If you’re a Scout or Scouter (and you probably are if you are here) you are more than likely familiar with patch trading. Most of the time it happens when scouts and scouters from different areas come together for some event; most notably the National Jamboree, and Order of the Arrow conventions (or conclaves). You may see a line of blankets on the ground where collectors, young and old, are intensely involved. They mostly swap local council shoulder patches (CSPs) and Order of the Arrow lodge “flaps” but may also dabble in patches from countless camporees and other special events.
My first (and only) foray into patch trading was at the 1989 National Jamboree. I was on youth staff and decided to bring along a whole bunch of my council’s regular CSP, a few of the special Jambo CSPs and some OA lodge flaps (regular and Jambo). I remember going to the various sub camps and asking around if anyone wanted to trade. I remember the most popular patch sought was an OA flap from the Malibu lodge in Hawaii. Everyone would ask, “Do you have a Malibu?” as a greeting. I did not get to the Hawaii sub-camp and did not find anyone who had multiples. But I did get a fair number of ones that I thought were cool and were unique. I also made it a point to trade for a CSP and OA flap from the council I began scouting with (which so happens to be the council I and my sons are in now). I did not spread a blanket nor did I occupy all of my time trading. I incorporated it into the other activities I took part in at the Jamboree. Here is a picture of that collection now over 20 years old.
I remember seeing SM Shawn’s post a few months back (he recently re-posted) offering up one of his three CSPs in exchange for one from another scouter. At the time I thought that would be a neat idea; combining a time-honored tradition with present day technology. At the time of the original post I did not have any CSPs and as things got busy, it slipped my mind to get some next time I was at the scout shop. It wasn’t until I saw a tweet from @okcscouter (David C.) asking if anyone wants to trade CSPs that I was able to jump into fun. The pack had just bought a few CSPs for boys who joined up this spring who also ordered their uniform. Since we didn’t get as many new recruits, and after reimbursing the pack I had some patches to trade.
I sent off one to SM Shawn as his offer still stood (no one had taken him up on his offer; I think I was the first, even after all this time) and sent my address to David via Twitter DM. Right after the Memorial Day holiday both came on the same day. Both came with the patch and a note. As Shawn put on Twitter, “it’s nice to see that two scouters can still communicate for only $0.44.”
Since then, I have made contact (all through Twitter) with a few other scouters interested in trading CSPs. I have sent out a couple, waiting to get one back and sent my address to some for them to initiate the trade. So along with the others, here’s deal ScoutNation…you too can get in the game for the cost of your council’s CSP and $0.44. If you are interested in swapping patches post a reply to this post, send me a DM on Twitter or email. We can figure out address sharing then get to swapping. Here is my council’s current patch. It’s what I have to offer:
For those on Twitter, I propose using the hashtag #CSPSwap going forward when tweeting about our swaps. That will help folks find who is in the game to be able to reach out and make a contact to swap. Let’s see how much this can get going. I know there are a few patches going through the mail (or soon will be). Come join the fun.