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The Historical Exhibit of Letterboxing Patches

Scouting Organizations:

In recent times, scouting organizations have begun to embrace letterboxing, recognizing its merits as a learning activity, an artistic outlet, and a fun outdoor adventure. This trend has brought about a host of new patches and merit badges related to the hobby!


Girl Scouts: Perhaps no group has recognized letterboxing in such an official capacity as the Girl Scouts of the USA. Several regional councils have acknowledged the hobby's value as an enjoyable learning opportunity, and the enthusiasm has managed to travel all the way up to the national level.

Not Just Another Treasure Hunt

Hi Tech Hide & Seek

 
In November 2004, Girl Scouts of the USA requested suggestions and feedback from its membership regarding the Interest Project Awards that were available at the time. The Girl Scouts used the information gathered from girls, volunteers, and councils to create ten new IPA's which were made available for girls via the Internet.
IPA's are earned by Teen Girl Scouts (ages 11-17) and are designed to provide more challenge, excitement, and independence than awards for younger Girl Scouts.
 
One of these new awards can be traced back to the girls of Troop 280 in Boyne City, Michigan. Their love of science, technology, and the great outdoors motivated them to co-write an Interest Project Award called "Not Just Another Treasure Hunt," which was later adopted by Crooked Tree Council as an official “Our Own Council” IPA.
 
Girl Scouts of the USA adopted their activities at the national level and renamed the award "Hi-Tech Hide & Seek." This IPA requires girls to find a letterbox or geocache and then construct one of their own. They are also encouraged to explore careers in fields such as earth science and cartography, and raise their awareness of natural resources and other environmental issues.

Patches donated by: "Not Just Another Treasure Hunt" by Girl Scouts of Michigan, Crooked Tree Council — "Hi-Tech Hide & Seek" by Girl Scouts of the USA.

 
Impress Me Letterboxing
This patch was designed for an event in Portland, Connecticut that was coordinated by Jean "JBean" Barresi. She sent out a message to the various Connecticut Girl Scout Councils looking for troops to create letterboxes. Seven troops created boxes and submitted them. JBean (along with her daughter and husband) hid the boxes in a local park and wrote all the clues. Then all the troops were invited to come to a gathering and find the boxes. Participants were given this patch at the end as their reward. The boxes were left out for about a month so other troops could come and letterbox, and the clues were listed on the LbNA site so that the girls could have the satisfaction of seeing encouraging notes from "seasoned" letterboxers in their journals.
Patch donated by: JBean
 
Discover Letterboxing
This is an "Our Own Council" Junior Merit Badge from the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council. It was originally developed by Junior Girl Scout Troop 2 of the Salem Skyline Service Unit. (Leaders: Gayle Widener and Richard Carr) It was approved by the Virginia Skyline Council Board of Directors in December 2007.
Patch donated by: Girl Scouts of Virginia, Skyline Council
 
Letterboxing Connecticut

The Girl Scouts of Connecticut Council has established letterboxes at many of its Program Centers, and also offers this Letterboxing Council patch. It is available to girls of all ages, with additional activities required for older girls. All ages are required to research the history of letterboxing, the supplies needed, and letterboxes hidden in their local area. Other possible activities include such things as stamp carving, emergency preparedness, compass reading, and hiding one's own letterbox.

Patch donated by: Girl Scouts of Connecticut Council
 
 
Camp Merrie-Wood Letterboxing

Camp Merrie-Wood is a seven-acre Girl Scouts camp located in Manchester, Connecticut, just east of Hartford. It is surrounded by great hiking trails and a small brook. Girls who complete the camp's designated letterboxing activities may earn this patch.

Patch donated by: RaqsEnigma
 

Letterboxing Camp at Pamunkey Ridge
This participation patch became available in 2008. It can be earned by Girl Scouts who attend the Letterboxing Camp event at Pamunkey Ridge Girl Scout Camp. The camp is owned and operated by the Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia.
Patch donated by: Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia, Inc.
 

      

Camp River Trails Letterboxing
Camp River Trails in Sheridan, Illinois, is owned and operated by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. It has a special patch program that offers troops an opportunity to explore the camp while enjoying a variety of activities including camping, hiking, nature study, and compass navigation. Activity segment patches are awarded on completion of each endeavor, and are meant to be displayed in conjunction with a base patch representing the camp, as shown above. The segment patch shown here is awarded for completion of a special letterboxing activity that is offered within the camp. It depicts a cute little squirrel hiding his treasure (a nut) in a small box.
Patch donated by: Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Lisle Regional Service Center

