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What if we just completely did away with uniforms?

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I understand what it's like to wear a uniform when it's unpopular to be a scout, and at the same time, the uniform itself wasn't stylish.


I'm speaking of the "new scouting" green shirt and pants that I wore from 74 - 81...as many will remember, several of those years it was very unpopular to wear a uniform of any kind, much less a scout uniform.


That green uniform had all the charm and durability of pajamas after a few washings. Not worth much in the field. But I wore it by the book, with pride.


Late seventies, I'm hired on summer camp staff. The staff shirt: from a huge stock in the council warehouse, the dark green Explorer shirt from the 1950s.


I loved this shirt instantly. It was tough as iron, fit good, looked good.


Wore that shirt (actually was issued two) doing everything: opening and close ceremonies, KP, teaching mb classes, hiking through brush, cleaning the latrines after the camp closed each week, rowing and canoeing. Also wore it into town.


It was sharp and perfect for every situation a camp staffer could be in. It held up no matter how much it was abused.


Some day, National will recreate that shirt, or it's natural successor...and much of this discussion about uniforming will be moot because the kids will want it because it's a great shirt.


I don't buy into the theory that because scouting is considered geeky by some, we have to wear geeky uniforms.


It's silly to ask a family to buy an expensive uniform that is only suitable for wearing indoors. Someone said it best earlier: parlor scouting.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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Parlor uniforming exactly.


There is no way our troop could survive for two days on a campout in scout uniforms (even the new designed ones) without destroying a couple.


Football games turn into "who ripped off all my buttons", and this is from experience.


Running through the woods turns into "what thorn plant or tree limb poked a hole", again from experience


Cooking turns into "Who was it that dribbled food on my uniform while I was eating"


Sitting by the fire turns into "Who made me sit so close to the fire my uniform caught on fire"


Climbing rocks turns into "OMG, this uniform won't give my arms free range movement" from experience


Many other things you cannot do in a scout uniform. It ACTUALLY shows the scout who values his uniform most does not wear it alot, as he does not want to tear it up.

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Would you mine posting the author, article title, journal, and if possible an abstract? the links you provided only go to the log on, so I'm not picking up anything. I'll also try ot post what I find on research favoring uniforms.


In referecne to uniforms and campouts, the ODL shorts/ pants would be able to survive. been there, done that, wish I could still fit in the pants from my youth :) I also wear scout uniforms on campouts, Although i admit to wearing cammies at Ordeals while working.


I wonder how many adults who don't like the uniform policy grew up in scouting? Yep there are some challenges with the design and functionality, but we have to admit the centennial uniform is a modest improvement. Hopefully they will fix the things that are wrong with it, and bring production back to the USA.

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I managed to make it through this entire thread and I find both viewpoints interesting.


What I have noticed is:


1. adults care much more about uniforms than the boys do...scouters come in many varieties, but the dangerous ones are the "buffs" who are trying to relive their missed youth and attempt to impose their priorities on the boys...for those who take pride in pointing out non-official green socks, you missed your calling as a drill sergeant

2. boys do not get much of a vote in the process, except in venturing where I see a large number of crews embracing the uniform when they deem it appropriate, others, not so much

3. we wear uniforms everyday...what we wear affects how we are treated...there are "appropriate" forms of dress in virtually every activity we participate in

4. uniforms, or scouting for that matter, needs to be taken in measure and balance is the key...never too much one one thing


My thoughts are that the uniform is a method...period. Use it for what it was designed for. Should we rid ourselves of uniforms, no. Should we over-emphasize it, absolutely not. Again, it is all about balance. I have spent the past 25+ years wearing a uniform and I know what it can and can't do. All in balance...



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Gee, if we did away with uniforms, we'd have to use tattoos and body piercings to show rank & position. At least that way the Scouts could now be contemporary with some of their peers. The chance to have the Philmont bull on your upper arm may even swell the ranks.

When I was younger, the biggest problem with wearing the uniform in public was the neckerchief. In junior high, as puberty hits, the goal is to be cool and manly; only girls wear scarves around their necks, so "NO" to any kid uniform. My own opinion is that if the neckerchief was tied on cowboy style, it would have a lot more acceptance.

The new shirts aren't that bad. They do look a lot like the old shirts of the Australian Boy Scouts. Yes, the flag could have been done better. We (no names) are currently looking at better quality American flag patches we can sew over the one that comes with the shirt -- makes for better pride in uniform.


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My big fear about "This Uniform thing".

Is that at times I get this mental image of someone who acts very much The Church Lady (Saturday Night Live).

This image has someone who is the uptight, smug, and pious. Wearing a full uniform, looking down his /her nose at the lesser beings below who are not in full proper uniform.

Of course for every excuse heard for not being in the uniform the reply is either Well, isn't that special? Or How Conveeeenient. Or for those who have come up with an alternative style "We like ourselves, don't we?"


I don't think we need to do away with a uniform??

I'm not sure what a or what the uniform should be?

My thinking is that it should be something that can be purchased without too much hassle and maybe added too in order to make it a uniform.

My school uniforms consisted of black socks, black pants, white shirt and a blazer to make it the school uniform a school tie and a badge was sewn on the blazer pocket.

I think a pair of whatever color pants we might want to come up with (Dickie's??) and a shirt that could have a few patches added would do the trick.

For outdoor activities the Scouts would of course need to dress for the activity.

I think we could get the cost down to under $30 or $40.

We would need to talk to the Scouts and find out from them when they felt wearing a uniform was needed or a good idea?

Have to admit that as a parent, I kinda felt that after spending a small fortune on a kids uniform that he was going to wear it, so I felt that I was getting my moneys worth out of it!

But I really don't see any need for Scouts to have to wear uniforms to weekly meetings or on most camping trips.

