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What function should the Uniform serve ??

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Most of us have some grouse about uniforms. Much of that evolves around what we want the uniform to do. No one uniform will serve all of our purposes, so if you are going to buy one uniform.... What function(s)should it serve? What function should it not serve?


I'll go first:


It should quickly identify the boys as Scouts, and it should display there achievements.


It should not be the ultimate outdoor clothing set.



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Ok, I'll bite. I know many people complain about the cost, but I wish there were two uniforms. One for meetings and ceremonies and one for activities. Both should be easily identifiable as scouts. It is such a hassle at camp to have to put on the uniform for the morning flag ceremony, then take it off, put it on for the evening flag ceremony, then take it off, put it on for campfire, then take it off. Add camps with a dining hall and having to be in uniform to eat and you may as well just make a uniform that is built for outdoor activites so the boys don't spend half the day in and out of the tent changing clothes.


The ideal outdoor uniform would be a long sleeve shirt that has roll up sleeves that can be buttoned into place and pants with large cargo pockets, sliding tabs on the waistband and legs that zip off. For cold weather, you could even have a flannel liner that buttons in. and they should be made of a fabric that wicks moisture away from the body and dries quickly.

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Using the military as a model, they have a uniform that displays the member's acomplishments and a different one for working in the field.


I don't support the idea that one uniform should do all, that why the activity uniform exists as illustrated on page 13 of The Boy Scout Handbook.


There are times and activities the offical BSA uniform simply is not appropriate in any form, and the guidelines of the BSA recognizes this and DOES NOT make the uniform manditory at all times!


The uniform should be worn when the Scouts are in the public eye as long as practical and safety does not prohibit such clothing.


We are as a group are too small to have a seperate working uniform, the cost would as high or higher as the current uniform.


Therefore, we need to use common sense to use the uniform as appropriate, and not use it when it is not.

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I think that the "Class A" should be pretty good for outdoor clothing in the summer atleast. I keep wondering if wool uniform shirts and pants are available for cool weather wear. It started out that the uniform was a khaki shirt that was readily available to scouts everywhere that would serve pretty well for outdoor clothing. I think the concept of a FULL DRESS UNIFORM is pretty much impossible with kids and that a scout uniform should be like the WW1 army uniform, 1/2 function, 1/2 dress, and definantly not try to look "cool" or anything as that just encourages needless changes which drive up costs.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with KWC that taking off the uniform etc for dinner, etc is nuts. - but it isn't the uniform that's the problem there - it's the camp policy. One camp we go to wants dress uniform for flag, breakfast and dinner. By the end of the week - even the neatest boy's uniform is so dirty- it can stand by itself!


Another camp we go to has a more practical bent - each TROOP decides when to wear uniform and what to wear - so we usually opt for full uniform for dinner and evening flag - and troop t-shirts for daily wear.


it just is not practical to have more than one uniform for boys - they outgrow them too fast. plus, you would then have to duplicate things like patches, troop numbers and rank insignia. But what about making all the variable insignia easily removable? for example, show rank by pins - or those plastic patch covers - then they can be easily moved from one shirt to another. or put all insignia on the sash, or a vest - which can be removed during dirty work or play. It would be more practical then to have 2 or more shirts.


many people have different ideas of the meaning of "comfortable" and 'strong wearing' Most catholic school uniforms are some combination of navy blue pants/ skirts and white shirts. there are ALOT of variations in price, quality, weight, etc. BSA could settle on a COLOR, that is readily available, and let people choose their own. which is what most families in our area do.


most parents do NOT buy more than the scout shirt for their boys until they are sure they really will use full uniforms - for example - at camp. I've been in scouting 7 years, and only recently bought my first pair of scout pants for me, though I have two shirts. the fit is atrocious, they are very short in the waist / crotch, long in the leg (and i'm tall!) cut weird. I bought them only because I could not FIND anything else in my size and remotely appropriate color. I'm having to alter them to fit and hopefully, with the enormous amount of length - if i can find the zippers, i will make them into zip offs - for dual duty. But I'm lucky - I can sew. Add alterations costs to the $50 I paid for those pants, and that gets pretty pricy for a volunteer!


Not only that - but I wore them today, and they are extrememly HOT - high Polyester content, and they were stiff and cut kinda funny - I'll have to remember not to stuff the pockets full - it could be uncomfortable sitting!