LNT Peak Letterboxing

The patches at right are available from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Council. The Council was able to fund its letterboxing activities with a grant from the PEAK Program (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids). PEAK was created through a unique partnership between REI (Recreation Equipment, Inc.) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. It is a curriculum of hands-on activities and games to introduce youth to the Leave No Trace concept in a fun and engaging way. The training is based on the seven principles of Leave No Trace and is designed to educate children about the outdoors and responsible use of our shared public lands. The top strip is availble to any girl who wishes to participate in these activities. The next strip is earned by visiting an REI store and signing up to participate in the PEAK Program. Each of the strips below that are earned by completing specific letterboxing activities in each of the area Girl Scout camps.
Patch donated by: "Big Red" Janice Rinaldo

Other Scouting Patches: Several multi-purpose letterboxing patches are available. Technically, they could be used by any youth group that wishes to incorporate the hobby into their activities, although the prime target for these patches is scouting organizations.. Girl Scouts of the USA would classify these as "participation patches" and only allows them to be worn on the back of the uniform.

Letterboxing Participation Patch #1
This scouting patch is made by Advantage Emblem, an official Girl Scout licensed vendor. However, it can be adopted for use by any organization or youth group. They are available directly from this site, with all proceeds going toward the support of this Exhibit.

Patch donated by: RaqsEnigma and Der Mad Stamper

 

Letterboxing Participation Patch #2
An alternate patch from Advantage Emblem, this one was introduced in 2010. These make great First Finder prizes! They can be purchased directly from this site, with all proceeds going toward the support of this Exhibit. .
Patch donated by: RaqsEnigma and Der Mad Stamper
Letterboxing Participation Patch #3

Girl Scouts aren't the only ones to include letterboxing as part of their program. For example, Barbara Oswalt of Cub Scout Pack 160 in Oak Hill, Virginia, writes: "It all started with the initiation of a Hiking Club within the Pack to track and tally the miles hiked by scouts so they can earn patches for their miles as well as a hike-specific patch if the hike is taken within a specified timeframe. To encourage the Dens to go hiking, a new Highlighted Hike is shared every two months with interesting information provided about the location to build excitement about taking the hike. One of the interesting things being highlighted about some hiking destinations is Letterboxing. The boys are very much enjoying this adventure! For each scout who has participated in following at least one Letterboxing clue, the Pack is providing a Letterboxing patch. (from Patchwork Designs, as shown above) Our Pack will continue to incorporate locations that have Letterboxes so that the boys can continue to enjoy this activity." These patches can be purchased directly from this site, with all proceeds going toward the support of this Exhibit.

Patch donated by: RaqsEnigma and Der Mad Stamper

Letterboxing Awards
The following twelve patches are examples of what is available from another vendor called Little Awards. Many variations are available and patches can be customized by changing the year. The design of these patches is not embroidered. It is printed onto blank white patches with a black embroidered edging. These patches were all donated by RaqsEnigma and Der Mad Stamper.

Letterboxing 2006
Letterboxing 2006
Letterboxing Event 2006
Letterboxing 2007
Letterboxing Fun 2007
Letterboxing 2007
Letterboxing 2008
Letterboxing 2008
Letterboxing 2008
Letterboxing 2009
Letterboxers Stamp S'more
Letterboxing 2010

Dog Scouts: Scouting isn't just for kids. In fact, it's not even just for humans! Since 1995, Dog Scouts of America has been a non-profit organization dedicated to making dogs' lives better. They even get to go to Dog Scout Camp! There is also a wide variety of merit badges that dogs can earn once they pass a basic test. Three of these badges are for letterboxing.

There are components for both the human and the dog to fulfill to earn each badge. The human needs to understand the history and rules of letterboxing, and know how to stay safe and legal when searching for letterboxes. They must always clean up after the dog, carry out trash that is found, know how to find clues and have mastered the use of a compass. The dog must always display good conduct according to the Dog Scout Laws (never chasing wildlife or causing a disturbance) and will carry its own supplies, including all the required equipment for the Dog Scout backpacking badge in addition to its own personal stamp.

DSA Letterboxing 1
The Level 1 badge requires finding five letterboxes in five different areas or parks, plus placing and maintaining one letterbox.
Patch donated by: Scoutdogs
DSA Letterboxing 2

The Level 2 badge requires an additional ten finds (for a total of 15) in at least seven different areas or parks, plus the placement of an additional four boxes (for a total of five).

Patch donated by: Scoutdogs
DSA Letterboxing 3
Level 3 requires a total of 50 found letterboxes in at least three states, plus a total of ten boxes placed. At least four of those boxes need to have a hand carved stamp. There must also be a special event/gathering stamp as part of the 50 found.
Patch donated by: Scoutdogs

NOTE: All patches are represented at the same scale for comparison purposes. However, images
have been reduced in size to help discourage the creation of counterfeit reproductions.

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