The Heart of America Council was formed in 1974 when the Kaw Council (Kansas) merged with the Kansas City Area Council (Missouri). Many committees were formed at the time by Scout Executive Dan Wheatcroft as Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and Exploring needed to be merged into one organization.
It took over a year to approach the time when the Scouters in each successor council put their individual identity behind them and became identified as the Scouters of the Heart of America Council. One of the areas that differentiated the two councils were the council patches worn on their uniforms.
The National BSA introduced council shoulder patches or “CSP’s” in 1970. These patches were allowed to have artwork on them to differentiate them from the red & white council strips or “RWS’s” that had been authorized since 1953. The Kansas City Area Council had stayed with their RWS up until the merger. The Kaw Council had issued a CSP with “The Indian” emblazoned upon it in 1970. These two patches had to be merged into one.
Scout Executive Dan Wheatcroft announced a contest for designing the new CSP for Scouts and Scouters in the new council. Most other council CSP’s around the country were the size and design of the old Kaw Council CSP. Scouter Bob Bensted designed a Heart of America CSP that would have an eagle with spread wings; be red, white and blue; would be of different shape than most other CSP’s and have an unusual saw tooth bottom. Bob’s design won the contest. It was announced that the new CSP would be available in February of 1975 in time for Scout month.
Since then, the Heart of America Council has made very subtle changes with the standard CSP that most Scouts wear on their uniform today. The two most noticeable changes are that the eagle’s head has been turned to the left from the right and the letters BSA have been added.
If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns, email Andy Dubill at firstname.lastname@example.org.