Patch trad­ing is part of every Nation­al Jam­boree, but in 2013 it actu­al­ly become an offi­cial Jam­boree pro­gram. So in addi­tion to all the high-adven­ture and clas­sic jam­boree activ­i­ties that Scouts have grown to love, 2017 will include includ­ing the ever-pop­u­lar, vast­ly com­pet­i­tive patch-trad­ing expe­ri­ence.

For those who have not see this phe­nom­e­na, it can be quite a spec­ta­cle watch­ing a Scout pulling a patch from his Scout shirt to get just the right patch trade from anoth­er Scout.

Patch trad­ing start­ed as a friend­ship gift. A Scout would take a patch to jam­boree and trade it with a patch from anoth­er Scout to show friend­ship. Trad­ing con­tin­ues to be a great way for Scouters to intro­duce them­selves and make new friends. And among 40,000 atten­dees it will not be hard to make mul­ti­ple exchanges.

The Sum­mit Blog sug­gests three ways to ramp up your patch trad­ing: 

  1. Build your inven­to­ry. One of the best ways to be a ver­i­ta­ble bar­ter­ing wreck­ing ball is to accu­mu­late a hand­some stock of patch­es from which you can trade. Some of the folks you might meet at the jam­boree have been trad­ing patch­es for decades, so come pre­pared with some­thing cool and unique. It takes a long time to build up a good stock of patch­es to trade, so if patch trad­ing is your gig, you’d bet­ter get start­ed now.
  2. Know your col­lec­tion. Are you inter­est­ed in OA lodge patch­es? High-adven­ture activ­i­ties? Coun­cils? You have to know what you’re look­ing for and what your inter­ests are. It helps you devel­op a bet­ter inven­to­ry that you can trade away, and also helps keep you focused while you’re bar­ter­ing with oth­er peo­ple at the jam­boree, ensur­ing you get exact­ly the kinds of patch­es you want.
  3. Main­tain your kit. Nobody wants to trade for patch­es that are tat­tered, dirty, or worn out. Do your best to make sure your inven­to­ry of patch­es is ship­shape at all times. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your patch­es in a water­tight plas­tic bag, like a zip­pered freez­er bag. It not only pro­tects your patch­es but pro­vides an easy way for poten­tial traders to get a quick glimpse of what you bring to the table.

Which patch­es are you most inter­est­ed in see­ing at Jam­boree? The Sum­mit? Let us know in the com­ments.

Darryl Alder
Darryl is a full time professional Scouter for Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America, serving as Director of Strategic Initiatives. But his pride in Scouting is his service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative and Commissioner.

One comment

  1. Derrick Larsen says:

    I had nev­er expe­ri­ence seri­ous patch trad­ing until I went the 2013 Nation­al Jam­boree as an Assis­tant Scout­mas­ter. It was so neat to see boys of all ages, creeds, and faith com­ing togeth­er and enjoy­ing this neat hob­by. They were all very cour­te­ous and were fair. I thought I would give it a go and I went and trad­ed myself. My goal was to get the Scout­ing posi­tion patch for the nation­al Key 3. I got one and thought it would be cool to get all three. I trad­ed and trad­ed and trad­ed and final­ly got all three. When I was done I got to meet a lot of ener­getic young men from all kinds of back­grounds and I devel­oped my flair for trad­ing. I enjoyed it very much and I trea­sure my patch col­lec­tion from that year. I would rec­om­mend that every­one attend­ing the Jam­boree go trade a patch or two.

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