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Eagle92

When Did You Notice Uniforming Becoming an "Option"

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BadenP,

Why do I have to spend so much time, helping you comprehend what you read?

 

I'll repeat the statement again for you, and maybe you can get it the second time around:

 

"You may not buy John's argument, and that is fine. But if you do, then why not look at Scouting the same way? This is not MY case for why a Scout should wear a uniform. I think he should wear it because he is a Scout."

 

I expect full uniforms and we get them. You don't expect them, so you don't get them. That should be pretty easy to comprehend.

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Brent, in a previous thread about uniforming, you stated its the youth who set the expectations and enforcement. Now you say that its you who sets the expectations. Which is it?

BTW, some of my scouts do wear the full uniform. Most don't. I do. So does my son. Care to talk to me now?

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Gern,

This is really rather simple. When we started the Troop, I set the expectations (you know, that SM vision thing). The boys then took that and made it their own. Now the PLC sets the expectations (still mine as well) and the patrols make it happen thru the Honor Patrol competition. You see, if a SM puts some thought into the Troop, he can obtain his vision thru some indirect routes. If it was just my expectation, I might have to constantly brow-beat some Scouts about it. Instead, thru some creativity, we found a way for the boys to take ownership and have some fun with it. A carrot instead of a stick.

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Hey Brent my friend any way you choose to spin it it still sounds like you EXPECT or that your troop OWES you something just for being scoutmaster, but that is just not the way scouting works by any stretch of your imagination. It sounds like you run your troop as a dictatorship, rule by intimidation rather than letting it be boy run as it is SUPPOSED to be.

(for your edification I capitalized the key words for you so you do not misread my post once again, lol)

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BadenP,

Sure, I expect the Scouts to wear uniforms. Just like I EXPECT them to plan a camping trip once a month. Just like I EXPECT them to plan a meeting once a week. Just like I EXPECT them to advance to at least First Class. I have lots of expectations, all related to the actual BSA program. If that makes me a dictator, then send me the hat.

 

BTW, it isn't just me who EXPECTS the boys to wear uniforms, it is the BSA. See new Boy Scout Handbook, pgs. 32 & 33. You might want to also view the Position Description cards for leaders - just pick any one, because they all contain the same bullet point: Wear the Scout uniform correctly.

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"So when did you folks notice the decline of uniforming?"

Let me think....

Maybe it was a little time after schools stopped having uniforms?

Maybe it was when the idea of having a Sunday best set of clothes that you wore to church each Sunday, no longer seemed like a good idea?

Then again it might have been a little time after the family dinner was eaten in the den watching TV and Dad stopped ordering anchovies on the pizza, due to his high blood pressure?.

Or was it when The Beatles started wearing silly uniforms?

Or when polishing shoes became a forgotten art? - It's kinda hard to polish tennis shoes -Even the ones that cost $240.00.

The decline? I'm sure it started before "Tighty-Whitey's" went out of style but before the underwear that you wear under, became a fashion statement.

Of course what we need is someone to blame!

I know lets blame the Baby Boomer's!

The old Boomer's were all a bunch of Hippies during their youth. They fought against the Vietnam war and for civil and womens rights.Uniforms left a bad taste in their mouth.

Then there are the younger Boomer's (My lot!) - Yuppies!

Along with my fellow Yuppies I managed to help bring materialism to a new height!

We waited till the "Time was right!" To have our kids.

When they came we thought we'd missed the bus!

It at that time seemed that if only we'd been Hippies, we might have had more fun!

With this in mind, we set about wanting our kids to be free.

Free from the mistakes that we'd made. Free to do their own thing.

But Yuppie habits are hard to break.

We still wanted my kid to be all that he could be, free but shackled to our Yuppie values.

Our kids were never wrong!

Being wrong wasn't an option.

We worked hard ensuring that they were never wrong!

We did their home work!

We took the goalie out of the net, so that everyone scored, not that it mattered because keeping score meant someone would lose! And losing wasn't an option!

We tied our kids to our apron-strings.

Never allowing him to stray more that 300 feet without cell phone in hand.

But don't you dare tell my kid how to dress or what to wear!

Doing so will only take away his freedom of self-expression and might harm him for life.

Maybe one day, when the Volvo isn't in the shop and we find a way out of the $235.00 a month cell-phone plan and the Mrs. gets out of therapy, I'll get around to thinking of buying a uniform.

But as to noticing the decline?

I think it just happened, not sure when.

