Special Regulations

Awards from Other Scout Associations

Scouters occasionally receive awards from Scouting associations of other nations, and it is important that they know how these awards should be worn. This does not include jamboree patches. Following are the regulations for wearing such awards:

  1. They are always worn when visiting the country whose Scouting association presented the award or when attending a meeting or function attended by Scouters from that country.
  2. Medals awarded by other associations are worn above the left breast pocket.

Badges of Other Organizations

The general rule is that badges awarded by organizations other than the Boy Scouts of America may not be worn on an official uniform. This includes military medals and service ribbons.

There are, however, notable exceptions. Among them are religious emblems and those special badges approved by local councils in conjunction with the national Program Group Committee such as Historic Trails medals.

The Boy Scouts of America recognizes the religious emblems program, which belongs to each faith group. Anyone (youth or adult) who, as a member of another youth agency (e.g., Girl Scouts of the USA, Campfire Boys and Girls, a Sunday School class, etc.), has earned the religious emblem of their faith is eligible to wear the approved religious emblem on their respective uniform. Individuals would also be eligible to wear the religious square knot, without any device.

Badge Swapping

Boy Scouts and Venturers attending jamborees may swap among themselves articles and novelties of a local or regional nature. The swapping of such items as badges of office, rank, distinguished service, training, performance, achievement, and distinction, however, is a violation of Article X of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, forbidding the holding of these badges by any but the members who have complied with the requirements for them.

Headgear Regulations

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. The Scouter dress uniform is always worn without headgear. Pins may be worn on the jamboree hat but only while at the jamboree, and Webelos activity badges may be worn on the Webelos cap. As part of the First Class Emphasis, the large standard metal pin, No. 00017, has been reinstated as an option to the cloth First Class rank badge. The large pin also may be worn only by boys on the front of the campaign hat, No. 501, and the expedition hat, No. 637. Adults may wear the adult universal hat pin, No. 50150, on the campaign hat and the expedition hat. No other pins may be worn on official headgear of the BSA.

Council Shoulder Emblems

A custom-designed multicolor council shoulder emblem is designed for each council and dramatizes local tradition for all members of the council. In this No. 16000 series, the last three digits of the catalog number represent the council number.

All council shoulder emblems must contain identification including one of the following: corporate name (Boy Scouts of America); corporate initials (BSA), BSA fleur-de-lis (universal with eagle or plain one-color), "Venturing BSA", or "Venturing".

District Insignia

Districts are operational arms of the local council. Individuals are not identified as residents of a district, but of the local council and the Boy Scouts of America. For this reason district insignia is not authorized for wear on the uniform. Where it seems desirable to identify district participation in council activities, district flags or banners may be authorized. They are described in the flag portion of this book.

Drum and Bugle Corps Uniforms

Boy Scouts or Venturers who are members of bands, drill teams, or drum and bugle corps affiliated with a unit or a local council must wear the official uniform for their registration status.

The wearing of special helmets, scarves, gloves, unofficial leggings, and the carrying of ceremonial guns or swords by members of such organizations using the uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America is in violation of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.

The musician badge is the only special insignia that may be worn by the members of these organizations. It is worn on the right sleeve centered just below (1/2 inch) the patrol medallion.

Excess Insignia

With the exception of the Cub Scout badges of rank and Arrow Points, 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, a trophy hide or blanket, exhibited in the home of the recipient, or at functions where such a display is invited. Members may wear only temporary patches (no badges of rank) on the back of the merit badge sash. Members may wear only one merit badge sash at a time. A merit badge sash is never worn on the belt.

Jamboree Insignia

Jamboree emblems for Boy Scouts or Venturers are worn only by registered jamboree participants and staff and are centered immediately above the Boy Scouts of America strip or, for Venturers, above the right shirt pocket above the Venturing strip. No more than two jamboree patches may be worn on the shirt—one current national jamboree patch above the right pocket and one current world jamboree patch on the right pocket.

If the wearer has an interpreter strip above the pocket, merely move the jamboree emblem upward sufficiently to accommodate it.

Council jamboree shoulder patches cannot have pictorial representations or descriptive remarks relating to commercial corporations or commercial products.

Jackets and Their Insignia

Multicolored jackets in nylon, wool, and poplin are available for optional wear by youth members and adult leaders. The universal emblem should be worn on the left pocket or, in case of a jacket without chest pockets, in the same area. The Philmont bull emblem is especially designed for the red wool jac-shirt to be sewn on the left side above the pocket. On all jackets the Philmont Scout Ranch, Philmont Training Center, or high-adventure base emblems may be worn centered on the right pocket or in the same relative position if there is no pocket. The Order of the Arrow has adopted the jac-shirt as its official jacket, and members may wear the 6-inch national Order of the Arrow patch centered on the back. The large Philmont, NESA, jamboree, National Camping School, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, and international participant emblems are approved to be worn on the back of the jacket. Only one such emblem may be worn at a time. The Venture/Varsity letter may be worn on the center of the right side of the red or blaze nylon or poplin jacket. In all cases, the lightweight jacket is an alternate for the jac-shirt, and this insignia may be worn on it in the same way.

Badges of Rank Are for Youth Members

In Scouting, the advancement program is intended for youth members only. Scouters should neither seek awards designed for youth members nor wear them on the Scouter uniform except for square knots representing the Arrow of Light Award, Eagle Scout Award, Venturing Silver Award, Quartermaster Award, or religious emblems earned as a youth member.

Two Badges With the Same Meaning

Cloth badges and embroidered square knots are representative of metal pin-on awards and are designed for the convenience of the wearer. Generally, when a cloth badge is worn, the metal one is not worn.

