PLEASE NOTE THAT BSA ARE CHANGING THEIR RULES FOR PATCH TRADING AT THE JAMBOREE AND THESE TIPS HAVE NOT BEEN UPDATED TO REFLECT THE NEW RULES YET.
The National Jamboree is where many scouts begin a new hobby of patch collecting. It can be a very enjoyable and positive hobby that can be continued into adulthood. However, with anything fun, there are those that take patch trading too far and spoil it. Here are some guidance on patches for you to enjoy. As a guiding principle you should trade for patches which you like the look of or which mean something to you. Some good starting points are trading for the JSPs from the council which you were in before coming to TAC or from the Council where you lived in the US.
Some Ground Rules
Patch Trading is only done between youth and youth or adult and adult. There is no adult and youth trading to allowed at the Jamboree. If an adult approaches to a scout to trade patches, please take that adults name and/or troop number (look for their name plate and numerals on their shoulder). Report that information to your unit leaders. Adults found breaking the rules against patch trading with youth will be asked to leave the Jamboree by National.
Scouts may not trade by “proxy”. This is when a scout gets an adult to trade with another adult on their behalf. Equally adults cannot ask a scout to be their proxy to facilitate a patch trade with a scout. There is no difference in using a proxy to Rule 1. The spirit of the rule against Youth & Adult patch trading will be enforced as well as the letter.
Patch Trading by the scouts of the Transatlantic Contingent is only allowed:
- After Dinner clean up has been completed each night; or,
- After a scout has earned all 5 of their jamboree rockers.
It costs a lot of money to attend the National Jamboree so parents and the scoutmasters both want scouts to take to part in the National Jamboree rather than trading patches all day, every day. As part of this rule, if you want to set up a blanket and trade patches for an afternoon or two (after earning all 5 rockers) that is OK. You must have a buddy with you just like any other time you leave camp (so need someone else who has earned all 5 rockers). The tip for this is to setup a blanket on a main pathway and where other people are also setting up. This way you create a sort of “market bazaar” of patch traders which will attract more scouts to look at your patches and talk with you.
A scout which is not a member of the Order of the Arrow can trade OA Flaps (see below) if a person is wiling to trade with them. A scout may NOT wear an OA Flap for a lodge of which he is not a member and accordingly a scout which is not in the Order of the Arrow may NOT wear any OA Flap.
Scouts will also trade neckerchiefs, neckerchief slides, hat pins, collectors coins, t-shirts, hats and lots more. However, scouts in the Transatlantic Council Contingent may NOT trade any item of their uniform. Your uniform includes your Contingent (2 per person) JSP, Troop T-shirts, Troop Neckerchief, Troop Slide and Troop Hat. You need these items to be a properly uniformed member of the Transatlantic Council Contingent. If you are uncertain about whether something is part of your uniform or not, ask one of the Scoutmaster team first.
Patch trades should generally be conducted on the basis of 1 patch for 1 patch. The only exception should be where trading JSPs or OA Flaps for a larger back patch, as TAC does not have a back patch. Remember all patches are “rare” in that only a small number of each patch (often a few thousand) compared to the number of scouts attending the Jamboree (over 50,000) have been made. However each JSP or OA Flap only cost about $2.00 to be made. Do not be suckered into thinking that a patch is worth hundreds of $$$$ and trading more than 1-to-1 for a JSP or OA Flap. No patch is worth more the memories it brings you.
Types of Patches & Patch Characteristics
Most patches at the Jamboree fall into 3 types:
Event patches - which are patches for Camporees, Day Camps, Summer Camps, Scout Shows and all sorts of scouting events. They are generally not traded but given away as friendship gifts.
Council Strips aka “CSP” - Council Strips are heavily traded at the Jamboree. They show where a scouts is from. CSPs come in many different varieties including the “standard” CSP which a scout would wear normally in the coucil, special CSPs for Eagle Scouts, for Friends of Scouting Donors and for special anniversaries of a Council. Councils make a special CSP for the National Jamboree which is also referred to as a “JSP” or Jamboree Shoulder Patch.
OA Flaps – Order of the Arrow flaps are also heavily traded at the Jamboree. The scouts will have a special Jamboree Flap just for this National Jamboree. Also around will be a variety of flaps from each Lodge including the normal uniform wear, special anniversary flaps, NOAC flaps and more. If trading for Jamboree Flaps, it is common practice to try for the JSP which goes with the Jamboree Flap as they two are often a matched set.
Patches can have some really neat tricks in them to make them look cool. Some common techniques to look out for are:
- Using a popular cartoon character or famous buildings (from a Council’s area to make the patch design desirable
- Using “ghosting”, which is a technique where a picture appears by the way that the stitching is done. For example an all red OA Flap with the design embroidered by the ghosting method is called a “blood flap”.
- Using metallic threads, called mylar, to border the patch or to highlight specific elements of a patch’s design.
Most Councils send two or more troops to the National Jamboree as a Contingent. Each Troop within the Contingent will normally have a different JSP. Collecting a set of JSPs is a good place to start. Some Contingents will also have a center patch which their JSPs match up with to make a larger design. It can be a very rewarding sense of achievement when you have collected a Contingent’s set of JSPs and the center patch.
Some Top Tips!
- Be Polite. Remember this is not a high stakes poker game. It is not stock brokering either. You are not out to try to get the better of someone else. Patch trading is about making friends and memories.
- Know your patches and what they show. An explanation of our JSPs are on the other pages about patches.
- Don’t be afraid to trade for a duplicate of a patch you already traded for when a scout wants your JSP and they only have a JSP that you already have. If you traded for it, chances are someone else will as well and you can make a new friend in the process.
- Having a variety of patches helps you to trade by giving a choice where scouts can choose something they really one, rather than just what you have.
- DO NOT TRADE YOUR CONTINGENT JSP
- Do not trade for patches you can purchase at the Jamboree shops or on-line from www.scoutstuff.org. In particular do not think that buying 21 subcamp 1 patches will let you trade for the other 20 subcamps. Scouts do not trade subcamp patches. If you want the whole set, buy it as a set from www.scoutstuff.org rather than trying to trade for it. Either option costs the same and by buying the set you are guaranteed to get them all.
- Be aware of the potential for patch thefts to occur. Unfortunately, not every scout is as scout-like as we would hope. Stadri Emblems have created a blog post of their top 10 tips to prevent being a victim of patch theft at www.stadriemblems.com/scouting/blog/?p=484. It is worth reading, especially to be reminded to keep your valuables locked and to use different ziploc bags for patches which you wish to keep and patches which you wish to trade.
Please remember that patch trading is a hobby, not a business. It is meant to be fun and enjoyable. There is no such thing as a “rare” patch that you must have. The most important patches are those that bring back memories for you or that you like the look of the design. Mr Luke Johnson’s most special patch is not his oldest, is not the most limited run, it is the one given to him by his old scoutmaster where that scoutmaster gave up his only patch for being on the committee for TAC organizing the troop going to the 1997 National Jamboree just so that Mr Johnson could have all 3 of the TAC JSPs for that year. The best patches are those which come with the best stories.