History of Scout II - History

History of Scout II - History

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Scout II

(MB: t. 30; 1. 81'; b. 10'7"; dr. 3'6"; s. 22 k.; a.
1 3-pdr.)

The second Scout (SP-114), built in 1900 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, R.I., was acquired by the Navy on 25 May 1917 on loan from her owner, Mr. August Belmont, New York; refitted for section patrol work, and placed in service on 25 June. For the next five months, she operated in the 3d Naval District. On 12 December 1917, she was returned to her owner.

The True Story of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I

Mary, Queen of Scots, towered over her contemporaries in more ways than one. Not only was she a female monarch in an era dominated by men, she was also physically imposing, standing nearly six feet tall.

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Her height emphasized Mary’s seemingly innate queenship: Enthroned as Scotland’s ruler at just six days old, she spent her formative years at the French court, where she was raised alongside future husband Francis II. Wed to the dauphin in April 1558, 16-year-old Mary—already so renowned for her beauty that she was deemed “la plus parfaite,” or the most perfect—ascended to the French throne the following July, officially asserting her influence beyond her home country to the European continent.

As Mary donned dual crowns, the new English queen, her cousin Elizabeth Tudor, consolidated power on the other side of the Channel. Unlike her Scottish counterpart, whose position as the only legitimate child of James V cemented her royal status, Elizabeth followed a protracted path to the throne. Bastardized following the 1536 execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn, she spent her childhood at the mercy of the changing whims of her father, Henry VIII. Upon his death in 1547, she was named third in the line of succession, eligible to rule only in the unlikely event that her siblings, Edward VI and Mary I, died without heirs. Which is precisely what happened.

From the beginning of her reign, Elizabeth was keenly aware of her tenuous hold on the crown. As a Protestant, she faced threats from England’s Catholic faction, which favored a rival claim to the throne—that of Mary, the Catholic Queen of Scots—over hers. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Elizabeth was the illegitimate product of an unlawful marriage, while Mary, the paternal granddaughter of Henry VIII’s older sister Margaret, was the rightful English heir.

The denouement of Mary and Elizabeth’s decades-long power struggle is easily recalled by even the most casual of observers: On February 8, 1587, the deposed Scottish queen knelt at an execution block, uttered a string of final prayers, and stretched out her arms to assent to the fall of the headsman’s axe. Three strikes later, the executioner severed Mary’s head from her body, at which point he held up his bloody prize and shouted, “God save the queen.” For now, at least, Elizabeth had emerged victorious.

Robbie provides the foil to Ronan’s Mary, donning a prosthetic nose and clown-like layers of white makeup to resemble a smallpox-scarred Elizabeth (Parisa Tag/Focus Features)

It’s unsurprising that the tale of these two queens resonates with audiences some 400 years after the main players lived. As biographer Antonia Fraser explains, Mary’s story is one of “murder, sex, pathos, religion and unsuitable lovers.” Add in the Scottish queen’s rivalry with Elizabeth, as well as her untimely end, and she transforms into the archetypal tragic heroine.

To date, acting luminaries from Katharine Hepburn to Bette Davis, Cate Blanchett and Vanessa Redgrave have graced the silver screen with their interpretations of Mary and Elizabeth (though despite these women’s collective talent, none of the adaptations have much historical merit, instead relying on romanticized relationships, salacious wrongdoings and suspect timelines to keep audiences in thrall). Now, first-time director Josie Rourke hopes to offer a modern twist on the tale with her new Mary Queen of Scots biopic, which finds Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie stepping into the shoes of the legendary queens. Robbie provides the foil to Ronan’s Mary, donning a prosthetic nose and clown-like layers of white makeup to resemble a smallpox-scarred Elizabeth.

All too frequently, representations of Mary and Elizabeth reduce the queens to oversimplified stereotypes. As John Guy writes in Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (which serves as the source text for Rourke’s film), Mary is alternately envisioned as the innocent victim of men’s political machinations and a fatally flawed femme fatale who “ruled from the heart and not the head.” Kristen Post Walton, a professor at Salisbury University and the author of Catholic Queen, Protestant Patriarchy: Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Politics of Gender and Religion, argues that dramatizations of Mary’s life tend to downplay her agency and treat her life like a “soap opera.” Meanwhile, Elizabeth is often viewed through a romanticized lens that draws on hindsight to discount the displeasure many of her subjects felt toward their queen, particularly during the later stages of her reign.

Mary Queen of Scots picks up in 1561 with the eponymous queen’s return to her native country. Widowed following the unexpected death of her first husband, France’s Francis II, she left her home of 13 years for the unknown entity of Scotland, which had been plagued by factionalism and religious discontent in her absence. (Francis’ younger brother, Charles IX, became king of France at just 10 years old with his mother, Catherine de Medici, acting as regent.)

Mary was a Catholic queen in a largely Protestant state, but she formed compromises that enabled her to maintain authority without infringing on the practice of either religion. As she settled into her new role—although crowned queen of Scotland in infancy, she spent much of her early reign in France, leaving first her mother, Mary of Guise, and then her half-brother James, Earl of Moray, to act as regent on her behalf—she sought to strengthen relations with her southern neighbor, Elizabeth. The Tudor queen pressured Mary to ratify the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh, which would’ve prevented her from making any claim to the English throne, but she refused, instead appealing to Elizabeth as queens “in one isle, of one language, the nearest kinswomen that each other had.”

Mary is alternately envisioned as the innocent victim of men’s political machinations and a fatally flawed femme fatale who “ruled from the heart and not the head” (Liam Daniel/Focus Features)

To Elizabeth, such familial ties were of little value. Given her precarious hold on the throne and the subsequent paranoia that plagued her reign, she had little motivation to name a successor who could threaten her own safety. Mary’s blood claim was worrying enough, but acknowledging it by naming her as the heir presumptive would leave Elizabeth vulnerable to coups organized by England’s Catholic faction. This fear-driven logic even extended to the queen’s potential offspring: As she once told Mary’s advisor William Maitland, “Princes cannot like their own children. Think you that I could love my own winding-sheet?”

Despite these concerns, Elizabeth certainly considered the possibility of naming Mary her heir. The pair exchanged regular correspondence, trading warm sentiments and discussing the possibility of meeting face-to-face. But the two never actually met in person, a fact some historians have drawn on in their critique of the upcoming film, which depicts Mary and Elizabeth conducting a clandestine conversation in a barn.

According to Janet Dickinson of Oxford University, any in-person encounter between the Scottish and English queens would’ve raised the question of precedence, forcing Elizabeth to declare whether Mary was her heir or not. At the same time, Post Walton says, the fact that the cousins never stood face-to-face precludes the possibility of the intensely personal dynamic often projected onto them after all, it’s difficult to maintain strong feelings about someone known only through letters and intermediaries. Instead, it’s more likely the queens’ attitudes toward each other were dictated largely by changing circumstance.

Although she was famously dubbed the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth only embraced this chaste persona during the later years of her reign. At the height of her power, she juggled proposals from foreign rulers and subjects alike, always prevaricating rather than revealing the true nature of her intentions. In doing so, the English queen avoided falling under a man’s dominion—and maintained the possibility of a marriage treaty as a bargaining chip. At the same time, she prevented herself from producing an heir, effectively ending the Tudor dynasty after just three generations.

Mary married a total of three times. As she told Elizabeth’s ambassador soon before her July 1565 wedding to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, “not to marry, you know it cannot be for me.” Darnley, Mary’s first cousin through her paternal grandmother, proved to be a highly unsuitable match, displaying a greed for power that culminated in his orchestration of the March 9, 1566, murder of the queen’s secretary, David Rizzio. Relations between Mary and Elizabeth had soured following the Scottish queen’s union with Darnley, which the English queen viewed as a threat to her throne. But by February 1567, tensions had thawed enough for Mary to name Elizabeth “protector” of her infant son, the future James VI of Scotland and I of England. Then, news of another killing broke. This time, the victim was Darnley himself.

