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Brent: Okay, I tried to find specifics relating to the wear of uniforms in the National Rules and Bylaws. But all I could locate were the various protection clauses, which apply to other threads on these boards, including revocations, selling unauthorized items, or selling things obtained without proper authority. They do refer to "as referenced" in various publications.


So, you may be right in your statement regarding all or none. I suspect we might find contradictions between some manuals and other paper publications, depending on whom actually published them, and how old they are.


Certainly we should strive to get boys to be properly uniformed. But we should not make it an issue that will turn them away, either by embarrassment or lack of ability to pay.



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WEll, I suppose a "100% Boy's Life Quality Unit" is a better unit than a ""Quality Unit"..hands down and with no arguements , right?


I mean, having everybody suscribe to a magazine is without a doubt better that just having a CM., DL, or SM teach you anything.


And following that logic...a troop of 7 boys who are 100% Boy's life MUST BE way better and obviously a better unit than one with 50 boys and no 100% boys life.


Yeah, I hear " SHOULD not be worn" and "SHOULD be worn" ( emphasis mine - no doubt!)


But it doesn't say "Can not" or "Must be".. I read that as: "We really real want you to, but we do not absolutely demand it"


Personally, it sounds more like a way to push $$$$ at the scout shop than to make scouts better .


And really, there sre so many thread lamenting why this shirt sucks, why that one sucks worse, why this design must have been designed by a chimp with half the IQ of a dead cow.


Then we talk about boys who do not want to be seen outside of scouting with the uniform on.


But wait, the BSA books say that boy do ( not should) feel a sense of pride for wearing it.


Then again, the literature also says( as well as most DE's) that parents are just absolutely dying to volunteer and can barely contain themselves waiting on leaders to just ask them to help out.



So the books might say the uniform makes a big difference. And it might, just not when it coms to ability, learning, commitment to the unit or how active they are.


And since we are talking about it, does a cop out of unifrom become less trained? Is the Dr who is not in scrubs dumber than the one who is?


Seriously, if that is the case, then most of us leaders must forget what scouting is all about on the days we are not wearing our uniforms.....oh wait....that could be true!




QUICK! A show of hands....How many posters are wearing their uniforms right now?

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Incidentally...my 10 year old son is 5' 3" tall. Last month, we just started buying him adult - 29" waist pants. The 4 or 5 months before that, we were constantly struggling to find pants with a big enough waist that matched up with the inseem. Seems for the last year, you could find husky sizes, which are shorter, or regular length, which were not wide enough.


Right now,some of the adult pants are getting a bit snug in the waist. He's only 110 pounds, so he proportionally "slightly" skinny for his height...not a chunker as you'd might think.


The next time we buy him pants, they will be at least the next size up if not two sizes up/


Now, if you figure that he's an average 10 year old boy with 10 year old mentality and 10 year old sense of adventure....then you know we are lucky if a pair of pants makes it 3 weeks without holes in the kness.


Now figure the cost of buying a new pair of scout pants every other month. :o


Not gonna happen in this household. Don't expect any other parents to do it either.


Now, if this somehow prevents him from participating, advancing or completeing Activity Badges, or beltloops, learning , etc...at den meetimngs or pack functions......then it's time the committee and myself have a seroius talk with the DL.



Also, as I said before, I love to wear my uniform. I wear it even when I am not even doing anything with any of the kids or when I am not likely to be seen by them on den meeting nights.

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Ah you guys are missing it. You are still arguing about whether boy scouts should be able to wear jeans or swim trunks with their uniform shirts. Meanwhile, I was trying to say: ditch the boy scout shirt - keep the pants!


(This is different in cubbing. There, I'd say, ditch the pants, keep the shirt! Scoutfish totally explains why I feel that way.)


For me, it is about what's functional for the activities at hand. Uniforms that aren't functional don't make a lot of sense for an active organization like scouting.


In cub scouts, the shirt is what's important, but the scout pants are both too expensive and not necessary. The little guys love the symbolism & status and "bling" that the shirts provide. They don't usually do a lot of heavy duty camping and can get by just fine with the pants they currently own, for nearly all cub occasions.


In boy scouts, what makes sense outdoors is what's really important. The newer pants are pretty darn functional for camping. The shirts, not that much. Older boys are less concerned about wearing their status (literally) on their sleeves. Bling does not matter as much to them and may actually deter them.


By the way, I own a full uniform with correct insignia. My son has been in two (full uniform) troops, is in OA, has gone to NYLT and jambo. He has (and wears) a full uniform with proper insignia too. I still don't think the boy scout shirts make much sense, except at ceremonial events.





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Lisa, good point but I think there are many boys that would still like to show off that new star or life rank patch, even if they won't admit it.


Clemlaw, your post really hit home. My cub and boy scout experiences ran the entire '70s, and I recall no uniform police, as we know them today. Yet most kids were properly uniformed.


