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THIS OLD PATCH

ONE YEAR, TWO RARE FINDS

For collectors, 1935 offered two fascinating symbols of Scouting’s past. The first is the 25-Year Veteran patch. This patch was used only for a year, and less than 100 were issued. Its only recipients were individuals who were part of the BSA for all 25 years since the pro- gram’s founding in 1910. The fully embroidered 25-Year Veteran patch featuring the Roman numeral XXV debuted a year later. All veteran patches were discon- tinued in 1972.

Our other patch, also from the 25th Anniversary year, comes with a sobering story. Scouting issued this jamboree shoulder strip for Scouts from Region 8 (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming) who planned to attend the 1935 jamboree in Washington,

D.C. Unfortunately, the jamboree was canceled because of a polio outbreak in the nation’s capital. Scouts from all across the country were en route to Washington, many on trains, and had to turn back. The shoulder patch was issued under the old 12-region system that existed before today’s four-region system. That’s why these old shoulder patches have been a major collecting draw at jamborees and, no doubt, will be again this summer.

QUOTABLE

you. It’s that simple.”

“We would not be here without

ROB E R T J . MAZ ZU C A

THAN K I NG TH E MI L L ION S OF ADU LT VOLU NT E E R S DU R I NG TH E B SA’ s

1 0 0 t h AN N IVE R SARY GAL A I N WA S H I NGTON , D. C .

WAY BACK WHEN

Present at the Creation

As we look forward to this summer’s jamboree, it’s also a good time to look back at the first jamboree in 1937—almost 75 years ago. With the country still gripped by the Great Depression, about 25,000 Scouts descended on Washington, D.C., pitching tents around the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin.

Among the throng was Bill Martin, now 86, who was one of about 20 Western Montana Council young men to attend. The year before the event, Martin’s mother had told him he could go to the jamboree if he earned his Life Scout rank. So he headed off to summer camp determined to reach the goal. Martin earned more than enough badges and even received a letter of

commendation from a Scout executive lauding his hard work.

The 1937 jamboree was a huge hit in the media. Time magazine reported that the most popular pastime among the boys was swapping an odd assortment of souvenirs: “Wampum, pine cones, mounted birds,

sharks’ teeth, sponges, pickled scorpions, and the ever-popular horned toads.”

Martin came home and plunged back into Scouting activities, becoming the first Eagle Scout in his town of Libby. The years have dimmed Martin’s memories of the jamboree. But, as he told the Daily Inter Lake of Northwest Montana, one thing stands out in his mind: museums. “I saw more museums in 30 days than I saw the rest of my life,” Martin says. “We went to museums in every city we stopped in.”

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S COUT ING ¿ MAY • JUNE 2 0 1 0

PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL MARTIN

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