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purcelce

death to the uniform police

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My experience with "uniform police" is that they are frequently well-meaning, but mis-informed. This by no means applies to all cases, but perhaps a significant portion? And it seems as though, the longer a person has been out of a certain part of scouting, the more likely that is to occur. For example, when I was affiliated with a pack, I had people approach us several times to tell us that our webelos were incorrectly uniformed, based on standards that MIGHT have been accurate in the 1980s, but are no longer in place. Similarly this year, a friend who is a Tiger leader mentioned that someone approached her den at a parade to express his indignation that her Tigers were wearing the blue shirts instead of the old orange tiger shirts! According to her, he simply wouldn't believe that she knew more about the current requirements than he did, because he was involved with Tigers "from the beginning!"

 

And then there's the case of the UP's who themselves are incorrectly uniformed, while criticizing others.

 

So I guess a lot of the indignant responses (and non-responses) that the UP patrols receive have to do with the sheer number of times many of us have been told we're "doing it wrong" by somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about. Tends to make it easy to discount even those who are correct, especially if they're complete strangers.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

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In the grand scheme of things it would seem that minor uniform details should not cause such harsh feelings among Scouters.

 

It is not appropriate to point out uniforming errors to members of other units

 

Why not? Why would anyone take umbrage at a fellow Scouter pointing out an error? I see it as a Scouter being helpful. Indignation comes when one knows one is wrong.

 

"So I guess a lot of the indignant responses (and non-responses) that the UP patrols receive have to do with the sheer number of times many of us have been told we're "doing it wrong" by somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about."

 

There is no need to feel indignation when someone else is incorrect. Simply point out that you believe your position is correct. I see an indignant response as a defensive posture to justify a known incorrect practice.

 

And whats with the term UP patrols? What is a UP patrol? I may be reading that wrong, but it sounds like a derisive comment toward fellow Scouters. Serving what purpose?

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Actually, there are several knots that represent awards that are not "earned".

Silver Beaver

Silver Antelope

Silver Buffalo

Medal of Merit

Honor Medal

District Award of Merit

OA Distinquished Service Award

etc...

If people would like a knot created for Vigil Honor, great, more power to them.

Also, as a Unit Commissioner, I see nothing wrong with pointing out a gross error in patch placement, if it is done discreetly, to not cause embarrasement, in a friendly, helpful manner. If the uniform wearer chooses not to correct the mistake, well, at least I pointed it out to them and it is their decision not to change it. I feel setting a proper uniform example myself and saying nothing about anyone else is usually the best policy to keep.

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And whats with the term UP patrols? What is a UP patrol? I may be reading that wrong, but it sounds like a derisive comment toward fellow Scouters. Serving what purpose?

 

 

I intended: UP Patrol = uniform police patrol, as in, patrolling the vicinity, looking for uniforming errors. Sorry if anyone took offense, it wasn't really my intention.

 

Lisa'bob

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I simply don't believe it is appropriate for someone to tell another person from another unit that their uniforming is incorrect, if they haven't asked for your help/opinion. That's the key part (which was left off) - if they haven't asked. If they've asked for your help/opinion, then that's an altogether different kettle of fish, but if they haven't asked, then don't be surprised or offended if they tell you to mind your own business. If they're indignant, its likely because they think you're being rude, not because they think they're wrong.

 

I'd counter the helpful argument with the friendly argument - in my opinion, its not very friendly to go up to someone and tell him his neckerchief is rolled wrong, or he's wearing his patches the wrong way, if the person isn't within your own unit (where there is a familiarity involved that helps temper the criticism). No matter how constructive helpful criticism is meant, if you aren't asked for it, it will be taken the wrong way more often than not. Chances are high that even if they seem to respond favorably to your face (a Scout is polite, after all), once your back is turned, they wonder aloud to their friends just who do you think you are.

 

jr56 - I think you hit the nail square on with your last sentence - "I feel setting a proper uniform example myself and saying nothing about anyone else is usually the best policy to keep".

 

CalicoPenn

 

 

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"I simply don't believe it is appropriate for someone to tell another person from another unit that their uniforming is incorrect, if they haven't asked for your help/opinion. That's the key part (which was left off) - if they haven't asked. If they've asked for your help/opinion, then that's an altogether different kettle of fish, but if they haven't asked, then don't be surprised or offended if they tell you to mind your own business. If they're indignant, its likely because they think you're being rude, not because they think they're wrong."

 

Sorry, but that's silly.

 

No one is going to ask others 'is my uniform correct?', because most people probably think it is correct. Its not helped that the Boy Scout Handbook no longer has the uniforming information it used it.

 

Most incorrect uniforming is caused by 2-3 things: IGNORANCE (many people don't know where things go, so they try the best they can), MISINFORMATION (someone one told them incorrectly where it goes), ARROGANCE (they KNOW they shouldn't wear it, but they do anyway).

