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HIGH cost of official BSA uniform

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The idea in BSA is the UNIFORMITY caused by wearing uniforms be done by wearing BSA'S UNIFORM.


As you can see, there's lots of debate on this topic. Lisa's Troop has moved from being "uniform above the beltline" to being fully uniformed. Others have as well.


Other Troops divert away from a BSA supply standard item... this was even more so just a couple years ago, where the quality, fit and finish of the BSA pants and shorts were only good for the Parlour. Our zippable field pants are at least a viable attempt at state of the art outdoor wear.


HTH!, John

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The uniform method is a useful tool. But I have successfully delivered the scout program without the uniform method, in fact so stated,'You are expected to be scouts whether you are wearing the uniform or not'.


So if the "uniform" is keeping away boys, units should consider alternatives. I have never seen a "fitting in" problem at a scout gathering. Envy of custom t-shirts, ball caps, and those damn sneakers that they should not be wearing - yes, "scout uniform" envy - no. Not like the old days... my scouts are rather indifferent about patches; it is the adults who are collecting them.


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John, to clarify (lest anyone from my son's troop read this and have conniptions) - our troop did NOT move from "waist up" to "full uniform." In their 50+ year history they have ALWAYS been "full uniform."


On the other hand, the pack we came from was much more casual about it and most boys only wore the shirt, belt, and necker (and they only wore the necker because the pack provided it).

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Full uniform expectation is an acceptable goal in Scouting. It doesn't mean that if a boy doesn't have a uniform or only half a uniform that he can't participate in the program. I only expect full uniform and well presented uniform as much as one might have, i.e. if you have a shirt it should have a council patch and numerals.


I find that every boy if he wants a full uniform can afford one if he puts it on his b-day list and Christmas list, goes out and rakes lawns and shovels walks, etc. It's an issue of priorities. But if the expectation is full uniform, peer pressure does go a long way to helping it along.



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I personally am just glad that the boys in my troop are scouts, even if they only wear the shirt. They are still learning and having fun even if they don't wear scout pants or shorts.


I try to set the example by wearing a complete uniform 99% of the time. Having everyone wearing a full and complete uniform is a great goal. If my troop never meets that particular goal, the boys will still be having a great time and learning a bunch in their BSA shirts and jeans.


I think the best hope for getting my troop and probably many others closer to a complete uniform is the Switchback pants. They're less expensive than shorts & pants and IMO they fit better too.


But, if I were to rank all of the methods in order of importance/lasting value, I'd put the Uniform Method towards the bottom of the list. In fact the Uniform is listed as "Method 8" in my Scoutmaster's Handbook. I wonder if the authors agree that the uniform is important, just not as important as the other 7 methods?





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As a professional, let me explain a little about the BSA Uniform or professionals. All professionals my own a BSA Class A uniform and a Dress Uniform. The BSA has always required this. My best man's grandfather was a national staffer and even in the 50s and 60s there was a Dress uniform with pocket emblem that professional scouters had to have.


I personally have the following in my Scouting uniform inventory.

2 pair of switchbacks

1 pair of regular BSA Uniforn Slacks

1 pair of regular BSA Shorts

2 BSA Unform shirts with all the proper patches

1 BSA Action Shirt

four pair of calf length cotton socks

1 crew lenth pair of socks

1 xwool pair of socks

1 Council Windbreaker

1 Council Camp Raiin Jacket

3 BSA Ball Caps

1 BSA belt olive green belt

1 Blue Blazzer

2 White Dress Shirts

1 paor Gray Slacks

1 BSA Tie

10 or more BSA Tshirts

1 BSA Blazer pocket emblem


I want to add a venture uniform to the mix, but I currently cannot afford to buy the pants, shorts, belt and socks. Unlike a volunteer I am only allowed to wear BSA clothing. I cannot find alternatives and wear them. For the most part that is adhered to at all councils in the nation.


The professional uniform is what we wear in the community to business meetings, public speaking engagements, Council Board meetings and the like. Our council policy is that we only need to wear a suit, but we are all required to maintain a professional dress uniform. No exceptions.

When we are out in the Volunteer world with our units and leaders we wear out Class A dress uniform. Roundtables, Univeristy of Scouting, Unit Meetings, Camporees, Events and such. We must be in 100% BSA uniform with the exception of t-shirt and underwear.


I have no complaints about this. The uniform is very practical and on days when I need to wear it, I wear it. If that means I eat lunch at the mall, I am in uniform. I shop in uniform. I am proud to represent the 800 volunteers and 3000 youth that I serve.


