“A merit badge sash is never worn on the belt.”
It’s right there on Page 31 of the Guide to Awards and Insignia. The word “never” is even italicized and everything.
Coincidentally, Page 31 of the September-October 2014 issue of Scouting magazine is where you’ll find a group of Scouts wearing — you guessed it — merit badge sashes on their belts.
Two of the Scouts in the photo wear an OA sash and a merit badge sash, also a no-no according to Page 31 of the Guide.
So what gives?
Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard from more than a dozen Scouters who noticed the uniforming mix-up and wanted to contact us.
Here’s a small sampling:
“I have seen this so many times and I can no longer keep quiet,” a Pennsylvania Scouter writes. “Boy Scouts should not wear their merit badge sashes on their belt. … Wear it properly or not at all!”
A North Carolina Scouter adds: “I’d hate for someone to look at the photo and think, ‘Gee, that’s a great way to wear a merit badge sash and an OA sash at the same time!’”
“It is hard to get boys to follow BSA guidelines when they see other Scouts breaking the rules and getting recognized for it!” exclaims a Michigan Scouter.
We at Scouting magazine feel fortunate to have such eagle-eyed readers who notice this kind of thing. It means you read the magazine and care about Scouting.
And we hear you. You’re correct that merit badge sashes aren’t worn properly in the photo.
When out on assignment, we try to correct these types of uniform mistakes when we see them. But we can’t be everywhere and can’t fix everything.
So why run the photo? Because these fine Scouts from Nashville gave up their free time to attend the BSA’s 2014 National Annual Meeting and serve as the color guard.
They deserve our thanks and our recognition — no matter how they’re dressed.
A reminder about how to wear merit badge sashes
What better time to remind you about the rules and guidelines behind wearing merit badge sashes?
My blog post from back in March has everything you need to know.