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purcelce

death to the uniform police

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"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. "

 

Who said anything about accosting someone?

 

And no, the BSA isn't the military. HOWEVER, we are a uniformed organization, with guidelines on how the uniform and its insignia are to be worn. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts should be having uniform inspections, usually conducted by the Unit Commissioners. (have to take a look at the uniform inspection forms???)

 

When I explain to a scout (or scouter) how things are to be properly worn, I never take such an attitude. I point how how things should be worn, and where they can get the information on this, if they don't believe me.

 

Many times I have scouts (and scouters) ask me about some of the unique items on my uniform. I have a few items that are a bit rare or rarely seen. I have no problem with explaining what the items are, and use them to promote some programs.

 

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emb, a scheduled uniform inspection or a curious question about an unusual patch on your uniform is what we call a "teachable moment." That's one thing and by all means, use it.

 

I'm glad you don't "accost" unsuspecting scouts and scouters with unsolicited negative commentary on their uniform. Some people do and they aren't usually received in the manner they might like to be, even when they're right. That's another thing and something to be avoided. Sometimes the messenger gets in the way of the message.

 

Lisa'bob

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Accost is defined as approaching someone in a challenging, aggressive way. There are at least three posts in the thread that refer to or imply it's okay to point out uniforming errors to members of other units. As far as I'm concerned, that's accosting.

 

What I'm trying to point out here is that not everybody wants your advice, no matter how well-intentioned it is. Of course we would probably all prefer to see all Scouts properly uniformed, but it has never been that way and it never will.

 

In the military (which is why I used that reference) it is the job of every officer and NCO to maintain uniforming standards. In scouting, it is the job of the unit.

 

I just don't think it is appropriate, for other than health and safety reasons (or switchbacks as mentioned) to make unsolicited corrections to members of other units.

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FScouter---I side with your opinion on the appropiateness of pointing out uniform errors. My DC has asked our groups of UC's if we have conducted uniform inspections of our assigned units. (I have.) At the very least, a UC should do uniform inspections of his assigned units. There are various ways on pointing out the errors. In my case, I am very familiar with all the boys in the troop so no one got all bent out of shape when an error was seen. I actually had the SPL and ASPL do the inspections and I was more in the background.

 

Purcelce---Thank-you for your kind words and welcome. I think Scouting is the best avenue for youth and adults to learn from each other and have great adventures, more than any other organization I know. I rejoined scouting when I was 48. My son was in a cub pack and one of the leaders quit so I took over. I'll never forgive myself for not rejoining 20 years earlier, but I'm here now. I have more comments on the Vigil knot.

 

CalicoPenn---I would not presume to know the uniform requirements and policy's of Venturing, so if your post votes to wear jeans, so be it. However, there is a time and a place for everything. Please reread the post from kraut60. I'm in total agreement with him on his viewpoint. We all wear uniforms, whether it's Scouts, our jobs, a wedding, a school band, or on a baseball diamond. Would you wear shorts when playing high school of college baseball. Obviously not.

It's not the uniform. So, you feel you must stand by your principles at a LEC meeting by wearing your Explorer Post jeans. Okay. What were all the adults wearing? Scout pants I bet. What about all the Lodge officers and Chapter Chiefs? Again, most probably wore the scout pants. Why? Think of the setting. This is an executive scout meeting. Most scouts want to project their professional appearance by honoring the program by their reverance for the complete uniform. Would it kill you to wear the grey Venturing pants or something more appropiate for this type of setting?

As to the Vigil knot, it was my thought to have the Vigil knot as a replacement, if some so choose to do, for the small Vigil triangle.

An honor that prestigious should be adequently displayed on the uniform. As pointed out by jr56, there are many awards that are bestowed. I can think of one more, the adult religious award. That has very little to so with scouts, but the knot can be worn on the uniform. I have the support of the Council Executive (the Supreme Chief of the Fire) and our Lodge Chief is not against it, so I can't be that far off base. I don't know your age (I'm 54), but the few people I've talked to, it's the long time scouters that are not in favor. It must be too radical. I feel the small triangle does not honor the award as it should be. I like the other ways other Lodges show what OA honr a scout has. There are many. This idea is just mine.

 

One more thing. I was at my Councils Court of Recognition dinner last Saturday, and I saw a few very interesting things on some uniforms.