Mary, Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard, 1578 (National Portrait Gallery, London)

Three months after Darnley’s death, Mary wed the man who’d been accused of—and acquitted of in a legally suspect trial—his murder. James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, was a “vainglorious, rash and hazardous young man,” according to ambassador Nicholas Throckmorton. He had a violent temper and, despite his differences from Darnley, shared the deceased king’s proclivity for power. Regardless of whether sexual attraction, love or faith in Bothwell as her protector against the feuding Scottish lords guided Mary’s decision, her alignment with him cemented her downfall.

In the summer of 1567, the increasingly unpopular queen was imprisoned and forced to abdicate in favor of her son. Bothwell fled to Denmark, where he died in captivity 11 years later.

“She had been queen for all but the first six days of her life,” John Guy writes in Queen of Scots, “[but] apart from a few short but intoxicating weeks in the following year, the rest of her life would be spent in captivity.”

The brief brush with freedom Guy refers to took place in May 1568, when Mary escaped and rallied supporters for a final battle. Defeated once and for all, the deposed queen fled to England, expecting her “sister queen” to offer a warm welcome and perhaps even help her regain the Scottish throne. Instead, Elizabeth placed Mary—an anointed monarch over whom she had no real jurisdiction—under de facto house arrest, consigning her to 18 years of imprisonment under what can only be described as legally grey circumstances.

Around 8 a.m. on February 8, 1587, the 44-year-old Scottish queen knelt in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle and thanked the headsman for making “an end of all my troubles.” Three axe blows later, she was dead, her severed head lofted high as a warning to all who defied Elizabeth Tudor.

Today, assessments of Mary Stuart range from historian Jenny Wormald’s biting characterization of the queen as a “study in failure” to John Guy’s more sympathetic reading, which deems Mary the “unluckiest ruler in British history,” a “glittering and charismatic queen” who faced stacked odds from the beginning.

Kristen Post Walton outlines a middle ground between these extremes, noting that Mary’s Catholic faith and gender worked against her throughout her reign.

“[Mary’s] failures are dictated more by her situation than by her as a ruler,” she says, “and I think if she had been a man, … she would've been able to be much more successful and would never have lost the throne.”

Janet Dickinson paints the Scottish queen’s relationship with Elizabeth in similar terms, arguing that the pair’s dynamic was shaped by circumstance rather than choice. At the same time, she’s quick to point out that the portrayal of Mary and Elizabeth as polar opposites—Catholic versus Protestant, adulterer versus Virgin Queen, beautiful tragic heroine versus smallpox-scarred hag—is problematic in and of itself. As is often the case, the truth is far more nuanced. Both queens were surprisingly fluid in their religious inclinations. Mary’s promiscuous reputation was largely invented by her adversaries, while Elizabeth’s reign was filled with rumors of her purported romances. Whereas Mary aged in the relative isolation of house arrest, Elizabeth’s looks were under constant scrutiny.

The versions of Mary and Elizabeth created by Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie may reinforce some of the popular misconceptions surrounding the twin queens—including the oversimplified notion that they either hated or loved each other, and followed a direct path from friendship to arch rivalry—but they promise to present a thoroughly contemporary twist on an all-too-familiar tale of women bombarded by men who believe they know better. John Knox , a Protestant reformer who objected to both queens’ rule, may have declared it “more than a monster in nature that a Woman shall reign and have empire above Man,” but the continued resonance of Mary and Elizabeth’s stories suggests otherwise. Not only were the two absolute rulers in a patriarchal society, but they were also women whose lives, while seemingly inextricable, amounted to more than their either their relationships with men or their rivalry with each other.

Mary, Queen of Scots, may have been the monarch who got her head chopped off, but she eventually proved triumphant in a roundabout way: After Elizabeth died childless in 1603, it was Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland and I of England, who ascended to the throne as the first to rule a united British kingdom. And though Mary’s father, James V, reportedly made a deathbed prediction that the Stuart dynasty, which “came with a lass”—Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce—would also “pass with a lass,” the woman who fulfilled this prophecy was not the infant James left his throne to, but her descendant Queen Anne, whose 1714 death marked the official end of the dynastic line.

Ultimately, Guy argues, “If Elizabeth had triumphed in life, Mary would triumph in death.”

The queen herself said it best: As she predicted in an eerily prescient motto, “in my end is my beginning.”


Merit badges exist to encourage Scouts to explore areas that interest them and to teach them valuable skills in Scoutcraft. [4] The award of merit badges sometimes leads to careers and lifelong hobbies. [5] Scouts earn a merit badge by satisfying specified criteria a Court of Honor is then held to present the badge. Scouts can earn badges at any point in their Scouting career, although this was not always the case — in the 1960s, Scouts first had to earn the rank of First Class before being allowed to work on and earn badges. [6] The higher ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle require merit badges be earned. Certain badges are mandatory to receive these higher ranks. For a few years during the 1980s and 90s, First Aid merit badge was a requirement for the First Class rank. [7] Other mandatory badges include Citizenship in the Community and Environmental Science (see full list). The number of merit badges required for each of these higher ranks has varied historically, as has the ratio of mandatory merit badges and non-mandatory badges for those ranks. [8] Since 2005, Scouts must earn a total of 21 merit badges for the Eagle Scout rank, 13 of which must be from the mandatory list. Once Scouts attain the Eagle rank, they can earn Eagle Palms, a core requirement of which is earning more merit badges. [9]

The BSA changes the design, name, and availability of merit badges depending on various factors such as their popularity, shifts in the focus of the Scouting program, and changes in society. [3] Of the original 57 merit badges from 1911, [2] only 11 are still available that also still have the same basic design motif (Architecture, Art, Athletics, Chemistry, First Aid, Lifesaving, Music, Plumbing, Public Health, Scholarship, and Surveying). [10] Of those 11, only five were made available in each "generation" of the 10 merit badge types (these are Architecture, Art, Chemistry, Plumbing, and Public Health). The remaining six were not reproduced in a short lived "generation" of merit badges, Type I. [10] There are another 21 merit badges still available that are essentially the same as 1911 merit badges but with different designs: American Business (was Business), Archery, Astronomy, Aviation, Bird Study (was Ornithology), Bugling, Camping, Cooking, Cycling, Electricity, Fire Safety (was Firemanship), Fishing (was Angling), Forestry, Gardening, Horsemanship, Painting, Photography, Pioneering, Sculpture, Small Boat Sailing (was Seamanship), and Swimming. [3]

Examples of merit badge change due to the degree of popularity/interest in a subject include "Interpreting", which only existed from 1911 to 1952, when it was dropped and "Genealogy" which was added in 1972 when interest in that subject increased. [11]

An example of merit badges reflecting changes in the focus of the Scouting program is "Civics", which was originally the only citizenship-related merit badge. In 1947 the name was changed to "Citizenship." [12] In 1952, the BSA split "Citizenship" into four separate badges, which were in turn modified several times. Since 1991, the badges in this group are "Citizenship in the Community", "Citizenship in the Nation", "Citizenship in the World", and "Family Life", all four of which are currently on the mandatory list for Eagle Scout. [13]

The "First Aid to Animals" and "Plant Science" merit badges have both evolved due to societal changes. "First Aid to Animals" was one of the original merit badges in 1911 but was dropped in 1972. [14] It was resurrected as "Veterinary Science" in 1973 [14] with a focus on small pet-type animals vs. farm animals. It was renamed "Veterinary Medicine" in 1995. [15] Merging of merit badges can be seen in "Plant Science", into which all crop growing merit badges were merged in the 1970s. [16] Similarly, most of the merit badges related to animal husbandry were merged into "Animal Science". [17] [18]

The "Personal Health" merit badge was an original 1911 badge with a heart motif. [19] It was merged with the "Physical Development" badge and was replaced in 1952 with the "Personal Fitness" badge. [19] It was redesigned in 1969, displaying a youth in gym gear doing what appears to be a jumping jack exercise. [19]

The merit badges on the mandatory list for Eagle Scout have changed several times "First Aid" is the only merit badge that has always been on the mandatory list for Eagle Scout. In 1969, the BSA began manufacturing those merit badges that are required in order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout with a silver border instead of the green border used on other merit badges. [20] In honor of the 100th anniversary of the BSA, a historical merit badge program was announced by BSA. Scouts could earn any of the four merit badges: Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signaling, and Tracking. Each had been previously retired in 1952, except Signaling, which was discontinued in 1992. These could be used as electives for Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout, and had to be started and completed during 2010 after which these badges would again be retired. [21] There have been a number of discontinued merit badges over the years.

