Badges here… badges there… badges everywhere


Here is a question, what is it with Adults and Badges?

I have recently seen a couple of questions on-line and outside of the www world all asking about more badges for adults. I only need three (maybe 4) on my uniform and one of those is not really a badge

My 3/4 are

  • Woodbadge (not really a badge but it counts)
  • World Membership Badge
  • First Aid where appropriate
  • Queens Scout (depending on if you chose to wear it on not)

Yes yes I know, there are District, County/Area badges. There are occasional badges, there are awards of merit and service awards. However, when you look at it, the above list is what you need to be a leader (or working towards in the case of Woodbadge)

So I guess my question is why do some adults feel the need to be like that keeno cub with a chest and arm full. Is it:

  • about recognition?
  • about a need to impress others with knowledge and skill?
  • because they did not join scouts as a kid and feel they missed out?
  • because they just want something to put on their blanket?

Or is these real reason to have them?

Skills Badges

Some badge I have heard mentioned, I can see the benefit of e.g. a sign language badge to identify those who are able to use and understand sign language this would allow Young people at large events to easily identify people who could help them if they need it.

However, I guess the next stage is badges for experience; I am a project manager in my work life with experience of working with children and young adults with a range of different disabilities, do I need a badge for each disability or just one for all.

I maybe you could have badges to show you are trained in counselling “I am ok for drugs and self-harmers but if they turn suicidal I don’t have a badge for that”.

That is a bit light-hearted but the thing that worries me is I have heard mention of Adults wanting proficiency badges which to me is a step too far.

If you did not get the advance pioneer when you were a scout well that I am afraid is just tuff and there is no getting over it

I love to hear your thought on badges in the comments below?



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  1. Nick Wood
    11 February, 2011

    On my uniform I wear the World Membership badge, my Group’s name tape, and my County, Division (don’t ask!) and District badges. I wear these as they are part of my uniform as the member of a Group. I also have my 15 years long service award and medal of merit badge as I was officially awarded them. I wear my Wood Badge beads (when I remember) because I was awarded them and they show I have completed my leader training). On my necker I have my Group’s badge which celebrates our 100th anniversary (we have permission from the County for it). Finally I wear my Queen’s Scout Award because I can! That’s it.

    It does make me raise an eyebrow when I see Leaders wearing, for example, nights away badges. Do they want to show off (although I suppose that accusation could be levelled at me for wearing my QSA)?
    I don’t see the point of other badges (leader challenge badges?). If I feel like having a badge that the kids have then it goes on my blanket – looks more impressive there with the rest!


  2. Ben
    11 February, 2011

    I can see it from both sides. I personally wouldn’t want to wear any extra badges as I don’t feel that I need my ego inflating, I am already that good.

    But maybe there should be some sort of skills register available to everyone in your district. A bit like a CV, if you look at other people’s CV’s you’ll see a number of skills, qualifications or job certificates, that could greatly benefit Scouting. But unless people go round saying they have these skills or they are unaware their skills are valuable, then these skills go unnoticed.

    I once had a group of Cubs keen to do archery, but in the district I was in nobody was qualified to teach archery, even the people supposedly in the ‘know’ said no one had qualifications. So it meant me having to sort out training with the GNAS on one of their courses for my wife and I. But this took over a year to sort out and then attend the courses. Then 6 months later on a district camp, talking to an ASL from another group I found out he had a number of ‘shooting sport’ qualifications. He had told the people the ‘know’ he would happily run activities for YP, but nobody had taken him up on it or even bothered keeping his details or telling anyone else. Yet meeting same person on district camp the previous year, with some sort of Master of Arms badge on uniform would have saved a lot of time and hassle on my behalf. Yet again it comes down to TSA failing to communicate as usual!!!!


    1. Scotland
      15 March, 2011

      Badges/Awards that I wear are (apart from the usual membership/county/district etc badges)

      First Aid
      Duke of Edinburgh Gold
      Queen Scout
      wood beads (when I remember)
      Explorer Belt (which is actually a belt… and again when I remember to look it out)

      All of which are on the leader shirt layout thingy on scoutbase… and that is all that I need. As for other things, well, I get a kick and a warm and fussy sense of pride when I see my scouts with those badges.

      As for a skills database, we discussed this in our district recently and we may be putting one together. We have a district newsletter that goes out every month and people can advertise skills or request things through it. I personally offer to run Circus Skills workshops for other scout groups for a small donation to my group to help raise funds.

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