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EMTBasic

just a little uniform rant

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So, kraut-60, would you rather see the boys in their regular clothes than in the BSA shirt, slide, neckerchief and hat, if they choose not to wear the pants? In all the years I have been part of Cub Scouts, I don't think I have ever seen a kid wearing BSA pants or shorts. When asked, we tell folks not to worry about them, kids grow too fast to keep up, and the pants are so expensive. I'd rather see him in an official shirt and all the accessories, plus an activities shirt, than have him scrap it all and go back to his videogames because he doesn't feel like he fits in.

 

I think a uniform bank is an awesome idea. We have a consignment store here, and whenever she gets anything Scout related - Boys, Cubs, Girls, she calls me. She never charges me for it, but since I am a GS leader, my son is a Boy Scout, and I am cubmaster of our pack, she knows I will find a body to fill those clothes.

 

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I don't know of any cub packs who require or expect the cub uniform pants either, and I know quite a few packs.

 

Let's keep in mind that cub scouts are a little different from boy scouts. A lot of families in cub scouts are not sure yet whether they're fully committed to scouting - the boys and the parents are test driving the program. By the time people get to boy scouting, they tend to be hooked, and willing to pay a little more for the pants.

 

Sometimes people make the comparison to sports and I understand that - you don't play soccer without shin guards and cleats. But yeah, when Johnny is 7 years old, you also don't buy the most expensive shin guards and cleats you can find. And around here, a lot of the rec leagues help by providing several sets of different sized shin guards to each team (just like little league used to supply us with batting helmets and catcher's gear). The "uniform" for most rec soccer leagues consists of a cheap T shirt. More expensive sports like football and hockey typically have most of the gear available either for free or for rent just during the season, rather than forcing everyone to buy it new every year. Some cub packs run uniform banks - many do not.

 

I do know troops (my son's included) who expect the boys to wear BSA pants and I have no problem with that. But they camp in their uniforms every month. In addition to weekly troop meetings, they hold occasional separate patrol meetings, PLCs, do service projects, do fund raising, have other activities, and travel in uniform. So they wear that thing probably 12-15 days out of a typical month. In contrast, most cub packs I know operate on a more limited basis. They may have 2-3 den meetings and a pack meeting each month. They also do some service, fund raising, etc., but generally they are not as active as troops are. The cub scouts probably only wear that uniform 3-5 times a month. And they're already spending more money on the changing neckers, slides, hats, and books for each rank than most boy scouts do (once you get your slide and book you're set and most troops don't even use neckers and hats - but those who do, don't generally require new ones for each rank).

 

Now yes, they could wear the traditional cub pants to church or to school. But I've never liked the quality of the cub pants. They required a lot of altering to fit most of the boys in my son's den, the material wasn't that great (too polyester-y), and they cost more than better-quality navy pants from practically any dept. store. Not to mention that very few cub-aged boys in this area wear dressy navy pants to school, and if they did, they'd get ruined on the playground or in the art room in no time anyway. So - $40 plus alterations for low quality pants that the boy is only going to wear a few times before outgrowing them? Many families will just say no.

 

The fact that national supply has come up with the switchbacks for cubs too is a good sign - those are pants that a boy might actually wear in day-to-day life too. But I still doubt that the cub switchbacks will sell as well as the boy scout switchbacks, because boy scout troops are more active and have more opportunities to wear the uniform, period.

 

I have noticed, though, that when you get to webelos and you start telling parents that the boys will need the olive pants/shorts for boy scouts, then the parents are somewhat more willing to purchase them. Maybe by that point they are more committed to the program? I don't know for sure.

 

Please don't take this as anti-uniform. I have come to respect those who are in favor of uniforming in general, and my views on the scout uniform in particular have evolved a bit. But I'm not sure it is realistic to get worked up over the blue cub pants, because all the evidence I've seen suggests that there are many parents who just are NOT going to go along with this.

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Just chiming in here....

 

Our Council held an "experienced" uniform drive to coincide with the April Scout Fair. Folks can go to our council offices and purchase shirts for next to nothing. All the patches have been removed, so a clean slate. They have cub, boy, leader, venture shirts too. Does anyone else's council do this?

 

We met one Pack during training last Fall that does require the entire uniform (pants, socks, everything). I would think that would be a hinderance on some families.

 

Our Pack Committee actually put down in our parent guide last year that only the shirt, necker, and slide were required. That patches and badges for the shirt had to be put on in a timely manner after earning them. Belt and hat were encouraged.

 

Our leaders are required to have the shirt. Belt, necker and slide, and the rest are optional, although CM and ACM have purchased the pants too. Again, patches and badges must be put on the shirt in a timely manner.

 

We actually have to remind parents that their scouts HAVE to wear their Class A's to certain events and to tuck in, look good, etc. You would think it is "natural", but it isn't.

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Our Pack requires from the belt and up. We provide new handbook and necker at our May graduation. BSA says that uniforms must be "official BSA", but it doesn't require that they be current issue or color cordinated.

 

With a Pack of about 80 boys, the colored neckers do help and they are cheap. When my oldest son moved on to Boy Scouts, the old cub neckers where added to his first-aid kit.