A new merit badge for Robotics was jointly announced by NASA and the Boy Scouts of America in July 2011. [22] This new badge recognizes the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and the 'wide-reaching impact of robotics'. [22] The BSA worked for 14 months to develop this new badge, collaborating with organizations such as iRobot, Vex Robotics, the Boston Museum of Science, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy and NASA. [23] The BSA currently has 31 STEM related merit badges.

There have been 474 confirmed Boy Scouts who have earned all the merit badges. The first Boy Scout to do so was Stephen Porter in 1914. [24] The first Boy Scout to earn all the merit badges before earning his Eagle was David R. Schulze in 2004. Both of his younger brothers Lance Schulze and Aaron Schulze would follow in his footsteps making them one of four families where all three sons earned every merit badge. The other trios being the Kunz brothers from San Diego, the Pugh brothers from Ferndale, and the Weeks brothers from South Ogden. The first Boy Scout to earn all the merit badges and go on to travel to every sovereign country was Indy Nelson in 2011, with the latter achieved in 2017 https://www.indynelson.com/meritbadge/.

A record of Boy Scouts who have earned all available merit badges can be found here: http://www.meritbadgeknot.com/registry.htm This record may be incomplete, but it is the best record currently available. Additionally, scouts who have earned all the merit badges may receive the merit badge knot from this site.

According to collectors and badge historians, there have been 11 major styles of merit badges: Types A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, [25] and K. [26]

Type A Edit

Front/Reverse (Gardening) Essential facts Description
[27] Nickname: square [28]
Years of Issue:
1911–1933 [28]
Background Type A merit badges were manufactured in rolls and then cut into squares approximately 2" (5 cm) square, hence its nickname square. [28]
Front Type A badges are known by their square or rectangular shaped cloth with the circular embroidered design. During one period of time, these badges were distributed in a roll containing many badges, with each individual badge being cut from the roll. Uncut rolls are said to exist. [29]
Reverse Some Type A, B, and C badges bear black watermarks or partial watermarks of the BSA emblem on the back as these were printed on the back of the rolls at certain intervals. [28]

Type B Edit

Front/Reverse (Public Health) Essential facts Description
Nickname: wide border [30]
Years of Issue:
1934–1935 [30] Unusually large size
Background Some Type B and C badges retained the same cloth color as Type A, but most came in a darker tan/brown cloth.
Front Type B merit badges were the first badges to be manufactured with a smooth, round shape, which the manufacturer produced by folding the badge's edge under the back and crimping it. [30] Type C, D, and E badges were also manufactured in this manner, hence Types B–E are referred to as crimped. Type B badges have a diameter of about 1¾" (44 mm) after crimping. Type B has a margin of 3/16" to 1/4" (5–6 mm) between the edge of the badge and the embroidered green ring because this margin is wider than in the Type C badge. [31]
Reverse As with Type A, some Type B badges bear watermarks on the back. [28]

Type C Edit

Front/Reverse (Civics) Essential facts Description
Nickname: narrow border, narrow tan
Years of Issue:
1936–1946 [30]
Background Type C merit badges were made from the same type of cloth as Type B badges, but were a little smaller in width. [32]
Front The diameter of a Type C badge from outer edge to outer edge is about 1½" (38 mm), with the distance from the crimp to the outer edge of the green ring being 1/8" (3 mm). [30] Size is the only difference in a Types B and C [30] hence the nicknames narrow border and narrow tan. In fact, all Type C, D and E badges are the same size. Compare Types B and C side-by-side the difference in the distance from the outer crimp edges to the green rings is obvious. Beginning with Type C, all merit badges have been made with a diameter of 1½" (38 mm), except for a few Type I designs (see below). Most Type C badges were not made after 1942 (see Type D section below) only the Air Scout aviation blues, which came in four designs, were made in Type C from 1942–46. [33] These had the standard Type C cloth, but were fully embroidered with blue backgrounds inside a blue ring. This is the only time badges were made with blue rings. [3] [32]
Reverse As with Type A, some Type C badges bear watermarks on the back. Type C, D, and E merit badges all have sizing on the back, which serves as a stiffener to help the badge retain its crimp. [32]

Type D Edit

Front/Reverse (Camping) Essential facts Description
Nickname: fine twill, sand twill [34]
Years of Issue:
1942–1946 [34]
Background Type D merit badges were made from a lighter weight cloth with a much finer weave and lighter tan color than Type C badges because the heavier, thicker weave material that Type C badges were made from was needed to make uniforms needed during World War II. [34] This is the only difference in a Type C and Type D. [35] [36]
Front Because of its finer weave twill material, Type D badges are called fine twill. [34] Another name for them is sand twill because of their sandy color. [34] The only Type C badges made during this era were the afore–mentioned Type C aviation–blues. Because sand twills were made for such a short time many decades ago they are rather rare. [36]
Reverse As with Type C, Type D badges have sizing on the back.

Type E Edit

Front/Reverse (Dog Care) Essential facts Description
[37] Nickname: khaki green, khaki
Years of Issue:
1947–1960 [34] Last type with crimped edges
Background Type E merit badges were made from the same material as Type C badges, but the color is a decidedly darker green, hence the nickname khaki green. [34] This is the only difference in a Type C and Type E. [38]
Front Serious collectors have Type B, C, D, and E merit badges recrimped to restore their original appearance as many badges lose their neat appearance over the years if the merit badge is not cared for properly. If a Type E badge has had significant washings or sun exposure it can be hard to tell from a Type C. [39]
Reverse As with Type C, Type E badges have sizing on the back.

Type F Edit

Front/Reverse (Swimming) Essential facts Description
Nickname: khaki twill, rolled edge twill [40]
Years of Issue:
1961–1968 [40] Not all badges appeared in this type
Background Type F badges replaced the earlier crimped edge badges with a "rolled" edge, which is stitched around the outside to prevent unraveling.. [41]
Front Type F was introduced concurrently with Type G (see below), and both types were manufactured together for several years. The difference in the motif is that whereas Type F badges had a plain background, Type G badges were completely embroidered inside the green ring. [40] Some badge motifs had been made this way since Type A they moved directly to Type G and never appeared in Type F. [41]
Reverse The BSA introduced an extra layer of cloth backing underneath the khaki cloth. Type F used gauze or cheese cloth and subsequent badge types used a fuller solid cloth backing. [41]

Type G Edit

Front/Reverse (Forage Crops) Essential facts Description
[42] Nickname: cloth back [40]
Years of Issue:
1961–1971 [40]
Background While all Type G badges have full embroidery inside the green ring, there were a few Type A, B, C, D, and E merit badges with full embroidery and hence do not exist as Type F merit badges [40] examples are: "Foundry Practice", "Grasses, Legumes, and Forage Crops" (later shortened to "Forage Crops"), "Farm Layout and Building Arrangement", and "Farm Home and its Planning".
Front In 1969, the BSA started issuing silver-bordered badges for those badges that were on the mandatory list for Eagle rank. [40] Silver–bordered badges appear in Type G, H, and J. Consequently, the border color of a badge will change when it goes on and off the mandatory list. A good example is "Camping" Type H, which had a green border from 1973 to 1977, yet silver border before and after that [43] so this particular green border "Camping" variety is fairly rare.
Reverse Type G badges were the first to appear with a full cloth backing hence the nickname cloth back. [40]

