When the Cub Scouts of Pack 33 level up to the next rank, they pass their neckerchiefs and hats to the Scouts one rank behind them.
This takes place in a yearly ceremony that’s equal parts sincere and chaotic.
It’s sincere because “it builds fellowship from each group as they help promote the den behind them to the next level,” says Pack 33 leader Bruce Andersen.
It’s chaotic because, well, it involves dozens of Cub Scouts simultaneously removing their neckerchiefs and placing them on the necks of other Cub Scouts.
The continuity of Scouting
The neckerchief pass started when a volunteer began creating the Pack 33 uniform bank. The bank allows new Cub Scout families to borrow gently used uniforms.
As a result, the Takoma Park, Md., pack amassed a large inventory of neckerchiefs — each worn for just a year. The idea for the neckerchief pass was born.
Andersen says the Cub Scouts like the tradition because they “get a sense of achievement as they move to the next level in Scouting.”
Parents like it, he says, because “it shows the continuity of the Scouting program.”
A single Cub Scout neckerchief might have been worn by 10 different Cub Scouts who had 10 different life-changing experiences in Pack 33. It’s powerful stuff.
We know that every Scout — from the youngest Lion to the oldest Venturer — walks in the footsteps of those who came before.
The Pack 33 neckerchief pass is a visible sign of that legacy.