 

When I see scouts doing some basic bad uniforming, I usually gently point this out. Stuff like: inproper service stars, multiple quality units, patches in totally wrong places, etc.

 

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Actually, there are several knots that represent awards that are not "earned".

Silver Beaver

Silver Antelope

Silver Buffalo

Medal of Merit

Honor Medal

District Award of Merit

OA Distinquished Service Award

 

If these awards aren't earned, then how does one get them? I don't remember anyone asking me if I wanted the DAM or Silver Beaver! I do remember the surprise when my name was announced in conjunction with these awards.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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For those that feel it is ok for a scouter from one unit correcting scouts or adults from another unit on their uniform, i must ask: How is this done? What else shall outside scouters correct besides uniforms? At Philmont, should i correct crews that i feel dont meet my standards of backpacking? At summer camp can i repremand scouts that dont appear in Class A uniforms at a flag ceremony? If i hear of another troop running a weak eagle project, would it be ok for me to contact their CC and SM and tell them how i feel?

 

I dunno, but the idea of Uniform Police is sort of like people going around and yelling at parents because their kids watch rated R movies and you dont let yur kids watch anything over PG.

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I personally don't care what "your" standard is. If our Philmont crew is cutting switchbacks, I'd welcome and admire any adult that cares enough to speak up and correct the boys. Because that's a Philmont standard. Same for the uniform standard. Or any other BSA standard.

 

People are so overly sensitive about their "feelings". Is there anyone left out there in the world that would respond by saying "Gee thanks, I didn't know my Scoutmaster patch should be on the left sleeve instead of the right. That must look kinda silly!"

 

Instead, we get indignation and "mind your own business." Where do people get this hateful arrogance?

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Some may object to anything being said at all, but I think most object to HOW it is said. If a correction is pointed out discreetly and politely, there isn't a problem. But those who are unkindly dubbed "uniform police" aren't generally the ones who are discreet and polite.

 

Remember: There are always at least two ways to say something. And one of them is kind...

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Very true, MaScout. As a youth i can remember having strange scout leaders ramble and scold us for some minor infractions and generally those types just get chalked up as nuts. Its how its said. If a troop WAS cutting switchbacks at Philmont it would be as important to talk to the Crew Advisor privately rather then come running down the hill ranting like a crazed mountain man.

 

My point is, where does the "policing" end? While backpacking spacing between hikers is important to avoid the domino effect in dace a hiker trips, injuring others. In Philmont many crews did not space out but i didnt take on the role of hiker avenger and correct every crew that i thought could do things better. I made sure my boys were doing things correctly.

 

In another thread OldGreyEagle and i debate whether or not BOR's should be conducted in full uniform. Some troops dont require uniforms at all under any circumstances. Im not going to go around to the troops and lecture to their Scoutmasters and PLC that they need to. If they so choose then thats their decision.

 

I guess its all about levels. I see a scout running around with an axe playing Conan the barbarian then i say something right away. If i see scouts wearing their rank badges on their sleeves i might ask the SM why while sitting around the waterfront catching rays but im not going to demand they remove the patch. At the same time i might talk to my boys and have them have pride in the knowledge that they are doing things right.

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MVScouter -

Welcome to the forums. And my first post was by no means a personal attack on you. I tend to be sarcastic and the post was in jest.

 

I bet you are a great UC and and we in the scouting world appricate you volunteering for a thankless job.

 

As for a Vigil knot. Run with it, it sounds like a great idea.

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I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of a Vigil knot, but in our lodge the pocket flaps have a different colored border based on wheiter you are Ordeal, Brotherhood, or Vigil. This is a subtle way of showing ones level of membership in the OA.

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Our Lodge uses a coup necklace with a wooden arrow... blank for Ordeal, the two stripes of the Brotherhood, and... well you get the point.

 

On the subject of Uniform Police: There are rare times when a Unit Commissioner should talk directly with a Scout. It's called a Uniform Inspection, and ideally the SM invited the UC. Outside of a scheculed inspection, Heaven Help a UC if they correct a Scout directly. As a COR, I will ensure they are never again welcome in a unit of my Chartered Partner. Yes, a UC can and should make a comment to the Scoutmaster or the CC. They have no business, unless we specifically invited them for an inspection, to be commenting directly to the youth of the program.

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No, sorry, I still haven't heard an argument I consider valid for pointing out uniform violations in units other than your own. If the leaders of that unit want to police uniforms, they can find out how to do it or they can ask for a uniform inspection.

 

It just plain ain't polite to accost a Scout from another unit and tell him "what must be done." The BSA isn't the military.

 

Pointing out switchback cuttings or kids playing mumblety peg with knives is different. Health and safety is a whole different thing than uniform violations.

 

For one thing, I wouldn't where to start when I look at most units I see in public. For another, I might encounter a unit leader like myself who will tell you very quickly that your point of view is appreciated and thank you for your comment, but don't you really need to be somewhere else right now? :)

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