AY Honor Pin Trading Answer Key

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Pin Trading

Skill Level






Approval authority

General Conference

Pin Trading AY Honor.png
Pin Trading
Arts, Crafts and Hobbies
Skill Level
Approval authority
General Conference
Year of Introduction
See also


Explain the origins of pin trading, and how it got started in the Pathfinder Club.

Origins of Pin Trading

Pin trading had its origins at the Olympics. As early as the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, athletes and officials wore special badges so they could be visually recognized as representing a specific country. In 1906 Sweden was the first country to use their national colors on the badges. The other countries soon followed, and it became the standard way of doing things. Then the athletes began wearing pins featuring their national colors, and soon after that athletes from different countries began exchanging pins with each other as a symbol of unity. As time went by, they became the trading pins that we are familiar with seeing today. The first time spectators were allowed to collect and trade pins at the Olympics was in 1980. Pin trading quickly became very popular, and today it is considered “the number one spectator sport of the Olympic Games.” Collecting and trading pins has spread and become a popular activity and hobby in many venues other than the Olympics. However, pin trading as a hobby owes its existence to the original badges used in the first Olympic Games, as well as the changes that followed it. Without that we wouldn’t have pin trading as we know it today.

How Pin Trading started in the Pathfinder Club

Pathfinder pin trading began at the first North American Division (NAD) Pathfinder Camporee at Camp Hale,Colorado in 1985. Les Pitton was the NAD Youth Director and Norm Middag was assigned as the Chairman of the Camporee Coordinating Committee. The committee decided that as part of the camporee program they would ask each club to bring something small like a pin or other small item that represented the area in which they lived. Pathfinders from different clubs could then trade items with each other as a way to encourage them to meet new people and make new friends. There were more handmade pins, buttons, plastic pins, and other items than metal pins at that first big camporee, but it quickly became apparent that the metal pins were some of the more popular trading items. There were only a few specific Pathfinder or camporee pins at Camp Hale.After that first big Pathfinder camporee, pin trading became a very popular activity at the international camporees, with divisions, unions, conferences and many individual clubs or people making metal Pathfinder pins for trading and collecting. Many of the pins became more sophisticated with danglers, blinkers, sliders, spinners, puzzles, sets, etc., adding to the fun and excitement.

Norm Middag was also the originator of the 1991, 1992, and 1993 “Witness Through Rose Parade” floats sponsored and decorated by Pathfinders. Special pins representing the floats were made for each of the three years that the SDA Church had a float, for the purpose of pin trading at the Tournament of Roses Parade.In 1996 the Pathfinder Pin Trading School was introduced by John Swafford, Pathfinder Director for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference (GCC), located in the Southern Union (SU) of the NAD. John and his family had attended the Summer Olympics in Atlanta that year where pin trading was a very popular activity, and they went to Coca Cola’s "Pin Trading School" that taught how to go about pin trading. He decided that it would be a good idea to form a “Pathfinder Pin Trading School” to offer guidelines to the Pathfinders, as some individuals were misusing pin trading. The GCC and the SU were supportive of this idea, and the first Pathfinder Pin Trading School was held at the October 1996 SU Camporee in Cherokee, North Carolina. John Swafford, along with his family, taught this first school. They had a classroom setting where they promoted the idea to "Have Fun, Be Fair, and Be Friendly" with the aid of a video made by Jamie Arnall, Director of the GCC Communications Department, with the assistance of Fred Fuller, Director of Cohutta Springs Camp, and his 1996 camp staff. A “Pin Trading School” pin, graduation certificate, and a “Fun Fair Friendly” imprinted pencil were given to those who attended the classes. GCC has sponsored Pathfinder Pin Trading Schools at GCC, SU and international camporees since then (as of 2013).


Define the following terms:



A design placed over a metal shell and covered with a clear plastic cover. The metal or plastic back has a safetyclasp or a straight pin. Buttons can be round, oval, square, rectangular, or diamond shaped, and come indifferent sizes. They are also known as mylar buttons or celluloid buttons.



A device for gripping or attaching things together. Pin backs are called clutches, and are made of metal or rubber.



Proper conduct or behavior that is socially acceptable for specific situations, such as pin trading.



A cord that hangs around the neck which can be used for displaying pins.



