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Is the uniform optional?

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  • Is the uniform optional?

    I'm recruiting new cubs for our pack, and a new Cub Scout mom asked me when she had to have the uniform. The way she asked the question kind of threw me. I don't like to think of Scouting as a set of mandates, so I answered that the uniform was optional. She should get it as soon as she could because it is where he will wear his patches, but he isn't going to be denied participation if he doesn't have one.

    Our first activity after she signed up was parade. We were the color guard. I do not actually consider uniforms optional when representing the pac in a parade, certainly not when honoring the flag, so I don't think I really answered her question correctly, but it wasn't a disaster. He's a new little tiger, and I had given him the orange tiger t shirt a few weeks before, so he looked great in the parade. He waved a little flag and smiled the whole time.

    But how do you think I should answer that question next time?

  • #2
    Well, alot of people will answer this different ways. Many will say that a uniform is not required to participate in Scouting, and this is true. The uniform however is one of the methods of Scouting and as such should be encouraged and used when appropriate. I will refer you to the BSA page on Cub Scout uniforming. You will notice that nowhere does it say that the uniform is required, but it does say that proper uniform wear should be encouraged and the uniform should be worn when appropriate. Although the economy has caused some cut backs, many councils, as well as many units will offer either financial assistance for someone to buy one or provide a uniform.

    http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Parents/Awards/Parents.aspx

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    • #3
      Well done. Why argue with success? You did fine.

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      • #4
        We gently encourage our parents to get as much of the uniform as they can comfortably afford.

        The pack provides the necker, slide and book. We ask the parents get the hat first, then shirt next, and then the belt. Pants/shorts if they can.

        When it comes to things like color guard or singing at Christmas at the local nursing homes, we require the complete uniform, but for other events, a pack tshirt will suffice.

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        • #5
          The uniforming methods for my pack include:

          1) I am always in uniform.

          2) As soon as boys join the pack, they are awarded a neckerchief and slide, and they are considered to be "in uniform" when they are wearing their neckerchief and slide. I cut 20 neckerchiefs out of a colorful thrift shop sheet, and cut slides from sections of a tree branch with a hole drilled through it.

          3) Families can earn their pack dues by selling $200 in popcorn. If they sell more than that 25% of the additional sales are reserved for the families use for Scouting purposes (such as camps and uniforms).

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          • #6
            Uniformity encourages pride. However a traditional BSA Dress Uniform. Khaki shirt, kerchief,slide, pants, socks, belt.ect. Are a wonderful goal if kids can afford it. I believe a full dress uniform tells a wonderful story about a Scout(er) that a Troop T shirt cannot. However. Uniforming is subject to financial constraints and the BSAs uniform code allows for that.

            To close my windbagging, its up to unit choice as to what "Full Uniform" is. The BSA would LIKE full "Class A" uniforms but doesn't require it.(This message has been edited by Sentinel947)

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            • #7
              My approach is to say its required. With the cub uniform consistent for so many years there are many options for obtaining one. You really want to get to uniformity.

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              • #8
                We started having this question a few years ago. Partly because of money and partly because of not understanding the importance of the uniform, sense of belonging, pride in belonging and a place to put the patches.
                $ Reason - We solved it by accepting used uniforms in a donation box. I de-patch them (rank only) wash and press them then they go into the tub. When a scout needs one for $ reasons we have one for them. Parents who have needed them are very grateful. Get to know people at your local goodwill stores
                We also suggest to Tigers to get the short sleeve version and a little big since they can wear it through bears. Our Webelos wear the tan.

                Understanding Uniform question.....simply put you wouldn't send you boy to their soccer, basketball or little league game without their uniform or proper footwear - that usually gets the message through.

                We do pack tshirts too. The kids look great doing community clean up at the town parks in them

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                • #9
                  Personally, the full BSA uniform looks good, but is over complicated compared to Scouting elsewhere.

                  In many countries, the uniform is a necker and t-shirt. If a pack or a troop decides that is the uniform, so be it.

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                  • #10
                    I rather like the above idea. Much to be said for a neckerchief and slide approach.

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                    • #11
                      My answer to Parents is "Yes" the uniform is expected to be worn at all Pack and Den Meetings or events, unless we have an event when a Pack T-Shirt/street clothes would be more appropriate.

                      "Expected" is the key word here, but wearing the uniform is not required for membership or participation in the Pack. A boy that does not have a uniform will certainly feel left out if he does not have one. If he has a financial need, we will privately address that so we can get him on the road to feel part of the group.

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                      • #12
                        Orange shirt was good call. If there is a clothes closet in your or a nearby pack encourage the Tiger parents to see if they can get a blue shirt. Those little Tiger shirts get outgrown pretty quick.

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