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  • T Shirt / Activity Uniform / Class B

    I was wondering how others use this uniform.

    I did some searching but didn't see any threads I would call current. I do see that the class B terminology is contentious, but that is what our pack leadership calls them.

    Anyway, our boys hardly ever wear the official uniform it seems. Our T-Shirt is worn at den meetings, at camping trips (but sporadically -one shirt for multiple days doesn't work), etc... The only times that the real uniform has been worn is at regular pack meetings, pinewood derby, & blue and gold. I personally think that it should be worn at den meetings too. Without it, the whole bead thing flys out the window (which is ok by me since I don't like the plastic holders) and I think the benefits of the uniform are lost (such as unity, self respect, and even individual accomplishment).

    Is our pack practice common?

    I did see mention of suggestion for BSA to develop some official activity uniforms that are more fitting to activity and weather. I really like the idea, in theory at least.

  • #2
    National recognizes one uniform, completely explained on the inspection sheet they publish. Anything else, called by whatever name one wishes to use, is not a uniform and any pack, troop or ship can wear them as they see fit. A pack can wear T-shirt #1 on Monday, #2 on Tuesday, etc. call them Class B, activity wear, regalia, costume, or whatever and it is okay as long as one does not say they are a BSA uniform because they aren't. I just call them Boy Scout T-shirt and blue jeans, but that's my personal preference. For the boys that don't have a uniform, because they aren't required, I just suggest a white t-shirt or dress shirt and blue jeans.

    Venturing crews are the only units that can create their own uniform that is not the one spelled out by BSA. For example, my crew of Civil War reenactors adopted two different uniforms, one was blue and the other grey. They can adopt the green shirt/grey pants if they wish.

    I wear a BSA uniform for all BSA activities. That includes, socks, pants w/belt, shirt, jac-shirt (in cooler weather), necker and hat. After 30 years of such practice, I have never been inflicted with a rash or some terrible disease by doing so.

    Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)


    • #3
      There is the "Official Uniform" and the "Activity Uniform" (see the pic of the scout in the front section of the current Scout book wearing a troop t-shirt).

      See this article form Scouting Magazine 2006:

      "First, when referring to uniforms, Class A and Class B are military terms that are not used in the BSA. The correct Scouting terms for the two versions of the uniform are "official uniform" and "activity uniform." Although less formal, the activity uniform is still considered an official uniform, and therefore it is appropriate for boys to use the Scout salute while wearing it during a flag ceremony."

      Please remember, one still needs to wear official pants/shorts, socks, belt. etc. Jeans or any other pants are still not a part of the uniform.
      (This message has been edited by ADCinNC)


      • #4
        Our unit is probably typical.....

        We keep a Troop t-shirt for a couple years then one of the Scouts draws up a new design and we reorder when we get a batch of cross overs.

        Uniform for leaders is almost always the full Field uniform (the majority have some flavor of BSA socks & shorts/pants).

        The Field uniform for sure is for most travel, popcorn sales, 1st & last day of camp, flag ceremonies, COH, BOR's and parades.

        The Troop T for day 2-6 of camp (unless on flag), service projects or non-council fundraisers.

        The main theme is, "Wear your Field uniform if there is ever a doubt, and a Troop T under it, and you are always prepared".

        Oh yeah, names in the lower hem of either shirt.


        • #5
          "Oh yeah, names in the lower hem of either shirt."

          This reminds me of the time we went to a way-out-of-state summer camp. The troop was full uniform all the time unless in the water swimming. Well, the uniforms were pretty rank by Wednesday so the SM collected them all up and ran them into town to run through the laundromat. When he came back he had all 30 uniforms. The kids were in a panic. First he sorted them by patrol patches, then POR's, then rank, then temp patches, then size. No two shirts were the same.

          It pays to keep up with the patches so that the boy can be properly identified as to patrol/POR/rank.

          The troop T-shirt under the uniform is standard operating procedure for that troop too.



          • #6
            May the uniform police interject

            Actually I have found that national recognizes a total of 10, stressing 10 different uniforms.

            the Field and Activity uniforms have already addressed.

            Then there is the Dress Uniform, aka pro uniform since mostly pros wear it, although anyone, youth or adult can. that's int eh IG.

            Then you got the 6 different uniforms for Sea Scouts and Leaders: dungarees, white crackerjacks and blue crackerjacks for youth, working khakis, dress blues and dress whites for QMs and adults. That's listed in the Sea Scout manual.

            FINALLY you got the "Camp Uniform" that I've only seen mention in NCS Cub Day camp literature. Camp Uniform consists of day camp t-shirt only. Any pants socks, etc may be worn. And Cubs can salute etc in it. Again That's in NCS literature and specific to Cubs.


            • #7
              Our pack keeps going back and forth on pack t-shirts. Parents like them because they keep the official uniform shirt/pants nice. Uniforms are the most expensive clothing many of our boys own. It's tough to watch a boy use paint wearing a $30 shirt. OTOH, when we've had pack t-shirts, the scouts seem to wear them for everything, despite instructions to wear uniforms to meetings and t-shirts for outdoor activities or as requested. We handed out t-shirts this year, and I am pretty sure that there are boys who don't have official shirts since they are new and hey, why buy a shirt when they can wear a free t-shirt?

