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Questions and answers for parents and leaders new to Scouting.

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  2. Unit Scouter Reserve

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    • Realistically speaking, I have never seen uniforms being used a means of exclusion amongst Scouts - obviously, nobody is going to send a Scout home because he doesn't have a uniform. But as Baden-Powell put it in the 1908 edition of Scouting For Boys:    The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across the world.  The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him a credit to our Movement.  It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop.  One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the whole Movement in the eyes of the public. Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood. Also, from 1913: I HAVE said before now: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear a uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it. The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout Movement — the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on them to wear uniform if they don’t like it. At the same time, they have their positions to think of others rather than themselves. Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance to be in the same brotherhood with them. Uniforms are not the point of Scouting, but they are certainly one of the symbols of this movement, and we want our young people to identify with that symbol. When youth look differently, they feel differently, and when they feel differently, they act differently. The more we can get them into their uniforms, the better. I feel that goes double for leaders.
    • I have been a mentor for this award, and make sure you read through the book and make note of the various "project" components in each section.  There are requirements to make posters/presentations, to conduct a service project, the day retreat, visiting the church, etc.  My groups have met for 1 1/2 hour meetings bi-weekly, total of 9 meetings just to do the book work.  Some of those "project" things the kids had to do on their own at home to bring to the meetings.  The target age group of this award is 11-13 year olds, but I've had 9th graders do it and say it was a lot of work.
    • Out of curiosity, you say in BSA we wear a uniform for a reason, what is the reason you would give for that?  It's surely not because the uniform is a superior way to dress for outdoor activities.  The uniform can be appropriate attire,  but it can also be incorrect depending on the activity and the uni.  In our troop we preach no cotton on winter outings, but there are certainly cotton uniforms, even the poly ones are good but not superior to other clothing.  I still believe in the uniform, but just to push back a little, did your players wear their baseball uniform every time they met as a team?  For practice, for banquets?  And why did they have uniforms?  In sports it distinguishes between opposing teams, but in scouts we don't have an opposing team and the better we're doing scouting the better chance there's nobody around but us. Our troop does a lot in uniforms, but we never send a scout home because he doesn't have one.
    • Disk-golf courses are a genius idea! In general: Do limit the physical obstacles until the scouts are comfortable working their compass. review 2nd class requirement 3.a. before every orienteering challenge. teach scouts to talk with one another and check each other's measurements. go over any controls that the scouts mess keep score. Don't think that one orienteering challenge is enough let scouts get discouraged if they can't finish a course the first day they try one. pass scouts if they can't find at least 80% of markers.
    • Sorry but I was a baseball coach and now a Scoutmaster.  In BSA, we wear a uniform for a reason.  If one of my players showed up not in his baseball uniform then you dint play.  My question to the people pushing back on the uniform is this.  Would you show up at your Softball, baseball, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey game wearing jeans and a T-Shirt and expect to play? No, why? Because it doesn't fit to the activity.  We wear a uniform,. If you don't want to wear one, don't join.  
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