Youth groups that feature uniforms have some great attributes. A sense of belonging, the recognition that you are part of something special, a chance to be someone else for a short while. Young people love to get dressed up in uniforms. Don’t believe me? Just check out any picture of a brand new scout with their new uniform and see the excitement on their face. I once commented to a Cub Scout how good he looked in his new uniform. His response: “I know!”
BSA has a great selection of uniforms, and just this year (2015) they adopted a change in the uniform code that encourages wearing a neckerchief at Scout activities even when not in the dress uniform. This change better aligns the U.S. with the rest of the scouting world.
One of the drawbacks to the BSA uniform is the official neckerchief slide. These slides look great, and when you want your den or troop to look like a team, a common slide helps. But one downside to these slides is that they are a loose fit and often fly away during any robust activity. Anytime we had a game during a pack meeting that involved running, jumping, or similar high energy activities, I could be certain to find at least one wayward slide somewhere on the ground.
To help fix the problem of the Fly Away Neckerchief Slide, I’ve created a device that is simple to tie and attaches to the slide to help hold it in place. The instructions for how to tie your own are below.
| We will start with two lengths of paracord. The smaller one will be about 14″ and will form the loop that will hold the slide in place. The other, longer cord, should be approximately 20″ or more. You will be cutting some of this longer piece of paracord away at the end of the project, but it makes tying the knot much easier. If you make your long piece long enough, you can use the left over scrap to create the ten cent youth awards.
Paracord is actually a little too thick for this project, but it does work. If you have a thinner cord, you might give it a try.
|If you have a nylon cord, fuse the ends to prevent the cord from unraveling.|
|Tie an overhand knot into each end of the small piece of cord. This is going to help the cord from becoming undone as well as provide small handles to use for tightening the loop.|
|After you have tied the knots in each end of the smaller cord, find the middle of the cord and then pull the two ends together to make a U shape. The part of the cord that bends to make the U is known as a bight in the world of knots.|
|Take your longer cord and tie an overhand knot in the middle. Slip the longer cord’s knot over the bight you made in the shorter cord and cinch it down until it is snug. Not too tight because you will eventually want the smaller cord to be able to slide back and forth within the knots of the larger cord.|
| Now we are gong to tie a short series of knots that will hold the cords onto the slide. Tying these knots together creates a Portuguese sennit (aka Solomon Bar) and is the basis for tying survival bracelets.
Start by taking the end of the cord on the right and crossing it back over the shorter cord as shown.
|Take the other end of the cord and bring it over the cord you just crossed in front of the smaller cord. Then pass it behind the smaller cord and up through opening made by the first cord and the smaller cord. It should look like the picture.|
|Pull on the two ends of the longer cord to snug the knot against the smaller cord. Remember, not too tight because we want the loop to be able to slide. You might recognize that we just tied a square knot over the smaller cord. That is just what we want, a series of square knots to fasten the cord to the neckerchief slide.
Make another knot like the last one. To keep tying square knots you need to always use the same end that you pass in front of the small cord. This end will alternate from side to side each time. So for this knot we will start with the end of the longer cord that is to the left and cross it over the smaller cord. The easiest way that I have seen to make sure I am starting with the right end is to always keep the longer cord ends aligned to the same side of the smaller cord. If you look you will notice that each longer cord end zig zags back and forth over the shorter cord. If you always keep the cord that passes above the smaller cord in front then you will end up with a good knot.
If you make a mistake and alternate where the cords pass, then the knot will twist. If you keep doing this you will make a spiral. We don’t want a spiral here, so if you start to get a twist, untie the cords and retie them in the correct orientation.
|We complete the knot by snugging it down on to the cord.|
|Insert the ends of the smaller cord into the slide so that the loop is positioned at the top of the slide. We are going to continue our knot tying around the slide, so that the cord is attached to it.|
|With the slide in place, tie your next knot just like you have been doing (make sure to use the correct leading cord in front). Snug the knot as shown. You cannot pull too tight here or the knot will want to slip behind the slide bar, so tighten just enough to create a nice knot shape. This is a little tricky, but you can do it.|
|Make another knot, alternating the starting cord, and complete a square knot below the slide bar.|
|Take one more pass at a knot over the smaller cord. This will establish the nice flat shape for the locking cord.|
| Once you have all the knots in place, cut off the ends of the longer cord close to the knot and fuse them to keep them from unraveling. A little super glue can help hold the ends of the cord in place.
We now have a much more secure neckerchief slide.
|To use our new slide, first pass the neckerchief ends through the cord loop from back to front.|
|Next pass the neckerchief through the back of the slide. This is now a tighter fit and helps hold the neckerchief in place.|
| Move the slide up the neckerchief to where you want it to stay.
While holding the slide with one hand, pull on the knotted ends of the short cord with the other hand to tighten the loop at the top of the slide.
| Once you have tightened down the loop, the slide is on very securely. If you want to loosen it, just hold the slide with one and and pull on the cord loop with the other.
Many scouts just wear their neckerchiefs with the slide always locked in place. They just pull the neckerchief on and off over their heads.