Welcome to the guide for earning your first scout rank, Kink Scout!
(Since there are three ranks, with this being the lowest, it’s referred to as the Third Rank. A Little Scout who has earned all three has achieved the First Rank.)
Make sure that you have thoroughly reviewed the Getting Started section (and have completed all activities!) before proceeding.
YOUR SCOUT LOGBOOK
If you like, you can select a book to hold your records of your educational and practical experiences. Some scouts choose a pocket notebook that’s easy to carry and easy to replace when filled. Others prefer books that open across the lap for writing, or to maintain their logbook digitally.
Your Troop Number Patch
There are scout troops all over the USA, with individual troop numbers. You can buy an Austin Little Scouts number patch on our web store or in person at a meeting. Wear the patch however you please: on a uniform-style shirt, on a sash or hat, or you can even stitch it onto the uniform of a stuffed animal you carry to events (Build-a-Bear-sized uniforms are available on eBay, or you can make one yourself).
You’ll often hear about “a leather path” from folks in “the leather community”, where our scout troop originated. You can learn about Leather as a Little Scout without actively joining the Leather lifestyle: just wear your troop number proudly, participate, and enjoy yourself!
INTRODUCTION TO WEARING LEATHER
It’s fulfilling to be a part of group with traditions (including what to wear)! Learning the ways of a new leather space, like a bar or BDSM dungeon, is part of the fun, and being a respectful person who cares for their clothing well is a standard you can take anywhere.
Many leather bars are “leather & levi” bars, with a blue-collar look, or even a hint of Western wear, so common advice when starting out in wearing leather is “less is more”. A single leather or chain accent to your outfit, or just wearing your keys at your belt, is enough to feel dressed for a leather space.
Shoes are a good place to begin. If you have boots that you enjoy wearing, learn more about the maker and material; you’ll see others wearing the same brand, and a shared preference is a great opportunity to make friends. Footwear is a potent symbol of sexuality and power, so caring for shoes and boots properly — your own, or another’s — is equally meaningful.
Cleaning and polishing boots and shoes is the role of the bootblack. Bootblacks work beneath a shoeshine chair, like you might see at an old-fashioned barber shop or airport, except that they’re found at bar nights and other kink events. Often, there’s a sign-up sheet or a line of people waiting for their services! Even if you wear shoes other than boots, don’t hesitate to approach a bootblack to talk about their proper care.
Being a bootblack doesn’t imply that someone is a bottom or submissive, nor is the act one of submission to the customer. Finally, bootblacks are some of the funniest — and messiest — people you’ll ever meet! If an event has a bootblack chair, they’ll probably appreciate your asking whether there’s a good spot for you to sit and quietly observe.
Choose the shoes or boots that are meaningful to you, and clean them carefully with a damp, soft cloth. If necessary, replace the laces. Re-lace them with a different technique, or try more than one (link to shoelacing techniques resource page). We will learn to shine them later!
THE SCOUT SALUTE
Bring all the fingers of your right hand together in a “duck bill” shape and tuck your thumb beneath, with its tip about halfway up your middle finger. If you are wearing a cap, salute by standing straight and touching your fingertip to its brim. Otherwise, touch it to your right eyebrow.
THE LITTLE SCOUT OATH
On my honor, I will:
Serve the causes of radical sexuality
and free expression of identity.
To build a safe, welcoming community.
To have fun,
And to live by the Little Scout Law.
The Austin Little Scouts gather in person, but also online. Electronic means of communication are a great way to share your progress and activities with brother and sister scouts, and if you’re going to join and collaborate with us in your kink self-education, we’d like to acknowledge you as a member!
- Complete the Joining Troop 696 process (link).
- Post an Intro message or reply in the Fetlife Group (link)!
Check the Troop Calendar (link) and join the Austin Little Scouts at an in-person event!
EARN A MERIT BADGE
Scouts work together to have fun, learn, and earn badges. Keep a log of all your hands-on activities, in all groups, as you go: it’s normal to work on more than one area at a time, and small things you do now could count toward badges later.
CHOOSING YOUR TOPIC
Will your first badge relate to a sadomasochistic or bondage skill? A craft skill? Fetish, service skills, or history? What would be easier to learn now that you have help from other scouts? Looking through some badges online (link) might give you some ideas.
The five major categories of badges are Kink, Crafting, Service, Community, and Courage. (We will discuss the sixth badge, Clown Survival, later.)
Earning badges follows the same basic pattern: interview, practice, project, presentation.
INTERVIEW (STEP 1 of 4)
Speak with someone knowledgeable in your topic. Other scouts can help you find the right person.
Discussing technique is valuable, but try also to ask some questions of their long-term perspective, such as, “what do you see as the differences between a novice, intermediate, and master?” or “How has (your topic) shaped your identity, over time?” or “What should people interested in (your topic) be most aware of?”
If you keep a logbook, you can have them sign and date the portion dedicated to the badge!
RESEARCH & PRACTICAL APPLICATION (STEP 2 of 4)
Scouts support one another in their kink self-education.
Limit research/classes: scouting is about doing. You don’t need to get everything right the first time; learning as you go is powerful, and means experimenting safely. Using touch to learn means you’re on the right track! Ask other scouts for help or ideas.
If you keep a logbook, log your work and have a scout or partner sign and date the portion of your logbook dedicated to the badge!
PROJECT/SHOWPIECE (STEP 3 of 4)
Whenever possible, projects should involve at least one other Scout, as a witness or assistant. This not only provides the badge-earning scout some support, but exposes the “helper” Scout to the topic, too, and builds teamwork and partnership within the troop.
PRESENTATION (STEP 4 of 4)
At a meeting, present the highlights of your interview, practice work, and project.
GENERAL BADGE PROCESS
❑ Interview (logged, partner signoff)
❑ Practical application (logged, partner signoff)
❑ Project/showpiece (logged or photographed, witness signoff)
❑ Live presentation to scout troop
VOLUNTEER AT AN EVENT WEARING YOUR CLUB COLORS
Event organizers frequently need help setting up equipment and taking it down, which, if you had interest in the craft, would be a great way to form relationships with those who build it! Dungeon Monitors and Kitchen Crew are always in demand, but you may also find organizers receptive to your using the badge skills you’re building, such as cigar services or bootblacking, at their events. It’s also possible that you have a skill you can present to a group, or that you’d like to be a “demo bottom” for a presentation. These are all opportunities to meet people and gain experience. When you attend, wear your troop number patch, and if you keep a logbook, ask your organizer to sign itbeneath your entry for the event.
With all sections signed or initialed, you have achieved the rank of Kink Scout! Here’s a checklist to confirm you’ve met all requirements:
❑ Ordered & attached troop number patch
❑ Cleaned and re-laced boots or shoes
❑ Memorized Scout Oath
❑ Completed the Joining Troop 696 process
❑ Participated in an in-person troop event
❑ Earned a merit badge
❑ Volunteered at an event wearing your club colors
YOUR FIRST SCOUT RANK PATCH
Our rank patches are adapted from the Leather Pride Flag. You attach one “stripe” for each rank earned, until you’ve assembled the complete flag. Each stripe is gold-edged, so remains distinctively a scouting patch.
About the Leather Pride Flag
“Although the flag is common in the gay leather community, it is not an exclusively gay symbol and represents the entire leather community. Furthermore, while designed as a symbol for the leather subculture, it is also widely used within the BDSM subculture.”
Your scout shirt pocket or sleeve, vest, cap, or even a stuffed animal companion’s scout uniform are all good places to display your merit and rank badges. After you’ve presented your completed requirements, you may attach the top bar of your Rank Patch Set (link to order).