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Time for a change in the uniform?

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Reading the thread on professionals and the uniform got me thinking. Maybe (don't shoot me, anyone) its time that we *gasp* change the uniform.

I think that every Scouter, and indeed, anyone involved in an organization like Scouting will agree that uniformity is the key. But what that uniform should look like is, and should be, open for debate.

Our current uniform is still an echo of the pre-World War I British militray uniform. That's a long time ago. Back then it was "cool" to look like a soldier; what boy wouldn't want to look authoritative and militarized in that day and age. Baden Powell knew that it was "cool"...he used that coolness to attract kids. But now that particular look isn't "cool"

Think about it -- we emphasize that we are not a paramilitary organization, as some detractor have labeled us, yet we dress our boys to look like little soldier. I mean, really, why epilettes? And khaki brown and forest green? By clinging onto something so anachronistic, aren't we putting pride before a fall. The uniform is the first thing people see about a Scouter, and for many its screams - NO WAY. The program, the merit badges, the activities, the oath and law, THEY are Scouting.


I am sure that several Scouters, particularly "old time" Scouters will have a fit when they realize this.


Lets make uniformity - the uniform - cool.

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I (and I am sure there are other and maybe better ideas ou there) is this: A pair of regular khaki pants (without all the pockets and a shade of white) and a standard button down shirt (maybe blue). Stick all insignia in a single crest (flag, world crest, unit #)


Simple, utilitarian, recognizable, and not immediately mistaken for a forest ranger, World War I re-enactor, or county cop (all things that little children and adults have hoenstly interpreted from my uniform.)

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White or brown pants. A blue polo shirt. All emblems in one unified crest (flag, world crest, unit #)


There might, and probably is, something better than this. It has to be better than what we have, for I have been mistaken for, (no joke) a forest ranger, a county cop, and a World War I re-enactor.


We need to get the discussion going.

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A pair of regular khaki pants (without all the pockets and a shade of white) and a standard button down shirt (maybe blue).


I thought you wanted a COOL uniform? :)


If you want the scouts to think its cool, how about some camo shorts, they must be long and baggy, no belt, camo boxer shorts to match, and a BIG BAGGY Hawaiian shift!


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A pair of regular khaki pants (without all the pockets and a shade of white) and a standard button down shirt (maybe blue).


Sounds like you'll get confused with your basic everyday computer repair guy.:)


Cool, huh? The problem with that - as you'll see here - is in the eye of the beholder. Your suggestion would be rejected by 90% of my scouts. Oh, maybe several would like it more than the current one, but they still wouldn't call it cool.


About 1/2 of my guys would want it to be more like a sports uniform. A jersey of some kind. Maybe the unit # in big numbers across the back. Rank would be a cool logo worn over the heart. PLs and SPLs would have a special insignia on their sleeve. Heck, they'd probably rename them "team captains".


Some of my guys would probably want some sort of grunge or sloppy thing. You know, the kind with the pants dragging the ground. Black is best, but certainly some sort of drab color. No formal insignia either. Each should be able to make up his own.


A few of my guys would probably like the camo/outdoor jungle look. Cargo pants are a must with these guys. Cool and comfortable in the outdoors is a must.



So what's the point of all this. Tweaking the uniform is painful but do-able. They could come up with some cooler pants (cargo for sure). They could simplify the insignia to make it less "military" for you. But none of that will radically change what you are complaining about.


Or, they could go your route. Change it dramatically. Come up with a whole new uniform. Problem is, no matter what you choose, it will turn of the majority. You won't get any redesign that is agreed to by 50% of active members. It just won't happen. So, until a miracle along that line occurs, don't expect anything more than tweaking.

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The uniform that youre just described is visible in thousands of beach front and resort communities. Whats special? What stands out? Welcome to Wendys can I help you?


And do you think for a second that this would result in a uniform appearance? Someone will always gripe about the uniform regardless of what it is. My gripe is the cost. But if it bothered me that much, Id do something else with my time. The uniform (and its cost) are something that I accepted when I signed the application.


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Ha Ha.


Seriously, the same kids who won't think twice about wearing a sports uniform cringe at the thought of wearing their Scout uniform. Can anyone deny that most kids shy away from wearing their Scout uniform in public. They are not embarrassed by the fun program and the things they learn, or camping, or even being called a Scout. But the reality is that the times have moved beyond the uniform. This shouldn't be heresy. There was a time when the Cub oath said "to be square" instead of "to help other people". Why do you think that changed? Because in cultural parlance, the term "square" went form meaning "honest" to "dorky", (just as "aweful" went from meaning "something that inspres awe" to "terrible")


Our uniform, like language, must evolve. I love Scouting. I want kids to say "hey, wow, look at them" no "ha ha, look at them".