Ea.

 

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I think it happened in 1910, give or take two or three years

 

If you look at the old photos you will see LOTS of mixed uniforms, The obvious exception of course is nearly any official publication. Since Green Bars Troop 1, the most photographed troop in the history of BSA, was the model troop for all official pubs those pubs were filled with 100% uniformed Scouts. But press photos at the big events show Scouts not in 100% official attire. Maybe National should put greater emphasis on using only photos of Scouts in 100% uniforms but that is another discussion in itself.

 

> Military surplus. As some have already posted, the similarity to the Army uniform allowed many to fill in with military surplus. Something most here, I think, would cry foul over today. After all, the Insignia Guide clearly states the uniform will not look like its military and military cargo pants etc are usually frowned upon by those who are supporting uniforming. I myself do not agree with mixing uniforms.

 

> Sports uniforms. Though I have compared sports uniforming to Scout uniforming in the past myself I tend not to so much these days. They are similar in that both HAVE uniforms but it mostly ends there.

 

As far as the team providing uniforms, as some have posted WOW, never where weve lived. I bought my sons Little League uniform, track uniform, and tennis uniform. There was no rental or return program for these. This year I paid over $300 (not including shoes) for the two different tennis uniforms alone. I also provide the racket, dampener, etc. Safety equipment, such as batting helmets, and core group equipment, like bats, balls etc. were provided but never individual uniform pieces. Martial arts were the same group gear provided by the trainer, all individual gear supplied by the individual.

 

In sports, you wear your uniform every time you hit the field in an actual game. My son has never worn his game uniform at practice. Little League practice was whatever was comfortable and his cleats and glove. Tennis practice is shorts, t-shirt, sometimes a hat plus his tennis shoes and racket, track practice is comfortable running clothes and his track or road shoes. Martial arts (when we did traditional only) required the uniform every time we showed up. This is an exception, not the norm. But come GAME DAY, youre in uniform or you dont play. In Scouting, the uniform is not (at least usually) worn when hiking, backpacking, camping, etc. Many units put out NOT to wear the uniform during service projects, etc. The uniform, even in some 100% uniformed troops, is only worn to weekly meetings, motorized travel, and walking around neighborhoods fundraising. Is this stuff our game day? Parents DO spend money on stuff for their Scouts to participate though. Boots for hiking/backpacking, work gloves, cold weather gear, sleeping pads and bags, flashlights, pocketknives, socks, hats, camp cups, first aid kit/supplies, backpacks, etc. These clothes and this equipment DO add up. Parents usually find a way to make sure their Scout has whats needed to participate in Scoutings game days. Because without this gear the Scout cant. He CAN show up for a meeting without a full uniform.

 

I dont know that sports uniforms are cooler than Scout uniforms or not. I suspect if you talk to athletes who are on the team because they WANT to be, they wear the uniform fine. If you talk to those whose parents put them in the sport, they will NOT like wearing the uniform. Of course, in High School, this gets more complicated with the popularity of the sport/activity within the school as well.

 

> Emphasis. I agree that LEADER involvement is key. There are adult leaders in Scouting and so they play an important role in this and all other methods of Scouting. If we make the uniform important and wear it correctly ourselves and set the expectation that the Scouts will wear theirs correctly, the first step has been taken. Parents need to understand WHY the uniform is a Scouting method, how it helps, why it matters step 2 is now complete.

 

> The Scouts. Getting Scout buy in is the most important step. Boys and men WANT to belong to a group. We are geared to look for and join in with others. Boys and men also WANT to be a part of something grand and noble and filled with meaning just think about the movies we all like or look at the recruiting ads for the different services. If your unit fills your Scouts with PURPOSE and they have PRIDE in being identified with the troop, they will adopt the uniform, at least while surrounded with members of the group.

 

This might start with a class b uniform. We did this in a new unit starting in a lower income neighborhood. We decided up front to get the Scouts out of the city and into the outdoors ASAP. The uniform was pants and a troop shirt. We all wore the uniform to every outing and every meeting. The Scouts that stuck with us through first class were issued a uniform shirt by the troop (the SM paid) and the base set of patches (the troop paid). The class a shirt was only worn at meetings (required for PLC, optional for others), ceremonies, and fundraising. The troop shirt was worn at everything else. Over time this tradition ended because younger Scouts were not willing to wait to get the official shirt and were buying them on their own.

