Jump to content

assistant scout master

Recommended Posts

Our troop is courently in a heated conflect about uniforming. The conflick arising from a trip we are taking to a larger city. It has to do with the United States supreme court dicision the BSA to disallow announced "gay" leaders. The one side says do to the potentionl problem they should not have to wear the uniform. The other side (which I'm on) contests that the uniform should be woren, because of what it represents. The uniform is the glue that holds us together as scouts. Without it we are nothing to the general public. So what do you think. Should they or shouldn't they, what do you think? Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a scouter in Los Angeles, whenever we have activities we use our uniforms, I have never had a problem. I think that the Scout uniform is more of a proctection than anything. It distiguishes the group, allows you as a leader to quickly identify your troop, many times people are suspiscous of a large group of boys, but when they see the uniform they know these boys are different and lastly I think the boys act different when they are wearing there uniform.


This is just my experience.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Under normal circumstances, (those prior to the whole "gay" issue), I would definitely fall on the side of those who support the wearing of the uniform. But, and here's where I find some level of apprehension; our troop has begun to rethink the candy sales we hold yearly just for the uniform and public acceptance issue. During the last candy sale we held, adults were actually walking up to some of the kids and telling them that they would not support scouting because the BSA was a disriminatory towards gays.


While I accept the premise that we may all have our own opinions on these issues, I can not, and do not, acccept the idea that any adult would be so heartless as to take a boy to task on the issue. The boys did not create the issue, it is purely an "adult" problem. And there seems to be quite a few "adults" out there, (and I say "adults" with some reservation), who can not separate the two. Adults who choose to take a boy to task for an adult problem are not really being very grown-up themselves about the whole thing. And we've found it to be quite upsetting to some of the boys, especially the younger ones. Some of the older boys can just shrug it off and understand that these "adults" are acting more like two year olds. The younger ones can't, for they see "adults" as their mentors and deserving of respect. How can they be asked to deliver that respect to "adults" who choose not to act like adults?


Ultimately, I would suggest that you take a look at your troop and question whether the kids could deal with a situation like that if faced with it. The uniform, although the glue that holds the unit together, could also become the solvent that breaks it apart if certain "adults" decide to be stupid, in your face.


Hope this helps.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wear the uniform. No lame excuses.


If we allow the negative aspects of our society to make us hide who we are and what we are about we lose and they win.


By allowing the boys to not wear the uniform just because of what a FEW people think we teach the boys to be ashamed of who and what they are. Is that the message you want to send to young boys? I didn't think so.


We ARE different and we DO discriminate against the negative aspects of our society and you should help your scouts understand that they are different. If they do live their lives by the Oath and Law the difference between a scout and a non-scout will become more obvious as time goes on. We all teach our scouts that an Eagle is something different and special don't we?


The last time I met someone who tried to take me to task on the gay issue while I was in uniform I asked them a simple question. If you won't support Scouting now, did you ever support scouting in the past and how did you? I'll wager they never supported Scouting. If they never supported us then what have we lost? I'll tell you what we will lose if we give in, our integrity.


Give in on this issue and you will NEVER get the boys to wear the uniform not even to your meetings much less be proud to be a Scout.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Mike. The pride in being a Scout is best represented by how we wear the uniform. If we give in to the small minority and become embarrassed, we've lost everything, including our integrity.


Scouters, be proud of Scouting and don't let this issue taint the great things it has offered to boys for all these years and will continue to offer into the future.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, this belongs in a differant discussion. The issue of homosexuals being banned as leaders has had a POSITIVE overall effect here (Wyoming). The boys are often complemented on their uniforms, and get told lots of stories about "when I was your age, I was a scout (cub, brownie, etc)".


The uniform was originally used to brint the boys together as part of a group. They now "belong" to a group, and have their own "gang colors" - only this "gang" has a positive effect!


As for the poor excuses for human beings that will hurt the boys, the boys need to be warned about them. Your unit needs to do Youth Protection every year, and this may need to include "hate groups", which the person mentioned in a reply eluded to.


The BSA already teaches tolerance of other opinions, as evidenced by the acceptance of all religious faiths. It is time for the special interest groups to realize that their speech of hate is no more acceptable than the KKK's retorhic is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I am not proposing that Scouts not wear the uniform at all, for I value it, and have for nearly 20 years, I would ask this...


Mike, you spoke about the last time you were in uniform and had someone take you to task on the gay issue. Were you 12 at the time?????? When was the last time that you had a Scout come up to you with tears in his eyes, asking why he was being targeted by someone he didn't know, on an issue he's not that familiar with????


I love the uniform and all that it stands for. And I harbor a certain degree of hate, yes hate, for those that would do what was done, on more than one occasion during the candy sale, to our boys. I can't place the boys in harms way just to save the uniform. Can you? What other way, other than wearing the uniform, and standing at the ready to guard agains the idiot adult would you suggest? And remember, this is not a fantasy situation I'm talking about. This is real. It happened. More than once. I'd appreciate any thoughts on helping the boys maintain their pride while wearing the uniform. But the ideas need to take the idiot into consideration.



Link to post
Share on other sites

JM I do understand your intent and it is very obvious your love for scouting, the uniform and what it represents.


I would like to clarify the "Lame excuses" comment. I'm sorry to have bent you out of shape, I certainly didn't mean to jump on you. That comment was not in reference to your particular situation. It was in reference to recurring stream of people who always manage to find a reason to not wear the uniform for a variety of excuses.


