Patch -vs- Badge for Junior Ranger Programs

Why start this topic. I think all NPS sites that have a Junior Ranger Program should give out patches to children that have completed their program.

I first want to start out by revisiting my first experiences with badges and patches.

My daughter completed her first Junior Ranger Program at Yellowstone National Park. She received a patch that is similar to the NPS arrowhead patch that had Yellowstone Junior Ranger with a wolf foot print, which was for ages 5-7. They have a similar patch with a bear foot print for ages 8-12 and a snowflake patch for winter rangers. My first impression of the patch was this is really cool and I was extremely impressed. Because this was my first exposure to the Junior Ranger Program, I am unaware if they have a badge.

My daughter completed her second Junior Ranger Program at Grand Tetons National Park. It did not matter what age group you were in, you could choose to receive a badge or a patch. We opted to donate an extra dollar and got both. The Grand Tetons patch was a round patch with a moose and Grand Tetons Junior Ranger on it.

My daughter completed her third Junior Ranger Program at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Craters of the Moon only had a badge to give once the Junior Ranger Program was complete.

I believe they are several good reasons for all Junior Ranger Programs to design and offer patches to new Junior Rangers.

1. Most Junior Ranger Programs have two or more different age group levels. By offering a different patch for each level, it encourages the Junior Ranger to return to the park and complete the next level for their age.
2. By offering different patches, when the Junior Ranger returns to complete the next level, they will learn new things about the park and also reinforce what they learned at prior visits.
3. The patch allows the Junior Ranger Programs throughout the nation to individualize their program. When you place the different patches next to each other, it is easy to distinguish what parks they came from. When you look at a badge, they all pretty much look the same. The only difference is the name, and if it is a park, national monument, historical site, national battlefield, etc.
4. Who wants to collect a bunch of badges that look the same, by creating a unique patch that represents the park that the program was completed in, children will want to continue visiting new parks and earn more patches.

These are the reasons I have come up with.

What do you think?



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