Who can wear a merit badge sash?

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Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:45 pm

At the end of our meeting this evening the boys were reminded to be in full uniform for next week's court of honor. I mentioned that this is the time to wear their merit badge sashes. Our former scoutmaster pointed out that "only if you are first class and above can you wear a merit badge sash." My response to this was that it reeked of urban legend - if a scout has earned any merit badges he should be encouraged to wear them proudly regardless of his rank. He said he heard it at a training class a"a long time ago." Another leader whose training would be more recent said he had heard it also. I've searched and cannot find it. I'm guessing they heard it at the same class where they were told that the boys needed to be in uniform while traveling to be covered by insurance. :wink:

Does anyone have a reference to who may wear a merit badge sash?
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby lifescoutforlife » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:22 am

One of the oldest parts of the Boy Scout uniform, the merit badge sash is the place to display merit badges AND more recently activity or special event patches and insignia.

The merit badge sash is worn FORMALLY ONLY by the Boy Scout and Varsity Scout. Male Venturers and Sea Scouts have an option to wear the sash; female Venturers and Sea Scouts may NOT wear the sash since technically, they cannot earn merit badges (more on that down further on this page).

On this page are answers to the commonly asked questions dealing with merit badge sashes, who wears them, when, and why/why not.

What IS a Merit Badge Sash?

A merit badge sash is a piece of olive drab cloth (matches the color of the standard uniform pants). Former Explorers and current Venturers wear a piece of kelly green cloth (which used to match the uniform pants and now just matches the shirt).

The sash is worn suspended from the RIGHT shoulder and downward at a slant as illustrated below:



The merit badge sash is worn during formal activities and events, and not during Troop meetings or campouts. A "Formal activity" is an awards ceremony, a Blue and Gold banquet, a Troop Court of Honor or Team Awards ceremony, a recognition dinner staged by a unit, District, Council or Region, and special activities which lends itself to wearing the merit badge sash. Serving as an escort for a special guest during a dinner is a good example; serving as an usher is not. Serving as a accolade may be. The key is that the sash physically gets in the way of doing anything except looking good...therefore, it should only be worn during those times in which your role is purely "one in which you're looking good" and not doing a lot of physical exertion. Flag details and color guards are NOT "special occasions" since the sash tends to fall or slip off at the most inappropriate times. This is also why the merit badge sash is NOT worn during summer camps, regular Troop or Team meetings or any other time other than FORMAL SPECIAL OCCASIONS.

Only one sash may be worn at any time.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:32 am

See? All I could find said that "boy scouts" wear the sash, not "first class (and above) boy scouts".
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby lifescoutforlife » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:23 am

Ask them to show you were it says that only first class and above can wear the sash and not just go by what they have heard from a class years ago.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:36 am

Urban Legend! Period!
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:54 am

This former SM must be really old.

He may be referring to a reference from an old BSA handbook:

Scouts can earn badges at any point in their Scouting career, although this was not always the case — in the 1960s, Scouts first had to earn the rank of Second Class Scout before being allowed to work on and earn badges.

So you wouldn't even have the need for a sash until 1st class. Plus you could wear them on your sleeve. You still can but I've never seen anyone do that. Mom's don't want to sew them twice.

Here's a good link to the history of MBs and sashes.

http://scouters.us/homemb.html
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby milominderbinder2 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:28 am

Quailman,

Often problems like this can be resolved by just getting someone trained.

It is OK not to know something but this person has made up his own program. I think that as you research this you will find a hundred other ways your program is not Boy Scouts.

Age is a mindset. There are 70 year olds who are younger in spirit and attitude than 30 year olds.

No matter what age this Scoutmaster is, he is too old to be leading boys.

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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:44 am

He's not old. I'm 53; he's mid-40's.

He's been through woodbadge and attends roundtable most months. I have not been through woodbadge, and I've only ever been to two roundtables.

