Boy Scouts trading patches at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
Boy Scouts trading patches at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia

The Boy Scouts of America's National Jamboree wraps up on August 5 after a 10 day run at a U.S. Army base in northern Virginia, not far from Washington. The Scouts hold their Jamboree every four years and this time nearly 45,000 Scouts ages 11 to 18 from around the world came together to celebrate 100 years of Scouting. There is a very popular pastime at the jamboree.

It is called patch trading. And it is the most popular hobby for thousands of Boy Scouts.

Scouts spend countless hours making deals for these colorful clothing patches. James Coon says many act like Wall Street stock traders.

"Some people think their patches are worth more," said James Coon. "Then they will trade them to someone for a good deal and then it will eventually escalate from there until people are trading whole sets for one patch.

The Boy Scout Jamboree has become the place to trade the decorative patches that are worn on shirts and other clothes. But most Scouts just collect them. Many designs illustrate the location of various Scout Councils and come in sets.

Scout Jeb Butler is an avid patch trader.

"It's just fun and I can see some exotic and different kinds of patches," said Jeb Butler. "This isn't even my Council's trips patch but its really fun. And then you can get different patches like here is one from Chicago."

Many Boy Scouts browse around looking for patches, creating a trading frenzy at times and a whole barter economy. Trader Luke Christiansen explains why Scouts like trading patches.

"I think it is just popular because a lot of them [patches] have different images on them and a lot of different things I guess we like or are unique like a lot of the popular ones the Soviet Union Patch and the Mavel super heroes," said Luke Christiansen.

The competition of collecting patches can be fierce. Andy Scull says the most popular ones are those with pop culture references or others that are simply unique.

Andy Scull: "A patch says a lot about the place it is from."
Reporter: "And this patch tell us about it?"
Andy Scull: "This patch is from Iraq."

Most of these Boy Scouts say a patch is a patch. It just comes down to what's it worth to someone. But mostly they believe its all about getting your hands on some nice keepsakes.