Meritbadge placement on sash

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Meritbadge placement on sash

Postby JVCXXVI » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:30 am

Once a scout has the front half of the sash filled with meritbadges, where should the next meritbadges be sewn on? Should you start on the top of the back half? Should it be at the botttom. Upside down or right side up. Help!
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Postby scoutaholic » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:24 am

I don't know of any official guideline for where or what-order you place the MBs on the sash.

I've seen many boys place them in rows in the order in which they were earned or received.
I've seen some put all the requireds in the center column so there are 12-15 down the center column with silver borders, and the green border ones on the sides and below.
I've even seen some start part way down in the front so they can put all the requireds at the top, and the green-border ones below. Then the cluster of badges grows in both directions as they earn them.

However you have chosen to put the MBs on the sash, you can only fit so many on the front. I believe the sash comes in 2 sizes. The bigger one has enough room to fit 60 MBs on the front (from the shoulder to the very bottom.
My son is not big enough to wear the longer sash unless he wants it to hang to his knees. I made a fold in it, and sewed it so that the extra is in the back and can be let out as he grows and needs more room. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but will soon need to start putting MBs on the back, or let out the fold to make room for them above the ones that are currently showing on the front. His goal is to earn all 121 MBs, so we're planning to have 60 on the front, 60 on the back, and the last one will have to sqeeze in on the bottom point (half on the back and half on the front).
I've never seen it but I've heard of others doing it this way.
I've also heard of a boy who earned all the MBs, but wanted to display them all on the front, so he sewed 3 sashes together and made one wide enough to show them all on the front. I can imagine that this was a bit cumbersome to wear and looked a bit odd, but he apparently liked it.
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Postby JVCXXVI » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:38 am

The order isn't important. My question is once the front of the sash is full where on the back of the sash do you start the top or the bottom. Are the sewn upside down on the back or right side up?
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Postby lifescoutforlife » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:59 pm

My son has 70 merit badges, he has 60 on the front and 10 on the back starting at the top and he will work downward to the bottom on the back of his sash. I hope this helps you.
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Postby smtroop168 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:06 pm

Is this JP from PA? Your post and son's progress rang a bell. Sorry no room at my MBC.

I have a Mom who uses a mosaic pattern for her sons even though she has been shown how MB go in rows. Looks something like this:

o
o o
o
o o
o
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Postby lifescoutforlife » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:35 pm

This is JP, My son will be able to pick up Graphic Arts, Journalism and Photography at a camp that is near our house that they have not offered before. So he is pretty happy about that. He should reach the 100 mark sometime late next year or early 2009. I have seen boys put merit badges about every way from starting in the middle and working outward to the way they earned them to required down the middle. I don't know if anyway is right or wrong.
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Postby smtroop168 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:45 pm

The diagram didn't come out right. Order doesn't matter but I have never seen sashes in other than three across.

1
2 3
4
5 6


The recent online insignia guide has a drawing of a scout with a sash.
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Postby smtroop168 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:47 pm

The preview looked good but it moved everything over to the left.

There is one on top, then 2 split, then one etc. They are clustered and touch each other like a flower petal.

JP..let me know what badges he needs and I'll see if we can do them next year (unless he has them all by then)
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Postby jr56 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:44 pm

My son filled the front of his sash, then went to the top of the back and started on down again.
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Postby Billiken » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:20 pm

Placement is up to the Scout.

Temporary insignia may be worn on the back of the sash.

Sash "Pet Peeeeeeves":

Scout "wearing" a MB sash folded through his belt.
OA sashes worn at functions that are obviously not OA.
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Postby smtroop168 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:40 pm

Even mosaic patterns? What's the reference since I've only seen the pictures in the Insignia guide and BSA handbook?
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Postby AquilaNegra » Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:21 am

My sons are working toward getting all the badges, eventually. Eldest had seen an extra flap across the front of someone's and we inquired about getting one. The district officer told us that it was unofficial and cheated the boy out of "going over the top". He's been a Scouter forever, and said that going over the top was considered a high honor. We figured that he can get 72 on the front of the large sash, so he's looking toward badge 73! (It's going to be awhile *s*)
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Postby kimberbakos » Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:49 pm

I saw a Scout this weekend who had filled up the front and was about 1/3 down the back of his sash with MBs. My son is only 12 and shooting to be Eagle before his 14th bday, so has plenty of time to earn merit badges. I've seen posts about boys who earn all of them. I don't think this is realistic for most boys - they would have the aptitude in 121 different areas to earn them all, and forcing it would make it a chore, not something fun to do. My son stinks at sports, so he would never be able earn the Sports MB, unless he joined a team and became the laughing stock of the team. He quit baseball at age 10 because of that. So those boys who are gifted in all areas and for whom this is "doable" are truly blessed.
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Postby AquilaNegra » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:34 am

We use them for school. They choose which ones to work on. We have a spreadsheet for each of them (sort of a Gantt chart) that we constantly change :-). It currently stretches to October of 2010. One thing that they learned from another Scout who ALMOST got them all was to make certain and do most of the more difficult and time-consuming ones first.

40 a year (for the oldest) is a LOT, and can seem daunting. He has broken it down by Court of Honor dates, which feels a lot more manageable to him.
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Postby WVBeaver05 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:03 am

kimberbakos wrote:I don't think this is realistic for most boys - they would have the aptitude in 121 different areas to earn them all, and forcing it would make it a chore, not something fun to do.