The leaders dressed the part and the kids mostly complied. Kids that had no uniform were not treated harshly--they were part of the club, for pete's sake. They were more than likely from poor families, and it wasn't nice to make them feel bad.


The uniform police really started ramping up in the '80s, when I was an ASM. There were certain folks that just seemed to enjoy walking around meetings, pointing out petty issues, quoting the uniform guide. (Funny how you rarely saw them camping?????)




1. Rescind the current uniform guide. Publish a new one that is no longer than 5 pages, and written by a team of senior scouts and unit level leaders from various parts of the BSA. Cease offering the limited edition leatherbound copies to the uniform police.


2. Design a uniform that people want to wear, and is affordable. Get a team of parents, scouts and unit level leaders to figure it out. Scouters who spend more time in meetings than in the field need not apply.

(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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The insignia guide isn't that much of a deal. There's four or five pages of national policy, then a page or two per program level on the actual uniforms -- really not much more than than what's on the uniform inspection sheets.


The bulk of the book is a description of all the various patches, badges and awards. It's really more of a catalog than a policy guide. Not sure of the value of that.

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You know, The real basics of the matter is that if the uniform was less expensive or more reasonably affordable, most of the other arguments about uniforms would go away. National needs to find a uniform that is more reasonably priced. Now, my troop is a fully uniformed troop and I and my son both have multiple full uniforms. But to be honest, I can see that in these economic times when many are making hard choices about what to spend money on it is difficult to justify spending $50 on a pair of pants when you already have a $10 or $15 pair of jeans he can wear. I mean sure you may be able to find a pair of used pants or used shirt on ebay or craigslist, but that is more the exception than the rule. And in my area Scout clothes get worn out, not often handed down through a uniform closet.


I mean, really, why does a pair of unhemmed, zip off cargo pants in olive green cost $50.00 or a Tan, cotton/polyester blend shirt with a couple of extra pockets cost $30. Get the cost down more in line with budget clothing and you will see less complaining and justifying and more scouts in full uniform. IMHO.

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(joking on) This is the Uniform Police. Take off that temporary patch on the left pocklet and put it on the right pockiet per IG page....(joking off)



In all seriousness, I do use the IG and it's descriptions, and supply numbers. Working for supply, if I couldn't find the item number, I'd use the IG to find it. If a leader needed something, and I could translate teh description from Unit Leaderese to Suppliese, then I'd go to the IG to find the item, and order it, sell it , etc.


Today I sometimes cannot find items on SCOUTSTUFF.ORG. But using the IG, I can find the item, it's supply number, and order the stuff. Also I use it to describe the IG what I'm talking about to new leaders.


So there is a use for the IG and I would not get rid of it.

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You know, I've never actually met a uniform police. Didn't have them when I was in Cubs in the mid to late 60's and haven't found one here in the next century. I also don't remember anyone back in 1966 telling me a patch was out of alignment on my Cub shirt. I haven't seen anyone do that to any of our fully uniformed troop in 2011 either. Alleged uniform police rarely go around barking at boys. Now, if you step out in the hallway and speak to the adults while the boys are running their meeting, you'll get various and sundry opinions just as you do here. Methinks the uniform police is akin to bigfoot. Often rumored to be seen, but no real evidence......unless you count someone being in favor of wearing a full uniform being equal to being a uniform nazi.

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Ah you guys are missing it


Lisa, you've lost control. Pure and simple. What started out as a clever observation on the half uniform has been sucked back to the standard argument.


As for me, I'd love it if an entire patrol showed up in Scout pants one day without their Scout shirts. At least that would prove they all have the pants :-)

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SR540, I can verify that uniform police are real. Four councils I've been in as an adult, and the UP are not mythical creatures.


We have a few right here in our little internet family.


A kind word-to-the-wise, private, helpful hint in the hallway isn't necessarily uniforming policing.


But it can be if handled with the standard attitudinal hallmarks of uniform policing: smugness, nit picking, condescending, holier than thou, "hey you--caught ya!" and limited passion about more vital topics.


And I've seen it done in public too.


To borrow from Beavah's much more eloquent thoughts on the matter, it's an issue of basic courtesy.


Who the heck thinks they have the right to walk up to another scout or scouter and belittle them about a uniform? These people exist, and they get a kick out of it.


This is a volunteer org. And I don't care what color the shoulder loops might be, or how long or short someone may have served, EVERY scouter is a peer, an equal, in the service of scouting, from CSE to the newest Tiger cub leader.


Anyone vaunting their tenure, training, or uniform knowledge over another is a foul.


Common sense should prevail. And freedom of personal expression.

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I will start this again with a heartfelt praise to guys like Brent who somehow are able to have troops that run to some of the highest standards, in this case uniform, but Bren or others it is a litel condecending to automatically beleive any troop that doesn't meet the bar where you managed to get it is inferior or not doing things right. I COULD HAVE pushed the troop to full uniform, no parents wring checks as the boys all fuundraised sufficiently, total boy led patrol method etc but I can tell you from my experience witht eh scouts and families in my troop and the folks in my community I would have a troop of 6-10 scouts not 20-24 where we are at. We used to have 30-36 but found it best to have a slightly smaller troop with boys who wanted to be there and familys who get it. We have near 100% troop meeting aprticipation and all campouts get an average of 75% participation and the boys are not only having fun but really learning and enjoying the troop, in so doing they are advancing.

