Consider it the holy grail of Jamboree trading: a patch with a recognizable brand name.
Add a dash of Monty Python or Halo to your patch set, for example, and you increase its desirability and therefore its theoretical trade value.
Of course, it’s not as easy as picking a favorite movie, game or logo and putting it on your council’s Jamboree shoulder patch (JSP). The process to use trademarked images, as many Scouters found out, can take time.
Here are a few such JSPs, along with the stories behind them.
Denver Area Council: Monty Python
In the Denver Area Council, Jamboree-bound Scouts — not their adult leaders — got to decide what to put on their JSPs.
Ten Scouts submitted solid ideas — stuff like military vehicles, mountains and national parks. Two of the 10 submissions, though, seemed far-fetched: a Lord of the Rings set and a Monty Python set.
Creating those sets would require getting official written permission from the trademark owners.
“I simultaneously reached out to the estate of J. R. R. Tolkien and [Python (Monty) Pictures Limited] to ask for permission,” says Matt Farr, assistant Scoutmaster of Jamboree Troop 3226.
Meanwhile, the Scouts had voted, and Monty Python won.
William Moore, the 17-year-old senior patrol leader for Jamboree Troop 3227, designed the winning submission.
“I had just watched Monty Python and thought it would be cool,” William says.
Farr didn’t hear back from either of the two groups, so they went with Plan C: national parks.
“And then I got an email in February from Python, saying they might be interested,” Farr says. “We sent sketches and told them these were for Scouts to trade, not for sale or profit. They thought the designs were hilarious.”
Will’s uncle did the final designs, and Farr got written permission on Python letterhead. The result? A Monty Python-themed contingent from Denver, complete with T-shirts that say “It’s just a flesh wound.”
“There are some great patches out there, but I think ours is going to be one of the best,” Farr says.
“I bought 60 sets,” Will says. “I turn 18 this year, so I see this as my last hurrah.”
Cascade Pacific Council: Halo
The Halo series of videogames has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. To say it’s popular among teenagers is an understatement.
So imagine the delight of Scouts in the Portland, Ore.-based Cascade Pacific Council when they learned their idea for a Halo patch set had been approved. The official OK came from 343 Industries, a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios.
Each patch features a sticker on the back further confirming Microsoft’s approval of the use of their Halo imagery.
Thanks to Jamboree Troop 3215-B for letting me check out their Halo set, even as they were trying to set up camp.
Western Los Angeles County Council: Monopoly
The contingent from the Western Los Angeles County Council is small but mighty, consisting of just one troop: Jamboree Troop 3435.
But they’re here in style, with a Hasbro-approved Monopoly set.
Instead of each Jamboree troop having its own patch, each Troop 3435 patrol has its own. Each patrol chose a Monopoly token for its patch: car, battleship, T. rex and fedora.
Have a cool 2017 Jamboree patch set?
I’ll update this post as I see more cool patches with famous brands.
If you see some I haven’t posted here, send your Jamboree troop number, a high-res photo of the complete set and the story behind obtaining licensing rights to me at email@example.com.