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Official Boy Scout Uniform

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I apologize too...It wasn't meant to be directed at you. I was tired still after the weekend and possibly did overreacted to the comment. I think though that the general statement also needed to be shared because I have seen quite a few very sharp and critical comments made by various posters, to quite a few people and I do think that it's somewhat unfair to those who are trying to do their best within their own troop situations to maybe then feel like they're not doing a good enough job if they don't have the "ideal" troop.


With my boys...sometimes it's one step forward and 3 steps backwards..and their lack of caring how they wear their uniforms has been one of those places where I've been trying to make progress.


I apologize again.

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The uniform is always a favorite subject of mine here in this forum...

It comes up and becomes a heated debate about once a year.. I love it.


Uniforming is not required...But it should be.

Uniforming is a method to achieve the Aims of Scouting.

Uniforming starts with the adults. If the adults wear their uniforms properly, and when I say properly I mean... Complete, all patches in the right place, not making things up on it, not adding unauthorized patches and pins, not mixing and matching.

Soooo... if the adults are doing this thing called "Setting an example" of proper uniforming and enforcing good uniforming in the unit, than you should not have problems or issues when it comes to a Scouts Eagle ceremony.


This last weekend we too had a fall camporee... it includes Webelos Scouts. I was not suprised when I saw Scouts of all ages with their shirts untucked, hats on backwards, camo pants (a HUGE PET PEEVE OF MINE) and all kinds of variations on what a Scout uniform is supposed to be. It really is simple. If you can't find it in the guide or the inside front and back covers of the handbook... Don't wear it.

So what to do?

Our Troop ran a booth teaching basic Map and Compass... as Scouts came to our station I approached their leaders on how they wore their uniform if it was incorrect. I had a couple "Leaders" tell me that it didn't make a difference and that it was an approved "Troop way of wearing it". I asked if that was in complience with BSA policy???

They had no clue. And what a suprise.

I even heard... "Well this is our Class "C" uniform". I had to ask what a Class "C" uniform was.. as far as I know there is only a Field uniform and a the Professional Blazer and Slacks.

Units can have an Activity uniform, but it does not replace the Field uniform as the "Official Uniform".


Anyway...I could go all day on Uniforming.


Just wear it right if you are going to wear it...

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What "schleining" speaks of is just sloppy wearing of the uniform (and wearing of inproper, non-uniform items). for units to say that its 'ok' for them is garbage.


Another item I really hate is seeing all the kids not properly wearing neckerchiefs & doing stuff with the shirt collar. I saw this a LOT at jamboree.


* the scout shirt is worn with the collar OPEN. I saw a lot of kids with the top button buttoned. I was taught as a kid that one NEVER buttons the top button unless you are wearing a tie. Who is teaching kids (or allowing them) to do this?


* when wearing the neckerchief with the collar, the collar is worn OPEN, with the neckerchief under the collar. I again saw kids who wore the neckerchief with collar, with the top button buttoned, and their slide pulled tight against their throats. This is not how its worn (check the literature). Again, who is teaching kids to do this?


(note- in the heat of the jamboree, doing the above was STUPID)


* when wearing a bolo tie with the collar, you again leave the top button unbutton, and should pull the bolo tie slide even with the uppermost buttoned button.



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Units can have an Activity uniform, but it does not replace the Field uniform as the "Official Uniform".


I believe an activity uniform is just as official as the field uniform they are just worn for different occasions.



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"I'm trying now to remember all the ones who fall under the Distinctive Dress policy....my Wood Badge patrol project was on the history of Uniforms in Scouting and I can't for the life of me find the files now that I had saved in doing the research for it..what I'm think I remember though are not only Venturing and Sea Scouts, but Varsity and especially the Learning for Life programs. Since the later is more career oriented, it allows them to adopt something suitable for their own branch."


The only program within the BSA that has the concept of "distinctive dress identity" is Venturing. The green/gray is recommended, not required. In Sea Scouting, the traditional naval-style uniform is recommended (BUT required at regional/national events).


Varsity Scouts have their uniform, which is the Boy Scout uniform with blaze orange loops. This uniform is required. They do not have the concept of DDI. Varsity Scouts follow the same methods of Boy Scouting, which includes uniforming.


