Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scouting Service Stars

While I’m not planning on being a Cub Scout leader this year, it is definitely on the horizon. Later on in my Scouting career I learned to embrace the uniform, and that has stuck with me through the years. Now that I see myself wearing a uniform sooner than later, I want to be sure I do it right. While it might be a bit on the obsessive compulsive side, I want it to be just right.

While thinking about the uniform that I will probably be wearing by this time next year, I thought about the service stars, which are a way display your years of service to Scouting. My first year, I was a Tiger Cub, after which I spent three years as a Cub Scout. The regulations say that I have the option of wearing a 1 year service star with an orange background and a 3 year service star with a yellow background. This is clear, but I haven’t figured out which I plan to do on my adult uniform. It gets a little more confusing from then on, as I was a Boy Scout for seven years, and Explorer for five years, and an assistant Scoutmaster for three years. But those terms overlap. The last two years I was a Boy Scout, I was also an Explorer, and my last three years as an Explorer, coincided with my tenure as an assistant Scoutmaster. I was wondering if it was wrong to wear a 7 year service star with a green background, a 5 year service star with a red background, and a 3 year service star with a blue background.

I consulted the official Boy Scouts of America Insignia Guide, which didn’t really cover the subject of overlapping service. So I consulted the Internet. The site was quite informative on the subject, but still didn’t cover my specific question so I e-mailed the author, a Scouter with 47 years in the program. His answer was that I should wear the 7 year service star with a green background for my time in Boy Scouts, a 5 year Service Star for my time in Explorers, and a 3 year Service Star for my time as an assistant Scoutmaster, along with my choice of Cub Scout tenure service stars. In fact, he even said that it would be OK to wear a 10 year and 9 year service star with a blue background, even though the total number of years I have in the program don’t yet add up to nineteen.

The advice seems good, but when the time comes, I’ll also check with the local leadership to see if they have any specific standards.

After some thought, wearing these might seem like showing off, and while it is nice to have recognition for things, my hope is that the boys I will lead look at them and ask me questions like, “What does the green backing mean” and I could answer, “that was for Boy Scouts”, or “What does the red backing mean” and I could answer, “that was for Explorers and while Explorers isn’t a Boy Scout program anymore, they have added Venturing to replace it.” The hope is to get younger boys thinking about what they can do in the future.

1 comment:

jessicabradshaw said...

nice work. i found your blog after googling "scouting service stars" as a new den leader this really has helped.