Which patches shouldn’t be traded?

Your 10-piece jamboree set for my Eagle patch? Sorry, no way.

Council shoulder strips, district camporee patches, and pins from your hometown are perfect trinkets to trade at national Scout jamborees or other major Scouting events.

But some patches and Scouting memorabilia should stay home.

No matter what the event, including national jamborees, the BSA has rules restricting patch trading.

Here’s the excerpt from Page 9 of the 2012 edition of the Guide to Awards and Insignia:

Patch Trading

Boy Scouts and Venturers attending jamborees may trade among themselves articles and novelties of a local or regional nature. The trading 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.

In other words, if you haven’t earned a Silver Beaver knot, you shouldn’t have it in the first place, let alone attempt to trade it with someone else. Same goes for Eagle Scout items, religious medals, badges of office, square knots, and more.

Is there a way to reliably enforce this practice 24/7? Of course not. But knowing the rules and the rationale behind them keeps you and your Scouts on the positive side of patch trading.

Trading between adults and Scouts: The exception, not the rule

In September, I mentioned that adults can trade with Scouts at the 2013 jamboree, as long as they do it in specified areas.

But I should point out that this is a special exception granted to the jamboree and that the BSA still has a rule restricting patch trading to Boy Scouts and Venturers. In other words, it’s the exception, not the rule.


Photo by W. Garth Dowling, BSA

About Bryan Wendell 2882 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.