Homepage Forums Scouts BSA Wearing the Totin\\\’ Chip/Chit

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    • #79461

      I’ve been in scouting for many years now, and I continue to see Scouts wearing the Totin’ Chit patch on their right pocket flap. Please address this one and put it to bed? Where is the ONLY place the Totin Chit patch can be worn on the BSA uniform?

      Tired of arguing with Scouts/Leaders alike.

    • #79489

      It’s a temporary patch, so the correct placement of the both the Totin’ Chit and the Fire’m Chip patches are on the right pocket (not the right pocket flap).

      This is specifically called out in the BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia, in the Boy Scout Insignia section, at the bottom right of Page 16.

      Totin’ Chip, cloth, No. 8597; Boy Scout; worn as a temporary patch on right pocket; not to be worn on pocket flap.

      Firem’n Chit, cloth, No. 8599; Boy Scout, worn as a temporary patch on right pocket; not to be worn on pocket flap.

    • #79849

      The BSA should stop making the totin chip patch the shape of a pocket flap. Make it square and put a loop on it and be done with this nonsense.

      • #192777

        Agreed – BSA needs to stop making it a perfect fit for the pocket flap, then they say, “NOT meant for the pocket flap”.

        The rules say it’s a “Temp Patch”, so it’s a temp patch. End of discussion. That means it can be worn in 1 of 2 places; either as the ONLY patch on the right pocket, or on the back of the Merit Badge sash.

        Per the uniform guide regarding the MB Sash…
        “Merit badges may be worn on the front and back of the sash. Temporary patches may only be worn on the back of the sash. The merit badge sash and the Order of the Arrow sash may not be worn at the same time.”

    • #90534
      Fred VonFirstenberg

      Right pocket flap. It’s temporary.

      The other scouters you’ve spoken with are correct.

      • #228640
        Jeff Mastin

        Actually you’re incorrect. It can be worn on the right pocket, NOT the pocket flap. Also temporary patches can be worn on the back of the merit badge sash. These are the only 2 places that these temporary patches may be worn.

        From the Guide to Awards and Insignia….

        Section 2, Scouts BSA Insignia, Totin Chip, page 45
        “worn as a temporary patch on right pocket; not to be worn on pocket flap.”

        Section 2, Scouts BSA Insignia, Firem’n Chip, page 45
        “worn as a temporary patch on right pocket; not to be worn on pocket flap.”

        Also, this from the area dealing with merit badge sashes…

        Section 2, Scouts BSA Insignia, Merit badges section, page 35.
        “Temporary patches may only be worn on the back of the sash.”

        Also, I have seen a few Scouts wearing them and I think they look silly as they dont extend all the way left to right on the pocket flap like OA Lodge patches do.

        Most things like this are spelled out pretty cut and dry if you look for them in official sources and not just rely on what so-and-so said to you somewhere. Plenty of misinformation out there, even in lifelong Scouting circles and Scouters. I also see scouts wearing their merit badge sash folded over and thru there belt. Also forbidden if you read that same section and page above dealing with merit badge sashes.

      • #249836
        Jack S

        Thank you Jeff, good info.
        I stumbled on this with the intent on asking the dumb question if I should take the Totin Chip off my uniform to attend an Eagle Court of Honor as an adult, 20 years since getting my Eagle. My troop always wore them on the pocket flap since as you’ve all mentioned, it’s pocket flap shaped! 🙂

        I guess it needs to come off the flap, and needs to stay off as an adult.

        Thanks everyone!

    • #112410

      Why are people getting so bent it of shape? I’ve seen them on the pocket flap and they look good. At summer camp the shop guys won’t sell pocket knives unless you are wearing it or can show a card. I’m going to show my kids how to see a loop on so it can be worn temporary in case I run into any of these folks who are sweating the small stuff.

    • #157056

      Hi there, how can you earn the Totin Chip without waiting for Summer Camp?

    • #183183
      Steve McGuffey

      If the Totin Chit and Fire man Chit is to be worn on the pocket then why would it come shaped as a flap. And what to do if a Scout has both!!?