One gentleman, who had received the Silver Beaver displayed the Wood Badge knot you can buy from the Streamwood site. Another long time scouter that's in my district, and is a Silver Beaver, was wearing --2-- Venturing Advisor Award knots. Should they know better? Yes. Do they care? No. Adults will wear what they want, and I'm not about to tell them otherwise, because it would go in one ear and out the other. The end.

 

 

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MV wrote:

Well, something inside me snapped. I could not keep silent. I didn't see the SM right off so I went to the SPL and explained what must be done.

As a good Scout I am sure the SPL was courteous, I can only imagine what he thought though.

I was a UC then (still am)and I felt I was in a position of responsibility to point out this uniform infraction.

Is that in the job description of a UC?

My DC has asked our groups of UC's if we have conducted uniform inspections of our assigned units. (I have.) At the very least, a UC should do uniform inspections of his assigned units.

At the very least!? That sounds like the last thing a UC should ever do.

Is this really in the job of a UC. I thought their job was to advise and help the adult leaders of the unit. This sounds like the commandant coming in for inspection. I would not allow it in a unit I was Master of.

Down with the Uniform Police!P>

ronvo(This message has been edited by ronvo)

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ronvo,

 

We've had UCs do uniform inspections BY INVITATION of unit leaders. They were always done in keeping with the "friendly, courteous, kind" aspects of the scout law too. Done in this way, the UC can be a helper to the adult leaders (or to the youth leaders, in a troop or crew setting). S/he is helping them achieve their goal of using the uniform method. (And I think it is safe to suppose that the unit does have this as a goal, if they've invited the UC to come by for a uniform inspection.)

 

I've never met a UC who simply dropped in un-invited to do uniform inspections and I rather doubt that most unit leaders would look favorably on such a visit. At least not in my neck of the woods.

 

Lisa'bob

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Thanks for the reply L-bob

 

My opinion is however that uniform inspections should be performed by the PL and SPL except in the instance of a SM or his/her Assistant doing as it how-to instruction to the boy leadership.

 

I see no place for a UC to come and inspect boys' uniforms.

 

 

As Ask Andy was quoted in the first post:

As a Commissioner, your dealings are with unit leadersScoutmasters, Cubmasters, and Committee Chairsand not directly with Scouts, so leave em alone. Your primary job is to help these leaders deliver the best possible Scouting program to the youth they serve. You provide the big picture, the vision, the guidanceand you leave the details to them. If you want to help in the uniforming and badge or badge placement areas, the best you can do is be a shining example, and let it go at that.

 

 

 

ronvo(This message has been edited by ronvo)(This message has been edited by ronvo)

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Some who have weighed in on this matter seem to have no sense of what a uniforms designed purpose is, so I will attempt to illustrate that here.

 

An older,battered copy of the Websters dictionary defines "Uniform" as;1:having always the same form,manner,or degree:not varying or variable 2:of the same form with others:conforming to one rule or mode:consonant 3:presenting an undiversified appearance of surface,pattern or color 4: consistent in conduct or opinion. Uniform n: dress of a distinctive design or fashion worn by members of a particular group and serving as a means of identification.

 

Wow! uniform means all that. I dont personally know any of the folks who have posted on this topic, and I respect everyones opinion regarding this subject. However, I feel the continued resistance to correctly wearing our uniform does nothing to further the scouting movement.

 

As to the individual Venture crews uniform choice(s), I am all for these folks either using the existing uniform or designing their own. I do caution them to not take the idea of casual to an extreme. After all, wearing a polo shirt and shorts to a wedding or any other formal affair is just showing little to no respect for the event or its participants.

 

No harm can come from our setting a proper example for our scouts to emulate, our scouts deserve the respect the uniform will afford them from the public. With all the black-eyes and bruises the BSA has had to endure, we should show our solidarity with all our fellow scouts and scouters by letting the American public know we still stand for whats good and right and by letting them see us, in uniform, in public, proudly wearing the visible proof that WE BELONG!

 

If you cant adjust or handle wearing a uniform,then perhaps you should remain quiet about your misgiving and fears of what wearing a uniform means to you, or if you cant remain quiet and respectful of those supporting the uniform method,...then hopefully you may find what you seek in scouting elsewhere in a less stringent youth movement. Thank you MV for your comments.

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Kraut wrote: Some who have weighed in on this matter seem to have no sense of what a uniforms designed purpose is, so I will attempt to illustrate that here.

I think most folks on this forum are well aware of what uniform means and I for one resent your patronizing.

