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Marcheck

Time for a change in the uniform?

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"... no change should be made simply because it wouldn't make everybody happy?"

 

Change would not make everyone happy, but that is not a reason to not make a change. The best argument for not making a change is that the present uniform performs all its functions well. The uniform is already "right".

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I don't ever remember being made fun of because I was in Scouts. Classmates saw us carrying flags in the parades, camping in our state park, and going in and out of the church on Tuesday night. Just don't recall being made fun of. I stayed in Scouts almost until I enlisted.

 

In high school we had the forest green shirt and trousers with the Leadership Corps patch and the red beret. If ever there was a uniform item to be made fun of.......think red beret. You ought to see the looks when my trustee First Mate and I stop and eat after Roundtable with our Sea Scout officers hats on. People have no idea who or what we are!!!

 

Our Ship's Boatswain starts both ways on the football team, is academically at the top of his class, and is a varsity wrestler. When we got our 22' Sailboat he landed on the front page of the newspaper in Sea Scout Uniform, in color, practicing raising the sails. The whole county knows he's a Scout, he walks to and from the Legion for meetings in Sea Scout uniform and never has shown or expressed any embarrassment. With an example like that, the younger shipmates, wear their uniforms without any difficulty too.

 

More Sailing, Less MTV!!!

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I believe the uniforms are in need of updating. I don't have a specific design but I would pattern it towards an outdoor program.

 

Surprisingly I saw some sheriff deputies at lunch this week and their uniforms just looked more functional. The original uniform was patterned off the military. I believe in the benefits of uniforms. Thats my idea of a uniform.

 

However, more than likely the way the BSA will handle this is they will allow for a variety of unifroms. First it will be a single alternative to the traditional uniform. Then more styles will come, possibly as many as five or six.

 

This trend can be seem in the books. I have a 1950's Bear book and its simply and straight forward, 12 requirements plain and simple. The 2004 bear book still requires only 12 requirements but has 24 separate thymes plus multiple alternatives on each of those. Basically BSA implies that the Bear may choose the program he wants

 

An overall Bear book comparison will be left for another thread. But the point is that the BSA will likely offer several uniforms so that the outfit may match the program.

 

 

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Trail Pounder:

 

You said,

"Our Ship's Boatswain starts both ways on the football team, is academically at the top of his class, and is a varsity wrestler. When we got our 22' Sailboat he landed on the front page of the newspaper in Sea Scout Uniform, in color, practicing raising the sails. The whole county knows he's a Scout, he walks to and from the Legion for meetings in Sea Scout uniform and never has shown or expressed any embarrassment. With an example like that, the younger shipmates, wear their uniforms without any difficulty too. "

 

So your Boatswain plays both ways, eh? (Grin . . . Laugh . . . ) Running for cover! :)

 

Unc.

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Pounder --

 

Sorry. Just having a little bit of fun on a Thursday evening.

 

I knew what you meant, but it was too easy to pick the fruit.

 

Unc.

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There can be no argument about doing whats right because it's right.

The question then becomes who is right?

At this time my son doesn't really care about the cost of the uniform. He hasn't had to pay for it. Many if not most of the people I know who do have to pay for it are saying that the cost is too high.

This can't be said by those who don't wear it, because they don't have the right?

Many people, me included think that no matter what the uniform is and no matter what is costs there are those who won't wear it. We might be wrong?

Uniform and wearing the uniform is looked upon by some (Again me included) as an outward sign of our acceptance of the ideals of Scouting. Sure I will rethink this if the uniform were to change to something that had pink feathers or knickers. This would make me wrong?

Some troops manage to get all the Lads turned out in full smart uniforms. I bet the Scoutmaster isn't wearing a shirt and blue jeans. But I wonder what the Scouts really think of the uniform? Are they like me and wear it because it is the uniform and the uniform is what it is. Most Scouts that I know are happy at camp to wear the shorts, socks and a t-shirt. There are a few moans and groans about dressing for colors or dinner, but I have yet to see a troop at camp that doesn't change into a Scout shirt. Still they would be just as happy not to change. Where is right?

Does the uniform work? Most Scouts only have one Scout shirt, the short sleeved shirt. Fine for summer not so great for winter. During the winter months the shirt is worn over a sweat shirt or under a sweat shirt. This being the case why not have a uniform sweat shirt?

There was a few years back a grass roots movement to have the Philmont shorts become the uniform shorts. Studies were supposed to be under way. Maybe they are, when it comes to uniform open lines of communication don't seem to be in operation. That isn't right.

The all American, union made tag is important to some people. I think that my Scout uniforms are the only clothes I own that have that tag. If it was that important to me, surely I would own more. Am I wrong?

How do we know when something is right?

Who do we ask? Or do we wait to be told, that what we have is wrong?

What ever happened to "If it ain't broke don't fix it" Or is that wrong?

Eamonn.

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Eamonn, the cotton, button down collared shirt may be working well in an Ohio suburb but that material and cut is not suited for Miami. I think the BSA will eventually recognize that in places like Ohio where the traditional uniform is revered it may be left unchanged but in places where scout institutions aren't as strong, variations of the standard uniform will be offered to bring kids into the program.

 

 

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But if you vary the uniform, then it is no longer a uniform.

 

Ex. and I'll use sports for once;)

 

--Everybody wears pinstripe pants, black socks, black belt, black t-shirt or long sleeve shirt (player preference), and sleeveless jersey. Now, because it's hot, the coach makes the jersey or the black undershirt optional. Is it still a uniform? Can the catcher rightly not wear one of those shirts while everybody else does?