I don't think he made this up. He said he 'heard it at a training class', and another ASM said he seemed to recall having heard it as well.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:09 pm

Then turn it around on them and ask them to show you where it says they can't wear a MB sash.

Just because some trainer said something incorrect, does not make it so. Otherwise I'd be adding to the requirements and failing scouts at their SMC.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:57 pm

Here's what the ASM said:
This could also be a troop related thing. My first troop is who had this as a rule and they were also district trainers at the time. I will research this later to see if it was possibly an old rule revised.


...to which I replied:

Troops are not allowed to make up their own rules! And if they're making up rules and passing them along they should be shot.


His reply:

I personally do not have a problem with it. It gives scouts something to look forward to anyways. My boys didn't wear it till 1st class and they were ok with it. Not a big deal.

I will look when I have time to see if this was a troop rule, which is acceptable.


This guy was our SM for two years. Thank goodness he's not any more. This may seem like a trivial issue, but once a troop starts making its own rules where does it stop? And who's to say what rules are acceptable. Plus, this is a stupid rule. I mean, what's the point of not allowing a second class scout to proudly display the merit badges he's earned?
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:08 pm

Troop rules Can Not Exist. The only rules are what BSA gives you. We have been through this a 1000 time son this forum :x
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby mt_goodrich » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:14 pm

Does that mean I can't wear my merit badge sash? :(

Just kidding!!!!
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby kwildman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:18 pm

my oldest son had ~10 merit badges as a 2nd class scout... because he was hung up on the swimming requirements. If a scout earns a merit badge he has the right to display it on a sash. These added rules are just petty and the SMs need to be held responsible to following the BSA requirements. Somebody needs to remind them that "IT IS ABOUT THE KIDS".
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:19 pm

Someone(not me) should start a thread of Troop rules that go against BSA Ploicy. I bet we will have more than 100 what do you all think?
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby kwildman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:44 pm

WV - I don't know if such a thread would be interesting or discouraging. :shock:
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:53 pm

His most recent reply:
Troop rules are called bylaws. We make amendments to bsa policy. As long as the two do not overlap in policy, it is ok.

I do not see an issue with this like I said.

If this was a policy of climbing and our scouts are not of age, different story. Driving longer than bsa allows in a day, different story. Shortening requirements, different story.

Again, till I find the source as to where this came from back in 2000, I cannot argue the point nor do I really want to. It is trivial as compared to other things. Mb sashes are traditionally only worn during Coh and ecoh anyways.


My feeling is once you start making changes for your own troop, where do you stop?
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby MisterChris » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:29 pm

Quailman wrote:...to which I replied:

Troops are not allowed to make up their own rules! And if they're making up rules and passing them along they should be shot.




I'll assume this was a figurative statement said in anger, but a Scout is Kind. and Courteous.
It's an unwritten rule but I'm sure there probably ought to be a Troop Bylaw somewhere that says A Scout shall not Murder.

EVERY troop has bylaws. WV, you have them too. Scream that you don't but I'll bet you do -

No food on the BUS
No dangling arms and legs, fishing rods and rope out of the BUS windows.
No riding on the ROOF or undercarriage of the BUS.
No videotaping the SM during his shower.
No COLD water shall be thrown on the SM during his shower.
ToteNChip card rules (4 corners, perhaps?)
On Campouts - no flashlights after 10pm.
On Campouts - only an adult may administer prescription medications, not the pusher in the Panther patrol.
On Campouts - no shaving cream beards (falls under hazing I guess)
On Campouts - use the bathroom in the latrine, NOT in the tent.
On Campouts - no more than the rated # of scouts in a tent at one time (G2SS?)
On Campouts - no siphoning gas from the SM truck to start a fire...
COH - no booing an unfavorite scout who gets an award (shame if that has to be in the bylaws)
COH - scout receiving rank must escort his mom forward to receive her pin, not holler 'hey get up here!'
COH - candles shall be lit by lighter, not flamethrower
On Campouts - white gas goes in cookstoves, not in buckets labelled 'fire' - these are for WATER to put OUT a fire
On Campouts - it is not funny to put a skunk in the SM tent, and will result in your trip home being early.