There are LOADS of appropriately colored pants available for kids, that I have not needed to by my son more than one pair of actual uniform shorts - and because of the cut of them - he outgrows them faster! he wore them today, and they are so straight - there's not room for 'ease' of movement! He has a number of inexpensive (same color as scout uniform)khaki green pants, zip offs, and shorts that are much more comfortable, have a range of "fit" to suit different body types, have better pockets, and range of weights / warmth for different weather. I can get him 3-4 pairs of pants on sale for the price i would pay for 1 - 2 prs of scout shorts!


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The uniform should function as


> a representation of a national program


> A tool to eastablish a sense of belonging in a local gang


> A tool to eliminate signs of personal wealth or lack of wealth, which can effect opinion and self-esteem.


> A billboard for a scout to display personal accomplishments.


> A motivation for other scouts to achieve


> A tool to promote personal grooming


> a tool to positively affect behavior and self-esteem



It should not be expected....


> to be worn correctly if adults do not set the example


> to be an effective choice of outdoor apparel for a variety of environments, climates and activities.


> to solve all your problems


> to be the cause of all your problems








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Many years ago, the Scout uniform was a good outdoor uniform made of heavy cotton (don't give the anti-cotton speel), it was rugged and lasted. You could wear it hiking, you could wear it to church. Sure, it needed to be ironed but moms did ironing back then.


Consider also that back in the early 20th century and before, the average soldier didn't have a battle uniform, dress uniform, undress uniform, etc. They had one wool suit and that's what they wore.



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Many years ago those heavy cotton uniforms had steel buttons held on with cotter rings that had to be removed and replaced every time it was laundered.


We also treated burns with butter, misused tourniquets, and performed artificial rescucitation (push on the back and pullup on the elbows) on water rescue victims.


Camping materials were mostly metal, canvas and cotton. There were heavy, absorbed water, rotted and smelled bad. It would take a 7lb sleeping bag to give the warmth of a 3lb bag today.


What we used to do makes for interesting history but poor scouting for todays youth.

Trying to drive forward while looking in the rearview mirror will get you nowhere but into accidents.


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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  • 1 month later...

One thing I do NOT like to see is Scouts (and especially Scouters) wearing jeans, camos (sorry to start that one up again), etc. with a Scout shirt. Why? Because, at least around here, it screams "I can't afford to buy a uniform." Why is that bad? B-P envisioned Scouting to be a way for kids of all classes to have a shared, common experience. Even though some may, as adults, live a life of high society and mega-dollar corporations while most won't, they will all have the common experience and bond that comes from having been Scouts. So, if a troop allows jeans, they simply are removing the outward symbol of this common bond. Corner-cutting should not be so common. The troop I grew up in maintained a uniform "lucky bag" for those who couldn't afford the whole ensemble. Scoutmasters can help out, they can do fundraisers, etc. It should not be "Those pants are too expensive, so I'll wear jeans," but rather "I believe in what the pants represent, so I will sacrifice to get them." As for those who are wearing alternative pants for special purposes like equitation, service projects, etc., that's a different matter all together.

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1. BSA is not paramilitary, but it is military prep, at least in part. This is one reason B-P founded Scouting, and West, Beard, Boyce, and Seton founded BSA. All uniforms in Scoutings history that I have seen have elements of military uniforms. The uniform needs to makes Scouts look like Scouts.


2. The campaign hat. Although perhaps a bit warm in the heat, it does provide a lot of shade. The chin strap worn around the back of the head keeps it on in all but the strongest breezes. As for keeping its shape, why bother? The original US ones had soft brims. As for the expense, cost would likely drop if they sold more. Also, a troop might try to get campaign hats from a surplus store at a volume discount, and then add the hatband and strap. Most of all...it screams SCOUT.


3. Knee socks. Where did they go? When wearing shorts they protect the legs.


4. Pants. Comfortable and (at least the old ones) with voluminous pockets. I have worn them (or the shorts) on every Scout outing and found them quite practical (including backpacking).


5. The shirt. Again, no problems here. The patches are conducive to a uniform worn in the field and with a backpack. Again, we are a uniformed organization, and the uniform is one way we teach and express the values of Scouting that we are trying to teach the boys.

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