patch.
So when I look at patches I see that time in Scouting and the event that it represents.  I have patches from my time as a youth in Scouting.  Patches from Camp Freedom in Germany.  Camporee’s in Belgium, and summer camps in Louisiana.
As an adult I starting amassing patches as a Cub Scout leader and then the cool patches started being added to the pile when I got back into the awesome world of our Boy Scout Troop.  I had forgotten how great Order of the Arrow patches are and how much I enjoy them.
So this year I am becoming more focused with my collection.  Jamboree patches from 2010, Order of the Arrow Patches, Council Should Patches (CSP’s) and Badges of Rank at the focus of the collection.  Everything else will still be added to the pile and one day used as trading material or maybe even become some patches that I move into a collection.
The collection however is not just patches.  They are patches that tell a story.  They are patches that are sequenced or a series.  They are from my past in Scouting.  They reflect what I am in Scouting and what I do.  For example CPS’s that represent Wood Badge.  This being the Centennial Year of the Order of the Arrow, I am collecting OA patches that tell the 100th Anniversary story.  I want to collect Lodge flaps in particular.  Right now, it is a small collection, but I think that attending the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) this year is going to bring lots of opportunities to increase this collection.
One of the things that I am doing to make my patches into a nice collection is not only completing sets or series, but I have began framing for display the patches.  This has really become a fun part of the collecting. Looking at them and sharing them with the Scouts of the troop at special events.
Again, with NOAC coming up I am encouraging the Scouts of my Troop that are attending also to start their collection.  At NOAC as well as Jamboree, Camporees, and Tradeorees, patch trading is a part of the tradition and growing of the brotherhood of Scouting.  It is a way to connect with other Scouts and learn a little about them and where they are from.  Looking at patches from around other Councils or Lodges and what kind of Scouting they do.
Those of you that have been to a Jamboree know what part patch trading plays in the event.  I know that through trading I have met many great Scouters and learned more about our scouting world.
So no.. we don’t need no stinking badges.. but they sure are fun and a great part of Scouting and its history.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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