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A world view is helpful in this discussion. Other souting organizations are doing exactly what the originator of this thread is suggesting. It isn't producing the desired result. The evidence suggests it was a bad move.


The BSA uniform is fine. In addition to the program, the merit badges, the activities, the oath and law, the uniform is also Scouting. If wearing the uniform and being identified with the BSA and what it stands for is a turn-off, best to just keep on moving down the road to another organization.


That is not to say that the uniform is perfect. Prices could be better. Fit, tailoring, fabrics and design could be improved, but I see no reason to depart radically from what we have.


My complaint:

The gaudy patches and plethora of badges. Back in the day a Scout uniform was simple, serviceable and distinguised. Allowing large, multi-colored patches in every possible location has created something that looks more like a clown suit the tasteful and respectful uniform it should be.


Bring back the more austere simplicity.

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I can only think of one thing I would change to the "Field Uniform" that is currently worn. I'd change the pants from what we have to Olive Drab BDU pants. I think they would be better because they have cargo pockets and it would be a very slight change so they wouldnt have to go totally redo everything.


I personally like our uniform for the most part.

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I know what you are saying, but have you seen the girl scouts lately? There official uniform consists of a vest or sash. They can choose to wear a GS shirt or pants, but you usually can only tell if they are girl scouts or not if you can spot there vest or sash under all the patches.


The uniforms may be the same as years before, but they are recognizable by most of the population. It also gives most boys a sense of belonging and pride. I agree that the cost is imposing and I wish something could be done about that, but I feel that the design is fine.

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Uniform is the key? I'm working on that one.

I wear the uniform and don't really pay that much attention to the style.

My son wears the uniform, some of the time. He has several complete uniforms. At times he is very impatient about wanting patches sewn on the shirt. He wanted the flap that the Lodge came up with for NOAC and the 2005 Jamboree patch on the shirt ASAP. He used to wear his uniform to Troop meetings, I have noticed that he has for a while started to carry it.

England changed their Scout uniform, from what looked very much like what we here in the USA are still wearing. The first change was in 1969. The uniform then was a dress uniform. Along sleeved shirt green for Boy Scouts and long dress pants that were a mushroom type color along with a green beret. It was the uniform and because it was the uniform people wore it.

Both England and Australia have changed uniforms again. This has happened over the past 3-4 years. They do look like a fast food service worker uniform.

I don't know much about clothes or the design.

Pants can be long or short. We have both. The cargo pockets we have are so small that you can't get very much in them. As to if they are baggy or not. I don't like baggy shorts. This is a style that will one day change. I remember complaining when the pants in the UK uniform weren't flared!!

Shirts there are Dress type shirts that we used to wear ties with. I have noticed that the President has taken to not wearing one, it makes him look as if he means business. Strange when I was doing business, I wore a tie. We have T-shirts that I think have no class. We have golf shirts that I like a lot, but they look fast foodish. What else is there?

For me I would be happy if the uniform was a golf shirt and pants like Dockers.

Kids like jeans. I look like a cowboy who has lost his horse.

Patches are important, they need a place to live. So there has to be a shirt of some kind.

Heck leave it alone. We are never going to get it right.


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Gasp-I must agree with Eamonn.


We will never get it right. Also, half will like it, half will hate it. Just leave it alone.


I brought this subject up to my bear scouts. We have pack t shirts, but most boys want to wear their button down shirts-why-because the want to display their patches and awards. Most of my boys cant wiat to get a boy scout uniform. Some (over half) even want campaign hats. However, there are the other half that we are lucky they wear the pack t shirt. Its not the uniform, its the person (and the parents). These are the same people who have no problem going to a wedding in a polo shirt, go going to church in a tank top. Its just their style.


I have no problem if they change the pants to cargo, tan, convertable shorts, BDU's, whatever. Pants change with styles (even the military). But the button down shirt is a uniform. Looks good with a neckerchief, you can display patches, and looks dressy if you need it to be. Leave that alone.



Final thought: boys don't wear their uniforms because they look dorky. Boys are made fun of if others know they are scouts because of the lifestyle. The oath and law is something you live by. Ones others find out, kids can be cruel.


Food for thought. Don't get indigestion.

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WHITE PANTS??? Are you daft?


Ninty percent of the boy's (and leaders) pants would be dirty before they got out of the car on a campout! Mine included! Take a look a the shorts after a week at summer camp. You'd be replacing white pants 2-3 times a year!


I agree. Stay with what we have now. I do like the idea of convertible pants that was brought up a while ago tho.


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