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Cub uniform pants - why does no one wear them?

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I have to agree with you. If the BSA National Stores and Supply Division were run like a real business, lots of people would be fired! I had to get custom made uniforms because I am a large guy (size 5x) and nothing is stocked in my size (except the jac-shirt of all things!). However the 6 weeks I was quoted doubled to three months. First, they lost my measurements and I had to come in again to be measured. Then the long pants came in, but two pair instead of the one pair I ordered, and no shorts! When the rest of the order came in the shirts fit fine (I ordered 100% cotton, noticing they appeared to be made better than the poly-cotton for only a little more $$$) but the "made-to-measure" shorts gave me a wedgie! (We sent them back) My other complaint was that "made-to-measure" is a joke, since they DID have all my measurements, inseam AND outseam, rise, etc., yet the long pants were NOT hemmed! (That's just the way it is, I was told) So now I have to shell out extra for a tailor to hem them! Quality of the long trousers was pretty good, but it ought to be, since I paid dearly for the wool version, figuring I would only wear long pants in the winter time to pack meetings, roundtable, and B&G dinner, etc. They actually look very nice. I am SO glad they gave me a FREE U.S. Flag patch. Too bad they did not sew it on straight!

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I'm sorry, but some if not all of this seems so silly to me. While most questions posted is for knowledge gained, I think it is important to look at the bigger picture. Most posts are for some serious questions on helping to make a pack "go". There are so many issues, one main one is getting volunteers, or serious issues that packs face. Sorry, but requiring the boys to wear the "official" pants or even $10 dress pants from Wal-mart is the least of my concerns. Yes, the official pants and even dress pants really complete the uniform, however, providing a quality program will take the cake anytime over the proper pants to wear.


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Why? Too much to spend on a 'single' use item. If they really wanted to get people to buy the pants, I guess they would need to use them as a location for wearing badges and such.


Our kids wear a school uniform with Navy pants. Guess what? They all wear those navy pants with their Cub uniforms and no one except a Cub Uniform Detective could tell the difference. (except that the pants tend to fit the kids better than the official pants)


The pants do not make Scouting a better program. There is no reason not to have the pants be a more generic style and practical for everyday use.


The problem is even worse with the green pants for Boy Scouts and leaders. Not only are the pants ugly, but they are impractical for the purposes intended, ill-fitting, and poor quality. I have no problem with having a uniform pant color or style, but make it something that is practical, affordable, and comfortable and you will get a great deal better participation.

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Some in this thread haven't distinguished between the "uniform" and the "pants", and I think it makes sense to separate them for this discussion.


In our troop and pack, we require the Scouts to wear the uniform shirt, and neat pants or jeans; no sweats or windpants, etc. Just a point of reference.


To our mind, the shirt carries all the symbolism important to Scouting. The pants have nothing of value from a uniform standpoint. They're just pants. Beyond that, you get into issues of cost, wearability and growth of the Scouts.


Besides, I've yet to see anyone who actually looks good in the shorts and those dorky socks :-)

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Prairie Scouter,

Would you answer two questions for me.

1. In what other areas of your life do you pick and choose which rules and laws you will follow and which ones you will not, or do you only do that in scouting?


2. Are the Scouts in the unit you serve allowed to follow only the rules they like and ignore the ones they do not, or are they expected to follow all the rules the troop has made?



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OK, I see there are strong opinions on both sides of this question. My only question now is, when did the whole idea of wearing only the shirt become commonly accepted?


When I was in Cubs and Boy Scouts in the '60s and '70's, there was never any question of wearing a partial uniform. It just wasn't done. Scouts and their parents took pride in wearing the uniform. If for some reason you were unable to wear the complete uniform, then you wore Civvies to the meeting and you had better had a pretty good reason for not wearing your uniform.


And it wasn't like my Pack and Troop were some diehard quasi-military fanatics (like at least one Troop in our district which all wore campaign hats and marched in formation). No, we were just an average unit. We even wore our uniforms to school on Den Meeting days, since we usually rode the bus directly from school to our Den Mother's house for the meeting.