Learning for Life is not part of the BSA. Exploring is part of LfL. They continue to follow the idea of DDI, with their law enforcement explorer uniforms, fire/rescue explorer uniforms, etc.


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  • 3 years later...

WOW! Scouts is supposed to be fun. I believe that the uniform has its purpose and I understand fully BSA's official policy. After all, they have to have one. I feel that flag ceremonies (public, not those at camp), funerals, parades, Council Jamborees or government functions the official uniform is appropriate with NO deviations. At meetings, it's up to the PLC. At summercamp with so many Scouts showing up in basketball short, jeans and the like with the official shirt, a few kilts will never offend anyone. In fact at a recent summercamp I wore a olive kilt and nearly everyone from the Camp Director to the campers asked where they could get one. At campouts and hiking - kilts are cool. We forget sometimes that Boy Scouts is not the military. I'm not into nagging. Just set your guidelines with your PLC keeping in mind the make-up of boys in your troop. Forget those ancient traditions and clan talk as it really doesn't mean much today, just pick one you like. A lot has changed in 100 years. Relax, have fun. Kilts are great for hiking. They certainly look more formal than jeans or ragged shorts.


I had an Eagle Scout who insisted his Eagle Ceremony reflect his Scouting experience. He insisted it be fun, mentioning that he felt the "serious parts" were ok but mostly so the adults could cry over him achieving Eagle and were not reflective of why he stayed in Scouts or his experiences. Personally, I'm trying to figure out how to put 100 people in canoes or on a climbing tower. The audience will definitely sing scout songs. Stand up please... My son's COH may even be at a Council camp in a campsite or Summercamp. And yes if he wants to, he will wear a kilt. Remember it's ALL about the boys. Life is short, Scouts is fun, have a blast! Be different when you can. Be appropriate when it's called for but don't read too much into the "rules". No one from BSA will put you in Kilt Prison or try you in Kilt Court. If anyone argues, just say "you know, you're right!" and move on. Yours in Scouting.

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In my humble opinion, uniform is part of the PRIDE of who we are. And the word "uniform" means "the same across the board". That means when you go to Camporee, you should not see one troop wearing blue jeans and another troop wearing khaki cargo pants.


If the troops can pick and choose whatever they want to wear, why do we even bother to have official uniform then? Why don't we just be "free for all"?


Think about this. Have you ever seen a high school football team that allows their players to wear different pants other than their standard issues? Can a Quarterback requests "I want to wear kilt" or "it is more comfortable for me to wear shorts"? What do you think the coach and the school will tell him? Isn't playing varsity sports is about fun too (in addition to the pride)? So why do we tolerate "creative" uniform when it comes to Scouting but we can't tolerate the same on other team activities? In my humble opinion, Scouting is really no different than many of the team sports where certain rules have to be maintained.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An interesting topic for sure. I personally find no problem with kilts. If a kilt was good enough for Lord B.P. I feel its good enough for myself or any scout. I ran across this intel on another site..


"As I posted before, all Scouts and Scouters may wear McLaren tartan,

pursuant to permission granted by their former clan chief which has never

been rescinded. When William F. Dubois McLaren, then a commissioner in

the Scouting movement, heard that clanless Scouts in Scotland were being

harassed and told that they could not wear a tartan, he is reported to

have replied:


"Rubbish!! Scouting is a brotherhood. Since they are my brothers, they

are members of my clan and may wear the McLaren tartan!"


Or words to that effect. Since he was then Clan Chief of the McLaren's,

he was well within his historical rights and prerogatives to allow

persons not related by blood to his clan to affiliate with them and to

wear the McLaren tartan and clan insignia. This often happened centuries

ago in the Scottish highlands. The families not related to the clansmen

by blood but oathbound to them were part of an allied "sept" of the clan."




Based on this, to me the wood back neckerchief is what is restricted to those who complete wood badge and not the use of the MacLaren tartan in a kilt.


I imagine part of the BSA lack of mention of a kilt is the fact that BSA doesn't SELL kilts. Wouldn't want to impose on sales. Unless I am mistaken, any authorized scout uniform from any point in time or country can be worn.


If a scout wants to go out and buy a vintage beret that was issued in the 70's, they can. Where honestly would scouting be today without B.P. and the MacLaren Gillwell donation?


To me a kilt in the MacLaren tartan is an homage to scouting, but that's just my opinion.

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