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half uniforming

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Full uniforming is a great ideal that the BSA does nothing to promote outside of lip service. Lord Baden-Powell described the essentails of the uniform: hat, necker, shirt, belt, socks and emphasized it be complete and correct. His HQ provided the uniform but his Scouts were not required to purchase it there. For shirts, shorts, belt and socks any dark blue, khaki, grey, or green ones would do. The only requirement on any of it was that the shirt was to have two pockets in front. No expensive "official" uniform. Just uniform use of readily available clothing. If the BSA was serious about full uniforms they would adopt our founder's wise policy.

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Im no fan of half-uniforming, but do understand it perfectly legal. I know the arguments in favor of it, but find they are outweighed by the benefits of this scouting method. With the availability of district and council uniform closets in most areas, and the ability to create one in the unit, this hurdle can be overcame. Make friends in the local thrift stores, they most often will give your unit all uniforms that come their way.


I read a post above the mentioned the usefulness of the uniform, all I can say is bingo! Were talking about functional, rugged field wear, this is not a dress uniform put it to use


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There is no "field uniform." There is just "the uniform"


There is no B.S.A. "activity uniform." There is just "the uniform."


(There is a vaguely described "dress uniform" of navy blazer and white shirt and, from the picture, some sort of slacks. Only the tie is specified.)


The current official literature says wear what is appropriate outdoors. No mention of the uniform. Discussion of the suitability of the uniform and its parts in Summer's heat or Winter's cold is a strawman. If it's not appropriate for the conditions outdoors, you are not supposed to wear it according to BSA.


A couple of posters have noticed "should," which, as they say, is suggestive, not governing. The uniform is not required. It is specifically not required for Eagle Courts of Honor for Pete's sake. (And I like Pete.) It is not part of "Scout Spirit." "Scout Spirit" is clearly defined with a definition carried through every requirements for every rank after "Scout."


Obviously, the uniform neither makes a boy a Scout nor the opposite.


Anyone notice what Dan Beard wore as grand panjandrum of Scouting? Good Lord! Buckskins!!




What does a pair of Supplex nylon convertible pants cost? I saw some for $60.00 at Dicks. You can buy the BSA poplin pants for $35. Is that 30% better? It's the price of REI's cheapest convertible trousers.


What does a sports uniform cost?


A lady on eBay is selling brand new (with tags) 2007-08 "Switchbacks" for $25.00. That's no long-term solution, but Goodwill won't go away.


When I was a Scout, we were in a recession. The Scouts were largely in complete uniform because they earned the money to buy their uniforms. I earned mine, and the replacements (I grew 6" in one year.), as a paper boy and lawn cutter (push mower). That was expected - part of "A Scout is Thrifty." You paid your way. Character development. It is still OK to develop character, yes?




There are other good arguments for the benefit of uniforming: democracy, equality; group-forming, a reminder of values; a message to the community; a tool to make advancement work (well, at least the shirt and belt). The reasons have been mentioned in official literature for generations. I think they are valid.


Scouting is far from alone in preferring uniforming, we are just far less organized and insistent about getting the job done. I have seen very few sports teams not in uniforms. Someone mentioned bands. Schools are adopting uniforms and dress codes because they see benefits in uniform dress And why is that cop in uniform? Or the fireman, or hospital nurse?


One trouble is, the arguments about the benefits of uniformity in dress apply equally to Venturing, where the uniform is not a "method" and is entirely "optional."


Does a boy care if all the other Scouts are wearing expensive, department store blue jeans and his are from Walmart? Would he feel differently if they were all in uniforms that they earned by the sweat of their toil? Would that give them something in common?




They are out there. Self-appointed guardians of who knows what. A gazillion troops, districts, and Councils absolutely require the complete official uniform for this or that activity (like Eagle Courts of Honor) when BSA does not "require" and, in fact, prohibits requiring. "Should."


BSA doesn't even have a standing committee on uniforming (and it shows).


If you run into the Uniform Cops, see above re "should" and send them packing. I can usually find some detail in which they are "out of uniform."


They remind me of the "Knife Police."


One of them was holding forth at a "University of Scouting" briefly ago on his contention that it's a purchased-from-BSA neckerchief or none at all. Where did he get that? A guess would be that it came from a direct pipeline to received wisdom, because it sure does not come from BSA. He wore a position patch that he was no longer entitled to wear.




The Insignia Guide was written in 1998, and has been patched over and over ever since. Like a patched garment, it has some function, but it's far from ideal. The organization of information is pathetic.


Most websites are not official and contain more or less errors.


BSA promised a new, comprehensive website in the current "Scouting," but the article goes on the describe a replacement for the annual Requirements book. We'll see.





BSA now sells BSA blue jeans. Great price - really great price -- but supposedly "should not" be worn with official uniform shirts, say official Cub Scout shirts. Talk about starting out to lose a fight.

(This message has been edited by TAHAWK)

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I must respectfully disagree. I've have seen the terms Field Uniform, Activity Uniform, Dress Uniform, and also Camp Uniform in official BSA publications.


Field Uniform = the standard uniform to your program.


Activity Uniform = the standrad uniform, minus the official shirt and wearing a Scouting t-shirt, polo, or activity shirt instead.


Both of those terms are in the current BSHB and have a description. Also BSA did have a separate activity uniform in the 1990s consisting of tan shorts, and a colored polo specific to Boy Scouts in a troop (red), Varsity Scouts (tan), and Boy Scouts in a venture crew, now called a venture patrol (maroon). It wasn't popular and i don't see national repeating that mistake.



Dress uniform is described in the Insignia Guide and worn mostly by pros.


Now BSA literture has described a "Camp Uniform" as the Cub Scout Day Camp or Resident Camp t-shirt only. And belt, socks, or pants/shorts can be worn. Only place I ever saw that one described is in the NCS book for CSDC and ResCamp directors. Only time that is suppose to be worn is at those events.


Now I aint touching Sea Scout uniforms as there are 3 differnt types for both youth and adults ;)

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That's one of the "challenges" of Sea Scouting today, all of the "piratetical costumes" that were allowed during the Sea Exploring era of the 1960s onwards. Kinda hard to get uniformity when A) you allowed almost anything to go as an uniform, and B) when you did start pushing one set of standards, based upon the traditional uniform, you did away with some of the core traditions, i.e. "bugs" on covers, unit numbers, insignia on the working uniforms etc.





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Every time I try to post this in a new thread, the forums break. I don't know if it's this crazy old software or what, but in Sea Scouts what's a bug on a cover? Are there any sites that show the different Sea Scouts uniforms that were worn in the different years?

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