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What if we just completely did away with uniforms?

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Maybe its in the water Brent.

Compare to my district where zero full uniform units participate in our camporees. We may have them, but they don't come. At least I don't see any at flags or campfires. All the units who do participate are shirts only units, like ours. Of course, we don't have the UP critiquing the units during the events.

The camporees are well attended. The boys have fun.

Now if, say a well meaning commish would start making full uniforming an issue at camporees, perhaps to the point of requiring them to attend, the percentage of fully uniformed units would probably go up over time. Of course the total number of participants would probably decrease dramatically. But the remaining ones would look sharp. At least in the eyes of the adults.

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The more I think about this, the more I'm convinced the uniforming problem is the adults, not the boys.



You and others have mentioned how the boys like the new Switchback pants, and even wear them to school. RememberSchiff even says there are no complaints about the new pants. So the pants aren't a problem.


But what do we see at flags at Summer Camp and at other events? Shirts only. Gern says his unit wears shirts only. Many had admitted in this thread that their boys wear the shirts and blue jeans. They don't like the shirts, but they wear them. They like the pants, but don't wear them.


So what gives? They like the pants, but don't wear them? I find that hard to believe. I find it much easier to believe the parents just don't buy them.


Ready for cross-examination.

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Brent, I just don't think that's it. I mentioned that somewhere else too, that while the boys almost universally give a thumbs up to the pants, it is funny that most troops who are more relaxed about the uniform only "require" the shirt! What I hear from my son and all of his friends, is that the shirt is the problem these days.


Now my son's troop is a full uniform troop. And I do kind of feel, like I think Eamonn mentioned, that I paid plenty of money for that uniform so he's going to wear it!


Regarding the troops you see at camp in uniform shirts and swim trunks (or non-reg shorts/pants) - I think what is happening there, is that these are "shirts only" units. Given the option, I'm willing to bet that most of those boys would NOT show up for dinner or flag ceremony in their uniform shirts at all. They might happily wear a troop T shirt or a camp T with their shorts (or trunks) and look a whole lot better, too. But, since they "have to," they wear the uniform shirts with whatever bottoms. Back when the pants were the ODL style, "shirts only" kinda made some sense. After all, most of the boys absolutely reviled those older pants and many refused to wear the "short shorts" that the only game in town for a while.


Now that there are decent pants (though still expensive), it would really make more sense for units to go "pants only!"


Then again you can't wear your rank patch on your pants. (Or can you?)




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Bingo Lisa. I think you hit the nail on the head.

The reason there are so many shirt only units out here is the horrible ODL pants of yesteryear. The new functional pants now make them usable and acceptable by the boys. But because for many years units had to adapt their uniform method to exclude the pants, they now have a tradition of shirts only.

A new unit like Brent's doesn't have those traditions and the baggage of bad pants. Its much easier to enforce a full uniform. Maybe in a few years, we will too as the older boys who knew and hated the old pants age out.

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I hear so much bad press about the old Scout pants.


My son loves them! Had a pair of switchbacks---DID NOT LIKE THEM

Grew out of his old pants and begged us to find him another pair.

He just came back from NYLT and went with three styles of pants:old school, switchbacks and the new canvas switchbacks.


I think he must like the new switchback best, then the old style. He wants the very light weight switchbacks to go to some other Scout.


I feel that poor uniforming is indicative of our greater society today. Like people telling the Pope which rules they will obey and which ones they won't. People love to do stuff half baked and obey which rules they want.


They don't allow a baseball player to wear whatever pants he wants to.


When all the kids on the soccer team dye their hair Bozo the clown red for the championship game I don't see too many of the kids opt out.


The movement has always had uniforms. It's about time we got back with the program.

Save the basketball shorts and wind pants for the court.


It is about time we taught kids that you just don't do whatever you please all the time.


My wife is a teacher and she says you should see the way teachers dress lately. Want respect? Earn it. And looking the part is the first step in acting the part and gaining respect.


And yes blue jeans are horrible for camping in the Northeast. Unless you miss that old soggy feeling from toddlerhood, you know that blue jeans don't dry out very quickly. I can see why they worked in the west. They could dry out.

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"I have to ask one more time - why does uniforming work in Dunwoody, but not in other areas?"


In spite of what others have said to the contrary, Brent, it's leadership. That's all. Just leadership.

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"It is about time we taught kids that you just don't do whatever you please all the time"

I'm going to have to give some thought as to how this goes hand in hand with teaching the youth we serve how to make ethical choices.


Putting aside the reasons why we have a uniform?


As I see it. Which could be 100% wrong.

Little Lad joins a Troop.

Little Lad's parent looks at the Troop members.

If everyone is in full uniform and maybe if the SM says "Hey we all wear the full uniform!" Parent will part with hard earned cash and pay for the uniform.

When little Lad toddles off to a Scouting event, his parent will notice what he is wearing.

If he is not wearing his uniform, parent will want to know why not?

Lets say that for some reason the Troop under goes some changes. Full uniform is no longer pushed.

Little Lad has by now outgrown his uniform pants.

