I am getting hits on my blog from Internet search engines asking for information about how to sew patches onto Cub Scout uniforms.
Putting Patches On New Uniforms
Here is a link to the BSA official information with illustrations, online. I feel this is overwhelming. It also does not cover "brag patches" aka "temporary patches" such as those issued for attending summer camp or day camp or some other Council event for which a patch is issued.
However, the updated Cub Scout handbook has the illustrations inside the covers. Also, now the hang tag on the uniform shirt shows where to put the patches.
That is the information you need to know if your son is just beginning Cub Scouting and is getting his first Cub Scout uniform ready (before any awards have been earned).
Here is a link to view the official Cub Scout uniform inspection sheet which is free. This is a nice link to email to your Pack and Den members if you are asked about the patch placement. This can also be printed out and handed out to parents if you or they prefer hard copy information. Also, Scout shops may have this Cub Scout uniform inspection sheet (hard copy) available to give you at the time you purchase your uniform and/or badges.
Later, you will need to know where to pub the badges of Cub Scout rank. Badges of rank information is here.
Other award placement information for "badges of participation" can be found here. You may have to scroll down.
Information about the Cub Scout Sports and Academics program (belt loops and pins) can be found here. You may have to scroll down.
Information about the 'Cub Scout badges of recognition' can be found here.
Your Cub Scout Handbook (the Scout's handbook) might also tell this information. Some of the handbooks have the information in the front section of the book while others have it on the back inside cover.
If you purchase a new Cub Scout uniform shirt there is also a Cub Scout patch placement guide on a hang tag attached to the shirt.
Information about why Cub Scouts wear uniforms can be found here, along with some other general information.
Other general rules for the Cub Scout uniform can be found here, such as how to wear the neckerchief, etc.
Do not hesitate to contact your Cub Scout Den Leader with any questions you may have, they will be happy to help you.
Cub Scout Leader Uniform Directions
If you need information on where to place the patches on Cub Scout Leader uniforms, here is a link to that information.
That information is also on the hang tag on new Cub Scout uniforms.
The information is also contained inside of the Cub Scout Leader Handbook.
Pocket Flap Shaped Patches
The Cub Scout “Outdoor Activity Award” patch is a pocket flap shaped patch which goes on the RIGHT pocket’s flap if you want to put it there. Wearing it is optional.
Any patch which is the shape of a pocket flap would be one that can be worn on the RIGHT pocket flap.
You can wear the flap shaped patch on the right pocket flap and have a different patch on the right pocket itself which is called a temporary patch (more information follows on that).
Last weekend I saw a huge patch that is the size of the entire front right pocket itself (the bottom part) which actually had a connecting/coordinating design to the patch on the right flap (imagine a jigsaw puzzle but shaped like the pocket flap and the pocket). These seem to be more common with Boy Scouts than with Cub Scouts.
Temporary patches are patches earned for attending events and participating in special events. Examples are a patch for doing an Earth Day activity, attending a sports game with the Scouts, participating in a food drive, attending the Blue and Gold Dinner, etc. Temporary patches usually represent participation in a one-time event such as a Council organized hike, attendance at Cub Scout Day Camp, attendance at Cub Scout Resident Camp, participation in a Pinewood Derby race or any number of other 'one time' events. (How many patches are issued by Councils and Packs varies, some give out a lot!) Those temporary patches can be kept just as a souvenir, a momento of the occasion, they do not need to be sewn onto the uniform.
If you want your son to wear it, ONLY the most recent one may be placed on the right pocket, the front of the right pocket—not on the flap.
Temporary patches are not to be put anywhere else on the uniform--one would go on that right pocket, that is all. (I have seen them everywhere, on hats, up the back, on sleeves! That is not allowed. It looks ridiculous!)
Some temporary patches come with loops attached. You open the pocket flap, put the loop over the button and put the flap back on, thereby attaching it to the pocket, and it hangs down over the right front pocket. That is an easy option, especially since perhaps next month a new temporary patch will be earned and should be swapped out.
You may also sew this patch onto the uniform if you don’t mind the sewing work and if you don’t mind taking it off soon thereafter when the next patch is received. The idea is that the most recent one earned would go in that spot.
My sons like wearing the temporary patches, especially the ones with what they consider to be ‘cool’ designs or ones for events that they really had a great time participating in. Although technically the Scouts are supposed to wear only the most recent some stretched this to keep wearing their favorite. Packs and Dens do not usually police this like fanatics!
I also find that temporary patches are conversation starters when other Scouts and even adults will ask my children what that patch is for and what was the event like? It serves as well, as a promotion for some of the good community service projects and some of the fun extra things (like summer camp) that a Scout can do.
The Red Vest
The extra temporary patches can be saved in a collection and stored in any way that the Scout desires. One thing that some people do with them is place them on a red felt vest that some call a “bragging vest” or a "brag vest". These are sold by the Scout shops such as ScoutStuff.org and they cost about $12. The patches are sewed on in any way that you want, in any order or placement that the Scout desires. The red vest may be worn at any time on top of the regular uniform. I have not seen many Scouts wearing these vests but I did buy them for my sons but so far the patches are not sewn on. My boys have expressed that they don’t want to be the only ones wearing the red vest and that is why so far they are not wearing them. The boys whom I have seen wearing them were at Council sponsored camping events, they are not people in our own Pack.
Patch Blanket Idea
Someone told me that some Boy Scouts sew those patches onto a red blanket which they use at camp outs while sitting around the fire.
Red Jackets For Adults
Some adult leaders and volunteers put the patches on a red wool shirt sold at Scout shops and they wear it like a coat, to Scout events in cold weather (such as on camping trips).
Collecting Temporary Patches
Lastly, those temporary patches are often collected by other people and some are sold on eBay or traded with other Scouts such as at large gatherings like the Jamboree.
Sometimes Councils will sell extra patches for nominal amounts for trading and collecting. My Council has been selling a bag of about ten for $2.
I am getting hits on my blog about bragging patches. In some regions these temporary event patches are referred to as bragging patches. Perhaps the person inquiring about it thinks that these temporary patches are a form of bragging, if so, I disagree. The temporary patches are just a way of remembering the fun time that was had at a fun event. The patches earned as part of a community service event is a little more like a reward and recognition for the Scout's participation in a commendable act.
I think it is nice that the Scouts not only have memories of things like attending an ice hockey game with the Pack or Council but that they also remember the volunteer work that they did and that they are rewarded for doing it in a small way by the organization by being given a patch.
I have never seen a Cub Scout actually bragging or being rude in any way about the patches they wear. In my experience, most Scouts actually own a lot of badges that they don't display, either because their parents just haven't gotten around to sewing on the patches or because they choose not to wear them.
post updated 3/20/14 to add more detail
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