Then again, we were not allowed to wear T-shirts and sweatpants to school, which seems to be the standard (along with bluejeans)in today's public schools.


Some of you say this is not a big deal, there are greater issues than uniforming. I agree, it is not a big deal. That is WHY everyone should wear the complete uniform, because it is NOT that hard to do!



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My son just bridged over to Boy Scouting last month. In his 4-1/2 year Cub Scouting career, he was always properly uniformed, from head to toe.


We bought the blue Cub Scout shorts & socks when Tigers were required to wear only the orange t-shirt and orange & white cap. We bought the shorts kinda big hoping they would last three years (they did).


We did not buy the long Cub Scout blue pants, as we knew it would take more hemming & rehemming to keep those properly fit. Once he became a Wolf Cub, we bought the blue shirt and the (old) gold & blue cap and replaced his Tiger belt with a blue Cub belt.


By the time he became a Bear Cub, Bears had their own light blue & blue cap, which we bought (we didn't buy his Wolf or Bear neckerchiefs, because the Pack provided those at spring "graduation").


And finally, when he became a Webelos, we bought a tan shirt, green sox & shorts, and belt (although he continued to wear his blue belt so he could display his beltloops). Again, he got his colors and neckerchief at "graduation" the spring before.


So we've bought many pieces of the uniform over 4-1/2 years, but we did it because we believe in the uniforming "method" and frankly, we could afford it. But I know cost is an issue for others, so I never made an issue of uniforming "from the waist up".


However, as a DL, CC, ACM, and WDL, I beleived my family had to set the example so my wife, my son and I were always properly (meaning fully) uniformed.


As a registered adult leader, I feel we owe it to the boys to set an example of always being fully and properly uniformed. And since our sizes don't change (or at least, not as rapidly as a growing boy!), that really shouldn't be an excuse for not wearing the pants.


What others do is up to them, as I don't consider myself a "uniform cop"; but when asked, I will give my reason for being in full uniform and for having all pins & patches properly placed. And I remind them that when cost is an issue, they can always try the uniform exchange at Round Table, try Goodwill, or even Ebay.

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I am a new ACM. When going through training last month, either at NLE or the Cub Specific, the issue of uniforms came up in a power point presentation. Plain as day up on the screen, the pants, socks, and hat for the Cub Scout uniform were listed as "Optional". There must have been a shocked look on my face, becuase the trainer asked me about it after the training session. I mentioned that I have been out of scouting for a while, but I thought that at least the pants & socks were still considered required.


The "Welcome to Scouting" paperwork that our Pack gives to the new cub scout parents explains the entire uniform - direct from the book. It then goes on to state that the uniform is not required in order to join scouts (also from the book I do believe). Finally is stresses to purchase at least the shirt, and required patches.


Most physical activities that the pack does (camping, hikes, bike rides, etc.) we do not require the uniform - and many times tell them NOT to wear it. Those activities "in the public eye" like parades, flag cerimonies, etc, the uniform shirt is required. I khink the reason was related to preasure from the parents concerned with loosing pins or "ruining the expensive shirt."


All this may change with the recent changes to the CC, CM, and ACM...but only time will tell.


Kurt(This message has been edited by KurtB)

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I'm a district training chair, and I am surprised that your training indicated that certain portions of the uniform were "optional".


I've taught NLE and most all of the Cub Leader specific sessions, and I can assure you the standard syllabus developed by national says no such thing -- it appears your Council or district may have modified the PPT slide locally.


This is unfortunate. One of the reasons National went to video & PPT-based training was to standardize the information delivered to trainees. Local modifications like that are frowned upon, for the reasons you just gave.


When adults in your class transfer to other Councils, they may be surprised to learn that what they were taught as "optional" in your class is not the case everywhere.