 

Another troop mixed economic status was kinda the same. It wasnt until we were at a summer camp and we all bought the camp t-shirt that uniforming went up. Since everybody had the camp t-shirt, we (meaning the ASM suggested it would be cool) all wore them to dinner one night. On the way someone started a cool chant with the troop number in it. Someone else pulled out Sharpie and we all wrote the (just discovered) troop nickname on the back of our shirts. For the rest of the week that was the troop uniform and after camp, everyone wanted to be in uniform official shirt or troop shirt depending on the occasion with pants, necker, etc.

 

>I swear Im done. ;) We all, myself included, get pretty worked up about uniforming. Im the first to say its a method equal all other methods (((prepared to be burned alive for comparing uniforming to Patrols))) and should be a part of any healthy unit. I agree there are fully uniformed Scouts that are terrors there also excellent Scout outdoorsmen who are terrors and Scouts in proper Patrols - camped the magical 300 feet apart - that are terrors. The uniform, like any lone method, does not a Scout make.

 

All the methods together, applied consistently and with purpose, AIDS in developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness.

(This message has been edited by ntrog8r)

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BadenP,

We have a new Scout joining our Troop this week, an 8th grader. He was in our Pack for one year, in 4th grade. He visited our Troop once, and then visited two others. I have been exchanging emails with his mother since we learned he had chosen our Troop. I received this one last night.

 

Brent,

 

At the Scout store they gave us this circle thing that says "100 years of Scouting." I've figured out where the council patch goes and that purple fleur-de-lis badge.....where does this special anniversary thing go? He is very anxious to show up on Tuesday with every bit of his uniform accurate to a "T."

 

Thanks.

 

I must be some kind of dictator to have that kind of power, after only one meeting! Or maybe, this new Scout liked how we looked and acted, and he wants to be a part of the group. Esprit de Corps.

 

I'm beginning to think I'm as powerful as George Bush was! All I need now is a cape!

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eric,

You are kidding, right? Have you looked at ebay? How much does a typical campout cost at your Troop? Are you saying boys can afford to go camping, but can't buy a uniform? Can't they sell popcorn or cut grass or rake leaves to come up with the money? Some councils offer assistance for those who truly can't afford to buy one.

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I seem to remember growing around Baltimore during the 1970s, full uniform seemed to be the norm. I was a scout during the swithcover from O/D to the ODL uniform. I was out of scouting by the early 80s but often watched scout troops in local parades. I returned as an adult scouter in 2005. From my recollection of lacal parades, I'd say the full uniform fell out of favor during the late 80s/early 90s.

 

My own scout uniform experience was that I starting in 1975 with the current uniform of the period, olive poly/cotton shirt with thin olive poly/cotton pants. We wore the beret too. My pants lasted about 6 months until I wore the knees out. I got something on the shirt a few months later that wouldn't come out in the wash. My father took me to thrift where he bought me the cotton duck uniform from the 1950s. Now this, I thought, was a real scout uniform. I had no problem wearing it in the field or at troop meetings.

 

Fast forward to 2005: thrift shops no longer carry used BSA uniforms. It's my understanding that's out of legal pressure applied by the BSA to prevent uniforms from being mis-used as Halloween costumes. Ebay does of course carry them and I have told many a new parent/scout to purchase uniforms there. Of course the uniform pants are still poly cotton ableit they are twilled so they are a little more durable. 2009's Centennial uniform seems to be a move in the right direction with more durable fabrics and a better cut shirt. Too bad it's made in China. ( No I'm not looking for a flame war in the source of uniforms debate)

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I'm not really persuaded that cost is a big deal with uniforms. Not to say it wouldn't be better if they were cheaper, but compared to what kids clothes cost in general, they aren't that much. I certainly have to agree with those who stress that the attitude of the leaders has a lot to do with it. Nothing new about kids bringing their uniforms in to meetings and putting them on there and taking them off when they leave. I remember boys doing that 40 years ago. A few years ago there was a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor when I was a tour guide. Scouts were carrying flags. Naturally, I went over to talk to them, but when I got to the ceremony, they were about half uniform and half something else. Each kid had a shirt, but shorts and socks were anything goes. There were also Sea Cadets present, who looked very sharp in their dress whites. I sort of slunk away and got to the other end of the ship. It was embarrassing. Of course, the leaders were dressed about the same way.

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"Too bad it's made in China. (No I'm not looking for a flame war in the source of uniforms debate)"

 

Ah, yes of course. But then why bring it up...

 

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