A small design (about 1-2"), usually made of metal, with some type of a clutch or clasp in the back used to attach it to clothing or other items. Pins can also be made of plastic, rubber, or other materials, and come inmany shapes and sizes. Some pins are handmade. Pins are sometimes called lapel pins or trading pins.



The location where an event or action, such as pin trading, takes place.


Identify the two most common types of pin backs, and demonstrate or describe how to safely attach and remove them.

Butterfly or Military Clutch

  • To attach: Carefully align the hole on the bottom of the clutch with the point of the pin, pinch “wings” together, and push clutch straight down.
  • To remove: Pinch butterfly “wings” together and pull clutch straight off of the pin.

Rubber Clutch

  • To attach: Carefully align the hole on the bottom of the clutch with the point of the pin and push clutch straight down, twisting if needed.
  • To remove: Grasp the “handle” of the clutch and pull while twisting back and forth until it comes off of the pin.

Safety Pin Clasp

  • To attach: Push the long stick pin down and under the hook.
  • To remove: Push the long stick pin down and out from under the hook.


Name at least five places where you can get pins for trading, including free or inexpensive pins. Collect at least three to five pins for trading from one or more of these sources.

Stock your collection with as many pins as possible to start. Decide what kind of pins you want to collect, and what you don't want to keep for your collection you can use for trading. Duplicates can be used for trading. The more pins you have for trading, the more fun it is!

Free Pins

  • Family and Friends— Search through drawers, jewelry boxes and pockets to find any pins you may already have. Ask your friends and relatives if they have any pins you could have.
  • Exhibit Booths—Trade shows, conventions, or special events often have exhibit booths that give out free items, including free pins. SDA organizations and institutions, such as academies, colleges, universities, TV stations, ADRA, food industries, or publishing institutions often give out free pins at exhibit booths in places such as Pathfinder camporees, camp meetings, ASI, or General Conference sessions. This is a great way to get some free pins for trading or collecting.
  • Government Offices - local, regional, state/provincial and national governments often have free pins for the asking that represent the area. They see it as a form of advertising and a way to promote civic pride, so will send pins out if asked nicely.
  • Companies and Organizations— Many companies and organizations will send you a free pin(s) by simply writing them a letter. Do a little investigative work and find out what companies are sponsoring sporting events, the Olympics, etc. Chamber of Commerce and tourism offices are good places to ask for pins that represent your own town. You will be amazed at what you might get for the cost of a postage stamp or email. National Organizing Committees and Sports Associations are also a good source for pins and information. Be sure and write a thank-you letter if they send you a free pin!

Inexpensive Pins

  • Secondhand Pins— You can sometimes find some inexpensive pins at yard sales, thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets, or swap meets.
  • Internet— Another place to sometimes find inexpensive pins is on sites like eBay or Craigslist. Buying individual pins this way is usually not your best deal, but sometimes you can find some good deals by buying pin lots. A pin lot is a group of pins being sold all together, and the cost for each pin can be less than buying individual pins.
  • Handmade Pins— You can make your own pins for trading. You can turn just about any small item into a pin by attaching a pin back or safety pin to it. Pin backs can be purchased online or at a craft store. For ideas on how to make handmade pins, you can do an internet search on “Girl Scout SWAPS.”
  • Buttons— Although not as popular as pins, buttons can also be traded in certain venues, such as Pathfinder camporees. They are less expensive to make than pins. Buttons may be perceived as less valuable than pins, so they may be harder to trade.

Pathfinder Pins

  • Club pins— If your club designs and makes a pin, these are great for trading at Pathfinder camporees.

Your club may give you one or more pins, or you may be able to order extras to have for trading.

  • Conference or Union pins—Your conference or union may give you a pin at a camporee or other event which can be added to your collection or used for trading. You may also be able to order some extrasfor trading.
  • Vendors at the Camporee—There are a number of people who specifically design Pathfinder pins to sellat the camporees.

Miscellaneous Pins

The following are some places where new pins are sold:

  • Amusement or theme parks
  • Aquariums and zoos
  • Internet
  • Museums
  • State or national parks
  • Tourist shops
  • Truck stops
  • Vendors at pin trading venues, such as Disney or the Olympics


Discuss at least five different methods of displaying your pins for trading. Choose a method you like and arrange your pins for trading.

