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SctDad

Explorer Uniform

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More than likely they had a supply. I know of folks who have walked into storage rooms and surprised as what has been in them, both in and out of scouting. Sis in law got me a 1st printing 5th ed.library edition BSHB in mint condition b/c it was found in a storage room.

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My humble contribution to green shirt history:

 

Working at scout camp in the late '70s, each staffer got two '50s era dark green explorer uniform shirts. The council had a warehouse with all kinds of old cool stuff like that.

 

These shirts were wonderful. I still have one.

 

The strip said "Explorer/Exploring" (can't remember off hand, the shirt is boxed up somewhere), and the circle/V patch was on the right pocket. Though we weren't technically Explorers, no made an issue of it. I suspect that practice may have been widespread.

 

Sewed on instructor patch, eagle knot, lodge flap and that was that.

 

We wore the Explorer shirts with the standard green BSA pants or short of the era.

 

Darn good shirts. Tough, simple, and classic design. Wore one every day, even when washing dishes in the mess hall, yet sharp enough to wear to the retreat and closing campfire.

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I was in the Leadership Corps in the 1973-75 area, but we did not wear the forest green shirt or the beret. We wore the same shirt and hat as the rest of the troop, with the trapezoidal Leadership Corps patch on our shoulder, instead of a patrol patch. I still have my shirt with the Scout BSA strip and the Leadership Corps patch... and a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster patch, which I guess means I should have removed the Leadership Corps patch, but apparently never did.

 

Interestingly, on emb's site (which is a great site, I have looked at it a number of times before) there is a photo of a forest green Scout BSA strip stapled to card which reads, "This Scout BSA strip is provided for use by members of the Leadership Corps only and should be sown over right pocket in place of Explorer strip." This would suggest that maybe all of the forest green shirts at the time were sold with the Explorer strip, but that they would give you (or sell you) the Scout BSA strip separately if you were buying the shirt to wear as a Leadership Corps member. If that's the case, then the shirt SctDad bought is not really a "hybrid" -- it's a shirt that was worn by a Leadership Corps member who apparently neglected to sew on the Scout BSA strip -- or never got the strip.

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My Explorer Post in Fort Worth, Texas, wore the Forest Green shirts with the lighter, olive green, Scout shorts, and never stopped until it was forced to convert to a "Venture Crew." (But, they still call it a "Post.") Neckerchiefs were optional, but popular, and some wore them and some didn't. In the winter we wore the Forest Green long pants. But, NOBODY ever wore field caps, neckties or white spats (leggings). (No one wanted to get laughed at.) Those were items that you only saw in the handbook or the catalog. 

During the late 1960s, and into the early 1970s, when most other Explorer Posts in the area caved to the pressure to "specialize" in various career fields, and then admit girls, those posts abandoned the Explorer uniform, opting for a blue jean and tee-shirt type of uniform. 

My Explorer Post, on the other hand, stuck with the old Forest Green shirts. (In the summer, most of our Post members worked on the local camp staffs, and wore the Forest Green shirts at camp. We actively attended the National O.A. Conference, or went to Philmont or Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base, and we wore our Forest Green shirts with Scout shorts, Philmont belts, and knee socks. Many of us were officers in the O.A. until we were in college and turned 21. After turning 21, we became part of a large group of Post alumni who were all registered Post Advisors.) 

Even though the dark green shirts were no longer in the BSA catalog, the National Supply Office still carried them for us. A friend of mine on the East Coast told me that, in the late 1970s, he once asked the National Supply Office about the Forest Green shirts, and he was told that they still carried them "because there was one Explorer Post in Fort Worth, Texas, that still wore them." LOL – That would be my Post.

After all the old traditional Posts in Fort Worth specialized and admitted girls, it normally took them about 3 years to fold. It was sad to watch all the old traditional Explorer Posts in the city, that had been around since the 1950s, adopt these ill-advised changes, and then go belly up. New posts were created as "Police Posts," "Emergency Service Posts," and I suppose other careers like "Insurance Saleman Posts," "Stock Broker Posts," and who-knows-what, etc., but the members of those Posts never participated in Council Scouting events, the summer camps, or the Order of the Arrow. They essentially operated outside the local Scouting community. As a result, my traditional Post, with the traditional Explorer uniforms, was the largest and most successful Post in the city. 

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Posted (edited)

When I joined Troop 43 in 1954, it had two Explorer Crews, wearing the Green Uniform.  Then, a local, William Spurgeon, did us dirt by heading the committee of adults that rolled out the third "new" program for 14 and older youth on the basis of an academic study of what high school aged boys wanted: no separate Explorer ranks (Rating Strips leading to Bronze, Gold and Silver awards); no Explorers in troops - so goodbye green uniform unless you left your troop and joined an "Exploring Post"; the compass/anchor/wings was replaced with what we disdainfully called "the Swish" as the  ExplorING symbol.  Of course, they never asked us what we wanted. Like the other thirteen Explorers in Troop 43, I rejected "ING" and stayed with my troop as a "Senior Scout," until I became an adult and an SA.  I was the last in my Council to earn the Silver Award.  Soon, like "Boy Scouting" and "Explorers,"  we will be gone.  Only the fittest survive.

Edited by TAHAWK

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Tahawk:  I feel your pain, although I came along a bit later. I joined Troop 97 in 1960. I have done a bit of research, and I now know that the BSA kept tinkering with the Explorer program. The Forest Green shirts were introduced for Explorer Scouts in 1944. That was the same year that the term "Post" was introduced for Explorer Scout units. 

But, then, in 1949, the BSA technically dropped the term "Explorer Scouts" in favor of the term "Explorers." But, honestly, did ANYONE pay attention to this subtle change? I doubt it, and by 1965, when I joined an Explorer Post, no one knew that we weren't "Explorer Scouts." That's what we called ourselves, and that is what we acted like. I received my Eagle in 1966, as a member of an Explorer Scout Post, although I am sure that some pencil-pusher at the National Office would correct me for calling it that.

Then, in 1959, "Explorers" was changed to "Exploring." Again, was ANYONE aware of this subtle change? We knew that they dropped the old Explorer advancement awards of Apprentice, Bronze, Gold and Silver, but the only thing we really cared about was completing our merit badges required for Eagle. So, it didn't matter a whit to us.

I'm sure all this was spelled out in the Exploring Manual, but ... come on, nobody read that. I still have mine, some 55 years later, and it is pristine – never opened, never read. I did, however, read my Order of the Arrow Handbook from cover to cover.

What is clear is that, over the decades, the BSA has demonstrated again and again, that they have no clue what boys really want. They've had experts conduct surveys of teenage boys to ask them what they want, but any marketing expert knows that you can't always believe what people "say" they want. They'll tell you one thing, but then they will go and buy the other thing. Sticking with Baden-Powell's old formulae should always be the answer.

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