When I took over there was no uniforms AT ALL amonst other issues. We got it to waist up and encourage more via various methods. A few boys wear green pants or even socks and a belt but many won't and I gave up fighting that battle as did an ASM who was gung ho about full uniform. He finally came to me and said he wanted to enjoy the troop more and realized he ahd to sometimes pick his battles. The boys started to enjoy him more too as a result.

I ahve had boys attend youth leadership training at Council and had an extremely negative impression on full uniform as they had a uniform zealot give a session about full uniforming. It was a turn off and had the opposite effect the trainer had intended.

I say this out of respect and I hope people really read this and take time to understand and not react in anger.....the folks who are un bending uniform zealots demotivate people from teh concept of full uniforming. I read some posts here from some mebers of the referred to Uniform police and think I wouldn't want to be like that at all. Again I say to those who manage to have full boy led method, patrol method and full uniforming, a heartfrelt congratulations, it jsut doesnt work for all units, all communities, all scouts and all scouters.

We were at a camporee several years ago, my smaller rural based troop noted teh troop next door with full out race trailer with custome vynal graphic, fancy tents and equipemhnt had the mom's cooking dinner and the dads setting up the campsite, even my new tenderfoots had issue with it. My troop took best campsite with a perfect score, won the bike race, took first second and third in teh shotgun shoot and took first place on the dutch oven dinner and the dutch oven dessert. A result....adult leader from teh well to do Mommy Daddy troop next door starts to pick about the old goat patrol patches my adults had on their sleeves. I told him it was my reward and a sign of comaraderie to hard working volunteer scouters who helped make my troop a success and that maybe he should run a more scout like troop as a priority instead of prioritizing on unimpoetant uniform details. He picked about the patch as hsi release for being angy that our little troop with much less fancy stuff and the boys doing the work could beat hsi troop.

We all know scouting has a nerdy, deewby reputation amongst boys, the uniform si a part of that problem. I have been successful in having boys stay in until 18 and some have stayed on as ASM's, some of their friends have joined because of what they heard we do. I have had several varsity sport "jocks" who are considered cool at School stay in and stay active and take a leadership roll that has been an example to others. I have had some of these boys come direct from swimming or wrestling or football or baseball and put on the class A shirt, maybe a necker and still have on Athletic pants, even occasionally at a court of honor. I get more mileage as a troop when the other scouts see that the "jocks" make an effort to be at the meetingand stay in scouts until 18 even though these boys who might have otherwise dropped out as the "Cool Crowd" tjhey hang with consider scouts nerdy, decide to stay in the troop showing everyoen the troop is Worth it. That dynamic has gotten me a lot more positve miles than full comploant unirom would so that's where my priorities have been. We have even picked up 3 scouts over the past 5 years from an area troop due to, I am told, strict fulkl uniforming expectations there. Those boys have stayed and love our program and are growing and advancing because they want to be here. I have lost no one to any other troops other than a move out of our area and definitley no one left becasue we are not strict enough on uniforming.

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There are people who are brilliant leaders and who can create a great program where most others cannot. Perhaps Brent Allen is one of those people.


I know I'm not one of those people. I have to do my best with what I have. I observe the methods of the most succesful units and try to pass those on to other units.


Last spring I sat in on the recruiting night for one of those succesful packs. They did a Pinewood Derby race as an effective method to attract new boys and parents to their recruiting night.


As district membership chair, I'm all too aware at how poorly many Cub Pack prepare for a recruiting night.


I used the Pinewood Derby race as a model for my own pack's recruiting night last fall, and we actually had a CROWD attending. But there were problems in supervising the crowd and $4 a person for Pinewood Derby cars was expensive. And quite a few adults came with their son for the PWD race and didn't even sit in on our Cub Scout signup pitch.


This fall we did a raingutter regatta with simple boats rather than the kits. That was good, and economical.


Our March Roundtable was a model recruiting night to show pack leaders how they can make a Cub Scout Rocket launch their recruiting night activity using compressed air launched rockets the boys build from a sheet of paper and lauch by stomping on a soda pop bottle.


I'll be doing a recruiting night March 29th for a pack adopting that activity. I expect they will improve their recruiting night results.


However, just attracting more boys isn't necessarily the answer. The most succesful Troop recruiting night I ever held had a video game theme, and we had 15 or so new boys show up to set up and play video games. However, none of them came back to do our Boy Scout program, and we weren't interested in being a video game troop.





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Can anybody even tell the difference between the Scout Store switchbacks and something like REI? Look exactly the same to me, except the REI ones are better made and yet are still somehow cheaper.



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