Jump to content

Does the uniform drive kids away?

Recommended Posts

I'd like to point out that Oscar de la Renta, the designer who designed the last uniform, and on whose work the new centennial uniform is based, is/was not gay.


I will say that the uniform needed to be changed in the worst way for at least the last 15 years - it was a fine uniform for the 1980's but by the mid-90's was sorely dated. I've not done the research but with a 29 year run, the de la Renta uniform may be the longest any one uniform style existed in the Boy Scouts.


I strongly doubt that a gay designer designed the centennial uniform - the trend amongst gay designers the past 10 years has been for neat, trim, and clean lines - not pocket sleeves, not folded over and buttoned up sleeves, not boxy pockets. The centennial uniform shirt looks as if it was frankensteined together by a committee that took the base de la Renta shirt and added elements resurrected from an old style Abercrombie and Fitch catalog - back when Abercrombie and Fitch was selling travel and safari clothing (1980's) and not trendy clothing for teens and twenty somethings.


I think the real problem with the Boy Scout uniform is that the BSA is trying to hard to accomplish everything it thinks it needs to do to make the uniform multi-functional. Back in the 70's, I wore the green uniform - simple, clean lines - no overabundance of pockets - and it served just as well outdoors and it did indoors. My biggest issue with that uniform was that the pant and shirt color matched too well - there needed to be some contrast - they kind of contrast that the forest green shirt added to the khaki green pants - now that was a sharp look (especially with the Red Beret - which had much more functionality than any other hat developed by the BSA - couldn't play frisbee with the overseas cap and couldn't use the campaign hat as a softball base). Today, according to the BSA and their focus groups (if they used any), the uniform must emulate the clothes sold by Bass Pro Shops or Cabelas, or they just won't be functional. Pants must have cargo pockets and be able to convert to shorts. Shirts must have pockets that can hold I-pods (or cigarettes) and need to at least look as if they can convert from long sleeve to short sleeve. Unfortunately, these enhancements don't make these clothes look good in any context except the back woods which means they just don't look good in more formal settings.


Is it any wonder that the boys don't want to wear these things anymore? They don't worry about looking geeky anymore, they worry about looking out of date. (Note to the BSA - Cargo Pants went out of style back in the late 1990's when WalMart started selling them for 15 bucks and folks started putting cargo pockets on sweat pants and Cargo Shorts lost cache when Old Navy started selling them in a funky orange color - today the only cargo shorts acceptable are colored khaki tan and the pockets must be so big as to be barely noticeable, loose and sloppy - and epaulets went out of style in 1988).


Instead of looking at outdoor catalogs for trends in outdoor wear (I'm all awash in anticipation for the time the BSA decides that the uniform should be made using polar fleece), perhaps they should look at the uniforms of the National Park Ranger service, US Forest Service, and state Conservation Law Enforcement services - simple, classic uniforms that look sharp and seem to serve these outdoor folks just fine. Perhaps it's time for the BSA to hire a gay designer to design the uniform - maybe they'll get a uniform that people will actually like to wear.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 73
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Well Nick, if you were a little more mature than 17,and had been around some you would realize that "Gay" is how homosexuals WANT to be addressed.Just like black people want to be referred to as African American.And I didn't say your shirt itself was gay, I said they looked like they were designed by a gay person.I am 50 years old, and i have NEVER seen two shirts trying to have sex with each other. Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit.


I think Calico hit the nail on the head with his observation that they should look at the outdoor uniforms of some government agencies for design guidance.(This message has been edited by Kawidaphoenix)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kawidaphoenix your a 50 year old trying to be a smart ass to a 17 year old and you want to call me immature. i cant speak about your life but i can see on the internet you dont seem to conduct your way in a scoutly fashion. let me also say its been proven by facts the guy who made the new shirt isnt gay....and gay isnt a describing word for clothing. i would come back with something whitty but ill be the bigger man.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"When the ACLU begins to fight for gun rights as strongly as the right to call an image of a crucifix in a glass pitcher of urine "art"--they may have some street cred."


I missed this when the thread first started - but I can't let it pass. My answer is:


When the NRA begins to fight for the right to call an image of a crucifix in a glass pitcher of urine "art" as strongly as the they fight for gun rights, then maybe they'll have some street cred.


The ACLU mostly fights to protect First Amendment rights, the NRA mostly fights to protect Second Amendment rights. Isn't it ok that they concentrate on what they do best?