Temporary Insignia

Temporary insignia are issued for such events as summer camp, camporees, and Scouting shows. All temporary insignia must contain identification including one of the following: corporate name (Boy Scouts of America); corporate initials (BSA), BSA fleur-de-lis (universal with eagle or plain one-color), "Venturing BSA", or "Venturing".

Order of the Arrow regional and national meetings and training activities may also provide them (the totin chip patch is also temporary insignia). Only one such patch may be worn at a time. The patch is worn centered on the right pocket and must not exceed the dimension of the seams of the pocket, nor extend higher than the lowest tip of the pocket flap. It may be either sewn or suspended from under the flap attached to the button. The Tiger Cub Immediate Recognition emblem may be worn suspended from the right pocket button by Tiger Cubs in addition to sewn-on temporary insignia. The Progress Toward Ranks or Webelos compass points emblem may be worn by a Cub Scout or Webelos Scout suspended from the right pocket button in addition to sewn-on temporary insignia.

Female leaders wearing either the traditional yellow Cub Scout leader blouse, the optional tan leader blouse, or the Venturing blouse, may wear one temporary insignia centered above the Boy Scouts of America strip.

Commissioners and other conducting inspectors should know that temporary insignia are not required for correct uniforming. They should not deduct points for failure to wear such insignia, but, if worn, they must be worn correctly.

Consider displaying temporary insignia in ways other than on the official uniform. Here are some suggestions:

  • Wear it on a BSA red patch vest, campfire robe or blanket, or special neckerchief.
  • Display it on a wall plaque, trophy hide, or mounted in a frame.
  • Or, make a special neckerchief slide, sectional totem pole, or flagpole insignia for display.

Scouting Identification

It is mandatory that all badges worn on BSA uniforms contain identification including one of the following:

  • Corporate name (Boy Scouts of America)
  • Corporate initials (BSA)
  • BSA fleur-de-lis (universal with Eagle or plain one-color)
  • Venturing, BSA; Venturing

This means that all council-approved Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing badges also must bear a BSA identification to protect them, and that these BSA cloth badges must be approved by the national office.

The Neckerchief

Official neckerchiefs. Official neckerchiefs are triangular in shape. Tiger Cub neckerchiefs are orange and blue. Cub Scout neckerchiefs are gold with blue border for boys working in the Wolf Handbook, light blue with dark blue border for boys working in the Bear Handbook. The universal Cub Scout emblem is displayed in a central position on the downward corner. Cub Scout leaders may wear the blue and gold Cub Scout leader's neckerchief. Webelos Scouts wear the gold, green, and red plaid neckerchief with the Webelos emblem on the downward corner. A Webelos leader wears a neckerchief similar to the Webelos Scout neckerchief, except that it has gold embroidered edging and is larger.

A special Lone Scout neckerchief, No. 00703A, is gold with the black and red printed insignia of the lone Scout. It is worn by both Lone Cub Scouts and Lone Boy Scouts.

Boy Scout neckerchiefs are optional. The troop decides by vote, and all members abide by the decision. If the neckerchief is not worn, then the shirt is worn with open collar. Boy Scout and Boy Scout leader neckerchiefs may be worn in a variety of plain colors and contrasting borders. Those available through Supply Group include the embroidered universal Scouting emblem if perma-press, or printed if not. Troops choose their own official neckerchief.

Local councils may prescribe the specific official neckerchief to be worn by Boy Scouts and Scouters on a council or district basis.

The neckerchief is worn only with the official uniform and never with T-shirts or civilian clothing. All members of a troop wear the same color.

Special neckerchiefs, the same size as the official ones, may be authorized by local councils. Such neckerchiefs may include identification of the chartered organization. The standard designed neckerchief may be personalized with troop number, city, and state. By troop approval an Eagle may wear an Eagle neckerchief.

Tiger Cub slide

Cub Scout Wolf slide

Cub Scout Bear slide

Webelos Scout slide

Boy Scout slide

Neckerchief slides. Several official slides are available from the Supply Group. Boy-made handicraft slides also may be worn.

How to Wear the Neckerchief

a. Fold long edge over several flat folds to about six inches from tip of neckerchief. A tight fold prevents gathering around the neck and is more efficient than rolling or twirling.
b. The unit has a choice of wearing the neckerchief over the collar or under the collar.
c. Draw neckerchief slide over ends and adjust to fit snugly.
d. By vote of troop, ends may be left hanging loose or may be tied in a slipknot.

Shoulder Loops

Colored shoulder loops identify the area of Scouting: blue, Cub Scouting; red, Boy Scouting; blaze, Varsity Scouting; green, Venturing; silver, council and district; gold, national and regional. Wear the color for the primary registered position in which you are functioning.


Cub Scouts wear the official Cub Scout navy blue web belt with metal buckle and Cub Scout emblem. Tiger Cubs wear the official Cub Scout navy blue web belt with metal buckle and Tiger Cub emblem. For Webelos Scouts, the official Cub Scout navy blue web belt with metal buckle and Webelos Scout emblem is preferred for wear with either the blue or the tan Webelos uniform. However, Webelos Scouts also have the option of wearing the olive web belt with the metal Boy Scout buckle.

Boy Scouts wear the official olive web belt with the metal Boy Scout buckle.

Female adult Cub Scout leaders wearing the blue and gold uniform also wear the official Cub Scout navy blue web belt with metal buckle and Cub Scout or Webelos Scout emblem. Adult leaders wearing the tan uniform wear the official olive web belt with the metal Boy Scout buckle.

Leather camp, high-adventure base, or Wood Badge belts with official BSA buckles also may be worn with the youth or adult uniform. Venturers may wear a belt of their choice.