Save the uniform for special meetings and maybe if we make a big deal of when it is to be worn? Chances are that the Scouts will buy into the idea and work toward it? And looking smart and well turned out.




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You know, in this discussion of uniforms and its application I am reminded of what Vasudeva told Siddhartha, that all things are cyclical.


it wasn't all that long ago there was a fairly heated discussion on the forum about the Leave No Trace ethic, and I thought some posters made it pretty clear that unless all conformed to these posters' implementation of Leave No Trace, well then there was definately something lacking in that Troops program and in the Adults mentality.


The way I look at it, whether its The Uniform Method or Leave No Trace, no two units will do it the exact same way, and while we may all wish everyone did things our/the right way, we may just have to accept the uniqueness that shapes ourselves and the units we serve

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The way I look at it, whether its The Uniform Method or Leave No Trace, no two units will do it the exact same way, and while we may all wish everyone did things our/the right way, we may just have to accept the uniqueness that shapes ourselves and the units we serve




To my mind, one is an external ethic that's common to all good citizens. Like voting responsibly. Somethin' that every citizen should do, regardless of whether or not they're in Scoutin'.


The other is an internal method. One technique out of many that we use to try to teach some boys something within Scoutin', but which really doesn't apply to other folks.


That's a big difference, eh?


Of course it may just be that both of 'em are really the same. They're both things where us old folks by and large can't be taught new tricks, and won't listen to the kids, the experts, the land managers, or anybody else. :p




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Here is another possibility for you - maybe it isn't the boys who are doing all the complaining about the uniforms, maybe it's the parents.


A lot of the complaints are about cost. Since the huge majority of parents buy the uniform for their sons, cost wouldn't be an issue for the boys. But if mom and dad don't want to shell out the bucks, maybe they convince junior the uniform is dorky, or just won't buy it for him.


From my perspective, the boys just aren't that fashion-conscious and will wear the uniform in public. They won't wear it to school, but the same goes for martial arts uniforms, athletic uniforms, etc. It is the parents who would rather drive home and change out of their uniform and then go back for a gallon milk rather than stopping by on the way home in uniform.


So maybe most of the anti-uniforming comes from the adults, not the boys.

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"A lot of the complaints are about cost. Since the huge majority of parents buy the uniform for their sons, cost wouldn't be an issue for the boys. But if mom and dad don't want to shell out the bucks, maybe they convince junior the uniform is dorky, or just won't buy it for him. "


Brent, what have you been smoking? Get real, man!


It is not parents' opinions that shape what is, or is not, "cool" in the minds of many 12 year olds. If you doubt that, just ask the parents of most middle school boys about going clothes shopping for the kids.



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At a recent COH, our UC got up to talk ad nauseum about the Quality Unit patch. Ten minutes later ...'Now the old patch must be EeeeMeadIDIOTleee removed and this new Centennial Quality put on.' The adults just groaned.


Shortly after I got ambushed -"Ya know the BeeSSSuvEh has the most labor intensive, over expensive, over fussed about uniform of any youth group in the UUUSSSuvEh...oh another thing the quality stinks." Lucky for me the cake and coffee made a timely entrance.


My scouts

1. Strongly dislike the new shirt. Only one wears it and that is because his mother makes him. No complaints about the new pants.

2. Strongly dislike the adults fussing and bickering about uniforms.

- Arguments about shoulder tabs ('Green, red, who cares, why bother with them anyway')

- Uniform police at spring camporee. After our SPL got an earful from adults outside our unit, he went back to PLC - no camporee attendance next year as he/they believed the uniform police would only get worse during the 100th. They have their own fun outings planned.

- Three of our scouts dropped out of Jambo as an after-deposit proclamation was made that Only New Centennial Uniforms were allowed. That leaves just one of our scouts signed up for Jambo.

3. Have developed their own Class B - baseball cap, troop wicking t-shirt and that's it. No concern about rank or office patches as they all know who is who. PLC voted their Class B as the troop uniform for summer, though Class A for COH. Uniform method.


So for the summer, they are wearing their own simple, stylish, inexpensive Class B uniform that they all like. If anything, their commitment to scouting as evident from our membership retention and summer camp sign-up is stronger. They look like scouts because they act like scouts so there is no identity issue.


Now what is starting to sell me is they wear their class B outside of scouting as regular clothes. Scouting is no longer invisible in my community. Two new scouts joined in June, I can't remember when that last happened. I am wondering if they will wear their Class B's back to school, now that would be great!


I like their Scout Spirit, a Spirit of Independence. Happy July 4th to all.


P.S. There was no Uniform Method back in my day as a scout. This 8th method was added with the 7th edition of Scoutmaster Handbook in '81.


My $0.02,


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"I am wondering if they will wear their Class B's back to school, now that would be great! "


Can't speak for others, but my son has frequently worn his troop T shirts to school. He wouldn't be caught dead wearing the official uniform shirt to school though.





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Smoking? Just a little Scout Spirit around the campfire.


I can only speak from my perspective in here Dunwoody. The boys in our Troop have no problem wearing the full uniform. Of the 5 Troops in Dunwoody, 4 are full uniform Troops. As I have said many times before, I don't say a word to our boys about uniforming, unless it is to compliment them on how well dressed they look. At new parent orientation, I explain our Troops expectations, which covers all the Methods indirectly. That includes that we are a full uniform Troop. It takes the cross overs a few weeks to get their uniform together, and they never hear a word from me about it. It is a Troop culture the boys promote.


Lisa, you have to admit - it would be hard for a boy to wear the uniform if mom and dad never buy it, correct?


I have to ask one more time - why does uniforming work in Dunwoody, but not in other areas? I also know Troops in Marietta, Roswell, Norcross and other areas around town that wear full uniform. What is the difference?

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