I'll also say this - if you are an NRA member, you should also be a member of the ACLU. If you are a member of the ACLU, you should also be a member of the NRA. If you are a member of one and denigrate the members of the other, then shame on you, and ask yourself why you hate the Bill of Rights.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No Nick,

What we have here is a 50 year old man making a 17 year old smartass show his ignorance of the world.

Here is a direct quote from my post:


"Well in my opinion, scouts are not going to really like wearing the uniform in public,and around girls, until the powers that be quit making them wear uniforms that look like they were designed by some Gay fashion designer."


You see those 3 little words after the word "Uniform"?? I'll help you out some as you don't seem to retain read words very well, "THAT LOOK LIKE" are those 3 words-- Not the "UNIFORM WAS" designed.... I was using the mental picture of a limp wristed, Swishy, Effeminate male as an analogy. You might need to look that new word up in your Funk and Wagnals (Man I really showed my age there..)to get a grasp of it's meaning. I don't care if the designer was Straight,gay,Bi Trans,Uni,Beastial,or Celibate- The uniform is not designed right for kids to want to wear it. This post became a gay witch hunt because of an ANALOGY.Nowhere did I say the uniform was gay in itself- couldn't happen.


Now about Scoutly Behaviour--

The acceptance of the gay lifestyle should be abhorrant to a real scout that lives up to his oath, promise,laws,and most importantly to his RELIGIOUS Convictions. Abominations in the eyes of the Lord, as stated in the bible, definitely qualify in my book as something a Scout should avoid. Today's society has done it's best to desensitise our youth to what is acceptable behaviour, resulting in the societal decay we have today. Any study of great ancient civilizations show that their collapse followed a period of moral decay and the abandonment of accepted Morals. Scouting's mission is to turn out Moral youth to better society as a whole. Homosexuality and sexual perversion has no place in the scouting movement. Now think about that awhile.You may want to evaluate what causes you chose to champion.


As I said my best friend died of AIDS-- this was TOTALLY avoidable.AIDS makes Cancer look like a school picnic.I believe what a person does in their own home is their business-- they can be gay if they want to-- that's between them and God. BUT their rights end where mine start. I shouldn't have to explain to my child what a homo was, or why those two men were kissing on TV. Sexual orientation shouldn't be made a public issue.

Let's see what your attitude is in a few years when you grow up and have your own family. Reality is sometimes a hard pill to swallow.

Also I will not exchange posts anymore with you,as a batlle of wits with an unarmed opponent is useless and a waste of time.

Have a good life and Scouting experience.


(This message has been edited by Kawidaphoenix)



Link to post
Share on other sites

And to paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi, whose the more foolish the fool or the fool that argues with him? I smell troll, or at the minimum someone who doesn't live up tot the Oath and Law, and we should just ignore him.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of a number of things that some Scouters do that would drive kids away far more effectively than the uniform, including losing sight of the task at hand (i.e. providing the program we promised to the boys), getting wrapped up in ideaology at the expense of common sense (and sometimes our sense of right and wrong), and forgetting that we as Scouters are being looked at as the examples of the ideals we profess to promote.


I am not speaking about all Scouters or even most Scouters. I am speaking of that rare breed that create bad experiences for the boys and make them want to leave. I just hope that I am never seen as one of those.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the uniform drive them away ... no. I honestly don't think so. Heck, if they want to they can join a Venture crew and choose to do away with the uniform entirely ... but they often don't.


The Scouts like the uniform when it makes them fit in ... like at summer camp, but ask them to where it while walking through the halls of their high school and you'll get a VERY different reaction.


What if we took the synthetic centennial switchback pants and toned down the color a bit, but not olive drab. Those would be cool. Still way too expensive, but cool and well designed for the outdoors.


Now, take the synthetic centennial shirt. Nice color - I might prefer a little more toward what I think they call that "mushroom", but still tannish. The pockets are goofy. I imagine that if it looked more like this shirt: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___91226 , AND more subtle insignias, that Scouts would feel more comfortable walking down the school hall.


What do I mean by more subtle insignias? Well, think about what the uniform currently indicates:


(1) Your unit - council, troop, patrol. Couldn't that be put on one shoulder with simple interconnecting patches and someone muted "natural" colors? And it would be great if these all attached via Velcro instead of sewing - like the Army does. Keep badges off the pockets - they are a pain to sew!!


(2) Your position - Patrol Leader, asst Patrol leader, ... Couldn't that be right below the unit patches - or on the other sleeve? - again, in a simple design with muted "natural" colors.


