“The Boy Scouts of America has always been a uniformed body. Its uniforms help to create a sense of belonging. They symbolize character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Wearing a uniform gives youth and adult members a sense of identification and commitment…The uniform shows the wearer’s activity, responsibility, and achievement. What each youth or adult member has accomplished with program opportunities can be recognized by the insignia worn on the uniform…While wearing the uniform is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged. The leaders of Scouting— both volunteer and professional—promote the wearing of the correct complete uniform on all suitable occasions.” (from BSA official uniform policy, Guide to Awards and Insignia p. 5)
Uniforming is one of the methods of Scouting, but it is not always easy to figure out where to put all of those insignia! There are several BSA resources that can help with your uniforming questions. The definitive resource is the Guide to Awards and Insignia. There are also uniform inspection sheets for Cub Scouts, Webelos/Arrow of Light Scouts, Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts, and adult leaders. BSA has launched a nice interactive site for uniforming which walks you through complete uniforming at every level of Scouting and shows you where the basic emblems belong. An unofficial, but very complete, resource is Mike Walton’s badge and uniform site.
But what if you received a patch from your unit and you don’t know what it is called to look it up in the guides? What if you just want a quick way to figure out what goes where? Or maybe you saw a cool patch on another uniform and want to figure out how to earn that award. Hopefully we can help! Follow the links below…
Webelos/Arrow of Light
Some additional uniforming notes from the Guide to Awards and Insignia…
With the exception of the Cub Scout badges of rank, members wear only the insignia that show their present status in the movement. Members should make every effort to keep their uniforms neat and uncluttered. Previously earned badges and insignia—not representing present status—make a fine display on a BSA red patch vest, on a trophy hide or blanket, exhibited in the home of the recipient, or at functions where such a display is invited. Boy Scouts may wear only temporary patches (no badges of rank) on the back of the merit badge sash.
When engaged in Scouting activities, members may wear the neckerchief with appropriate nonuniform clothing to identify them as Scouts.
Several official slides are available from the Supply Group. Boy-made handicraft slides also may be worn.
Official headgear may be worn while the unit or individual is participating in an indoor formal ceremony or service duty, except in religious institutions where custom forbids. Typical indoor activities of this type are flag ceremonies, inspections, orderly duty, or ushering service. In any informal indoor activity where no official ceremony is involved, the headgear is removed as when in street clothes.