I don't think anyone on this thread has said they did not support the uniform method. I for one am working to get our Scouts in proper uniform and I do point out to OUR SCOUTS when something is misplaced.

The point of the thread is whether or not individuals (namely adults)should take it upon themselves to point out unform errors (especially on youth) and tell them "what must be done" to those who specifically are not in their unit.

 

My personal opinion is adults who do this must have a self-esteem problem and get off in showing their false sense of superiority in such matters.

I fully agree that uniforms should be, well, uniform and it is one of THE METHODS OF SCOUTING - however I think it is something to be taken care of at the unit level.

If I am trying hard to get my boys in uniform and they show up with unform shirt on with patches and shirt-tail tucked in, with a proper neckerchief and green (maybe not Official ) pants, then that is a step forward for our unit from uniform shirts w/o any insignia, untucked and sweat pants - I do not need someone busting that boy's balls because he has a patch out of place.

DOWN WITH THE UNIFORM POLICE

ronvo(This message has been edited by ronvo)

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I will state here that I would NOT approach ANY scout or scouter and attempt to point an error or errors in their uniform. I am in agreement that to do so is wrong and not scout-like.

 

Now, without trying to patronize or sow the seeds of resentment, I will go on record to state that my personal point of perspective, is that more than a few scouters and scouts do not care to wear the uniform correctly and in fact seem to enjoy doing so as it flies in the face of the rules and to allow them to visibly flaunt their individuality.

 

I have worn a uniform from the first time I joined Cubs, through Boy Scouts and while serving our country for 20 years in the US Navy, I will continue to wear the BSA uniform and I pity those who will wear it any way but correctly.

 

I prefer to believe that most of todays scouters realize what a uniform means, and I will continue to believe the best about others until I am shown I am wrong.

 

I continue to feel that the uniform is relegated to the back-burner when the matter of its meaning and importance is brought up in these forums.

 

While the BSA does not require a uniform of any of its memebers, I believe a uniform should be required. To me, its a visible commitment to live up to the points of the Scout law and oath.

 

As far as resentments go, I have several myself but none are directed at any one person. But I do resent the over-stated point of the BSA is not the military. Is something wrong with the military? Why does this point come up when adherance to rules or regulations are in question?

 

I feel our country is a better place to live(freely) thanks to our military, and I am proud to see when our former scouts choose the military over a 4 year extension of adolescence at some college or university when they age out of Scouts.

 

I firmly believe that a 4 year hitch in the service will do more for ANY 18 year old in becoming a responsible citizen and productive member of our society.

 

 

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"CalicoPenn---I would not presume to know the uniform requirements and policy's of Venturing, so if your post votes to wear jeans, so be it. However, there is a time and a place for everything. Please reread the post from kraut60. I'm in total agreement with him on his viewpoint. We all wear uniforms, whether it's Scouts, our jobs, a wedding, a school band, or on a baseball diamond. Would you wear shorts when playing high school of college baseball. Obviously not.

It's not the uniform. So, you feel you must stand by your principles at a LEC meeting by wearing your Explorer Post jeans. Okay. What were all the adults wearing? Scout pants I bet. What about all the Lodge officers and Chapter Chiefs? Again, most probably wore the scout pants. Why? Think of the setting. This is an executive scout meeting. Most scouts want to project their professional appearance by honoring the program by their reverance for the complete uniform. Would it kill you to wear the grey Venturing pants or something more appropiate for this type of setting?"

 

Ok, let me try this one more time. My uniform, with blue jeans, was the full and proper (emphasis proper) uniform for my Explorer Post - any other type of pants would have meant I was not in full uniform. While many may think blue jeans are inappropriate, the fact remains that the BSA did not consider blue jeans inappropriate uniforming pants for Explorer Posts.

 

For the meetings I attended, it was appropriate, and professional, for me to wear my full uniform, which I did. No matter what the setting, if full uniforming was thye order of the day, I wore the full uniform - whether people liked jeans or not, it was part of my full uniform. Would it have killed me to wear grey pants? Other than color blindness issues of wearing grey pants with dark blue shirts, no - but - and this is the key - I would not have been in FULL and PROPER uniform - and isn't that the whole point of the matter? To respect the program by wearing full and proper uniforming? Your suggestion of wearing some other kind of "more appropriate" pants means suggesting I ignore the BSA uniform guidelines - how it that respecting the program and projecting professionalism? Either you're in full and correct uniform or you aren't - I was in full and correct uniform.

