For Scouts and Scouters able to snare the limited-edition patch of the day each morning at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree's three trading posts, glee may be the feeling they have after they walk away from the cash register.
Each day for 10 days the BSA is selling a different red-bordered patch for $5. The 10 form a unique set that, with a total of only 2,010 of the patches offered each day among the three outlets, has become the envy of collectors and commoners alike.
The first day's patch said "National Scout Jamboree or Bust!" It featured a bus and was entitled "Arrival Day." The second was for "General Program Day" and showed a leaping blue fish, and the third offered the face of President Obama and the words "Opening Show, July 28th, 2010."
For those who want a patch of the day but walk away empty-handed, the agony of disappointment—even annoyance—can sink in. After all, that's slightly less than 4.5 patches per 100 Scouts, or .0446666666667 patches per Scout.
Douglas Harms, 53, who works day security at Trading Post C, e-mailed Jamboree Today, saying, "Providing only 2,010 patches each day is not nearly enough to meet the demands of over 45,000 jamboree attendees, and participants who are not able to purchase one are understandably upset.
"I know this because I am on staff at trading post C and have to be the bearer of bad news to customers who want a patch after it's sold out," wrote Harms of Greencastle, Ind., a member of the Crossroads of America Council. "I strongly encourage National to reconsider this policy immediately and find a way to make the availability fair to all participants."
Contacted later, Harms said, "I wrote it (the e-mail) because I felt passionate about that. It's not about traders making money."
Unfortunately for Harms and others, the daily number of patches of the day will remain the same, said Larry Knapp, director of merchandise for the trading posts.
And Knapp said the only complaints he has received have come from staffers, not participants. He confirmed that the first two patches of the day were sold out, and he expected the third day's numbers to follow suit.
K. Burns, 12, Star, Troop 448, Greater Pittsburgh Council, and a resident of Canonsburg, Pa., said he bought the Day 2 patch, but said he was unable to get to the trading post for Day 1. Still, he stood patiently in line for the Day 3 patch, only to be disappointed a few minutes later. "It is pretty late in the day," he said in line at 4:45 P.M., almost resigned to not getting one. But, after striking out, he said, "It's a little unfair for those who don't get there first."
C. Morante, 14, First Class, of Troop 730, Cascade Pacific Council, who lives in Portland, Ore., was more matter of fact about the situation. While he wanted the patches of the day, he admitted that, "They're just hard to get. It's early morning when a lot of Scouts get there."
The patches, Morante said, "are really cool," but added that he is "not so disappointed" that he hadn't latched onto any.
"In a lot of ways, patch trading is like life," said Subcamp 9 Chaplain Todd Moody of Las Vegas, who serves on the Western Region Executive Board. Moody, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he counseled one Scout in particular about a big disappointment. "Sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes, despite your best efforts, you don't."
Moody's advice: A Scout unable to buy a patch of the day one day could arrive earlier the next day to boost his chances. Or he could trade with someone lucky enough to get a Day 1 patch.
"I think (disappointment is) a lot like life," the chaplain said. "We have our ups and downs, and with those things we have some control over, we do our very best to move forward and achieve our goals the next time around. Any boy who had his heart set on collecting all of the limited, day-only patches has plenty of other opportunities to trade for other patches."
Moody confided that he had had to speak with his own son, 13, Life, Troop 9250, of the Las Vegas Area Council about a great disappointment involving patches here at the jamboree. Sam had brought a clear plastic container with patches, some of them from his brother's 2007 World Scout Jamboree visit, to trade. Sam later was horrified to discover his treasure trove was missing.
"He was devastated," Moody said, but then he reassured his son, "I brought a lot of patches. We can get you back into shape."
His Scoutmaster, Dick Wimmer, even gave Sam a couple of patch sets to replenish his stock.
However, seven to eight hours after the patch box was presumed lost forever, the unimaginable occurred. An unidentified woman jamboree staffer at the BMX track found the unmarked box, examined the contents, most of which were Las Vegas patches, and began searching for the owner.
Sam had ridden BMX, but set his patch box down to get his book stamped, "and I guess I left 'em."
The woman hit the jackpot when she visited the Las Vegas Area Council campsite. Sam didn't meet her then because he was asleep in his tent, but said he sought her out later to thank her.
Fortunately for Sam, who has since written his name on his patch box, this story had a Hollywood ending.
Cool patches! Don't think my boy got any, tho. Check out the full patch set here
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