Type H Edit

Front/Reverse (Collections) Essential facts Description
Nickname: plastic back [44]
Years of Issue:
1972–2002 [44]
Background Type H merit badges are made with a plastic–coated backing, hence the nickname plastic back. [44] The plastic coating is most commonly clear, [44] but is also found in a milky white color. From 1972 until sometime after 1980, blue plastic–coated merit badges were often issued. Over a hundred different types of blue-plastic back badges are known to exist. On badges made out of blue cloth, it can be difficult to tell if the plastic is clear or blue. [45] [46]
Front Type G, H, I and J badges are all fully embroidered. [44] As they were made for 30 years, Type H merit badges are by far the most common.
Reverse Type H and all subsequent badges have both the full cloth back of a Type G and a plastic coated backing for durability. [44]

Type I Edit

Front/Reverse (White Water) Essential facts Description
Nickname: computer designed [44]
Years of Issue:
1993–1995 [44]
Background Type I merit badges were designed using computers, hence the nickname computer design. The background stitching is flatter from that of Type G, H, and J badges and has the appearance of having punched holes, but the most obvious difference is in the green border––it is no longer rolled, but flat.
Front The BSA decided to phase in these badges beginning in 1993 and were discontinued in 1995. Only 30 varieties appear as Type I. [44] So while not that old, they are also not that common. They were made in two sizes: 38 mm and 42 mm. Two different sizes of merit badges can not be lined up neatly on the same sash. These badges came individually packaged in plastic bags with identification labels. [47]
Reverse There is a lockstitch and a brown ring stitched just inside the green ring on the obverse side of a Type I badge.

Type J Edit

Front/Reverse (Fish and Wildlife Management) Essential facts Description
Nickname: Scout Stuff
Years of Issue:
2002–present [48]
Background The BSA started putting its supply division logo on all patches (ranks, position, numerals, etc.) in 2002 to reduce counterfeiting and show support for the American labor force. [48]
Front The front of a Type J looks just like the front of Type H badges.
Reverse The only difference in a Type J merit badge and a Type H badge is that a Type J has some variation of the BSA Supply Division's Scout Stuff logo stamped on the back hence the nickname "Scout Stuff". The new logo variation verifies that the insignia was produced by Boy Scout of America official suppliers and guarantees the supplier meets with BSA standards and fair labor practices. [49]

Type K Edit

Front/Reverse (Scuba Diving) Essential facts Description
Nickname:2010, 100-year anniversary
Years of Issue:
Background In 2010 BSA held a contest and changed the logo to the winner's brand new design to commemorate the BSA centennial. [26] [50]
Front The front did not change from the type J.
Reverse The reverse has parts of the centennial logo, which consists of: the BSA fleur-de-lis in gold, "2010" in red, "BSA" in blue, and "100 years of scouting" in blue. [50]

Historical Edit

Front/Reverse (Tracking) Essential facts Description
Year of Issue: 2010
Background As part of the BSA centennial, four discontinued original merit badges were available only for 2010: Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signaling and Tracking. [51]
Front The fronts use the original 1911 designs on a twill background with a gold mylar border.
Reverse The reverse has the centennial logo.

The visual appearance of a merit badge may alter due to several reasons. [52] A "variation" is a minor change, whether intentional or not. A "manufacturing error" is a mistake or significant deviation from the BSA-approved badge design during production. A "design error" is when a badge is manufactured the way it was designed, but the design had a significant flaw.

Specimen variations Edit

Variations do not appreciably alter the badge's appearance or design. [52] Two types of variations include positional changes and stitching changes. These are often caused by manufacturing variations and not classified separately. However, some variations have attained notoriety, such as the waffle weave variation found among Type C badges and the large people vs. slender people variations among Family Life badges. [53] Such variations were very common up until the 1940s and still occur, though not as often. Collectors find these variations interesting and collect such badges. [54] Examples of positional shifts among the objects comprising the motif of a merit badge include changes in the precise positioning of the tent and the mountains among Camping Type H merit badges.

Stitch patterns and thread type such as silk or cotton are not always consistent. [52] There are three known stitching variations among the Type C Personal Health merit badges: "vertical heart", "horizontal heart", and "split heart" the variation creates the appearance of a split down the middle of the heart. A similar error appears in both Type H and Type J Citizenship in the Nation badges, where colors vary in order from red, white, and blue to blue, white, and red the reasons for this are unknown. Large and small bell varieties also exist. [55] Most Type C badges come in both cotton and silk thread variations. Emergency Preparedness was made with a red cross from 1972 until 1979, when it was replaced with a green cross in 1980. This change was intentionally made. [56]

Manufacturing errors Edit

Genuine manufacturing errors occur from time to time. Some Atomic Energy Type G badges were made without a nucleus. [57] The only time a merit badge was made without a silver, green, blue (aviation blues only), or gold (2010 historicals only) border was in 1987 when Whitewater Type H badges were made with a black border. [58] Dairying appears in Type H with the cheese in both orange and burgundy. It is supposed to be orange. [59]

There have been at least three Type H badges made with little or no plastic called plasticizing or Type G errors: American Cultures, Colonial Philadelphia, [60] and Journalism. [61] The Colonial Philadelphia patch was only available from 1975 until 1976 to Scouts in the Philadelphia region and could only be used for Eagle Palms. [60]

First Aid to Animals (FATA) Type H was made in error with a silver border in 1972. This is one of the most famous errors. It has a slight blue tint in the plastic back (see photos). It is believed that only about 100 of these were made and that only about 50 have survived to this day. Counterfeit versions of this badge error also exist. [62] [63] Beekeeping merit badge Type G is also known in silver border error. [64]

Design errors Edit

The known design errors are all from the early years. Beekeeping was made from 1914 to 1938 with only four legs instead of six simply because of human design error. [65] Beekeeping also exists in thick and thin bodies in Type C. [66] Insect Life was first made, from 1923 to 1924, with a spider on it. Since a spider is an arachnid, not an insect, the design was changed to an aphid the following year. [67] As this particular merit badge specimen was only issued for one year, it is extremely rare.

Spoof merit badges are created and sold by various third parties as a parody or joke. A multitude of emblems include snoring, surfing, computer viruses, citizenship in the universe, snow art, text messaging, whining and duct tape. [68] [69]

Scout II

The Scout II (Scout 2) debuted in April 1971 and incorporated vehicle improvements that engineers had determined necessary during manufacture of the original Scout.

In 1973, the 196 4-cylinder engine was dropped from the Scout line. Due to the energy crisis, however, International reintroduced the 196 4-cylinder engine to the Scout line in 1974.

In November 1977, a Scout SS II, driven by Jerry L. Boone of Parker, Arizona, finished first among 4WD production vehicles in the Baja 1000—one of the most challenging of all off-road competitions. Boone crossed the finish line almost two hours ahead of his closest competitor, a Jeep CJ7. Boone completed the run in 19 hours and 58 minutes.

IH developed a policy in October 1978 titled “Take a Stand to Save the Land” to promote ecologically minded 4x4 driving practices. In 1980, the last year of production, all Scout models were 4WD.

The Alamo Scouts

Formed as the U.S. Sixth Army’s special reconnaissance unit in World War II, the Alamo Scouts were organized on Fergusson Island, New Guinea, on 28 November 1943. The Scouts conducted reconnaissance and intelligence gathering in the Southwest Pacific Theater under the personal command of then LTG Walter Krueger, Commanding General, U.S. Sixth Army.

Named for his life-long association with San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamo, Krueger envisioned that the Alamo Scouts, consisting of six or seven man teams of highly trained and motivated volunteers, would operate deep behind enemy lines. Their mission would be to provide intelligence on the enemy and tactical reconnaissance in advance of Sixth Army landing operations. Intensive training stressed waterborne infiltration and extraction via U.S. Navy PT boats.

All Scout candidates went through an intense six-week advanced training program in a multitude of subjects at the Alamo Scouts Training Center (ASTC). Major skill areas were rubber boat handling, intelligence gathering, report writing, scouting and patrolling, jungle navigation, communications, weapons training, and physical conditioning. The class size ranged from forty-five to one hundred junior officers and enlisted men.