When you are ready to trade you need to find a way to carry your pins around. You want to display your pins so that they are easy to see. In general, if you wear or show a pin, it’s available for trade. If you are wearing a non-trader, keep it apart from your traders and make sure the other person knows it’s not available for trading. Always ask permission before touching another person’s pins. The following are some methods of displaying your pins.

  • Cardboard
  • CD case
  • Cork board
  • Craft foam sheet
  • Day pack
  • Fanny pack
  • Felt square
  • Handkerchief
  • Hand towel
  • Hat
  • Lanyard
  • Paper plate
  • Pin book
  • Scarf
  • Styrofoam
  • Vest
  • Washcloth


Name five venues or events where pin trading is a popular activity.

Disneyland/Walt Disney World

Disney has always offered collectible Disney pins in each of its parks, but with the kickoff of the Millennium Celebration in October 1999 at Walt Disney World, they began a new tradition of Disney Pin Trading. Now thousands of guests trade each day with Cast Members as well as other guests throughout the parks and resorts. There are pins for the various attractions and characters in the parks, as well as anything else associated with Disney. Disney has their own set of rules for pin trading, which include only trading official metal Disney pins. For the official set of Disney rules, see this link: http://disney.go.com/eventservices/howtopintrade.pdf

Little League Baseball

Trading baseball pins is a long-standing tradition in Little League Baseball. After the game is over, the pin trading fun begins, with each team making a special pin just for trading. In fact, the trading of baseball pins can get almost as competitive as the game itself. Filling up a collection with the coolest pins around has become a hobby for youth league players and parents alike.

Olympic Games

The tradition of Olympic pin trading is very popular, with some now calling it “the number one spectator sport of the Olympic Games.” Pin trading has also been more and more exciting as more and more pins are released. There are pins for each of the different sporting events, sponsor pins, venue pins, and pins with the Olympic mascots on them. New pins are released each day of the Olympics. It's a great way to meet people and have fun at the same time while collecting souvenirs of the Olympics.

Pasadena Tournament of Roses Game and Parade

Pin trading is an annual tradition of the Rose Parade, held in Pasadena, California every year on January 1 or 2.Participating teams, marching bands, floats, sponsors, and the parade's Grand Marshall each have their own custom pin for trading.

Pathfinder Camporees

Pin trading is very popular at the big international Pathfinder camporees. Some divisions, unions, and conferences may also have pin trading at their camporees.

Other Possible Places to Find Pin Traders

Some events like college and professional sports events, such as a national championship, may have pin trading. You do not have to attend the games, just hang out with fans before or after the game and show your interest in pins. Political campaign rallies are also an opportunity to find pin traders. Festivals allow you to interact with other people, so consider music festivals, cultural festivals and holiday festivals. Tourist attractions such as national parks, museums, amusement or theme parks and historical attractions can also help you find pin traders from around the world. Restaurants such as Hard Rock Café, and organizations like the Lions Club or Scouting, also have pin trading. There are also internet sites where people can trade pins. Facebook has a number of pin trading sites. These are usually dedicated to one specific type of pins, such as Pathfinder pins, Disney pins, Lions Club pins, etc.


Discuss the three “F’s” of pin trading etiquette:
a. Fun
b. Fair
c. Friendly


  • The main thing to remember about pin trading is that this hobby is more than just about pins. It is about having fun and it provides a great way to meet people worldwide and make some new friends. Meeting new people and having fun is more important than the pins.
  • Don’t go pin trading by yourself. It’s safer and more fun to have an adult or another friend with you.

Younger children should always have an adult with them when trading.

  • It’s not fun to be pressured into a trade. It’s only a good trade if both parties are satisfied after the trade. It is always acceptable to suggest another pin or to politely say, “No thanks,” if you are not happy with the proposed trade.
  • Don’t get greedy and try to get a certain pin at any cost. If you find yourself getting angry or upset, then you are not having fun anymore, neither are the people around you, and it is defeating the purpose of pin trading.


