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EMTBasic

just a little uniform rant

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I've seen a lot of posts in these forums about uniforms, but not one addressing my personal pet peeve. So I thought I'd see if anyone else agrees with me.

 

My problem is this: when did the BSA become more about making money than being practical? Back in the day, Cubs had one necker... and maybe a hat... that had the Cub Scout emblem on them, and they were good from Bobcat until Webelos. Now every year you HAVE to buy a new necker and hat, otherwise your son doesn't look like the right rank. What a scam!

 

I just recently got "volunteered" as Asst Cubmaster for my pack, and I think one of my first official projects is going to be creating a "uniform bank" that will hopefully, eventually allow everyone to get their required uniform pieces each year.

 

Anyone else have any thoughts or solutions to this? I'd love to hear 'em...

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No, you are right. The B.S.A. has been trying to profit on gear over the past several years. Curiously enough, they went to the "switchback" scout pants which can be used as shorts or pants, and they are cheaper than the traditional pants and shorts.

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I don't believe (or certainly don't want to believe) that the decision to use different neckerchiefs was driven by a profit motive. I've been under the impression that the feedback they've gotten is that boys feel like their advancing more (i.e. a greater sense of accomplishment) by changing out the neckerchiefs.

 

For years Tigers only wore a cheap t-shirt. The "badges" were iron-on decals. What could be cheaper? But feedback from parents said the boys didn't feel "part of the pack" by not wearing the uniform. Personally, I thought it was a good way to introduce them to cubbing without the big cost... but I wasn't asked.

 

And, as AntelopDud said, the Switchback pants are a good example of offering something at a very good price. I bought a pair of similar pants a few months before they were announced for quite a bit more than the BSA is charging.

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I love the different neckerchiefs - helps the adults set expectations for the boys (I instantly know who is a tiger and who is a Webelos - size isn't always accurate) and it helps the boys have more of a group identity (we have only 1 den per level). We use a different neckerchief for Web IIs, as well - they get to choose one of the scout bandana (constellations, animal tracks, first aid, knots) to use as their neckerchief.

 

I HATE having different hats for the different levels - hats cost a lot more than neckerchiefs (our pack pays for neckerchiefs, and at "graduation" they are passed on to the next den down). We are actually discussing getting a Pack hat that everyone would wear for their whole time in the pack (yes, I know that is not official uniform wear, but nobody likes the different hats, so a "uniform" (all the same) hat would be better than most people not buying them at all).

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My Pack purchases each Cub their new necker for graduation in May. The fall Tigers receive theirs in September.

 

We neither purchase, nor require the families to purchase, the hat for each level. It is up to the boy & his family if they want it.

 

My son could never keep track of his hat so we never bothered buying him more than 1.

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We adopted a pack hat as an alternative to the different hats by level. We sold through our first inventory last fall and parents have been begging to know when we'll have the reorder ready.

 

The only advice I have goes the same for any style hat - - INSIST that parents write the scout's name on the inside of the brim. I can't tell you how many hats I've collected in the course of 3 years with no way to return them to their owner...

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rwp, if you are able to get a uniform bank going, that's wonderful. Contact your local troops too - I can't tell you how many "new" boy scouts we get who have a drawer full of their old cub shirts, etc., and their parents don't know what to do with the stuff. Half of them probably still have it floating around their closets and they might be happy to donate it to your uniform bank.

 

I absolutely agree about the uselessness (and cost) of those dumb hats. And most of the time the boys didn't wear them anyway. Our pack did provide the neckerchiefs for each rank as a way of defraying uniform expense. For the most part, the boys seemed to like having the different neckers (though they were less fond of the plaid webelos one, I noticed).

 

And my personal assumption (which could be wrong) is that the main reason BSA supply switched to the decent zip off pants is that they were probably selling fewer and fewer "official" scout pants - esp. at the cub level, where I don't think I knew anyone who bought both the cub pants and cub shorts to begin with.

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Most of the Packs that I know, especially those that have a private school as CO, do not require BSA Cub pants.

 

Like our Pack, the boys simply use their school pants. They are the same color, with double knees & sturdy construction. Why pay for another pair? Families spend enough on school uniform pants as the boy grow.

 

 

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My local pack owns all the neckerchiefs. New Tigers are given a Tiger Neckerchief when they join, at the end of each school year, when the boy bridges to the next level, they turn in their neckerchief, and recieve the next one.

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I may be mistaken, but I thought only troops had the option of selecting a troop-hat or troop-neckerchief.

 

I've never read anything that says packs had any option other than the official hats & neckerchiefs.

 

Packs and dens can make their own slides, however.

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Yes, you are correct Fred. Packs do not have the authority to create a unique Pack hat or Necker.

 

 

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Yes, if the scout loses his neckerchief he should replace it since it is pack property. In all the years I was associated with the pack, I don't ever recall it happening.

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Our pack buys the neckerchiefs for the boys. If they misplace it they parents replace it. We also give them a new slide with each new rank.

 

Our pack doesn't require the official cub scout pants or shorts or the hat. We are happy if they have the uniform. I have a hard time getting the cubs in my den to wear their dress uniforms on trips we take as a den. The older they get the better it is.

 

In the boy scout troop they don't require the official boy scout pants/shorts, but they require the official boy scout socks. Go figure.

 

Janet

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Neither Packs nor Troops can "require" or "not require" parts of the Scout uniform. The shirt,pants or shorts, socks,belt neckerchief/slide and hat are all PARTS of the uniform.

 

The shirt is not the uniform alone. Watering down the uniform doesnt help..wear it right or dont wear it at all. The kids will wear it IF you provide the example by having uniformed leaders who wear ALL of it.

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