Bryan on Scouting

Nametags on Scout uniforms are OK — and probably a good idea for larger troops

In Tom’s troop, the adult leaders wear nametags. The Scouts do not.

But with the troop now more than 100 Scouts strong, it’s getting tougher to know which Scout is Aiden and which is Jayden.

That led Tom’s troop to consider nametags for youth members.

“We feel it would help not only the adult leaders in learning the Scouts’ names but also help the Scouts,” Tom writes. “My concern is that since the Scouts would obviously be in public with these uniforms and nametags, does that violate any Youth Protection or other privacy issues? I haven’t been able to find anything about this so looking for some help.”

What the Uniform Guide says

The Guide to Awards and Insignia (page 28) shows a nametag on a uniform, meaning they’re approved for uniform wear.

The nametag is worn above the words “Boy Scouts of America” over the right pocket. If an interpreter strip is worn, the nametag goes above that. You’ll find the illustrations on pages 28, 46, 51, and 65 of the Guide to Awards and Insignia.

What you’ll find at your local Scout Shop

The Scout Shop sells nameplates in a number of varieties. You can select which image will appear next to the name — Cub Scout logo, BSA fleur-de-lis, Venturing logo or Exploring logo.

There are one-line and two-line versions, and you can pick between magnetic fasteners or clutch-back clasps.

What the Youth Protection Committee says

I talked to Jim Wilson, chairman of the BSA’s Youth Protection Committee.

He reiterates that nametags are not required and that there’s “no real one answer that fits all occasions.”

“They are worn as a courtesy and a way to identify someone in a group,” Wilson says. “The appropriate type of nametag depends on the activity, the group, and the ages of those wearing the nametags. As we do in all cases, we ask folks to use good judgement when it comes to their concerns about perceived or real Youth Protection issues.”

In other words, nametags are approved by the BSA and even sold in Scout Shops. But they aren’t required.

That means each unit should decide whether nametags make sense for them.

“If a unit doesn’t like nametags, then they shouldn’t use them,” Wilson says. “However, if a grouping of adults think it is the way to ensure all will be easily recognized, clearly that’s OK also.”

What I say

I think nametags are a great idea, especially in larger troops or at events like the National Jamboree, where you have Scouts from several home troops forming one large Jamboree troop.

I’ve seen troops with nametags that show the first name only, first name and last initial, and full name. I’d recommend asking your troop committee to take up the matter.

If you’re looking for a temporary identifier that costs less than $10, invest in some stick-on nametags for a few meetings.

More discussions like this

This blog post idea came from a thread in the Bryan on Scouting forums. Be sure to check the forums out today.