Uniforms as pretty expensive for me too and I wear them all the time. some weeks I wear a uniform every day of the week. That adds considerable wear and tear. Again I sugest two things for people who cannot afford a BSA Uniform. First and foremost, your council has a stockpile somewhere of uniforms that people havwe turned in over the years to help people in need. Your DE can and will help Leaders who have situations like that. Second all units can and should start a uniform bank. If a youth leaves scouting or outgrows their uniform encourage them to pass it to help keep the cost of scouting down for boys in your unit. Where there is a will, there is a way.


Secret DE


PS. Money is tight for me too. I am a fairly new DE with a wife and two children under the age of 5. That means I still buy diapers folks. My wife is a teacher and I work as an entry level BSA Executive. My oldest recently started youth soccer and I gladly paid $50 for enrollment and a t-shirt. I gladly give a sizeable gift to FOS (relative to my income) and have been known to buy the occasional Boys Life subscription for youth I know who cannot afford it. We are not rolling in the dough and we make it work. As I said above, where there is a will, there is a way. The BSA is the best Program with a purpose going and I participate at the level that ask my volunteers to. They should expect nothing less than I do.(This message has been edited by Secret DE)

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The current BSA uniform has much room for improvement.. I felt that way as a boy scout 79 to 86 and still do - but understand "why" a bit better now.. I was disheartened to move from the green no-collar shorts as a scout.. All my patrol mates felt the same way.. We liked the single color green uniform..


BUT even given all of the technical and aesthetic problems I have with the uniform ... I still wear the FULL UNIFORM.. and voluntarily did so as a Scout too.


In my experiences, the ADULT issues with non-uniform pants and the like (even the look-alikes) are ALL about being non-committal and /or lazy.


I am in a small town and everyone knows most everyone and we can SEE people's priorities by how they spend their money if we don't already know their situation personally..


I have stated before that the boys with no money that want to be in Scouts actually manage to get into a full uniform with my help (I will hunt for deals on Ebay etc) or help from other leaders and parents.. It's neat how the financially poor kids will work at getting a uniform and how some of the the spoiled well-off kids "get it all" and blow off the uniform with Mom and Dad' OK..


LisaBob'comments about coming across too strong are well noted and I think we all kinda know that.. That's why we talk about it here on the forum (or at least that's why I do..) Cause we don't wanna hurt nobody's feelins in our units.


But I think we have an obligation as Scouters and should communicate some "solid expectations" about uniforms - (just like behavior).



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For what it's worth...


After a youth "career" in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and five years of working on camp staff, I'm really glad that I have a daughter who'll start out wearing a (really cute) blue tunic as a Girl Scout Daisy. Simple and straightforward and - hopefully - durable.


We adults can generally keep a single uniform intact and in good shape with care for many years. But parents are looking at multiple growth spurts throughout the teenage years, and thus multiple uniforms. They daren't even start to think about what happens if their boy (gasp!) tears or spills something on the precious Class A. It really does add up.


I put it into perspective by thinking of the "stuff" that's really at the core of the Scouting program - the tents and tarps, backpacks, water bottles, cook sets, hiking sticks, ropes, pocketknives. With some creativity, ingenuity and know-how, you can make or scrounge a lot of that stuff yourself for very cheaply - $100-$250. Compare that to the one-time cost of a new shirt, set of switchback pants and belt - about $70. Which is a better investment?


As a Scout, my first troop was all-uniform. My second, which had a much higher proportion of families closer to the poverty line, was waist-up. Both did a pretty equal amount of camping and outdoor activities. When the latter unit went to district camporees and the council jamboree, most troops looked about the same. It isn't about the quantity of the uniform - it's about the quality of the program.


When I worked on a council camp staff, the BSA abolished the official tan activity shorts that we wore for our daily Class B uniform (shorts + staff shirt). Instead of going to the Class A greens, we ordered tan shorts from L.L. Bean (and they lasted a heck of a lot longer than the ones from National Supply). Bottom line: We all dressed alike. It was good enough for those of us wearing the silver epaulets - at least for the summer - so why not for the rank-and-file Scouts whose parents are pinching their pennies and deciding between gas, food and the rent?