Parent sees that many of the Scouts are no longer wearing the pants and can save almost $50.00 by not buying them.

Little Lad now doesn't have the pants.

Time passes and Little Lad is now driving himself to meetings. Scout shirt is safely placed on passenger seat, waiting to be put on just seconds before the start of the meeting and will be removed as soon as the meeting is over.

Little Lad is going to visit his girl friend immediately after the meeting and going in Scout uniform would be most uncool.

Young Scouts and their parents will most times do what the Troop tells them to do.

If Mr. SM says don't worry about buying the pants or the socks, the parent is not going to buy them.


I don't like all the comparisons about Scout uniform and sports uniforms.

Surely one reason for us having a uniform is to communicate to others who we are. Just as a uniform worn by a policeman lets us know that he is a policeman?

A Scout uniform should communicate that the person wearing it is a Scout.

I don't know if a Lad in uniform does or doesn't behave any better when he is in uniform? I think a group of Lads in Scout uniform do.

If we are going to have a uniform, my feeling is that we should try and view in much the same way as we do the flag.

Not for what is is, but for what is should represent.

It's kinda sad that about the same time as Scouts grow into really understanding the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law, they grow out of their uniforms.

Maybe if we can get away from the idea of just looking good and impress the idea that this uniform represents the ideals and the good stuff that you have chosen to live by? We might do better.


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The world is not as black and white as your last post suggests, your viewpoint is your own but it lacks the true reality of todays society. I suggest you really read Eamonns last post about the topic at hand as it is an excellent example of what is happening today with our teenage scouts, you may not agree with it but it is the truth and being hardnosed with your teens will not change that truth.

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It is about time we taught kids that you just don't do whatever you please all the time.


Yah, then the kids can teach us that yeh just don't do whatever yeh want as adults all the time. ;)


They can say, "hey, those guys are uptight jerks. Who needs it? I can go to a private camp in da summer that's more fun, I can go rock climbin' at the local gym with their youth program and mountain bikin' with my friends and camping with da school biology club and it's more fun."


Then it'll be about time we spent wringin' our hands about servin' fewer and fewer youth, and camps closing, eh? :p


I reckon it's possible to lead lads to uniformin', if yeh think it's a good use of time and energy. I don't reckon there's any way to push 'em into it. Not without losin' kids we want. And not without losin' methods we feel are at least as important.




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I'm siding with Brent on this discussion. Uniforming adds to the scouting experience...for those who insist it drives away potential scouts...maybe the uniform is doing us a favor then, as I beleive not every boy can or should be a scout...Really! There have been plenty of kids join my troop who were clearly not there to be scouts or have fun, but there to be rambunctious and promote disharmony among their peers.


I'd rather have 5 kids out of a 100 that want to wear the correct and complete uniform than 90 so-called scouts who feel others opinions about what they wear are more important than their own perspective of themselves...uniform awareness is knowing what a uniform can do for the boy, the patrol and the troop...and it starts with us, the adult leaders showing the way by being in full uniform...not close enough-good enough. And can the cost babble...I've given uniforms to families that cant afford them and those scouts wear them more than those who can afford them...I'm smoking what Brents been smoking...some of you turkeys should smoke 'em if you got 'em...........rant over!

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"I'd rather have 5 kids out of a 100 that want to wear the correct and complete uniform than 90..."


Reminds me of the priest who was asked would he rather have a pew full of saints or a church full sinners on Sunday. He said 'Sinners, the saints don't need me'.


We are serving fewer youth at a greater cost each year.


Another $0.02


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"there to be rambunctious and promote disharmony among their peers"


Not sure where you find these Lads?

I've been around for a while.

There have been a few boys who came along to check things out. A couple have tried to be disruptive, but nearly always the might have only attended one or two meetings and then have moved on. - Not sure where too?

I'll bet that most of us who have been around Troops for a while have had to deal with the kids who are lazy little toads, jokers and clowns, shy kids and extroverts. Scouts who think that they are really tough nuts and Scouts who at times we think are just plain nuts!

I really don't think having any one of these Lad's wear a uniform changes him that much, if at all.

Most times I have found that Scouts act up when they are bored or when they are in over their head, not understanding what it is that they are supposed to be doing.


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This "we'll lose boys if we enforce uniforming" is just another in a long list of excuses, and it doesn't hold a single drop of water with me.


I've seen Scouts, who wear the shirt only with their units, go to staff at Summer Camp or NYLT and be in full uniform. I've asked a few about this, and they say "the full uniform is required here." Summer Camp and NYLT didn't lose any boys by requiring full uniform - they are usually turning boys away.


So, why would the same boy wear a shirt only with his Troop, but is willing to wear the full uniform at camp? He sure didn't leave Scouting because someone required him to wear it.(This message has been edited by BrentAllen)

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I'm not convinced that the uniform actively drives away kids (although I know some who have a strong aversion to wearing it and I doubt it helps us recruit boys).


I do think Beavah can be right that the way some adults approach the uniform actively drives some kids away. It isn't just the message; it is also the style in which the message is delivered. Harangues, blustering, and harping tend to backfire.




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