By: Dean Whinery
Posted On: 2018-12-10
Stop and think! When you think of a Scout, what does your mind's eye see? A youth wearing a scarf? Probably…
What It's Called
Whether it's called a scarf, a necker, a neckerchief, or, in Spanish, a pañoleta, it is a major part of the uniform of Scouts of all levels in more than 100 countries of the world. On a visit to Nuestra Cabaña, the World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts' center near Cuernavaca, México, I noted that each staffer and participant was wearing a neckerchief (sometimes more than one!). And recently the Girl Scouts of the USA have brought back this distinctive uniform part.
A Cloth Triangle
The colorful cloth triangle varies according to the wearer's unit, be he/she be a Cub, Scout or part of an older level. In México, all members of a Grupo (family of units from Cub to adults) proudly wear the same pañoleta, while in the BSA, all members of a Boy Scout (starting soon, Scouts BSA) troop wear a distinctive colorful triangle.
Some special neckerchiefs
Special neckerchiefs are worn for Jamborees, Order of the Arrow in the BSA, national and international Scout centers--like Philmont--. camp staffs, sometimes training courses, the Wood Badge necker with the Maclaren tartan is known worldwide, and others. The use of a different colored scarf according to age is a relatively new thing in the BSA Cubbing program.
Return to the full-sized neckerchief?
There has been a movement in the BSA during the past few years to return to the "full-size" neckerchief, putting it back as a utilitarian part of the uniform instead of just a decoration. The "full-size" piece can be used as an emergency bandage or arm-sling, and just about anything a Scout's imagination can conjure in time of a need.