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Adults wearing uniforms to boost ego?

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I am a committee member and was requested by our SM to wear a uniform, so I pulled out my uniform from my denmaster days and changed the blue epalauts to green and sewed on the new council patch and troop number on my sleeve. I also changed denmaster patch to committee member patch and changed the trained bar from red to green.


Before, I didn't wear my uniform because I wasn't a SM/ASM, but the SM said that adults in uniform are an example to the kids - and yes, I wear my 1930's campaign hat just like I did when a denmaster because a hat is part of the uniform. I also kept my denmaster square knot on because I feel I earned that and asking me to take it off would be like asking a Scout to take a merit badge off of their sash. So I disagree, it's not ego but rather pride in wearing the BSA uniform and setting an example for the scouts.


I personally think that all of the extras do look a little ridiculous and some Scouters look like Mexican generals. I don't think it's an ego thing so much as pride in what they have done as a Scouter (like my lone knot) and why shouldn't we take as much pride in what we do as the kids do?

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Ditto on the committee members in uniform. Back when I was a scout 30+ years ago nobody on our troop committee wore a uniform. I don't even know if it was an option then. But the committee members were active participants at meetings, campouts and other activities. Despite all of that activity, to a pre-teen you just don't seem to have the realization that these men were "part" of the troop beyond just being helpful fathers of my friends. Simply because they weren't in uniform.


It is hard for me to put this into words as I am trying to remember what my impressions were when I was 11-14 (by 14 I had figured out what the Troop Committee was.) It just didn't feel like they were leaders like the SM and ASM simply because they weren't in uniform.

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With regard to the knots I believe the answer is in the eyes of the scouts. If THEY see your bling as silly then it is silly. If THEY see the bling as cool then it is cool.


The only difference, IMHO, between the two is how the scouter handles himself with his charge. If he is respected my guess is that the latter example would apply.



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If you've earned the knots, you can wear them or choose not to wear them. I respect those that wear them and do not judge their motivation for wearing all of the knots they have earned. I do think that more than six knots on the shirt is enough, but that is my preference. Not to be disrespectful to veteran Scouters, but I think having more than 6 knots looks a little silly for appearances sake.


Personally, I don't like alot clutter on my shirt and my shirt actually looked better when I first started as a leader with just the basic insignia. I currently have two knots on my uniform (DL and WDL) and I wear them to show appreciation to those that awarded them to me. With my lack of time and motivation to attend Training, I'm certainly not worried about having too many :) LOL.


The SM that I respect the most has no knots on his shirt, has served his Troop for 20 years, and is extremely knowlegable in Scoutcraft and outdoor skills. He is Woodbadge trained, but only wears his beads on ceremonial occassions. His experience speaks volumes.

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I would personnally prefer to ditch the uniform..


I was just on the committee. The SM of our troop asked all of us to be in uniform at troop meetings.. I reluctantly joined the group not to be out of place.


I have now taken on a district position. If I attended without the uniform, I would be the odd duck of the crowd.


If not for wanting to blend in rather then stand out, I would definatly ditch my uniform..


So, I would not call it an ego booster for me. I put it on as late as I possibly can, usually taking it on a hanger, until I fear I will not get another bathroom to duck into to change.


Not that I am ashamed to be in the BSA or anything, It is just not comfortable, don't like button downs and while others look good in it, I can't say the same with me..

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The BSA already regulates the number of medals that may be worn, Sea Scouting does the same with knots. I simply think the entire BSA should follow their lead. It looks better and keeps egos in check. As for conversation starters, 1, 3, or 6 knots can start a conversation as well as 9 or 12 or 15. I remember when a scouter with three knots was considered highly decorated.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wear my knots, and if I earn more, I will wear those, too. Right now it's only my three earned as a youth, AoL, religious, and Eagle. Someone who meets me for the first time can look at my shirt and see the journey I've taken in Scouting. They're conversation starters, a way of knowing at first glance what someone is bringing to the table. I know who to introduce to that Life Scout dragging his feet on his Eagle project. Or the youngster not sure if he wants to bridge over from Cub Scouts. "Look, see those two knots? Mr. Smith earned his Arrow of Light, and THEN became an Eagle Scout!"


If I see a Scouter show up in a uniform with no OA flap, no knots, no Jamboree patch or temporary patch, just the bare minimum of stuff, I wonder "what's this person been up to all along?" or, "what can I do to encourage this new volunteer to participate more fully in the program and serve our youth better?", or "was this person a Scout as a youth?" Even "why isn't this seemingly veteran Scouter not yet in the OA?" Why disguise your experience?