              I do like the uniform. I like the unity, I like seeing ranks earned and what other awards a scout may have. I like that the uniform says 'I am a Cub Scout'.

              If I were to recommend a pack policy, I would set a uniform requirement for the official shirt. I would not hand out t-shirts. I would encourage den leaders to let parents know when non-uniform shirts are appropriate and expected for an activity. This seems to lead to the least amount of confusion.


              • #8
                Our pack uses both the Uniform and an Activity shirt and we run in to the same issues you are having. The boys would rather put on a t shirt than button up a uniform and wear a neckerchief.

                I stress to the boys the importance of the uniform and how people perceive the image of a boy in his uniform. If we are performing an official function of the Boy Scouts of America, then we wear the uniform, and yes, Den meetings are an official function of the Cub Scout program. If we are doing something where the uniform could get damaged or isn't practical, we will let them know to wear the activity t's.

                I've also told the boys if they want to be picked for Color Guard duty, they better be in uniform. I will not pick any boy who's wearing a t shirt.

                You can also do a surpise uniform inspection with inspection patches as reward. It doesn't have to be all "Douglas Niedermeyer" like. (Is that a pledge pin on your uniform?!?!?!)
                Make it fun for the boys, so they'll think about it the next time.

                Also, remember....Practice what you preach. If the leadership is wearing a uniform when they want the boys to wear the uniform, the boys will see that.


                • #9
                  Our pack wears uniforms, no class B stuff. Boys can wear dark blue jeans or dockers with their uniform shirts, but after I bought my son the official switchbacks for his b-day, a couple other kids started wearing them.

                  I think one of the hardest things to get over with the official field uniform (at least for some people) is the psychological desire to treat it like a holy relic, keeping it pristine. But once you get it a bit dirty, wash it a few times, re-stitch a couple loose patches and such, I think it takes on the nice worn appearance which bespeaks of outdoor adventure.



                  • #10
                    Maybe it's a bit sterotyping, or maybe just all out bigotry, but the Eagle Scout candidate that shows up in a full BSA uniform that has the patches a bit eschewed, a few too many stains, frayed cuff and collar, worn a bit too much at the knees, but is clean, ironed and patched the best it could be verses the Eagle Scout that shows up with a spotless, exact patches properly placed, and no wear whatsoever, speaks to me differently.

                    Like a well-worn hat, that has lost its luster, a bit rag tagged, stained and misshaped, it tells me about the history of the person wearing it.

                    My expedition hat has a 2000 Philmont brand under the brim and right next to it the 2010 National Jamboree brand. It's in fairly good shape, but has burn spots from a hundred logs tossed carelessly into the campfire by my boys, it is stained and it only vaguely remembers it's original shape. The color on the top of the hat does not match the color under the brim. Put it next to a new one at the scout shop and one would never guess it once looked the same.

                    Scouts are usually in the program for 7 years and have no idea when they are done with the youth part of the program what a uniform looks like after being a leader for 30+ years. I wear my camp knife on the old traditional belt clip because I don't have a pocket I trust to keep it securely anymore.

                    No, I don't wear that uniform for official meetings and/or training, but when I'm with the boys in the field, it's there. My boys never saw me at a scout function without the full uniform and many of them remember the day when I hit the drink in a canoe spill in the rapids. It was a hot day, but hey, I got my uniform washed and it kept me cool for the rest of the day while it wick dried.

                    Yes, I have a "full uniform" and an "activity uniform". They look remarkably the same but my full uniform has all the patches and pins, necker, woggle, name tag, etc. etc. etc., but my activity uniform has only the basics along with some mendings, frays, and stains.



                    • #11
                      Stosh, please take this the right way as there is plenty of Poster bashing going on, and I do not want to start another round, but...

                      Could it be that the Eagle Canidate with the "perfect uniform" just bought the uniform and paid for the sewing because he regards the Eagle Board of Review with such respect he wants to look his best?

                      Could the youth in the disheveled uniform spent the last 4 years using his uniform as the unofficial wipe cloth in his room and routinely stored it under his bed in a heap?

                      The point is, we spend a lot of time telling kids not to judge a book by its cover and then here we see all sorts of judgements being made based on how right or wrong the uniform is. WOuld it not be a better avenue to talk to the person first and get a sense of what is going on before developing any ideas about them?

                      Or I could be wrong, its just an alternative view, not saying you are wrong


                      • #12

                        I wouldn't say there's always a different explanation to any situation. But it does concern me that the point I was trying to make often gets left on the back burner. Yes, a new uniform for the Eagle especially if he's planning on going on into the scouter ranks is always a good idea.

                        However, to think that spit and polish must be maintained by the scout uniform is also misjudged many times. My boys wore the heck out of their uniforms, they'd come back from summer camp with a whole new set of stains and mom would spend hours patching up the rips and tears. It indicates to me, no disrespect for the uniform, just something the boy is at least willing to wear as necessary to being a scout.

