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Activity Uniform = Uniform for flag etiquette?

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We're at our council's twilight camp this week (Cub Scouts). They've been given a t-shirt to wear daily as well as a baseball cap color-coded for ranks. During flag ceremony, should the boys be saluting (as they would be in official uniform) or removing the caps?


If there were instructions/reminders given, I didn't hear it and there was no consistency at the closing ceremony. I came home and researched in the Cub Scout handbooks I have, as well as the Americal Legion flag etiquette pamphlet, and I'm still not positive. My inclination is that they are in uniform, but wanted some other feedback.


Thanks for you input.

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I am inclined to agree with you, that there isn't a hard and fast rule on this.


Since the camp has designated the shirt and cap combination as the "camp uniform", in lieu of the "normal" uniform, then I think you would be safe in thinking of the Scouts as being in uniform and as such could salute.


Someone else will almost always disagree, with just about anything on flag etiquette, but I think you have plenty of room for opinion on this one.

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Yeah, you will annoy some either way.


What I decided in past, if the scout is in the full camp uniform (even if it's just a Camp t-shirt) then scout salute, otherwise out-of-uniform then hand over heart. Also, in your situation with ball caps, there are fewer problems with Cubs if they keep their caps on their heads for a flag ceremony as taking caps off is asking for trouble.



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We just had our Day Camp. The scouts were told during the first opening around the flag, that their official uniform for the week was the Day Camp t-shirt, the color group neckerchief and the hat (a denim sun hat of sorts). They were told that while in this proper uniform for the week, that during Flag Ceremonies, they would salute wearing the hat. Parents present were reminded that unless they were in a Day Camp Staff/Group Guide/ or regular leader uniform, they were to put their hand over their heart, instead of saluting, etc.


If the cap and shirt are the "official" Day Camp uniform for the time, I would think that the boys could salute wearing the cap.

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I thought that only the national council could determine what was the BSA uniform. I was not aware that individual councils could do that (other than approve things like CSPs, neckerchiefs, etc.). For example, for the national jamboree a contingent troop, just like any other, may design a troop hat and neckerchief but has no authority to state that "Dockers" are the official pants.

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While it is true that only BSA can determine their official uniform, a camp uniform is not a BSA uniform.


I can go either way with this. My personal feeling is that a salute is only proper in full uniform, however that has been relaxed for Veterans and active duty out of uniform. I can accept either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The BSA recognizes two youth uniforms and stipulates the items of apparel needed for each. It is appropriate to use scouting hand salutes when wearing eiither the Official Uniform or the Activiy Uniform. When not wearing the specified elements for either uniform the correct salute is the civilian "hand over the heart" salute.

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Of course, what a Council Camping Committee puts in the Leaders Guides and/or Program Guides for their various camps may not strictly conform to what National says.


The designated staff uniform at my local Scout Reservation last weekend was:

- BSA standard shorts OR

- Venturing shorts (to include selected substitutes) OR

- Philmont shorts OR

- Reservation shorts



- Any Scout belt



- Staff T-shirt



Socks appropriate to the shorts


Staff saluted at Colors.


The desired uniform for Campers during the program day was:

- Camp T-shirt AND

- Blue shorts AND

- Closed toe shoes and socks.


For Campfire, the desired uniform was the Cub field uniform.


Were my Camp Director (an Asst Council Commish) or Reservation Director (Professional Staff) going to restrict a camper for not being in uniform? Uhhh let me think ... they're paying customers ... I think NOT.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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The first uniform you describe meets the Activity uniform elements set by the BSA and the wearer can use the Scout salute.


The second uniform you describe does not, and the wearer should use the 'hand over the heart' salute.


(That is if the desired intention is to follow the rules for uniforming and flag coutesy.)


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Our troop has the standard that the scout wears the full uniform for travel, meals and flag ceremonies. It absolves us from having to worry about whether or not it is proper. I have noticed that the PL's will not allow boys who have forgotten their neckerchiefs from handling the flags during a flag ceremony.


At any other time, the scout it is recommended the boy wears any other clothing but have a scout t-shirt or sweatshirt. The "class-b" is not acceptable at flag ceremonies.


I have informed the boys that to me the most important thing they do at a gathering of scouts is the opening and closing flag ceremonies and that it is important enough to look their best. This seems to have taken hold quite well in the troop and is being passed along to the new guys as a good example is being set by PL's and other troop officers.


I guess the issue of saluting in a partial uniform has never been an issue with our troop.



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I have no idea what a camp uniform is or what a camp salute is. I do know that the BSA and only the BSA determines what elements constitute a scout uniform, and whwn it is appropriate to use a scout salute.


If a camp sets a clothing standard that does not meet the specifications of the BSA uiniforming regulations then it is not a scout uniform, and using the scout salute when not in a scout uniform would not be appropriate.


While your unit may have a "Class B" there is no such uniform in the BSa. There is an activity uniform and it is an officially recognized uniform for a scout to wear.

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Good place to remind people that President Bush last year signed a change to the Flag Code, PL 110-181 sec 594:


Veterans may render the military salute at any flag ceremony, in BSA or not:






Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking

``all persons present'' and all that follows through the end of the

section and inserting the following: ``all persons present in uniform

should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces

and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military

salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at

attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove

their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder,

the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present

should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving

column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.''.

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