Commissioners have always been an important part of scouting. They are the volunteers that provided guidance to new units. It is believe that the first badges were issued in 1911. The badge included a First Class emblem as did all other adult leader badges because leaders were supposed to represent what a First Class scout should be.
The original names of the commissioner positions were different from today's name. Through the help of George Crowl, it appears the Deputy Scout Commissioner changed names 1930's and according to Randy Worchester, Scout Commissioner changed in the 1950's or 1960's. The name change for Neighborhood Commissioner which started in 1933 occurred in 1973. The position of Assistant Council Commissioner was created in the 1967. The relationships are as follows:
The table below uses today's names for brevity. There are varieties of many of these badges which include background material (wool, tan, khaki) and variations due to different manufacturers but that information is not included at this time.
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Between 1920 and 1969, one had to understand the many color differences of the commissioner-type badges to know the position in scouting. The background of the first-class emblem for commissioner was blue. For professionals, it was red. For National professionals, it was silver or white. In addition, different parts of the badges were colored differently. The below table is for Commissioners only.
In 1970, BSA changed position badges to include the name. The first series had blue backgrounds and todays have red backgrounds. Soon after 1970, red background commissioner badges began to appear. However, it is not clear whether the red version was issued at the same time as the blue version or subsequent to it. In any case, by 1973, all commissioner position badges had red background.
In 1970, scouting also had its first Roundtable position badges. And in 1991, the word "Scout" was added to the Cub position badges and the word "Boy" was added to the Scout position badges. Other changes have occurred which can be seen in the table below.
As a bit of extra information from Randy Worchester:
A great deal of thanks goes to the Las Vegas International Scouting Museum, Albertus Hoogeveen and Dave Scocca for most of these badges. I also want to thank George Crowl and Randy Worchester for helping me with the research.
This web page is intended to inform the reader of an overall understanding of Commissioner badges. It is not intended to include all variations.
This is not an official site of the Boy Scouts of America. The commissioner badges are copyright. You are welcome to print this page for your reference. However, if you would like to use the images in any other manner, you must receive permission from Craig Murray.