 

 

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It's Me,

 

I've got to agree with Hops. Boy Scouting loses much of it's identity if different regions of the country opt for different uniforms. Can you imagine a National Jamboree with 4 or 5 different uniforms? I can't. Let's look at the military's BDU's. The BDU's cut and design is the same regardless of where a soldier is stationed. That being said, it comes in a variety of different fabrics that can fit different climates. That would be the way that BSA would need to go. It should be pointed out that the BSA does in fact offer uniform pieces in a variety of fabrics already.

 

Now, if I were going to update the uniform, I'd make roomier pants with functional cargo pockets and possibly convertible legs. I'd either put a "real" collar on the shirt or do away with it altogether. I'd make both the pants and the shirts out of fabric that is quick drying and that wicks moisture away from the body. I'd like to see a long sleeve shirt that has button tabs on the sleeve so the shirt can be converted to short sleeve. With a convertible shirt and pants, a scout could have a summer and winter uniform in one. The socks should NOT be made of cotton and should be a good quality hiking sock. It is possible to make a uniform that is both functional in the outdoors and snappy enough for ceremonies.

 

In addition to quick drying fabrics, there are also fabrics available that now have odor elimination, UV protection, stain repellant, insect repellant, anti-wrinke and permanent press built in. All of these features or a combination of these features can be bought at a lower cost than BSA uniform pieces. I for one do not have to have a uniform made in the US if I can get a good looking, functional, high tech uniform.

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hops_scout let's stick with the sports analogy for a minute. The uniform for baseball is virtually the same around the county. Its form follows function, long pants for sliding short sleeves for summer and a hat for the sun. In soccer the uniform is designed to meet its application with shin guards, shorts and synthetic shirts, and football has its pads and helmet. The uniform matches the narrow focus of the activity. In scouting we see a broad range of activities. Could we not offer a selection of uniforms that would identify the boy as a scout yet still have specific qualities that make the uniform more appealing and applicable to regional and local focus?

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Alright, let's stick to the sports uniform..

 

For starters, they are not "universal" otherwise they wouldnt be a team uniform.

 

Next, I believe you missed my point. What I was trying to say is that if the catcher decides he wants to wear a white shirt instead of black because it will be cooler in the hot weather, that would make their uniform incomplete. It would look sloppy.

 

While I agree that we should have a uniform built around our activities, that just isnt possible w/o going to several different uniforms. Hey, guess what,$50 a pop already is almost too much. Having 3 or 4 or more of those that you need to have is going to send a lot of people away from the program.

 

A Boy Scout uniform is meant to be extremely SIMILAR around the country and other areas where the Boy Scouts of America have programs. If other Scouting organizations want different uniforms, thats their choice.

 

Call me weird, whatever, I just dont see the need for multiple types of uniforms. I also dont really see many things wrong with our current uniform. Until you can get 100% of the group to like one specific thing, you are going to have people complain.

 

 

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I feel as though some of you haven't actually thought about my analogies or the historical context in which the uniform was initially adopted. Rather, you are immediately seeing red and crying heretic.

 

This should not be a matter of "my country love it or leave it". Can't we accept that the uniforma was created to attract boys in the first place. And at the time it was created, the military look appealed to kids in days gone by.

 

So, as volunteers, lets generate a healthy discussion of what attracts kids in this day and age. There will be no easy answer, but I can tell you this: most professsionals I speak to are in far greater agreeement on this with me than most of you seem to be. Its the package, not the wrapping that is critical to our success.

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I think is a matter of how low do you go?

 

Is it OK for kids (and parents) to wear tank tops, shorts, ripped jeans, and beat up old sneakers to church every week? Is it ok for kids to go to school in yesterdays dirty play clothes? Is it Ok that the first time a young man wears a tie, is to his first job interview?

 

I say no. Part of wearing the uniform is wearing it properly, without holes or tears, with everything kinda where it belongs, in short, in a manner that the boy can be proud of. And we set the example. So, how low do you go? Camo shorts and a camo tank top. Then theyll have a second set of clothing to go to church in.

 

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Marcheck - I haven't heard any name calling or anger espoused by anyone in this thread. We've debated this at long length and in many threads prior to this one. While a large # of us may not like the uniform in its present state, I think most agree that there is no real viable solution. That's because there are so many conflicting interests and desires. I think someone nailed it on the head when the made the analogy to sports uniforms and pointed out that they are all suited for a particular purpose. However, in scouting, we serve several purposes (outdoor, community service, advancement, etc.). Therefore, there is no "one size fits all" solution.

 

We asked you for ideas, and you gave one that was shot down by almost everyone. I promise you that the majority of boys in my troop would rather wear the uniform of today than what you have proposed.

 

As for the military not attracting youth like it used to, I think you're assuming something that isn't necessarily true. I think there is still a lot of interest in the military from our youth. At least where we are there is.

 

I wish the BSA would do two things:

- Simplify the current uniform (reduce insignia, etc.) and add some more modern pants (cargo, convertibles, etc.) It's main purpose would be ceremonial (COH, Color Guards, Banquets, BOR, most troop meetings).

- Develop a standard "class B" (forgive me). This could be a nice polo (long and or short sleeve) that could be a common "comfortable" uniform. It would be perfect for travel, many types of activities and some meetings. This is what I would wear to a Jr. High roundup.

- Troops and camps could continue to create t-shirts and other activity uniforms as they see fit.

 

I believe this alternative uniform could be provided at the same cost of (or even less than) our uniform today.

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