  • In general you should expect to trade one for one when pins are of approximately equal size and quality. Trade one pin at a time, hand to hand, with the pin backs attached or closed.
  • At times someone may want to trade multiple pins for a single pin. This is only acceptable if the value of that single pin is substantially higher than the pins the other person is providing.
  • Ultimately, YOU are the one who places value on a pin based on how beautiful, interesting, or desirable the pin is to you for whatever reason, and how much you are willing to trade for it. Just because someone tells you that a pin is valuable because not very many were made doesn’t necessarily make it valuable to YOU if it’s not a pin that you like or want to add to your collection.* If you are unsure about the value of a pin or the fairness of a proposed trade, seek the advice of a more experienced pin trader.
  • Learn about the pins you collect and pass on the knowledge to others when you trade. If you don’t know details about a pin, say so. Honesty is always the best policy. Knowing something about a pin will help you to make a fair trade.
  • Don’t knowingly trade broken or damaged pins unless you tell the person you are trading with that it is broken, and that if they want it anyway, you are willing to trade it.
  • Never steal pins from anyone. Get your pins honestly.
  • Only trade with one person at a time, and never interrupt a trade in progress. Be patient and wait your turn. If someone tries to interrupt your trade, politely tell them you’re in the middle of a trade and you’ll be with them soon.


  • Smile and talk to the person you want to trade with if you speak the same language. Find out their name and where they are from.
  • Even if you don’t speak their language, you can still communicate and trade pins by smiling, pointing, and nodding or shaking your head.
  • Always be polite, even if other people aren’t.
  • If you see another pin trader, ask if you can look at their pins. If you see a pin you want, just say, "I see a pin I like. Do you see anything of mine you like?"
  • When you are looking at another trader's pins and don't see anything of interest to you, don't insult them by saying things like, “All the pins you have are junk,” or "I don’t like any of your pins," or, “Your pins aren’t worth anything.” Instead you can say something like, "You have some nice pins, but I don’t see anything I can use right now,” or, “I want to look around a little more before I decide.”
  • If the other person has a pin you want but they don't want any of your pins, ask them what they want in trade. Then you can go and try to trade for the pin they want, and go back and trade with them.
  • Sometimes if someone really wants a pin, you can trade with them, even if they don’t really have something you want, just to make them happy.
  • Always say, “Thank you,” to the person for letting you look at their pins, or for trading with you.


Discuss Matthew 6:19-21 in light of trading and collecting pins. Include in your discussion:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy,and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21


How can one trade and collect pins without giving up our focus on heaven?

Trading and collecting pins can be a really fun hobby, but it’s important to remember that pins are just “things” and they will all be destroyed in the end anyway. So don’t get so focused and obsessive about getting pins that you forget about your ultimate treasure, which is Jesus and His kingdom. Always remember that people, not pins, are what is most important. Think of making others happy, not just yourself. Also, trading pins gives you opportunities to meet people that you otherwise wouldn’t talk to, and you might someday have an opportunity to share your faith with someone that you trade pins with.


How can pin trading help us be more like Jesus?

We can learn to see people the way Jesus sees them, and to treat them the way Jesus would treat them. We can practice being kind, loving, helpful, patient, and polite as we are trading pins, because that’s the way Jesus would be towards others.


What behaviors and attitudes should we avoid while pin trading?

Behaviors and attitudes to avoid include:

  • Selfishness and greed.
  • Trying to get a pin at any cost.
  • Taking advantage of others.
  • Pressuring someone to make a trade.
  • Interrupting someone who is in the middle of a trade.
  • Being rude and hurting people’s feelings by saying negative things about their pins.
  • Selling a pin at an exorbitant price to someone who really, really wants it.
  • Getting in a fight over a pin.
  • Getting angry and upset if you don’t get a pin you want.
  • Stealing pins.
  • Lying or being deceptive about pins.


Trade pins with at least five people you don’t know at a venue or event where pin trading takes place, using the “Fun, Fair, Friendly” principles of etiquette. Share with someone else or in a group any interesting stories or people you met while trading pins.

This can take place at a Pathfinder camporee, Disneyland/Disney World, the Rose Parade, the Olympics, sporting events, or any other venue where pin trading takes place. Remember that pin trading is not just about pins, but it is about meeting new people, so take time to talk to the people you are trading with and learn something about them. And remember to practice the “Fun, Fair, Friendly” rules of etiquette that you learned.