Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - February 2017

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

Camp Honor Belt Awards

There was a popular award system that was seen at our early council camps prior to 1930 - the Camp Honor Belt awards. Camp leaders bought stencil and ink systems from a few specialized companies that marketed to Scout organizations. At the end of the camp day, the Scout would take his signed sheet to the keeper of the stencils or stamps and mark his belt with the awards he had earned that day. He could then color his award as instructed by the leader or the requirement sheet.

The following are examples of Camp Honor Belt Awards that Scouts could earn at Camp Dan Sayre.

  • Bars - Denoting how many years at camp
  • Fish - Swim 100 yards
  • Boat - Swim 60 yards
  • Life Buoy - Pass Lifesaving test and throw life buoy accurately
  • Paddles - Rowing test
  • Arrowhead - Signaled each merit badge passed at camp (gold for Eagle required and red for all others)
  • Quiver - Make bow, three arrows and bow string
  • Campfire - Assist and participate in campfire program
  • Torch - Assist in recreational program of camp
  • Axe - Assist in completion of worthwhile construction at camp
  • Cook pot - Pass merit badge in cooking or assist in cooking on veteran hike and have satisfactory table manners
  • Footprint - Go on overnight or 14 mile hike
  • Owl - Act as junior instructor in some Scout subject and render night hours service
  • Star - Point out and draw from memory ten constellations
  • Tree - Complete forestry merit badge
  • Eagle - Identify 15 birds while at camp
  • Flower - Identify 20 flowers and ferns while at camp
  • Wig-Wam - Winning camp inspection
  • Hunting Horn - Play in bugle and/or drum corps
  • Basket - Pass basketry
  • Target - Pass marksmanship merit badge
  • Horseshoe - Go to Veteran Campers trip
  • Good Luck Symbol - Final Award

*The good luck symbol was of Native American origin and had been used on Boy Scout coins and other items since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America.

If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at