The initial field operation on Manus Island utilized a PBY Catalina flying boat to drop off and pick up the team. This means of transportation, however, required daylight operations, giving the enemy more time to react to the landing party. Later, a landing party comprised of eleven men, including the Scouts team, was put ashore by submarine in western New Guinea for extensive exploration of a possible new air base to support future amphibious landings. Planning was discarded as the pace of landing operations bypassed the area and switched to Moritai Island.

From their first operational mission in the Admiralty Islands in February 1944, until the end of World War II, the Alamo Scouts conducted 106 intelligence collection missions behind Japanese lines in New Guinea, offshore islands, and the Philippines, totaling 1,482 days. This was accomplished without a single man killed or captured.

During their two years of service, the Alamo Scouts liberated 197 Allied prisoners in New Guinea. Two teams provided forward reconnaissance and tactical support for Company F, 6th Ranger Battalion, in the Ranger assault on the Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp on Luzon, twenty-five miles behind enemy lines. The Cabanatuan raid, a three- day operation in January and February 1945, freed 516 Allied prisoners. Additionally, in eighteen months, the Scouts captured eighty-four Japanese soldiers and sailors for interrogation.

As the Sixth Army advanced, a new Alamo Scouts Training Center was established and the old one closed. Six training centers were eventually established during the war, with the last one on Bataan, Luzon, Philippine Islands. From December 1943 to September 1945, approximately 250 enlisted men and seventy-five junior officers were graduated in eight training classes. Only 117 enlisted men and twenty-one officers were retained to form a total of ten field operational teams. Those graduates not retained returned to their parent units for utilization in a scouting and patrolling role.

In July 1945, the Alamo Scouts were training to conduct pre-invasion reconnaissance of Kyushu, in preparation of Operation Olympic, the first landing operation for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. During this period, Scouts teams conducted eleven missions in support of the U.S. Eighth Army. Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, the Scouts landed in Wakayama and became part of the occupation forces.

For their wartime service, the Alamo Scouts received credit for four campaigns: New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte, and Luzon. Two teams (Rounsaville and Nellist) were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their role in the liberation of POWs at Cabanatuan. In addition to unit honors, members of the Scouts earned forty-four Silver Stars, thirty-three Bronze Stars, four Soldier’s Medals, numerous Purple Hearts, and other awards. Several members of the Scouts also earned foreign decorations for their part in the liberation of civilian internees at Cape Oransbari, Dutch New Guinea.

The History of the Sea Scouts

Scouting was founded in England by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, an army officer who had a love for the outdoors. As a boy he used to go boating and camping on the islands of England with his brothers. In 1876 he joined the British Cavalry. He became a self taught army scout when he was assigned to Africa. It was there that he learned many different ways to scout and live off of the land. He soon started to teach his fellow soldiers some of the skills that he had learned. His knowledge and teachings earned him rapid promotions to a colonel.
He was given command of an army outpost in the small town of Mafeking, South Africa. It was there that he decided to write a manuscript called Aids in Scouting for his fellow servicemen. In the year 1899 just after he mailed the manuscript out to England, the tiny outpost of Mafeking was attacked and besieged by the Boers.
The small tin-roofed town of Mafeking stood 650 miles north of Capetown. It was surrounded and routinely bombarded by the Boers who out numbered the British seven to one! This desperate situation caused everyone in the town to be put to work defending the army outpost. The youth were no exception.
A group of young boys led by a boy named Goodyear were organized into a messenger service. Baden-Powell watched fascinated as these boys rode about the town delivering messages on bicycles during heavy shelling attacks. This is when he found how boys could be just as valuable and as brave as men in an emergency. He kept that image in his mind for later use.
The Boers expected the Mafeking outpost to last only a few weeks and then fall. After holding on for 217 days against all odds, the British Army broke through the Boer lines and relieved Mafeking. Baden-Powell went home to England as a national hero.
Along with his surprise of fame came the surprise that his manuscript had been published into a book and that the book had sold over 50,000 copies. Another surprise was that most all of the books had been bought up by English boys!
It seems that a popular game of "Mafeking" caught on like wildfire with English boys during the long siege of the outpost. His "scouting" book was an essential tool of the game, thus the record sales. Along with those sales and fame came many inquiries.
Boys all over England constantly wrote to the newly promoted General Baden-Powell for advice on how to be a better "scout". The General wrote back to his boy fans and told them to try to do "good turns". The letters kept coming in ever increasing numbers. The entire situation made him think of those brave lads at Mafeking. It was then that he decided to take a more deliberate role in shaping the character of these boys.
He decided to set up a national scouting organization for boys, but first he would have to test out his idea on a much smaller scale. In 1907 he wrote to the parents of 22 boys. He invited the boys to a cruise and camp-out just as he liked to do as a boy. He instructed them to wear khaki shorts as a uniform and bring camping gear of knives, hatchets, matches, and ropes. The boys also had to learn how to tie three knots. He drew the knots on the margins of the letters so that they could have a reference. The three knots that he mandated are still required knots for all Sea Scouts today. They are a reef knot, clove hitch, and a sheet bend.

Brownsea Island, England was the location he chose for the first camp-out. Brownsea Island is a small island situated in the middle of Poole Harbour, Dorset. Around a mile long, it is now owned by the National Trust and much of the island is a Nature Reserve. On the south-west corner of the island an area of 50 acres has been set aside for Boy Scout and Girl Guide camping on the original site that Baden-Powell chose back in 1907. It is a great island, but first they had to get there.
"On 29 July, 1907, Bill Harvey, one of the local boatmen, was waiting at the Customhouse Steps in Poole to take Baden-Powell, his nephew, and some of the boys from London out to Brownsea. They boarded his motor boat Hyacinth and set out on the two-mile crossing to the island. Bill Harvey landed the party on Seymour's Pier on Brownsea and returned to Poole, while Baden-Powell and the boys made their way the half mile along the island shore to the camp site."
The very first Boy Scouts were trained as Sea Scouts as well as campers. They were required to help with the lines and with other aspects of vessel operations. Some were required to stand watches as lookouts and man the helm while others were instructed in navigation skills.
Once on the island the boys were divided into four patrols- Curlews, Ravens, Wolves and Bulls. From the 31st of July to the 9th of August 1907 the boys learned about camping, hiking, stalking, life-saving, boating and many more of the activities that Scouts still do today. After teaching them these basic skills, General Baden-Powell gave his "scouts" tasks to perform. The camp-out was a great success it proved that boys could be trusted to organize and lead themselves and be put "on their honor". If that sounds familiar, it's because it's still in the Scout Promise.

