The neckerchief has always been the “identifier” of a Scout. Even when not wearing the uniform, one can tell a Scout from a distance simply because of the thing they wear around the neck… even illustrations bring home that fact.
Before Sir Robert Baden-Powell envisioned that young men would enjoy reading about his military exploits; and the skills and education needed to endure and overcome those many Army campaigns and battles — young men in service to other people wore a colorful scarf around their necks. They would tie them in a knot or make a small band to keep the two sides together. There are accounts in various British publications of young men wearing scarlet or green scarfs — “neckerchiefs” as opposed to “hankerchiefs” which are carried in the pocket — as they assisted schools or churches with various projects.
Some Boy Scout Troops wear neckerchiefs — either home make or store bought. The emphasis placed on the wearing of the neckerchief by the Scoutmaster is key — and if he or she is wearing the unit’s neckerchief often enough, chances are that everyone else associated with the Troop will either wear or want to wear one too.
There are many Troops out there who do NOT wear a neckerchief (or any other kind of neckwear, like bolo ties).
Here’s a couple of reasons why we wear neckerchiefs:
Look for the NECKERCHIEF — the outward clothing of a Scout. That’s how you’ll know. Another longtime friend, Dan Kurtenbach, summed it up for us over on the SCOUTING magazine blog:
More than just a “snot rag”, the neckerchief has some definite uses. It tells everyone who we are…