Memorabilia Monday: A troop’s history, stitched in time

The Patch Blanket

You’ll hear about a troop’s history in a variety of ways.

Some seasoned Scouters will sit at the campfire and tell you the story of their troop from memory. Other units keep detailed scrapbooks or photo albums to pass on to future generations.

But St. Louis Scouter Lisa Balbes has a unique way of preserving Troop 352’s memories: a large patch blanket, seen above.

In a clever blending of classic Scouting and new technology, Balbes has even given the patch blanket its own Web site. The site lets you hover over each patch on the blanket for a closer look.

Here’s what she wrote in her note to me:

The troop associated with our school had folded, so when boys graduated from the pack they scattered to numerous troops. When my husband was Cubmaster, he decided to restart our own troop. After about eight years, we had a reunion and invited back everyone who could find who had ever been associated with either incarnation of Troop 352.

At the event, a lovely woman came whose father had been Scoutmaster of the troop in the 1960s through 1980s. Her father had passed away years ago, and her only brother, an Eagle Scout, had been killed in a car accident when he was 18. Her father had kept a patch collection, pinned to a piece of red fabric, that she’d kept all those years, not knowing what to do with it. She came to our reunion, and donated both the blanket and a Scout-themed candelabra to our troop. She was thrilled to find someone who wanted and appreciated them, and we were thrilled to get a piece of our troop’s history. I carefully sewed all the patches on (by hand), added a back and loops, and built the stand.

It now serves as a back drop at all our Courts of Honor, and the boys always enjoy looking at all the old patches, which include the first OA patch in our lodge, and some that we have not yet been able to identify. I am slowly figuring out what they all are and adding that to the database, so the troop’s history will not be lost again.

What a great way to preserve the legacy of Troop 352. If you have a cherished Scouting item you’d like to share for Memorabilia Monday, find out how to send it to me after the jump.

  • Take a high-res .jpg image of your favorite Scouting item.
  • Just select one to send me (I know that picking one could be hard, but please try!).
  • The file must be less than 2 MB in size.
  • E-mail it to me with the subject line “Memorabilia” to scoutingmag@gmail.com.
  • Include your name, position, and council.
  • Tell me why this item is special to you.
  • About Bryan Wendell 2912 Articles
    Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.