On return from this first camp-out, Baden-Powell offered his ideas to existing youth organizations, but none of them were interested. So, he wrote "Scouting for Boys" in 1908 as a weekly pull-out in a boy's magazine. This became very popular, and all over the country boys began forming themselves into "patrols". After publishing some more notes for adult leaders, patrols joined together to form "troops", and "Scouts" as we know it was organized. A stone has been erected on Brownsea Island to commemorate the 1907 camp.
Even though the first Scouts were both Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts in 1907, the actual Sea Scout organization was chartered in England in 1910. We know that Bill Harvey was the first Sea Scout skipper, but General Baden-Powell wanted a separate branch of Scouting devoted entirely to the teaching of nautical skills. He asked his brother Warington Baden-Powell to head up the first specialized branch of the Boy Scouts. Warington Baden-Powell agreed, and Sea Scouting was officially organized in England in 1910. Warington then wrote the first official Sea Scout manual. It was called Sea Scouting and Seamanship for Boys. The manual sold well and Sea Scouting flourished. It was in that same year that Boy Scouts was organized in the United States.
Boy Scouting was brought to America by William D. Boyce. He discovered Boy Scouting while visiting London on business in 1909. Being new to the city, he became lost in a thick London fog. A lone Boy Scout spotted him wandering about obviously lost. The boy approached Boyce and set him in the proper direction. Boyce offered to tip the boy for his help, but the boy would have none of it. He told Boyce that he had to do his "good turn" for the day. When Boyce asked about this "good turn" requirement, he was informed all about Boy Scouting. Boyce was fascinated by Boy Scouting. Even though he had missed his business appointment, he was determined to bring Boy Scouting to America. As he turned to get the Scout's name, the boy had mysteriously disappeared back into the fog just as mysteriously as he had appeared. A statue in London of the unknown Scout stands today.
Boyce did in fact bring Boy Scouting to America. He got his fellow business men to sponsor the new organization, and the Boy Scouts of America was officially chartered on February 8, 1910. Sea Scouting soon followed as BSA's first branch just as it did in England. It was organized in the U.S. in 1912- two years after the Boy Scouts of America. It took just about the same length of time to be officially recognized in America as it did in England.
Occasional acts of Sea Scout heroism in America were soon noticed. A Sea Scout wireless operator sailing on the schooner Eastward saved a score of lives by not abandoning his post. The ship began to sink fast, and he was ordered to send out a distress signal. He kept sending the distress signal while waiting for a response. Meanwhile, all hands and passengers were abandoning ship. Finally, just as he received an acknowledgment of his S.O.S., the ship went under with him still manning the radio. His body was never recovered. The public mourned his loss and recognized his bravery. In February of 1913 Secretary of the Navy G. V. L. Meyer issued an official order recognizing and endorsing the Sea Scout program.
The Sea Scouts soon played a key role in public service to the United States. They were heavily involved in scrap metal and rubber drives for both World Wars. During World War I Boy Scouts sold 200 million dollars worth of Liberty bonds and war Savings Stamps. They also distributed over 30 million pieces of government literature. The Sea Scouts had a role in these great accomplishments along with all of America's Boy Scouts, but it's in England where the Sea Scouts had a more direct role in the war. English Sea Scouts actually participated in the civil defense of their country by patrolling the dangerous waters around Great Britain.
Another mile stone for Sea Scouting came in 1927. Commander Richard Byrd organized an expedition to the South Pole. He was a supporter of the Boy Scouts, so he decided to take a Boy Scout with him on his expedition. A national essay contest was held for all Boy Scouts.
Paul Siple lived in Montpelier, Ohio and had earned just about every award that Boy Scouts had to offer. He had over 60 merit badges and was an Eagle Scout. He had then become a Sea Scout on the Sea Scout Ship Niagara of Lake Erie. He wrote about his achievements and adventures in Scouting. He also pleaded to Byrd in his essay for more adventures. Paul Siple made it as one of the six finalists.
The six finalist were brought to New York amidst heavy publicity. Over the next ten days each finalist was interviewed by expedition officials, Scout leaders, and by Byrd himself. Not everyone could agree on who would be chosen, so Byrd came up with a plan. He asked all of the finalists to pick one of the other finalist that he would want to go on the expedition with. All of the other five finalist chose Paul Siple. The decision was final Paul had won.

Sea Scout Paul Siple soon left for the South Pole with Commander, later Admiral, Byrd. Before Paul sailed away away his mother said, "If the Lord wanted you to be selected to go to the South Pole with Commander Byrd, then the Lord will bring you back safe." Paul not only came through it all safely, he was a credit to the expedition. The newly promoted Admiral Byrd wrote, "Paul Siple took up work in the expedition as a man among men. He stood regular deck watches on shipboard and turned himself into an able-bodied seaman on a full-rigged sailing vessel." He went on to write about Paul's accomplishments as a zoologist and scientist.
Paul Siple was a hard worker and a great team member on the 14 month long expedition. Siple went back to the South Pole in 1939 as the leader and chief biologist of his own Marie Byrd Land Exploring Party expedition. He was in charge of the U.S. Antarctic West Base for two years. He returned to the U.S. in 1941 with newly discovered lichens and mosses for further scientific study. His services and expertise were called upon to properly equip U.S. troops for climate extremes- both desserts and polar regions. He was given a commission as a major in the U.S. Army.
It was in the years leading up to World War II that the Sea Scouts developed their current ranking system for the program's youth. The person primarily responsible for developing that ranking system was Commander Thomas J. Keane, USN. He served in England during World War I where he received the Order of the British Empire award. After WWI he served as the National Director of Sea Scouting in America. That's when he created a uniform ranking system for all Sea Scouts. Although the requirements for achieving each rank has changed throughout the years, the ranking system has remained the same. The ranks for the youth are as follows:

Apprentice- teaches basic safety and seamanship.
Ordinary- teaches advanced seamanship skills.
Able- teaches leadership and advanced seamanship skills.
Quartermaster- teaches everything needed to lead in all aspects of the program.

History of Scout II - History

The BSA offers four "traditional" Scout programs, as well as three non-tradtional offerings (Exploring, Learning for Life, STEM Scouts). There are more details about all these programs on our Boy Scouts of America page.

  • Cub Scouts BSA (for boys & girls in Kindergartent through 5th grades [girls since 2018])
  • Scouts BSA (for boys and girls aged 11 through 17 [girls starting in 2019]) [also includes the little-used program called Varsity Scouts]
  • Sea Scouts BSA (formerly Sea Explorers for young men and young women aged 14 through 20 [young women since 1971])
  • Venturing BSA (formerly Exploring for young men and young women aged 14 through 20 [young women since 1971])

Cub Scouts BSA

Younger Cub Scouts

The "Younger boy Problem." Since the first campout of the first Boy Scout troop, boys too young to join have always desired to camp out like Scouts. The British answer to this desire was Wolf Cubs (now called Cub Scouts), created by Baden-Powell in 1916, and patterned after Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories. The BSA called this desire simply the "younger boy problem." Opposition from Chief Scout Executive James West delayed the start of our younger boy program until 1930. At first called Cubbing, the BSA changed the name to Cub Scouting in 1945. Cub Scouts was originally for boys aged 9, 10, and 11. Now the program covers Kindergarten through grade 5.

Differences. The BSA's Cub Scout program has always been quite different from the younger boy programs of most other countries, which are often a modified version of the Boy Scout program. As the BSA's Cub Scout Leader Book says, "Our Cub Scouting is different from the younger boy programs of any other country because it is home- and neighborhood-centered. " The BSA has always strongly insisted that our younger boy program be significantly different from Boy Scouting, out of fear that too early an introduction to camping and other Boy Scout skills would spoil Boy Scouting for the younger boys. An unfortunate side-effect of this approach is that boys who get bored with Cub Scouts rarely join a Boy Scout troop when they are old enough because they believe that the Boy Scout program will be just like Cub Scouts.

Age Range. Cub Scouting's age range during its first 19 years was 9-11. In 1949, this was lowered to 8-10 as all BSA programs lowered their entry age by one year (Explorers from 15 to 14, Boy Scouts from 12 to 11, and Cub Scouts from 9 to 8). From 1986 to 1989, the Cub Scouting Division further lowered the age for each Cub Scout level and changed the primary entry requirement to school grade instead of age. As a result, the Cub Scouting Division uses the following school-grade scheme:

  • Kindergarten-the new Lion Cub Scout program
  • 1st Grade-Tiger Cub Scouts (formerly called Tiger Cubs)
  • 2nd Grade-Wolf Cub Scouts
  • 3rd Grade-Bear Cub Scouts
  • 4th & 5th Grade-Webelos Scouts

Ranks. Unlike Boy Scout ranks, which a boy may earn as soon as he has passed the previous rank, Cub Scout ranks have always been restricted to a specific age group. The original three Cub ranks were Wolf (age 9, later age 8, now 2nd Grade), Bear (age 10, later age 9, now 3rd Grade), and Lion (age 11, later age 10, dropped in 1967 [the Lion name has been revived in 2017 to apply to the new Kindergarten level Cub Scout program]). At first, a boy who joined the pack at an older age had to earn ALL previous ranks before he could work on the rank for his age. Soon, this requirement was dropped and new Cub Scouts were allowed to begin work immediately on the rank for their age group (after completing the Bobcat joining requirements). Cub Scouts now can earn six ranks: Bobcat (the joining requirements, not considered a rank until 1974), Tiger (replaced the Tiger Cub rank in 2015), Wolf, Bear, Webelos (created in 1977), Arrow of Light (originally called the Webelos rank, created in 1941). The new Lion badge for Kindergartners is not yet considered a rank.