 

As for the hat, that does bug me given the price for something he'll wear about 15-20 times. I have been thinking about proposing to the committee that we use the Wolf hat for all Tigers-Bears: it's the official Cub Scout colors.

 

My 2 cents - feel free to give me change back...

 

-Blaine

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Why are the boys only wearing the hat 15-20 times? In our pack, the boys wear their uniforms to weekly den meetings three times a month and to the monthly pack meeting. In addition, there are other events like the popcorn sale, Scouting for Food, first aid meet, Scouting anniversary, pinewood derby, conservation project, and summer camps. I can count at least 50 separate days during the coming year that we will be asking our Scouts to wear their uniforms.

 

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Our Pack meets Sept-May and the Dens generally meet once a month (except for the WB Dens which meet twice/mo). Throw in an extra event every other month and 3 days at resident camp, but take away a couple days for illness and absense: leaves 15-20 days.

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Dens only meet ONCE a month? Does that include the Pack meeting or does the Pack meeting bring it up to 2X?

 

That is not a lot of time to work with the boys. Why do you meet so seldom?

 

As for the hat issue - I would not recommend Tigers thru Wolves all wearing the same hat. It is a part of the BSA uniform and as such should not be changed. A Tiger Wearing a Wolf level hat IS changing the uniform. A better solution is to let each family decide weather or not they want to purchase the hat for their Cub's level.(This message has been edited by ScoutNut)

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This is what separates the crazies from the praticals...

 

My Pack would not exist if we tried to meet 2-3 times a month as a Den, plus once per month as a pack. We have many school activities and sports offered in the community. Right now, it is hard to meet once per month as a Den. Parents grumble about the uniforms. Not many parents really want to be a leaders. Those that volunteered are pressured to do so. This should be fun, not a work of BSA legalities and procedures. I am about to require green camoflauge zip pants found at Target that sell for $15 for Webelos, instead of the $40 Switchback version at the Scout shop. We did away with the rank hats years ago.

 

I can't agree more with the need to make a buck at the scout shop. Everything is sooooo expensive!

 

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" I am about to require green camoflauge zip pants found at Target that sell for $15 for Webelos"

 

Camouflage is verboten for anyone in BSA. If you want to avoid the "expensive" pants, look for some olive colored ones, they exist and are more in line with Scouting than para-military camouflage.

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Amazingly, Cub Scouts went 40 years or so with everyone wearing the same cap and neckerchief. No one felt slighted or out of sorts.

 

Then they came up with the idea that Webelos needed a different cap and neckerchief.

 

I'm enough of a skeptic to belive that BSA did this to generate extra revenue. A couple of million here, a couple of million there and pretty soon we're talking about some real money.

 

As for the pants, I've always told parents to go to Sears, Penneys, Target, etc and buy a pair of dark blue school uniform pants. The color is reasonably close and looks much better with the shirt than a pair of LA Laker shorts.

 

For the record my son always had BSA cub scout pants, I managed to find them at rummage sales. :-)

 

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"This is what separates the crazies from the praticals... My Pack would not exist if we tried to meet 2-3 times a month as a Den,"

 

I am sorry, but this "crazy" has had 3 den meetings plus 1 Pack Meeting, every month for the last 12 years (excluding summers when we have 1-2 Pack activities only), and our Pack is going strong. In fact it is over 50 years old with 40 boys!

 

ALL of our boys are into multiple things. All of our families are SUPER busy. The key is for the den to be flexible and to be there for the boys. Maybe you need to consider the boys in your den FIRST, instead of the sports. Be flexible and meet when/where it works for the Boys.

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"I am about to require green camoflauge zip pants found at Target... "

 

And what do you tell the kid that wants to wear the real Cub Scout uniform?

 

What is "verboten" is requiring street clothes as a uniform, pseudo-military clothes from walmart or elsewhere included.

 

Imitation of military uniforms is specifically prohibited. Refer to the the Insignia Guide.

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Yes, we've had the whole camouflage discussion before. I don't see where it's prohibited, either - but I'd love to see a source. I don't consider the prohibition on military uniforms to cover this - I think of camouflage as hunting clothes based on where I grew up - and regardless, it seems quite apparent to me that the entire BSA uniform line is an imitation of a military uniform. My interpretation of that statement is that you can't make the uniform sufficiently military that you could go impersonate an actual military person. (No danger of that with the current uniforms.)

 

I also don't know any packs that require the pants, although we do have a few boys who wear them, and would never think to prohibit them.

 

We (council) tried to hold an experienced uniform sale, but not enough old uniforms were offered up.

 

I'm sticking with live-and-let-live on this one.

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Back in '94, Row Williams, before he was the Chief Scout Executive and just the Program Group Director, issued a memo that stated in part

 

"hunting and military-style clothing, combined with or worn instead of the official Boy Scout or Explorer uniform, are not acceptable wear during any Boy Scouting or Exploring activity. Scout Executives are to instruct unit leaders and volunteers that those articles of clothing along with equipment like pistol belts, suspenders and military field gear are not allowed to be worn with official Boy Scouts of America clothing or in the place of BSA uniforms and outdoor clothing."

 

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