Why isn’t the World Crest pre-sewn on BSA uniform shirts?

expertlogo1That little purple circle on your Scout uniform shirt means a lot.

It’s the World Crest, and it’s worn by all registered youth members and adult leaders to symbolize membership in the World Scouting movement. You wear it centered horizontally over your left pocket and vertically between left shoulder seam and the top of the pocket.

So if it’s worn by all registered members, why doesn’t come pre-sewn on the shirt, like the American flag patch on our right sleeves?

I found the answer in today’s Ask the Expert. 

world-scout-crestWhy do we wear the World Crest?

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturers wear the World Crest because we’re members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

The World Crest, also known as the World Scout Emblem and the World Membership Badge, unites us as Scouts.

In a room full of Scouts from around the world, you’ll see uniforms that are tan, blue, red and green.

But they’ll have one thing in common: the World Crest. Not every country wears the patch in the same location, but they all wear it.

world-crest-patchOK, so why isn’t the World Crest pre-sewn on BSA uniforms?

Here’s what Peter Self, who leads the Member Experience Innovation team, told me.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement charges the BSA a licensing/royalty fee each time we sell or use the World Crest logo.

Charging a fee is one way the WOSM makes money. The organization doesn’t have Friends of Scouting campaigns or popcorn sales like the BSA does, so it makes sense.

The definition of “use” when it comes to the logo is pretty broad and includes its use on shirts and uniforms. But here’s the kicker: the fee is 5 percent of the cost of the article or item being sold.

So that means if the BSA sold its $40 Boy Scout uniform shirt with the World Crest already on it, now making it $42, the BSA would owe WOSM $2.10 (or 5 percent of $42). That means the price you pay for a uniform shirt would go up by $2.10.  Instead, the BSA pays a royalty fee for each World Crest patch sold. The patches cost $1.99, so we owe less than 10 cents a patch. The BSA rolls that cost into the $1.99 you pay.

Long story short: By doing it this way, the BSA saves you a couple of bucks.

Multiply that by millions of Scouts and Scouters, some of whom have more than one uniform shirt, and you can see why the BSA made this move.

It keeps a little more money in your pocket.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.