Because the MBs don't go that deeply into most subjects, I would think that aptitude might not be required.

kimberbakos wrote:My son stinks at sports, so he would never be able earn the Sports MB, unless he joined a team and became the laughing stock of the team. He quit baseball at age 10 because of that.

I know that this is just an example, but, also as an example, perhaps there are ways to still earn this MB (If your son is interested in doing so -- I strongly oppose forcing it). As a youth, I was quite small and was not very good at baseball (only did it one year) and couldn't compete even at a Junior High Level in football. Didn't like basketball, but couldn't do that very well even in PE class. However, I found that there were sports that I could do and actually excelled at. In my case, it was tennis and cross-country. So it may be a case of finding something appropriate within the requirements that works for your son (or other Scouts). Sports MB leaves an option for the Counselor to approve most other sports.

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Postby smtroop168 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:16 pm

Has anyone EVER seen MBs placed on a sash other than 3 across in rows as shown in the BSA handbook and BSA insignia guide?

Anyone have a good phone number for the Uniform Guru at National?

Thanks.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:40 am

My Sash has two across. AT one time there were two sash options a narrow sash and a wide sash. Theyonly option today is the wide sash. The insignia and uniform Guide is the official guide for all badge placement.

Now lets look at something else. The word Uniform meand the same. The scout is in a Uniform which is the same as his brother scouts so there for all badge placement must be UNiform so 3 across is uniform anything else is not uniform. Remember you bought the uniform but under the BSA Charter and Bylaws it still belongs to the BSA so they can tell you how to wear it.
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Postby smtroop168 » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:50 am

I'm with you. I had a "double wide" sash too. I have a mother who insists that since the Insignia guide doesn't explicitly say "sew the badges in rows three across" and even though every picture of a sash in any BSA literature shows badges 3 across, she can sew them on in a mosaic pattern. I told her I would take her question and picture of her 3 sons sashes to National for a ruling. She says it's just my interpretation. I told her the guide explicitly doesn't say you can't sew them upside down either.
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Postby wagionvigil » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:55 am

Uniform is uniform
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Postby smtroop168 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:34 pm

Here's the story of how I became "famous". We all have those parents who believe that they can do things their own way. Mine is one who sewed her 3 sons MBs in a geometric pattern on their sashes instead of 3 across in a row. She had been told this was wrong with her 1st son's sash and shown multiple pictures but her contention was that there was no wording in the Insignia Guide that said that so she could do whatever she wanted. I told her I would get a ruling from National and below is an excerpt of my letter to the Chief Scout Exec (I would like to not that I did not officially send this since the issue was resolved first)

Letter starts here:

My purpose in sending you this letter is to resolve a Uniform Standards issue that I feel you should personally address. It deals with the placement of Merit Badges on the sash. My reason for asking is that one of the mothers in my troop has chosen to create her own geometric pattern vice the customary three across format shown in Scouting’s publications.

A member of your staff told my local District Field Director from Keystone Area Council on Friday April 4th that there is no standard for MB placement on the sash. The District Field Director could not remember who gave him this information. I also have been told that Mr. Carr has had conversations this week with National regarding this issue and was informed by Mr. Steele's office (National Advancement) that there is no "proper" way to display the merit badges on the sash. My question is: Does this interpretation mean that MBs can be placed on the sash in any geometric pattern desired? If this is allowed, then I can see multiple MB patterns being displayed such as an arrow pattern like the OA sash, an X or even spelling out BSA on their sash. Also taking this to other extremes, given no definitive wording, scouts could wear MBs on the back of their sash or upside down if they choose. They could also wear the sash over the left shoulder if desired. You can see how crazy this could get.

Every picture I have ever seen in any BSA publication shows MBs three across. Having said that, the current Insignia Guide or BSA handbook does not explicitly specify a format in writing. The parent I refer to has taken the position that since the guide doesn’t say she can’t do it her way in writing, her three sons should be allowed to show their individuality on their uniforms. I explained to her that the Guide doesn’t say you can do it your own way either and I view this as omission not license to deviate from the pictures in the Insignia Guide and/or Handbook. All reasonable parents would look at the pictures and place the badges on their son’s sashes as shown but she will not since it’s not “in writing”.

On page 360 of my 1965 Scout Handbook, it says: “On the wide sash the merit badges are lined up three across.” Apparently that wording has disappeared somewhere along the way. Even a picture of the first documented Eagle Scout’s merit badges shows three across.

I fear attitudes such as that I have described could change the Scout Uniform into a costume. Although a uniform is not required to be a scout, in my opinion, if you have one it should be uniform and standard in all badge and insignia placement. The Merit Badge Sash, when worn, is the most visible part of the Scout uniform to the general public so multiple iterations of the design to me is not appropriate.

Letter ends

I spoke to Mr Bill Steele who told me that I was "famous" and no one had ever brought this up before (Most people would look at the picture and do it like that but not my parent.

So...effective immediately there will be wording added to the IG. His note to me says: As we discussed on the phone today, we have decided to add seven words to the text shown on page 22 of our publication, Insignia Guide, on the subject of how to position merit badges on the merit badge sash. It will read "merit badge sash, limit of three per row as shown, no limit."

So there you go! Monday night's meeting should be a blast! Thanks to wagionvigil for his help behind the scenes.
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