(3) Your rank - again, that could go on the sleeves too - OK maybe above one pocket. That would really clean up the shirt and make it much more friendly.


(4) In the days of old the neckerchief was a useful tool, but I think their time has come & gone. I'd dump them (sorry!).


Then again ... why don't they have Scouts define the uniform - I mean create a web site and take - and publish - recommendations. That would be a nifty thing to watch.


All in all the uniform needs to focus on outdoor wear and COMFORT, and come down almost 50% in cost. Parents simply don't want to spend almost $80-$100 on a uniform that could get trashed in one campout or that probably won't fit their boy after a few years. Now, if it cost $40-$50 that would be different.

Link to post
Share on other sites

With the new season of Project Runway starting this Thursday, its too late to have them incldue design a new Uniform for Boy Scouts, but I wonder if Magic Elves productions would consider that for a future season?


A few years back I suggested a Boy Life Contest, Design a new uniform, give them 6 months and then publish the top 10 designs and have scouts text or email their selection. The winner becomes the uniform


What did B-P say about doing something a boy could do?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

i dont think the uniform itself drives kids away. however what it stands for may not appeal to them. I have never known a kid that dropped out of little league or pop warner because of the uniform. They are usually quite proud to wear their jersey because it tells the world they are ball players. Unfortunately the squeaky clean image of the boyscout just doesnt fit what many kids think is cool so they avoid it.


That being said, i do think the new looser, longer cargo style shorts is more appealing to the kids that are in today.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when I was a scout, I initially had no problem wearing the uniform to scout events. The only time it ever bothered me was the few times I had to wear to school. Then, there was just this fear I'd get laughed at (and I did somewhat for that matter). There is no amount of changing the uniform that will ever prevent that feeling. When I was a boy, I could have worn a Marine uniform and I still would have been embarrassed.


As I got older, I eventually became dis-enchanted by scouts. Once I was, the uniform simply became an excuse. I'd fight wearing it, I'd show up to meetings without it. Was it because I didn't want to wear it - no, it was because I wanted to be difficult and make a statement.


Years later as my son is now getting into scouting, I see the uniform as a what it was when I first started - something to be proud of. There's a few unnecessary things on the uniform (what boy really needs a quality unit patch), but much of it is there for good reason. i.e., look how far I've advanced, here's some cool activities I've been involved with, here's my troop number's (which I'm proud to be part of).


If there are boys being driven away by the uniform, the we (the entire scouting community) are not doing enough to make the case about why Scouting is a great thing to do. Establish a troop with a great reputation for doing things that the boys really are proud of and boys will join. You're also never going to get 100% of all the boys out there, so, again, do the things that boy's love to do and will be proud of and they'll tell their friends. You'll see the uniforms will matter less...


In fact, I'd like to see scouting go the other direction. Make a concerted push get scouts & leaders to get wear the uniform with pride when they are scouting. Generate some pride in that uniform.


I visit a lot of national park and this discussion reminds of the NPS rangers. One thing you notice - the rangers are always either 100% in uniform or 0% in uniform. I can't recall seeing a ranger wearing a shirt, some jeans, and a pair of flip flops. They wear it with pride. On top of that, they have a really cool job. They explore some very interesting places, they rugged, their knowledgeable. You could drop many of them in the back country and they'd do just fine. Sounds a lot like what scouting tries to be too... Would a ranger wear the uniform on a date, to "school", our with friends? No - they probably wouldn't. Makes me think that in the right place, at the right time, the scout uniform can be a source of pride too...


Just my .02.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smithgall is on the right track. Scouts today are seen as being uncool, nerdy, weenies. And to some extent that is true. When you have an adult run program where boys only do what the adults "allow" them to do, only do "dangerous" tasks when surrounded by an army of adults, that is what you get. But when you have a gang of boys who really know how to live in the outdoors, using knives, saws and axes, you may see they are proud to be Scouts.


Scouts started being "uncool" during the 70's when young people decided the same about any form of authority and anything representing traditional America. Scouting caved in and thought we could regain popularity by "urbanizing" and softening the program. In truth, we have ruined Scouting and taken away the one big draw. Self-reliance is really at the heart of what young men are looking for. They want less interference from adults. They want to make decisions for themselves. Where else but in a Patrol Method troop can they find that today?


Give them the right program and your boys will proudly wear the uniform. It will take a while, but other boys will see that too. We can gain the respect back, but we must make some real changes to do so.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...