Entertaining list, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but you get my drift.

This particular 'troop rule' isn't a discipline rule though, and is quite silly. MB can be earned and received as soon as a Scout joins the troop (He may NOT earn requirements towards the MB until after he has joined.) So he might literally get MB to wear on the sash WITH his scout badge. Seems not 'proper' to make a scout wait to wear and display these MB until he hits 1st class. He earned them, he should be able to wear them.

This rule does not 'add to' or 'take away from' requirements for advancement, unless it was coupled with the rule that 'you cannot earn MB until you hit 2nd class'.

Our troop was flamed here in years past for some of the troop rules I 'inherited' as Adv Chair, and those that added to or took away from requirements for advancement were pitched as we 'discovered' they did.
But our troop DOES still have bylaws, some similar to those above.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:44 pm

Ok Those troop rules are ok but how abouit troop rules that have to to advancement or uniforms or what the troop sees as "Active" or who can be elected to the OA or who can vote in that election. Those are rules I am talking about.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:50 pm

I see your point. We have rules like iPods & gameboys are okay during the drive to a campout as long as they remain in the driver's car when we get there (for the sanity of the driver on long trips). I guess just because this one is, as you say, silly. It doesn't help to maintain a safe environment, or keep the ASM's car from getting trashed (another of ours is no sunflower seeds for snacks during the long drive), or really serve any purpose that I can see.

I am always alert for rules this individual might throw out there, because he was the driving force behind two-fer BORs and has always operated the troop like an advancement mill. When he was SM, and even prior to that he would pretty much take over the meetings as soon as the colors had been posted.

And we have a no uniform-no BOR policy.
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Re: Who can wear a merit badge sash?

Postby MisterChris » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:34 pm

OPening up a can of worms there, Quailman -

Flame me all you want, but...

We have that same rule, no uniform no BOR. I'm willing to send a scout home to get his uniform, or hold a 'make-up BOR' the following Monday night, but a scout who does not show up for his BOR better have a good excuse for not having one.

Unfortunately, we DO have a few scouts in our troop whose families are unable to afford a replacement uniform when the scout outgrows the one he got when he started. Uniforms are EXTREMELY expensive IMHO. We have a uniform bank that should serve well in that area.

We sometimes offer scholarships from charitable donors, and we'll work with a family to have the scout earn his uniform, etc. But the excuse of 'I forgot my uniform' or 'I just don't like it' or 'I refuse to wear it' just doesn't cut it in our troop. If you forgot it, go home and get it, I and the other gentlemen will actually wait for you. If you don't like it, well, my uniform was worse in the days when they had no collars, back when I had to slog through the snow uphill both ways to make it to the scout meeting.

...And if you 'refuse to wear it', what part of scouting do you object to, and why do you wish to stay in?? The uniform, according to the Scout Manual, is part of scouting and should be worn at meetings and COH.

Most of the time these excuses are covers for another issue - 'I've outgrown it, it's too tight and makes me look fat/poor/sloppy/chokes me to death' or 'I've lost it/it got chewed up by the skateboard park/dog next door/neighbor's toddler/washing machine on spin cycle'

I've not had to deal with scouts who could not or would not EVER wear the scout uniform. If one came across my plate who absolutely refused to wear the uniform even if it was bought FOR him, I'd have to consult literature to see whether he could actually be refused advancement. It falls, IMHO, under the latitude of Scout Spirit. Same as a scout who refuses to say the scout oath because he's an atheist, or the scout law because he's a non-conformist. He will absolutely be turned down in an Eagle Scout BOR. I've been told as much by every man who has sat as District Advancement Chair.

Maybe we do scouting different down here in the South?
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