I understand why someone would find rows 6, 7, and 8 of knots excessive. But I see no problem with a Scouter (within reason) sharing his experience in Scouting through knots on his uniform. And see absolutely no point in showing the bare minimum on your uniform. Yeah, it's a little bit of ego, but why be ashamed of the places Scouting has taken you and the training and opportunities and recognition it has provided along the way?

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I can understand questioning an adult's motivation for wearing the uniform. I've run into my fair share of wanna-be generals or drill sergeants reliving their military days by wearing a scout uniform.


But that doesn't change the fact that the uniform is a method of scouting and that national training encourages all adults to be examples of good uniforming. This doesn't change the fact that the awards and symbols we wear as adults are always taken the wrong way.


I recently went through my OA Ordeal and wear the 100th anniversary Lodge flap on my uniform I wear for training. Today, a 40 year scouting veteran stopped me and had not seen the new flap and saw me wearing it proudly as a great way to promote the Lodge and the existence of such a patch! To me, this was an excellent outcome of the hard work it took to even get the flap.


My own personal vision includes ensuring that every adult leader have the chance at the very best training possible. Properly wearing the uniform and using the awards I've been given is part of that to me.

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Having had more time to think about the original post, In say : Yeah, there are absolutely some people who wear the uniform to boost their ego.

But those same people could walk into a room of people and dominate the whole conversation by talking about how much they make,how many degrees they have, how big their house is, what the kids are doing and all the honors they have recieved, etc...


You know the type: No matter what anybody does, they or their kids have done better!



But then you have the rest of us. Those who are not running around backwards in hopes that we hit somebody's hand for a pat on the back. We do not have to be in the spotlight front and center to be the center of attention.


Me? I admit, I think it's cool to wear the uniform whenever I can.


Why? I don't know!!! Maybe because I really, really enjoy scouting and I am having fun doing it. I like working with the boys. I love to see that look when they finally master a skill or are able to do that one troubling thing on their own. I love when that timid boy takes part in a skit and realizes afterwards that he did have fun and the whole world wasn't critically eyeing him and waiting for failure.


I like wearing the uniform because I belong to something important to me: SCOUTING!


Just like a kid with a new toy that carries it around everywhere. He eats with it, sleeps with it, can't go to the bathroom without it.


No. I'm not quite that bad with my uniform, but taking the time to think about it....and even pushing all the methood stuff aside....


You have to admit, when "MOST" adults take pride in wearing their uniform, then they also take pride in what they do.


That translates into somebody who is going to do the best job they can.They won't settle, take short cuts or go about it half heartedly.


I cannot think of any reason this would negatively affect the program.


Like I said, you have a few adults ( everywhere and in everything) that do stuff for the wrong reason, but we can spot and pick them out easily in a crowd. So can everybody else, so soon enough, they get overlooked and their behavior doesn't reflect badly on the rest of us.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, here is my post, for what it's worth.


I read many of the posts on various topics and I think many readers are far too analytical and "over opionioniated" (if that is a word). I have 3 scout shirts (1 for Venturing) and I wear all 14 of my knots on all 3. Does that make me an egotist in some manner? If you want to view an "egotist" in the truest sense of its definition, just listen to any of the politicians in Washington DC. They do nothing to improve our country and only worry about their positions of power and their Swiss Bank Accounts.


I have been an adult scouter leader for 10 years. I just received the Silver Beaver Award last March, so someone must think I'm an asset to my District and Council. I am in Scouting for a multitude of reasons, but primarily, beacuse of the enjoyment I get working with the youth. Unfortunately, I am not afforded that opportunity as in years past, because I have a District and Council position, but I am seriously thinking about becoming an Assistant Scoutmast again. That would mean giving up being a Unit Commissioner, but that would not be easy because I would need to find my replacement, and we are short on commissioners as it is, but I degress.


So, am I a walking billboard? A Mexican General? If you knew me, then you could judge me, if that was your desire. I wear what I've earned and been nominated for. I am proud that I am a part of the best "World" organization for youth on this planet. Yes, my pride extends to my uniform, and I am not alone in that regard. Just about every other adult scouter at District and Council meetings wears all of their knots, jamboree patches, etc. also, and I see and talk to quite a few. Several times, an adult or youth will come up to me and ask, "what is that knot? How did you get it?" I politely answer them, but I also take the opportunity to ask them about what they are doing in scouting. I've recruited a few people when striking up a conversation about my uniform.


Personally, I don't care what others think. I will just go about my business, that of Scouting.


