You can identify veteran Scouts and Scouters by their well-worn uniforms, their beyond-broken-in hiking boots, and the patches on their shirts and brag vests. But the BSA also offers awards that take the guesswork out of figuring out just how long someone has been around. Service stars, attendance pins and veteran pins are three ways you can show off your tenure in Scouting. Here’s an introduction.
WHAT ARE SERVICE STARS? Small pins that indicate how many years of tenure a Scout or Scouter has in the BSA. Each star is worn on a circular backing whose color indicates which phase of Scouting it represents.
WHAT DO THE COLORS INDICATE? Four colors represent youth service: gold for Cub Scouting (including Webelos Scouts), green for Boy Scouting, brown for Varsity Scouting and red for Venturing and Sea Scouts. Adult service is shown with a blue backing. Adults may combine their youth and adult tenure and just wear stars with blue backing.
HOW DO THE STARS SHOW THE NUMBER OF YEARS OF SERVICE? Each star displays a number. The youth or adult member combines stars to show his or her years of service. For example, a boy who was a Cub Scout for four years and a Boy Scout for six years would wear a four-year service star on a gold backing and a six-year service star on a green backing. An adult with 27 years of service would wear two stars on blue backing: a 20-year service star and a seven-year service star.
WHAT SERVICE STARS ARE AVAILABLE? Stars are available in one-year increments from one to 10. After that, they go in five- or 10-year increments up to 90. Pins and backing may be purchased at local Scout shops.
WHERE ARE SERVICE STARS WORN? Above the left pocket of the uniform shirt. If a medal or an embroidered knot is worn, service stars are worn a quarter of an inch above the medal or knot.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO WEAR SERVICE STARS? Any youth or adult member with at least one year of tenure.
MUST A PERSON’S TENURE BE CONTINUOUS? No. Someone who was a Scout as a youth and returned years later as an adult could wear stars representing both periods of tenure.
WHAT ARE ATTENDANCE PINS? Attendance pins are worn by youth members in all programs to reward regular attendance.
WHO DECIDES WHAT REGULAR ATTENDANCE MEANS? The unit leader.
HOW DO ATTENDANCE PINS INDICATE YEARS OF ATTENDANCE? Each pin includes a bar that shows the number of years. Pins are available in one-year increments from one to 10 years. Pins may be purchased at local Scout shops.
WHERE ARE ATTENDANCE PINS WORN? Above the left pocket of the uniform shirt.
WHAT IS THE VETERAN AWARD? The Veteran Award recognizes adults for their tenure in Scouting. (Note, however, that tenure earned as a youth member may be included.) Veterans agree to live up to their Scouting obligations, make themselves available for service and be active in promoting Scouting as circumstances permit. They must also be currently registered in the BSA. Veterans receive a veteran pin, which is for non-uniform wear.
FIND MORE STORIES ABOUT SCOUTING AWARDS AT SCOUTINGMAGAZINE.ORG/AWARDFAQ