The most important patch in Scouting might not be what you think

The Arrow of Light marks a major milestone in a Cub Scout’s growth. The senior patrol leader badge represents the most important position in a troop. And the Eagle Scout award symbolizes an incredible journey of perseverance.

But when considering the array of Scouting awards and recognitions available to young people, there’s one that stands above them all.

If you think about its ability to grow Scouting and introduce this life-changing program to new people, the Recruiter Strip might be the most important patch in Scouting.

It’s also one of the easiest to earn.

How to earn the Recruiter Strip

The Recruiter Strip has just one requirement: recruit a friend into Scouting.

Any youth member — in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing or Sea Scouts — who gets a friend, classmate or relative to sign up for Scouting can receive the red, white and blue patch.

Each Scout unit comes up with its own procedure for awarding the strip. In most packs, troops, crews and ships, the young person receives the strip the first time he or she successfully recruits someone into the unit.

How to wear the Recruiter Strip

The embroidered cloth strip is worn on the uniform, below the right pocket.

Recruiter Strip placement on the Cub Scout shirt (left) and Scouts BSA shirt (right).

An invitation — not a sales pitch

The BSA has created some pretty incredible recruiting materials to help you invite new families to join.

There are billboards, email templates, flyers, photos, postcards, posters, radio spots, social images, brochures and videos. The materials are excellent, but they don’t replace the best recruiting method of all: word of mouth.

Encourage your Scouts to make that personal invitation. They should approach the recruiting opportunity the same way they’d talk to a friend about a favorite book or videogame.

By sharing those personal, what-I-did-last-weekend experiences, recruiting won’t feel like a sales pitch but an invitation.

Your unit’s Recruiter Strip story

Every Recruiter Strip tells a story of someone inviting a friend to join the Scouting journey.

How does your pack, troop, crew or ship recognize young people who successfully invite others to join? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

About Bryan Wendell 2818 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.