In 1928, the National Council of the Boy Scouts authorized the use of shoulder insignia to indicate where scouts were from. These began as community strips or, for professional scouters, council strips. Over time, these were produced in different colors to match the color of the uniform and transitioned to council strips for all Scouts. In approximately 1973, the modern-day colorful council shoulder patches ("CSPs") became the norm and persist to this day.
Pre-1973 shoulder insignia list
EARLY JAMBOREE INSIGNIA
Although the 1935 National Scout Jamboree was cancelled a few weeks before it was supposed to begin, Chattanooga Scouts who were planning to attend were nevertheless issued "shoulder arcs" reflecting their Region (V), their subcamp (M), and their jamboree troop (17). In 1937, Chattanooga Scouts were issued a "shoulder flash" representing their region (V), their subcamp (K), and their jamboree troop (13).
Community strips were the earliest form of geographic identification that Chattanooga Scouts wore. These embroidered strips of fabric were worn on the right shoulder under the shoulder seam. No comprehensive list exists showing every community that offered a patch. A 1937 letter to Chattanooga Scouts attending that year's jamboree explained that community strips reading "Chattanooga" were available for ten cents each.
The various color combinations were offered to match the color of uniforms: Boy Scouts wore Tan & Red strips in the 1930s. Thereafter, until approximately 1953, Scouts wore strips in various colors depending on the color of their uniform: Khaki and Red for Boy Scouts, Blue and Yellow for Cub Scouts, Green and Brown for Explorers, Blue and White for the Sea Scout and Sea Explorer winter uniform, and White and Blue for the Sea Scout and Sea Explorer summer uniform. Beginning in approximately 1953, until approximately 1973, all Scouts wore a ubiquitous Red and White strip until the advent of the modern council shoulder patches "CSPs."
While Scouts wore community strips, Scout professionals and others who were not associated with a distinct community wore council strips that reflected the name of the Scout council rather than an individual community. These began as single-line strips (also known as "half strips") in the 1930s until 1953, and progressed into two-line strips (or "full strips") that were worn by all Scouts.
COUNCIL SHOULDER PATCHES
In 1972, the national council sent each local council a letter describing the new council shoulder patches, or "CSPs." Since then, the council has issued more than 200 different designs.
JAMBOREE SHOULDER PATCHES
While the 1935 and 1937 National Scout Jamborees had their own shoulder insignia, Chattanoogans did not have separate jamboree shoulder insignia again until the 1981 National Scout Jamboree. Since then, Chattanooga Scouts attending National Scout Jamborees have worn jamboree shoulder patches, or "JSPs."