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  • Customization of Uniforms

    I didn't want to hijack another thread, but a comment was made that got me thinking, how much personalization/customization is okay within the prescribed uniforming of the BSA.

    There are troops out there that wish to express their uniqueness and individual scouts within those troops do as well.

    There are practical reasons for proper uniforming as well.

    Because my boys always wore full uniforms, from a distance they all looked the same. Except for size, it was often difficult to tell who was who.

    As other troops went to full uniforms, my boys adopted a 6' walking stick. That allowed me to tell my boys from the rest. It had a 1" hook on the end of the stick and it was always easier as I walked around to all the MB sessions and see all the staffs hanging from tree branches outside the entrance. I didn't know who the boys were, but I knew where they were. However, the boys were allowed to customize and personalize their staff so as to be easily recognizable when mixed up with the others. Carvings, grips, medallions, paint and wood burning were the norm.

    But with being boy-led, knowing the officers was important, too. So they all purchased the expedition hat with lg 1st Class emblem on it. They stood out from the rest of my boys. But then there were a lot of those hats so the SPL wore a white necker with 3 green stripes on it and PL's 2 green strips, and APL's 1 green stripe. From a distance one couldn't always tell even those stripes so the SPL also carried a bright yellow flag on his 6' staff and the PL's had their patrol flag on their staff. The background on the patrol flags were all different colored, too.

    From few hundred yards I see a boy in partial uniform - not one of mine. Full uniform but no staff - again, not mine. Full uniform, with staff, expedition hat and white necker, one of my APL's! Full uniform, with staff, expedition hat, white necker and colored flag on staff, PL (Color would let me know which patrol). Full uniform, staff, exp. hat, white necker and yellow flag - That's my SPL.

    All in acceptable full uniform, yet unique enough to even tell from a distance generally who was who.

    At Jambo, I had SPL and ASPL carry a staff with green bar/white flags. They never carried them and the other leaders were tearing their hair out always trying to find them. When they asked me I always told them, they must be in their tent because that's where the flag was. When the boys came out of one of the major venue shows, it was a mass of humanity and the boys would follow ME out because I carried my staff high over the crowd and they could keep tabs. I would have preferred having the SPL doing his job with his banner instead of relying on the adults to babysit them.

    Stosh

  • #2
    Love it!!!!

    The scouts are individuals and allowing small changes, i believe, is a good thing. As close to "proper class A" as possible, but fully visible from a distance. Great concept!!!!

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    • #3
      We had a Patrol want to come up with a "temp patch" award device for special service to the Patrol (some sort of feather-dongle thing)like saving a meal disaster, great leadership, bravery, etc. I've never seen them so excited. Mostly we reminded them that it was "unofficial" and that they needed a "fair" way to decide who to get it, no hazing, etc. Had to use a delicate hand since we did want to rain on their parade.

      Man the first couple guys seemed so proud, more than any COH Advancement I suppose because it came from the Patrol. By the way one lad got it who wasn't even in their Patrol but cheerfully carried a canoe when another guy got hurt.

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      • #4
        Here we go ~ this I like. All about the scouts ..... that is what scouting should be about.

        1. Keep them safe.
        2. Let them think out of the box.
        3. Praise them along the way.

        I am now excited again about the "secret" recognitions we do. Every COH, since I took over advancements, we always had something up our sleeve. I usually fly it by one adult in the troop, to make sure it won't offend anyone, and then spring it into action at our COH. Last summer camp our scouts took three camp events .... archery high score, best belly flop, and pier trick. I made them pocket certificates with their event and date listed and purchased small blue ribbons (from cub scout awards). Our belly flop kid laughed for a good 5 minutes ~ we just didn't tell anyone that he was the only one in the competition!!! They loved getting the extra attention.

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        • #5
          When I had NSP boys at summer camp, I went down to the trading post and picked up lanyard of yellow, red, white and blue.

          When I caught a boy doing something right, he got a 6" piece lanyard which he looped through the button hole of the right picket so with a larks head knot, hung down over the temp patch. First time he got yellow. If I saw something again by the boy, it upgraded to red, then to white and finally blue.

          Of course, if they did something that necessitated discipline, there was no screaming and yelling, I just dropped the level of color one or two depending on the infraction.

          At first the boys were satisfied with just getting the colors, but when everyone was sent off to tents after campfire, the boys with white and blue got an extra half hour at the fire, then it took on a whole new drive.

          Who would have thought that a piece of lanyard hanging from the temp patch pocket would have such a profound affect. Two of the 6 boys had their blue lanyard still on their shirt at their ECOH. The program was used only the first year when they were new scouts.

          Stosh

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          • #6
            When we were trying to get the Webelos part of program back up to speed, we wanted them stand out as special more mature scouts that the younger cubs would look forward to joining in their future. I can't remember how, but we came up with boony hats for the Webelos. Booney hats are the military hat soldier where in the field to protect them from the and rain. The can be dropped in the mud, ran over by a car, worn though the rainyest crew trip and still look almost new after one washing. The are so durable that my 29 and 25 year old sons still have their Webelos boony hat. In fact, they wore them on our troop high adventure trips.

            Anyway there are, or were, at least a dozen different colors and camouflage styles. They couldn't have worked better, the Webelos wore them with pride and the younger ages couldn't wait to be Webelos. I saw the pack not to long ago and the tradition is still going.

            I love this scouting stuff.

            Barry

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            • #7
              Was just looking at photos from 2010 Jamboree ~

              Every unit had a different cap on. ~ Great way to spot who's yours in such a large group of scouts all dressed alike!

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              • #8
                Stosh: pure genius. Love what you are doing!

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                • #9
                  Hey Stosh

                  Wouldn't those staffs with a hook on the end be a considered a weapon and a violation of the G2SS, LOL, just kidding.

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                  • #10
                    Probably....

                    However, I carry one all the time.

                    They're kinda useful too....

                    I was doing winter camp with my boys and they got all their backpacks on, skis and poles and when it got to me I said I didn't need poles, I had my staff. They thought I was nuts. A SM standing in line just laughed and asked how I was going to get around with that. I said, I'm not as worried about that as I am of having the hook on the end of my staff to get me through the weekend.

                    Sunday afternoon, that same SM looked me up and said I HAD to give him a second look at that staff, he had to have one. With a backpack on, helping the boys pick their poles up all weekend long had worn him out. Me? I just turned my staff around, hooked the pole and hiked it back up to the boy. I'm just too old to be bending over on skis, with a backpack, to pick up anything anymore.

                    I learned that trick many years ago by and old SM.... Just passing on the legacy..

                    Any time the boys get to even thinking about using the staff as a weapon and there's no bears in the area, I just remind them I have one too, and I've got a lot more experience using it than they do. So far no one has ever even considered pushing the issue.

                    Safety is always my highest priority and their staffs are strictly tools. Just as neckers are consider a vital part of a first aid kit, so true for the staffs. My boys can come up with a stretcher in less than a minute with the gear they have on them at any time. So, what happens when a 250# man goes down with a broken ankle? No problem 4 poles to make the stretch, 2 on each side and 2 more across, one just above the head the other under the knees (Think elongated tic tac toe). That gives 8 lift points. I have seen 8 medium sized boys lift a 250#+ man without any problems.

                    Stosh

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