As to your question. I have been verbally abused by scout haters in the 80's when I was a scout and on into adulthood today. I developed a think skin and learned first hand about the differences between us and them and took comfort in knowing that I was not like them.


I certainly won't say that I think it's OK to let our boys get harassed as an matter of course. But I will not allow the jerks of the world to dictate how I live my life or to force our scouts to hide their colors. I don't believe that this just about saving the uniform. I think that this is a much greater issue than that. We are taking about freedom here.


Everything we do puts the boys in harms way from some direction, thats why we are here. We are here to guard against harm and present the scoutings message. Yes JM, the only way I know to deflect the jerks is for myself and my Assistants to be there in uniform at the ready to guard against the idiots.


I don't for a second think that you were describing a fantasy situation. You are a scout, you said it and I believe you, enough said.


Unfortunatly, the idiots are out there and there is nothing we can do about it. We can't idiot proof the planet no matter how much we try and we can't make the world safe from rudeness. The best we can to is be there, be vigilant and react swiftly. If it is recurring problem then the troop committee needs to address it as you are doing. But I think it is foolish to not wear the uniform because "in thoery" someone might be a jerk to the boys. The discussions of "what if" are productive only if they lead to ways to handle a problem when it happens.


It's the best I can do and the best I can suggest because I will not let the jerks change my life.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you should definitely wear the uniform. This is coming from the perspective of an older scout, Im 15. I was at NOAC where there were anti-BSA ( and i suppose pro-gay) rallies and whatnot going on in Knoxville. I didnt witness any of this because they did a good job of keeping it all outside of the area for NOAC. But, that said, I never had any second thoughts about wearing the uniform around NOAC even with organized protests going on.


Also, you tell stories about boys being upset by adults during candy sales. I think the only answer to that is to prepare them for it, because you'll have that in this day and age. Whenever my troop does stuff like that Im more worried about my peers seeing me standing out in front of a wal-mart with my uniform on. (how horrible to be a high school aged boyscout) So put it in perspective for them, most adults give the scouts a great deal of respect.


And yes, we are different, because we are standing up for some old-school morals. I dont know if any of you have seen the bumper sticker, its pretty common on scoutmaster cars around here:

"America is returning to the values that Scouting never left"


I dont know, just trying to give you some of my personal experience as a scout at the age that is hardest to get to wear uniforms. In short, wear it, but be prepared for some abuse.


Yours in Socuting,


Alex IV


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Good evening. I too find it hard to belive what some so called adults will do. The world is upside down, what was once right is now wrong, go figure.


I'm not sure that anyone is more pro uniform than me. Here comes my two cents. Scouts in my opinion should NOT wear uniforms when fund raising. This includes the selling of that great popcorn from Trails end. A Troop T-shirt is ok and so is displaying posters or other aides. I have developed this view from the writings in my earlier Scout Handbooks. I do belive that the uniform SHOULD be worn at all other Scouting activities. I want to make something clear in this statement. Blue jeans are not part of the Scout uniform, never have been. Class 'b' is what some ex-service person decided to tag non uniform Scout wear and according to military tradition it either is reg. or it isn't. (When was the last time you saw a Marine in 'uniform' but wearing jeans? or a baseball, football or soccer player in 'uniform' wearing jeans.) So I guess Scout shirt with jeans is class 'b'?


I have heard all the excuses as to why boys are not wearing the complete uniform as outlined in the Handbook and Insignia guide. As far as I'm concerned I have heard them all and none hold water. I have been saddened that Scouts doing good works are not being appreciated by others because of their appearance. The fact is most people, if we are honest with ourselves, judge most things by what they see. I have been told by non- Scouters, 'why should we take you serious if you don't take yourselves serious?' Somewhere in these forums I belive I read something along the lines 'would you follow a rag tag bunch'.


I have seen Scout units in complete uniforms on activities and observed that people respect them and reacted to them differently than they did to units that were 'rag tag'. I also observed the Scouts themselves acted differently. The Troop I am associated with has patrols that wear the uniform and those that do not. Guess which are better behaved?


Now for those people out there that have a problem with us and our values, they will stand before their maker and he will judge them. I sleep well at night I wonder if they do?


Stick to your guns, wear the uniform properly and show the pride you have in Scouting, its values and accomplishments.



Uncle Bob ES73

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I say wear the uniform. In our council the uniform is required wear while traveling. I think is has to do with insurance. I certainly understand the concerns of a few louts who would assault a 12 year old boy, but those same louts won't go away because we aren't wearing the uniform, and what does that say about free speach and the 10th point of thee Scout Law.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Under no circumstances should any Troop, Leader or Scout stray away from BSA or Troop policy. We are supported by the 1st Amendment right to free speech and association. My sons have never had a negative experience wearing their uniforms to school, selling POPCORN or anything else. And if they had, I wouldn't change a thing. Do you think anyone participating in the Gay Pride Parade stopped being gay, because anyone objected? I doubt it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To Uncle Bob


Must be nice to live somewhere where everyone can afford to purchase a complete uniform at the prices BSA Charges. Even though we have a uniform exchange and rent uniforms to the boys for a dollar a year not every boy in our troop can afford the whole uniform menaing shirts and pants. Therefore we allow our kids and adults to wear jeans with the shirt. Which is accepted practice in the council I am in. Let's realize that even with the uniform exchange the price of the uniform is out of reach of some people who are struggling just to meet daily neccesities.


As for the original thread I say wear it proudly if some jerk comes up and confronts the youth about the gay issue havethem say " i am sorry but you need to speak with my leader about it" that is how we handle it and it has worked(This message has been edited by scomman)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...