Fred Goodwin

Alamo Area Council

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"Pants do not make a better scouting program"


I was glad to see that statement. After returning to Scouting after a 30 year layoff, I am surprised to see the things emphasized in the programs, and the lack of emphasis placed on learning the outdoors. I'm kind of shocked I was able to obtain Eagle, Vigil, attend Philmont TLD, and a National Jamboree without knowing what the term "Class A" was, or owning a pair of BSA pants.


It's also amazing that some people don't understand the term "limited income". Guess we just need Scouts to be all about upper middle class boys. Personally, I'll take boys with no uniform, if it gets them involved and makes them better adults.

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jnclement wrote:


"After returning to Scouting after a 30 year layoff, I am surprised to see the things emphasized in the programs, and the lack of emphasis placed on learning the outdoors. I'm kind of shocked I was able to obtain Eagle, Vigil, attend Philmont TLD, and a National Jamboree without knowing what the term "Class A" was, or owning a pair of BSA pants."


Wait a minute, forget "Class A" (bogus military term), but, you NEVER OWNED "a pair of BSA pants", yet attended your Eagle BOR, Court-of-Honor, and National Jamboree in non-uniform pants? Now, I am SHOCKED!


I started this thread, not because there is an emphasis on proper uniforming, but because there seems to be NO emphasis on it at all by today's parents and not a few leaders, despite the many opinions expressed here supporting uniforms. And I only made it to Star rank, probably because I did not have pushy parents like many others in our troop. But I did experience the most of the Scouting program anyway, especially outdoors, attending summer camp every year, countless campouts, hikes, and camporees, and, yes, a backpacking trek at Philmont (including Philmont Arrowhead award). No, I never made it into OA, because the OA election at summer camp was a popularity contest in our troop, not a recognition of who was an experienced and dedicated Camper. At JLTC my leadership and pioneering skills were recognized as I was selected as Engineer to organize our three-rope bridge building project. In a close election for Senior Patrol Leader of my troop, I got the second spot only by the flip of a coin. I was also hand-picked by our Scoutmaster to helm a "special" patrol made up of all the troublemakers in the troop, all attention-hungry individualists, and made them function as a team and win the Top Patrol at the Spring Camporee that year. I, too, have returned to scouting after a 30-year hiatus, with boys of my own in Cubs now. As a new Assistant Cubmaster, I can't speak for the Boy Scout program, but in Cubs I see the lack of proper uniforming, and I don't just mean pants, but that is the most visible, as reflecting something else missing in the program, esprit de corps, for both parents and Cubs.


Also: "It's also amazing that some people don't understand the term "limited income". Guess we just need Scouts to be all about upper middle class boys. Personally, I'll take boys with no uniform, if it gets them involved and makes them better adults."


Yes, I and most of our Pack could be considered "middle class", or better put, "middle income", because anyone who puts their mind to it can rise above middle "class" regardless of income. However, the problem transcends income, as I see some of the worst uniformed (and "pant-less") boys coming from some of the most priveledge parents. My own wife (never a Cub of course) thinks buying the pants a waste of money, since they quickly grow out of long pants, and "no one else wears them anyway" (not entirely true).


But I do understand the concept of "limited income", as our family income was cut in half when I lost my job during the economic downturn last year. We have cut back on so many "non-necessities" to get by and keep from getting deeper in debt. I agree that you don't have to wear a uniform to be a Scout. BSA says so. (Yet many under-priveledged kids are better dressed than my own, who, by choice, wear T-shirts and shorts or sweatpants most of the year to school and play). Yet, I see so many who DO have the ways and means to be properly uniformed, but just don't seem to care, since "no one else does". And the worst thing is the other leaders reflect the same attitude, usually wearing non-matching casual pants or jeans with their "uniform" (shirt only). I try to set a good example by wearing the full uniform, or no uniform.


You should really re-read some of the above posts with a more open mind. Proper uniforming is a major part of Scouting. Just read the section of the BSA Insignia guide (inside front cover - "Official Policy"), that spells out all the reasons for proper uniforming and you may better understand its importance.



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