 

In Exploring at the time, uniforms were determined by individual Explorer Posts - not by National. As Kraut's posts indicate, uniforms have a purpose - and one of those purposes is Unit Cohesion - that was even more true in Exploring than in Boy Scouts since Boy Scout uniforms were, for lack of a better word, uniform throughout the nation (and therefore promoted universal program cohesion).

 

The fact also remains that had I worn the khaki Boy Scout Uniform, I would not only not be in full uniform, I was not allowed to wear that uniform as I was not registered in any capacity other than in my Explorer Post. Put another way, the Boy Scout uniform would have been no more that a Halloween Costume had I been wearing it - and is that what we should reduce the Boy Scout uniform to - a costume??

 

The only person in my lodge who had any complaints about my uniform was the Lodge Chief. The Lodge Advisor, the Staff Advisor, my Chapter Advisor, and every other person who came to those meetings wearing their full uniforms, had no issues whatsoever with my uniform. I also remind you that in a surprise uniform inspection at a Spring Fellowship, I was one of only 3 people inspected in full uniform.

 

Back in my day, our council had around 25 or so uniformed Explorer Posts - not one in 25 had the same uniform as the other Posts - we all had different uniforms - and it was rather interesting to see the Posts all gather together for the flag raising ceremony at the beginning of our scout-o-rama - there would be a sea of Blue and Gold, a sea of Khaki, and a sea of Mutts - and a better display of the diversity of Scouting couldn't be seen, except maybe at a world jamboree.

 

I've said it before - I support the figurative "death to the uniform police" because too often, the uniform cop is just flat out wrong.

 

CalicoPenn

 

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I think that as a uniformed organization, we should try to wear the appropriate uniform for our program, as properly as we can.

 

But, I think that there is a big difference between wearing the uniform as best as one can, possibly making some minor changes, and deliberately wearing a uniform improperly. Of course there will be those that say that if a uniform is not EXACTLY as stated in the regulations, then it is not a proper uniform.

 

Examples:

 

Wearing only the uniform shirt, especially for newer members or for those with financial issues. I think it is preferable to get members into the program that driving uniforma regulations. A uniform shirt may be better than no uniform at all.

 

Wearing items that are not exactly "uniform". Such as friendship knots, neckerchiefs that are not approved by the Scout Executive, special unit patches, insignia that the wearer is no longer qualified to wear (such as an OA lodge patch or a position patch), non-uniform belts and caps, dangles and necklaces of many kinds, etc. Our unit for example has a special patch that we give to Scouters who attend summer camp the first time with the troop - we figure they give up a week of their time, so we recognize them and allow them to wear it on the right shirt pocket. We have a special friendship knot that we allow to be worn on the right shirt pocket or from the belt. And want about all the other things I have seen suspended from belts (knives, cord and rope, cups, keys, two-way radios, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, radios, CD players, MP3 players, GPS units, compasses, and on and on. I know of nothing that actually permits wear of those items on the belt. Some probably should not be worn at Scout functions, others may be ok. Then there are all the necklaces I see. From regularly jewelry to others such as arrowheads, bear claws, sharks teeth, feathers, arrows, beads, etc. What about non-unifom belts, caps, jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.?

 

Then there are those that deliberately wear items on the uniform such as spoof insignia, insignia of other organizations, etc. I think those are far more inappropriate that much of what I have mentioned above.

 

I have on occasion mentioned uniforming to someone I see that is way out beyond the regs but it is done quietly and I make no big deal of it. Seeing the shoulder loops on upside down (with the seam showing seems to bother me..... Also, webb belts with about a foot of excess belt hanging down.

 

While we should all strive to wear a proper uniform, I think that a degree of common sense has to be present. I think that one good way to encourage proper uniforming to others is to wear a proper uniform.

 

 

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Scout Law (courteous and kind) trumps method (uniform) every time. However, they are NOT mutually exclusive. For those that feel free to come into a unit and critique adults and or Scouts who have uniform errors would you comment about the troops advancement?

 

Now, as a UC, I've not been asked to perform a unit inspection and I don't comment on the uniforming of the adults or Scouts unless asked. As a Scoutmaster, I do instruct the boys on proper uniform. Now what to do with a boy who wears his AOL above his shirt pocket? His excuse, that is where his mom sewed it and she doesn't have time to do it again.

 

What to do with a son who likes to wear dads "beaver" shoulder loops he picked up in Canada instead of his red ones? What to do with another son who refuses to wear the green/red socks?

 

Be careful what battles one fights!

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