                        There's a lot of SM's out there trying to get their boys to not even wear their uniforms for fear something terrible is going to happen to them. Yeah, it's called being out in the woods wearing them. It's part of the program. Like the mom who constantly complained to the coach that her boy would always come home from a football game with his uniform filthy with dirt and grass stains. What? She prefer her boy sitting on the bench keeping his uniform clean?

                        The money kids spend on blue jeans is very comparable to scout pants, but no one wants them. A durable shirt from any good sporting goods store is going to cost pretty much what a new uniform shirt costs. Well the patches can be taken off and put on a new shirt, the belt doesn't wear out nor do the socks very often. Necker, hat, all don't need replacing unless lost.

                        I hear too often the over concern that the uniform is for special occasions only. Well, that to me isn't sufficient justification for not wearing a BSA uniform at a BSA event.

                        If one goes back to my post, I did not refer to the Eagle candidate showing up in a disheveled uniform, I said, "clean, ironed, and patched the best it could be". That speaks to me an equal level of pride as the scout wanting to give a good impression with a new uniform, if not a bit more, granting an edge to the elbow grease necessary for the occasion.

                        By the way, I don't take offense at contradictory comments to mine. In this case, your comments are equally valid. No bashing was intended to the motives of any Eagle candidate.

                        What works in your troop may not work in mine and vice-versa. Forum listeners should be exposed to both so they can best decide what will work for their troops.



                        • #13
                          I admit my troop was a uniform troop at meetings, special events, and travel to and from. PLs and SPL would send someone home to get a uniform on them about once every 3-4 years.

                          But once we got to camp, off came the uniform. Troop t-shirt or other scout related t-shirt, no problem. jeans, cammies, whaterver no problem.

                          But come Sunday morning and ready to leave back in uniform.

                          part of that mentality of taking off the uniform was that we wanted the unifrom in the best shape possible for when we did have meetings, ceremonies etc. I know as a youth, the uniform, even a used one, was more expansive to buy when you could find one in your size, than goign to the local surplus store and buying camo pants.


                          • #14
                            Maybe I am missing something.

                            These are Cub Scouts, not Boy Scouts going for their Eagle BOR.

                            They have the official uniform, and wear it to Pack meetings and special Pack activities.

                            They have an activity uniform (as recognized by BSA), and wear that to den meetings and Pack camping trips.

                            So what is the problem? The Cubs are in uniform. Good for them!

                            If you really insist that Tigers show spit and polish, talk to the den leader about asking the Adult Partners to have their Tigers wear the official uniform to den meetings.

                            BTW - are your den leaders always fully uniformed in the complete, official, uniform?


                            • #15
                              The train of the conversation has bounced around quite a bit. Not sure who Scoutnut's questions are directed to.
                              If to me (the original poster)...
                              There's realy no problem, exactly, but more of a concern about not following the program. And it certainly isn't about spit and polish. It's simply just a desire to follow the program. As I mentioned in my original post, "Without the uniform, the whole bead thing flys out the window (which is ok by me since I don't like the plastic holders) and I think the benefits of the uniform are lost (such as unity, self respect, and even individual accomplishment)."

                              The activity uniform doesn't cut it for this purpose. For a sense of belonging, yes. It makes sense for "activities". For receiving the beads/awards, for showing pride in accomplishment, etc..... no.

                              I'm not sure that I really care about it, but a part of the scout program is instant recognition with the beads. If the boys aren't wearing the uniform shirt to the meetings, then giving them beads doesn't hold the same level of importance. They aren't seeing that the other boy has more beads therby driving them to accomplish more. They aren't able to take pride in what they themselves have accomplished, etc.... It doesn't remind the parents to work in the book and sign things off.

                              My son't tiger leader this year wasn't up to speed on the whole bead thing, and we only recently started handing out the beads. I wonder if we had been doing it all along, would the boys have been more driving or interested in staying current? Would the parents had more incentive or reminder to keep up with it? Would the boys have been given some sense of pride with a new bead getting tied onto their uniform each week? Now that I have gotten envolved as assistant, and trying to get the advancement 'paperwork' caught up, I can say for sure that confirming that the boys have been signed off by the parents, who I can tell haven't in some cases looked at the book, isn't really according to the program. Giving them a baggie full of beads to take home and put on their uniform isn't much of an encouragement.

                              I'm not convinced that the bead thing is worth the trouble but I'm trying to keep an open mind about it. It's certainly not worth the eye sore of having that awful lookinig plastic thing on the uniforms, restricting movement and really making the official uniform not suitable for activity..... but that's just my opinion from what I have seen so far. Even still, I want to follow the program as best as we can.

                              And your other question re. leader's uniforms. Not completely. Our tiger leader doesn't uniform. The other leaders do for the most part, at least with the proper shirts. most of the time, but the T-shirts are used and encouraged by them. I'm tempted to have my son start wearing his "class A" to den meetings, etc... but he wouldn't fit in with the rest of the crowd so that may not work. Now that I am coming on board in "official capacity" , perhaps with me weraing my uniform it will encourage him to do the same....