Lastly, this could be my last post on this forum, not by choice, but by design. Enjoy your scouting activites and events while you can. Many of us have created happy memories we will keep with us for the rest of our natural lives. All things change. Some evolve, some die away, perhaps to never return. Change is a universal constant, and drastic changes are occuring now. Will Scouting continue? I will leave you something to contemplate.


Adios my scouting friends.



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I am glad you are proud of your scouting accomplishments, as all scouters should be.However 14 knots x 3 seems a little excessive even by scouting uniform standards. A person should get a good idea of your accomplishments just by talking to you not by seeing how much of your uniform shirt you have covered in patches, of which the 14 knots are but a small part I am sure. As far as the silver beaver is concerned that seems to be bought more than awarded in most of my years in scouting, in four different councils, and it does usually lead to a spot on the council exec committee.


The boys will admire you based on what type of leader you are and the guidance you give them not how many patches are on your uniform, the same goes for adult scouters. Still you do have the right to wear your uniform anyway you like, providing it is in BSA uniform guidelines. I wish you all the best in your scouting experience.

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Is it an ego boost to wear a fully patched shirt for a COH and a minimally patched shirt for all other activities?


Those service numbers dig in when bumped, same for the nametag. Scouter key medals are the same.... List goes on especially for the devices one needs to put on the knots when serving in two different programs.


The dress uniform looks kinda impressive, but the field uniform without the pins etc. is far more practical in the field.


By the way the "dress" uniform and "field" uniform are distinguished only by the number of pins and patches, it's the same tan shirt.


In the long run, I really don't worry too much about how many patches and gadgets a uniform has as long as it's a full uniform and not a Christmas tree shirt and blue jeans.



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"As far as the silver beaver is concerned that seems to be bought more than awarded in most of my years in scouting, in four different councils, and it does usually lead to a spot on the council exec committee."


Boy, not in this council. If you wear a blue jacket rather than a red one, you're at a distict disadvantage. Sounds like your selection committee is inbred and slanted. That should change.


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Yah, hmmm....


Congratulations on acquiring 14 knots in only 10 years. That's hard to do, eh? And still harder to do well.


I'm always a bit nonplussed by adults claiming da purpose of wearing knots is to show their "pride" in their accomplishments in da program.


It's a childrens program, eh? I'm never quite sure why an adult would be that proud of a children's program award that they'd wear a mess of 'em and strut around. Most adults are proud of their professional accomplishments and such, eh? You know, awards for real-life adult activities. :) And even then, they don't wear 'em around.


I think adults who are proud of their scouting work are proud of kids, not themselves, eh? They talk about what kids do or have done. Perhaps they're proud of a special unit award, except we have very few of those, or maybe they're proud of a Philmont belt buckle because it was a gift from a crew and brings back good memories of what da kids achieved. Da topic of their own awards never comes up, and it certainly isn't worn like a flag to attract da attention of others.


Pride in Scouting as a movement involves wearin' some uniform or other token of membership in da movement, but I'm not sure it needs 5 rows of knots.




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Congratulations on acquiring 14 knots in only 10 years. That's hard to do, eh? And still harder to do well.


That's the best example of damning with faint praise as I've ever seen!


Beavah, just like the Eagle Rank, one does not "acquire" knots but one does earn them. And exactly how many ECOHs have you attended that you stated to the guest of honor that not only did you "acquire" the rank, you did it well?


The vast majority of "knots" are earned training, tenure, service and leadership. By earning these awards, it shows dedication and commitment to the program and yes, possibly an interest in earning awards. Why, given no other information, assume that a Scouter has earned these for self gratification? Let's give them the benefit of the doubt.


Yes, the program emphasis is on the youth. And I've had numerous experiences that at the Boy Scout level especially, Scouts have a little more respect of Scouters that have been in the program for a few years, took the opportunity to get trained, show pride in the uniform and are more than just a mom or dad who bought a shirt. At this age, Scouts make great hypocrisy meters.


I had my Wood Badge ceremony at one of our troop meetings as opposed to the customary roundtable venue that most have. Why? Because I could care less what the other adults felt but it showed the boys that I cared about the program and went to training and that their Scoutmaster could act just as crazy and sophomoric (singing the critter song, engaging in ceremonial accoutrements, etc.) as they do. I did not expect any less of myself than what I expected of them - get trained, take the program seriously, have fun doing it and show pride in your accomplishmets. Our job is to be role models after all, isn't it?


Can adults go overboard with this stuff? Sure they can and many do. But, let's don't make rash generalizations about those that do wear appropriate insignia.

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