Cub Scouting rank names are an odd mix of native and non-native animals, apparently chosen mainly from animals whose young are called 'cubs'. While some tie in with Kipling's Jungle Book stories (Tiger, Wolf, Bear), the Bobcat (native to US) and Lion (native to Africa) do not. We even have an American 'lion' they could have chosen (the mountain lion/cougar/puma). Plus the tiger ('Shere Khan') was the bad guy in the Jungle Book stories.

Den Leadership. At first, each Cub den was led by a Boy Scout Den Chief with no direct adult involvement in the den (that, by the way, is why he is called the Den CHIEF instead of Den Assistant or some such)! In 1936, the BSA added the optional office of Den Mother (Den Mothers were not required to register until 1948). The handbooks of the late 1930s state that the Den Mother was ready to help when needed "but she leaves the actual running of the Den to the Den Chief." Even after almost 20 years of Cub Scouting, the 1949 handbook still stated that the Den Mother "helps the Den Chief plan Den fun." Not until the mid 1950s did the Den Mother assume full control of the den, with the Den Chief becoming the helper. In 1967, Den Mothers became Den Leaders as men were also allowed to lead dens. In 1967, a Den Leader Coach provided guidance and assistance to the Den Leaders this office became Pack Trainer in 2009.

Adult Leaders. Until 1967, men could hold any Cub Scout leader position except Den Mother now men can hold any position. Until the late 1960s, women were generally excluded from registered Cub Scout leader positions except Den Mother. Women have been permitted to be Cubmaster only since 1976, and Webelos Den Leader only since 1988. Today, men and women can hold any Cub Scout leadership position. (It is interesting that the BSA did not allow women on the national Cub Scout Committee until 1969.)

Older Cub Scouts

Transition to a Scout Troop. The need for a transition program from the Cub Scout pack to a Scout troop became apparent early because too many Cub Scouts were failing to make the transition, and because Cub Scout graduates were generally unprepared for the Scout program. The Webelos program offered Cub Scouts the opportunity to learn about Scouts.

History of Webelos. Created in 1941, the original Webelos program consisted simply of a new Webelos rank which boys could earn during their last few months in Cub Scouting. To earn the new rank, Cub Scouts first had to earn Lion, and they had to learn the skills required for the Boy Scout Tenderfoot badge. The Cub Scouts who worked on the Webelos rank were not yet called Webelos, and they remained in a regular Cub Scout den. In 1954, 10-1/2 year olds were organized into special Webelos dens, although they still had to earn Lion to qualify for the Webelos rank. In 1967, Cub Scouting dropped the Lion rank, extended the Webelos program from six months to the last year of Cub Scouting, and created the first 15 Webelos activity badges. In 1977, they added a new Webelos rank (the old Webelos rank was now called the Arrow of Light rank). In 1987, the Webelos program added five more activity badges (for a total of 20), and realigned the requirements of several activity badges to more closely match the requirements for the Boy Scout Tenderfoot rank. In 1988-89, the Webelos program was expanded to cover the last two years of Cub Scouting, though the BSA soon after began encouraging packs to graduate Webelos in February instead of May or June (so they could get started with a Scout troop before summer, and thus be less likely to drop out over the summer).

Younger Version of Scouting. Interestingly enough, in spite of the BSA insistence that our Cub Scout program NOT be a younger version of the Scout program, this has actually been the trend for most of Cub Scouting's existence. Since its creation in 1941, the Webelos program has become progressively more independent of the Cub Scout pack and progressively more a younger version of the Scout program in its insignia, terminology, and advancement. Today's Webelos are properly called Webelos Scouts (not Webelos Cub Scouts), and they now wear the tan Scout uniform (with appropriate Webelos insignia) instead of the blue Cub Scout uniform. Although Webelos Scouts no longer use the Boy Scout Handbook to work on Tenderfoot, today's Webelos Scout Handbook covers the Scout joining requirements (now called 'Scout' rank), as well as the Webelos activity badges. In addition, the requirements for some of the Webelos activity badges have been changed so that a Webelos graduate enters a Scout troop essentially finished with the Scout rank. Webelos dens generally pick a patrol name and wear the Scout patrol patch in place of their den numeral. Similar to Boy Scouts, Webelos advancement is handled by the Webelos Den Leader rather than the parents, and Webelos activities are more parent-son than family-centered.

Meaning of "Webelos." The name Webelos (which is always spelled with the 's') and the Arrow of Light symbol actually date from Cub Scouting's founding in 1930. Webelos was the name of the made-up "tribe" to which all Cubs belonged, symbolized by the Arrow of Light (which was not yet a badge to be earned). When the BSA created a new rank above Lion in 1941, they used the Cub Scout tribe name and symbol (the new rank was called the Webelos award until 1977, when it was renamed the Arrow of Light award and yet another new rank created bearing the name Webelos). From 1930 to 1967, the Webelos name had a double meaning. The consonants in WeBeLoS stood for the Cub Scout rank progression culminating with graduation into a Boy Scout troop (Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout), a meaning lost when the Lion rank was discontinued. The full name stood for "We'll Be Loyal" (later, apparently because someone felt the final 's' should stand for something, this became "We'll Be Loyal Scouts"). For about a decade after the creation of the Webelos rank, the Webelos tribal name was still applied to all Cub Scouts. During the 1950s, the name gradually became the sole property of the senior Cub Scouts working on the Webelos badge (although all new Cub Scouts must still learn the secret meaning of the Webelos name as a requirement for the Bobcat rank).

Former Tiger Cubs

Tiger Cubs began in 1982 as a means of starting boys and their parents in Scouting one year sooner, and was partly based on the Boy Scouts of Canada's Beaver program (the first such pre-Cub-Scout program). Tiger Cubs was very informal, encouraging activities between a boy and a parent. It was first open to 7 year olds, then open to all boys in First Grade. In 1996, the BSA updated the Tiger Cub program, primarily incorporating them more closely with the pack, a change most packs had already made. Before, Tiger Cubs were supposed to attend only a couple of pack meetings a year, and were not supposed to make Pinewood Derby cars. After, they became fully integrated into the Cub Scout pack, and even had a Tiger Cub rank to earn. As of 2015, BSA eliminated the separate Tiger Cubs program altogether and made it simply the first-year Cub Scout program, with its badge now simply called the Tiger rank (not Tiger Cub rank). The Tiger rank badge was also re-designed, replacing the cartoonish drawing of a tiger cub with a more realistic representation of an adult tiger (which matches how the Wolf and Bear ranks look).

It's interesting that BSA chose not to use the 'Beaver' name, even though beavers are (or were) common in much of the US, while tigers are not found in the US outside of zoos. [Most countries that have created a pre-Cub program call it Beaver Scouts, or identify a young animal common to their country (such as Australia's 'Joey Scouts').]

The Lion Cubs program became available nationwide in 2018, as the BSA created a new program for Kindergarten aged kids. It is very similar to the original Tiger Cub program from 1982. There is more information about Cub Scouts and Lion Cubs on our Boy Scouts of America page and on our Cub Scouting page.

Girls in Cub Scouts

In late 2017, BSA announced a major expansion of its programs by opening Cub Scouts and Scouts to girls (Venturing and Sea Scouts have been coed since 1971). As of 2018, Cub Scout packs may choose to be for boys only, for girls only, or mixed. All dens in mixed packs must be single-gender. More information about girls and adult women in the BSA is available on our Women and Girls in the Boy Scouts of America page.

Last Revision to This Page: 21 February 2021
Copyright © 1996-2021 by Troop 97 BSA

Our history

On 1 August 1907, 20 boys gathered together to join the first experimental Scout camp on Brownsea Island, near Poole in Dorset. The man behind the event was Robert Baden-Powell, a soldier, artist and writer. In bringing young people from different backgrounds together, he hoped to bridge gaps in society, and give everyone the opportunity to learn new skills. It was a radical idea at the time, but it paved the way for what was to come.