(Besides, when you're out backpacking and hiking and canoeing and swimming and fishing and birdwatching and climbing and cooking over a tiny stove and fording streams and building trails and hauling water and chopping wood, there's no room in your pack for a Class A anyway. For troops and patrols that meet outdoors - and why not? - the only times the full monty should be worn is for parades and other ceremonial and official occasions. It's not the focus of the program, despite what those Man Scouts with rows of knots going over their shoulder and down their backsides think. It's one part.)


Sorry about the length and the rant. Kind of hit a nerve of this old Life Scout.


Dan Shortridge


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" I'm really glad that I have a daughter who'll start out wearing a (really cute) blue tunic as a Girl Scout Daisy. Simple and straightforward and - hopefully - durable."


More of an apron and not expecially durable.


GSUSA has taken the concept of the uniform to a new low. According to my daughter's leader, even though there are brownie shirts and skirts to go with the vest and full uniforms for the older girls as well, to be considered "in uniform" all a girl needs to be wearing is her Girl Scout pin.


According to the service unit leader (oversees a big group of troops), at joint Boy Scout/Girl Scout functions, the girls often express envy at the snazzy uniforms of the Boy Scouts, even though many of those boys are wearing jeans. Go figure.



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I, for one, can certainly appreciate the high costs of the uniforms. I am a large man and have to have my shirts "custom made" from scoutstuff.org.


My only complaint is the policy of having to purchase two shirts every time you have one custom made.


I am attending a Wood Badge course in a couple of weeks, and my custom made shirts will not make it in time for me to have them for the course. I purchased a khaki Dickies shirt (identical in color and pocket style for $19.00), and took it to a tailor to have the shoulder epaulets and pocket flaps sewn on.($12.00) I brought it home and replaced all the buttons from an official BSA shirts I bought from Goodwill ($3.99). After sewing on all the emblems, I have to admit it looks pretty darn good. Hopefully, good enough to keep the Wood badge uniform police off of me until the official shirts arrive.


Even buying a "look-a-like" has costs over $30.00 just to make it presentable.

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Can anyone think of a knock-off that cannot be purchased for far, far, less than the authentic item? It just seems so silly to say that I got a shirt that looks ALMOST like the officail uniform for 5 times less".


Do imitation Rolex watches ever cost MORE than real Rolex, or even the same as one?


Does a knock-off of Pro-Team sportswear ever cost MORE that the licensed products?


Of course official goods will cost more, who would have expected them not to?


And where is the victory in paying less for something that is not the same as the authentic item? Is that actually difficult to do with any product? Heck you can by something thats's not really a computer but looks sorta like one for a lot less than a real computer but what have you actually accomplished?


If you just kinda wanna sorta look like a Scout almost, then buy clothing that is kinda sorta almost like a Scout uniform.



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I completely agree with you, Bob White. If you pay for a knock off, then thats exactly what you have.


Personally, I truly feel guilty at my attempt to make a shirt look like the real deal...but at the same time I didn't want to be the only person in our WB group who wasn't in a full uniform.


At the time I paid for the course, I was unaware of the uniform requirements for the course. I have plenty of class B shirts, but because of my size, I was never able to find an official shirt to fit me without going through the hassle of custom ordering two of them.


Hopefully, I will have them in time for our second weekend and will wear the real deal with much pride.

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My boys know that full uniform is "expected". I stated it on day one and then offer to help buy pants on E-bay, etc.


We had a Blue/Gold banquet to welcome new Webelos yesterday. I had no idea what the boys would be wearing. What I got was:


Boy #1: Six months ago Shirt, no necker. Yesterday, full-uniform!

Boy #2: Six months ago lost shirt and necker had no idea where it was. Yesterday, Shirt and necker.

Boy #3: Six months ago didn't own a uniform. Yesterday, still doesn't own a uniform, but showed up with borrowed shirt and necker for the banquet.


Boy #4: couldn't make the BG, six months ago shirt, belt and necker, as of last week, full uniform.

Boy #5: couldn't make the BG, six months ago shirt, lost necker, as of last week, full uniform

Boy #6: couldn't make the BG, six months ago no uniform, as of 2 months ago, full uniform


3 boys from the Webelos cross-over had their waist/inseam measurements and asked me to bid on E-bay for them. Somehow they had heard that we were a full-uniform troop and wanted to be sure they were ready as soon as possible.


Next week we have another Blue/Gold and the Webelos from this week were worried they wouldn't be ready for next week's program. I assured them they would look fine just the way they are until we can work out the details.


It's kinda nice to have the boys actually excited about getting the full uniform. By the way, all the Webelos that crossed over were all in tan.




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