      BSA, make the Chit patches NOT resemble a flap.

    • #187431
      Bob Crandall

      Back in the mid-1980s, a scout was issued a Totin’ Chip card and the patch (white, with a green border, shaped like a pocket flap). HOWEVER, the patch was NOT AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR on the uniform — only on the backpack or a blanket, etc (like the Historic Trails award, Paul Bunyan Axeman, 50 Miler patch, etc.). You never wore those on your uniform or merit badge sash (though you’d always see oddball patches being worn on the sash). Now, if an adult saw a scout misusing an knife or ax, he’d cut a corner off of your card. Four corners cut off meant that your Totin’ Chip privileges were revoked. But this was all basically “unofficial” since many scouts used knives without the Totin’ Chip training. I guess uniform rules have changed?

    • #189880

      YOU ARE ALL WRONG. The firem’n chit patch is not temporary. It should be worn on the back of the merit badge sash.

    • #189881

      YOU ARE ALL WRONG. The firem’n chit patch is not temporary. It should be worn on the back of the merit badge sash.

    • #191727

      Not sure I get the idea of a patch being temporary. Scouts for the most part, hate sewing. I thought both Totin Chit and Firen Chit were patches on the sash and the cards were REQUIRED for any fire making or knife, axe and saw usage.

      I am guessing this is not in the uniform guide?

      • #191865

        The first comment on this thread points to the exact listing in the insignia (aka uniform) guide regarding these two patches. They’re both temporary patches, meant to be worn on the youth’s right breast pocket and replaced by whatever the next cool temporary patch they receive for attending an event or earning something else that doesn’t have an otherwise official spot on the uniform.

        Temporary patches also have the option of being sewn onto the back of the merit badge sash, as mentioned a few days ago by Vance.

        Since the Insignia Guide has been updated, here’s the new relevant links:

        Totin’ Chip & Firem’n Chit – Page 45 (last page of the linked PDF)
        Temporary Patches on the back of sashes – Page 35 (pg. 7 of the linked PDF)

        Here’s links to National’s website pages for the awards themselves:
        Totin’ Chip
        Firem’n Chit

    • #194958


      I am a SM of a new All-Girl Troop under Scouts BSA whose about to give out these patches. If these are truly temporary, I also recommend that this patch be remade like a square and with a loop.

      Here’s why.. most Scouts won’t sew.. so parents are paying a seamstress to sew on a temp badge (wasting parents $$). OR (more likely) Scouts are using badge magic to attach it. From my son’s experience with removing this patch and the badge magic there was quite the stain left (yes we followed the proper method).

      Now imagine how this looks for our new young ladies joining the program. It does not look right!!! fix the badge!!! Who do we need to elevate this to in order to make it happen???

      • #195206

        Thanks in advance for all you do for the youth.
        I suggest you attack this problem at its source:
        Your scouts won’t sew.
        That needs to change. Devote a meeting or two to making sewing kits that fit in backpacks. As an excersize, have the scout’s use their kits to sew on a patch. It’s not just about patches. In an active scout’s career, there will be tent, shirt, sail, or leatherwork that is torn or ripped at the seam.
        I’ve done this with boys at summer camp. They’d ask for help placing a patch, and I’d get out my kit and teach them to sew,
        Sure one or two scouts will still rely on a seamstress or adhesive. But one or two will become that seamstress, and the rest will be prepared for life.

    • #213026

      These are two badge that indicate a Scout is trained and responsible to engage in certain activities. Making them temporary is silly, because you cannot know if the Scout earned it or not. Trustworthy is a point of the law, but let’s be honest, ‘confused’ and ‘eager to play’ are good descriptors of the younger scouts who haven’t earned the badges. I would recommend a smaller patch that is always worn where the leader’s Trained patches go. It can be pointed at to encourage the untrained scouts to earn their privileges. It can also be used to screen out different levels of training opportunities.