Things take off

The island was an inspired choice. Eight days’ worth of action-packed activities were set up on its shores. Designed to teach young people how to take the lead and try something new, it covered everything from tracking and fishing, to the study of animals, plants and stars. Thanks to B-P’s natural charisma, his ideas quickly caught on. Within two years there were 100,000 Scouts in the UK alone.

Why kindness is in our DNA

Being a Scout has always been about so much more than knowing how to put up a tent (although we are known to be exceptionally good at it). Inspired by their Founder, Scouts were encouraged to stand up for what they believe in and blaze a trail. In ‘doing their best’ for themselves and for others, the original Scouts set themselves apart from their other friends. From the very beginning, they were kind, considerate and always ready to help other people. ‘A Scout is a friend to all,’ BP wrote in Scouting for Boys. This book would go on to shift over 100 million copies, and launch a worldwide movement.

There when we’re needed most

We introduced new words and phrases to society, too: ideas like ‘The Good Turn,’ ‘The Scout Law’ the ‘Scout Promise’ took off, alongside BP’s famous motto: ‘Be Prepared’. Meanwhile, the Scout scarf (or neckerchief) was becoming a familiar sight – reassuring people in times of national crisis. The Scouts played a key role on the home front in both world wars, carrying messages, bringing in the harvest and even directing fire crews to throughout the Blitz.

How we’ve changed (but stayed true to our values)

Today, Scouts have grown and evolved in so many ways – welcoming people of all genders, beliefs and backgrounds.

But through it all, our aim remains the same: to prepare young people for the future and build stronger communities. As of 2021, we have opened over 1,339 new Scout groups in areas of deprivation, helping a new generation gain skills for life. Long may it continue.

The Philippine Scouts

To assist with the occupation of the Philippine Islands following the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Army began to employ native Filipinos as soldiers and scouts. In September 1899, a group of friendly tribesman from the area around the village of Macabebe was organized into a company of scouts. During the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902), the Macabebes remained loyal to the American forces fighting the rebels. A small group of Macabebes participated in one of the most daring actions of the insurgency, BG Frederick Funston’s capture of Emilio Aguinaldo, the rebel leader, in March 1901. During the final stages of the insurrection, other tribes were recruited to serve with the U.S. Army, including Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Visayans, and Bicols. Collectively, these groups of Filipinos recruited to fight for the U.S. Army became known as the Philippine Scouts.

While a number of Filipinos served with U.S. forces since 1899, a law authorizing the President to enlist and organize Filipinos into official military units for service with the Army was not passed until 2 February 1901. Initially, the Army recruited fifty-two companies of Scouts. Each company was raised from the same province, making them ethnically and linguistically homogeneous. Since the original purpose of the Scouts was as a counterinsurgency force capable of penetrating enemy held territory, units larger than companies were viewed as impractical.

Scout uniforms, rations, and equipment were similar to those of Regular Army troops. In keeping with the practices of other colonial armies, however, Scouts were initially equipped with outdated weapons, such as .45 caliber Springfield carbines, which fired black powder cartridges. These weapons were later replaced by model 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles. Another difference between the Scouts and American soldiers was in pay, with Scouts receiving about one-third the pay of U.S. regulars. This discrepancy created tension and led to a brief mutiny in July 1924.

Scout companies were commanded by company grade U.S. Army officers. American officers selected Filipino noncommissioned officers from the ranks. In 1914, Filipinos were admitted to West Point for training as officers for Scout units, but few took advantage of the opportunity. The 1903 report of the Philippine Commission stated that competent American officers were key to the success of the Scouts because “Filipinos were thought to be capable fighters if they were properly led.”

The Scouts earned a reputation as loyal, skillful, professional soldiers. The desertion rates for Scout units were a fraction of Regular Army units. They saw extensive service in the Philippine Insurrection, particularly during the latter stages. In addition to playing a role in the capture of Aguinaldo, they also participated in the capture of Vincente Lukban, a major rebel leader on the islands of Leyte and Samar. Scouts later helped to put down several sporadic uprisings and also served in the campaign to suppress the rebellion conducted by the Moros in the southern Philippines. Service in the Scouts was considered to be an honored profession among the Filipinos, and long waiting lists existed for enlistment. Several American officers praised the Scouts as “the finest body of native troops in existence.”

As the conventional military role of the Scouts increased, the companies were consolidated into battalions in 1905. By 1918, the Scouts were reorganized into regiments. In 1922, the Philippine Division was organized with both U.S. Army and Philippine Scout units. Despite the fact that Scout units now included infantry (43rd, 45th, and 57th Infantry), cavalry (26th Cavalry) field artillery (23rd and 24th Field Artillery), and other combat and combat support units, they maintained their original designation of “scouts” out of tradition.

When the Japanese attacked the Philippines on 8 December 1941, the Scouts numbered approximately 8,000 men in the Philippine Division and separate units. Outnumbered and poorly equipped, the Philippine Division, under the command of BG Maxwell S. Lough, and other Scout units put up a valiant defense, but were forced to surrender to the Japanese on 9 April 1942.


US rifle optics, it could be said, stayed relatively standard between the end of WWII and Vietnam. However, in the years since there have been huge advances in optical technology. As this technology has advanced, each new development has been incorporated into rifle scopes, and as a result the effective ranges achieved by these weapons have more than doubled since the Vietnam conflict.

Perhaps the most dramatic increase in the capability of rifle optics in recent years has been the enormous increase in standard magnification. It is now not unusual to see x10 magnification scopes fitted as standard to hunting rifles, a level of magnification that was reserved for the most highly trained snipers of the WWII period. Advances in glass manufacture, and the increasing use of transparent polymers, has also meant that the light transmission of these scopes has greatly improved. This means that even a 50mm scope provides an excellently lit image in the viewfinder.

Another huge advance has been the use of variable magnification. Though first developed in the 1950s, this technology did not become widely available on civilian optics until the 1990s, and has revolutionized the shooting practice of many hunters and amateur marksmen. Until the modern period, there remained a need for the serious rifle shooter to own a number of scopes – at least one for long range hunting, and another for short range pest control or similar. Variable magnification, by allowing the user to manually change the magnification offered by the scope, did away with this hassle.

Another area of development has been the several ways in which lasers technology has been incorporated into scopes. Most shooters today will be familiar with the use of lasers in rifle optics primarily from the availability of red dot sights, where a low-powered laser is used instead of a traditional aiming reticle. These sights can be very effective when hunting, especially at short range, allowing the shooter to see precisely where their weapon is pointed.

However, lasers have also been incorporated into rifle optics in other ways. Advanced long-range rifle optics now use lasers to measure the range to the target. Though, for most people, a range finding reticle should be more than sufficient to estimate range, for those who need to take the longest-range shots laser range finding provides an instant and very accurate way of finding a precise range.

One of the most recent changes to rifle optics, but one that has quickly become very popular, is the use of illuminated reticles. As night-vision technology has increased in availability and decreased in price, many now find themselves hunting at dusk or dawn. In these situations, though an illuminated reticle is not absolutely necessary, it certainly helps. This said, some have criticized the first few generations of this technology, because without proper adjustment illuminated scopes can hamper the hunter’s night vision, and ultimately make them less effective.

For the most advanced users, and those in the military, the next advances in US rifle optics are already becoming visible. In 2007, the Barrett Firearms Company introduced a system known as BORS. This system is essentially an automatic, electronic module for automatically calculating bullet drop, and adjusting a scope’s reticle automatically. It is designed to work out to 2,500 meters in combination with certain scopes made by Leupold and Nightforce, and this range is indicative of the extreme distances across which modern snipers are expected to hit targets.

What comes next, we can only guess. One suggestion is provided by the ELCAN Digital Rifle Scope series, which replaces the traditional refraction lenses of rifle scopes with a fully digital system. If this is the way forward, it will represent the biggest change in scope technology since the invention of the rifle scope way back in the 17 th Century. However, only time will tell.


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