      • #214291

        This is an excellent suggestion. I would love to see a set of small, permanent insignia that indicated that a scout had earned Totin’ Chip, Firem’n Chit, or Cyber Chip and was therefore authorized and trained to use the tools in question. (In our troop, earning Cyber Chip confers the right to use your phone “for scouting purposes” but that’s a discussion for another time.)

        In the meantime we are stuck with the patches we are given, so here is one Scoutmaster’s perspective. First, two things are abundantly clear:

        1 – The uniform code, as noted above, is absolutely clear about the proper placement of the Totin’ Chip and the Firem’n Chit as a “temporary patch”.

        2 – The patches, given their pocket flap shape, look utterly stupid when sewn in the center of the pocket as instructed.

        When I became Scoutmaster of our troop five years ago, all of those Scouts in the troop who chose to wear the Totin’ Chip or Firem’n Chit wore it on the pocket flap, and some even chose to wear both patches on the two pocket flaps! I thought briefly of challenging this practice, but decided to let it lie, for several reasons.

        At the very first Eagle Board of Review that I attended as Scoutmaster (to introduce the candidate), one of the Board members took the time to point out that the Scout and I were wearing red neckerchiefs with different color piping – in other words, we weren’t “uniform”. I was thrown off-balance by how disturbed he seemed to be by this. That Scout was wearing a Totin’ Chip on his pocket flap! Yet with all the notorious uniform sticklers on our District’s boards, neither that Scout or any other Eagle candidate has ever been called out on it.

        Actually, most of our older Scouts don’t wear the TC or FC patches at all. At some point in their Scouting career they outgrow the shirt they wore in the 6th and 7th grades and never bother sewing the TC/FC on their new uniforms. In our troop, anyone who is First Class and above would have earned Totin’ Chip and Firem’n Chit along the way so we just assume it. But still, some keep it on and each year a few reach their EBOR with the patch still on their pocket flaps.

        So, just like the VAST majority of the Scouts from other troops and councils that I see at various events (in the rare instance that you do see a Scout wearing the Totin’ Chip in the “right” place, it looks wrong!), we’re just going to keep sewing the patches in the wrong place and violating the rules until National puts a stop to the practice by redesigning the patches! A system of insignia along the lines that Peter suggests would be a great place to start.

        P.S. Yes to everything Q said about teaching them to sew!

        P.P.S. And before somebody responds by accusing me of failing to model the 7th point of the Scout law, let me bring up two additional points: (1) I only have so many hours in the day. You want to die on this hill, be my guest. (2) Does having “arguments” with Scouts or parents (to quote the OP) over trivial points of patch placement on the uniform best serve our broader goals as expressed in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th Methods of Scouting, or make the best use of the limited time I have to interact with my Scouts in furtherance of the Four Aims? Frankly I can’t believe I made the time to type this post! My advice to all: let it be.

      • #214988

        Thanks for taking the time to share your observations, BSILA. It helps folks understand how differently other troops operate. It’s a big country indeed.

        For example, I have rarely seen either patch worn. Our troop doesn’t hand out the patches. We award the cards, and if a scout wants to order one from the scout shop or buy it at the scout shop, it’s on his dime. I’m quite sure that most other troops in our area do the same.

        I think it’s in the water here. I’ve had young women in my crew who were sick of GS/USA doling out awards for “every little thing.” (Needless to say, venturing awards are a very hard sell around here. But, that’s another story.)

        The one down-side of being cards-only: my boys didn’t carry a wallet. That’s changing these days as boys need something to hold their cell phones!

      • #214439

        Lots of reasons for the patch being temporary … the most important being that we already have these ovals to put on left pockets. Once those are earned, they say it all.

        The second reason is that it’s a rare scout who is wearing his uniform in the axe yard.

    • #216324
      Robin Ingram

      Another reason that are considered temporary is because a scout can lose his totin’ chip and firem’n chit. They really should keep their cards on them for proof of earning it

    • #265394

      In an organization that changes requirements more than some people do their underwear, I find it trivial and a waste of time to even think about this yet another “crisis”. Do what everybody else does – whatever they want to. After all, it’s not your grandfather’s BSA anymore.

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