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Mr. Boyce

Scouts and Geeks and Nerds

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I was in HS late 80s early 90s. I didn't care who knew I was in scouts and didn't care what their attitude was. Although occassionaly harrassed, I had a pretty thick skin.

 

While I never wore my scout uniform to school, my HS had a school uniform, there were occasions where after an JROTC or other school activity was over, I would change into my BSA uniform to go to a meeting or outing. Remember doing 2 JROTC change of command ceremonies, which were mandatory, then changing into to uniform with all the extras ( MB sash, trail medals, etc), and racing to the cathedral to recieve my Ad Altari Dei and Pope Pius religious awards. Also remember the football game where i changed out of my cheerleading uniform and into my scout uniform to go camping.

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Part of the perception may be from how some units stress 100% attendance at all the troop meetings. Our unit has about the boys involved in varsity athletics and band. If a boy cant make a string of meetings during the season, thats OK. As long as we know what is going on. As a result we now have about two full patrols of 15-18yo who have been active in the troop since they crossed over. Its great to see all the guys with lettermen jackets stroll in to reveal a full uniform. Our unit stresses extending our duty of providing leadership to the community. To us thats Active The boys may come in looking nerdy and behaving like a geek but they dont age out that way.

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The issue is not whether individual Scouts are nerdy, but whether Scouting is seen by non-Scouts as nerdy. In the social bullying that always goes on to some degree among teenagers, I reckon Scouting has been picked on as being nerdy since the 1960s. Doesn't mean it IS nerdy, but that's the peer level criticism.

 

I think that a new, much less formal uniform introduced in Australia 6 years ago has gone a fair way towards reducing the stigma here.

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HiLo, gotta a link to uniforms?

 

I Googled, and got to the Scouting Australia site, but couldn't quickly find a link to pictures of your current uniform. I could have looked longer, but I'm lazy, and if y'all's site is at all like the US site, finding stuff can be real hard.

 

GaHillBilly

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I have to agree with Hilo there has been this idea of scouting being a bunch of "mommas boys" not because of the program as much as the uniform. Kids in uniform are always razed by kids not part of that group, private school uniforms, scouts, Jewish kids in yamicas, Catholic kids in parochial school plaid uniforms, and even sports uniforms. The reason why IMHO is that kids not part of these groups look on those kids who are as thinking they are better than them. Look at schools today if your kid doesn't wear the right designer clothes then they get picked on as being lame or poor, etc.

 

Any item of clothing that sets apart one group of kids from the majority will put them in line to be harassed by their peers, and if those kids are embarrassed to be seen wearing that clothing it only makes the matter worse. Pride in being who and what you are seems to be seriously lacking in most of todays youth. Maybe because of the example we adults set, and what they see in the mass media of today.

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For Australian uniforms you could check out my own state's website and browse the galleries - www.vicscouts.asn.au

 

A quick link to some folks in uniform is....

https://www.vicscouts.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=211&Itemid=101

 

(Although they don't show the uniform much, I reckon the four pics on that vicscouts home page above epitomise Scouting.)

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When my son was younger Scout he was not likely to wear his Scout stuff to school...I always said to him if he got razzed, was to ask the razzer "when was the last time you ever took an canoe trip, went hiking on the Appalachian trail or went white water rafting"..........it must work to shut a razzer up.

 

He is a Computer geek-gamer.

 

He's a seasoned Star Scout now, and I see him wearing the Merit Badge Trail Drive T-shirt to school a lot. I designed it, and borrowed heavily from a cool buffalo design with a concert-style list on the back. He has the 1-off sample.

 

He also wears the Venturing T-shirt as well. Both are subdued, but obviously "Scouting". I think those that know him know he is a Scout and those that don't he is not too worried about.

 

It helps that he is hitting his growth spurt (size 12 shoes and grew 5-6 inched this year in height).

 

It's interesting in how it all is working out.

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I remember listening to one of the old Baden-Powell addresses and he talked about boys wearing the uniform and getting grief from other boys. He said that wearing the black eye that one got from their peers should be worn as a badge of honor or something like that.

 

Sounds like it was a problem from the Get go. Those were the good ole days. ;)

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Yah, bunch of old fellows here, eh? :)

 

Bein' a geek is no longer da stigma it once was when lots of us were younger. Lots of kids are proud to be such, and modern media tend to celebrate the uniquely capable. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer on, the geeks have been the cool kids.

 

And da sixties are soooo over, dude. The boys in our programs now don't even really remember the 90s! All da culture stuff OGE and others are hung up on from that era don't even register on kids now.

 

Problem is much closer to what HiLo describes. Da "brand identity" of Scouting is dorky and uncool. Ridiculous uniforms. Kowtowing to fat, foolish adults. Lots of lectures and rules. Boys aren't rejecting our values in the least - they would be Harry Potter or Eragon or da modern G.I. Joe in a heartbeat. They're still ready to fight for right and freedom, same as always.

 

They just don't see Scouting as being that kind of place. We're the Hogwarts of Delores Umbridge to them, not the Hogwarts of Albus Dumbledore. Or if not that, we're the Scouting of den mothers and arts and crafts.

 

Beavah

 

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"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

The BSA mission statement.

 

That's gonna get boys to join eh? Might get their parents excited, but the boys?

 

And y'all wonder why outsiders think we are click of geeks.

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I'll be honest, the oath and Law were not what attracted me to Scouting. It was the activities and chance to go camping as a CS, although that didn't happen much, but the promise was there. As a scout, what kept me going at first was the fun, excitement and adventure of Scouting. After, how many 14 yos have taken an advance leadership course, which if taken as an adult could lead to college/continuing ed credits? How many 15 yo could say that the did a 64 mile canoe trip in the Canadian Wilderness?

 

But after the big trip, two things kept me motivated. 1)getting Eagle. not goingot lie, that was a very big factor in keeping me active at 16-18. Yes I got Life at 14 and wanted Eagle, but I did have alot of fun on the trail ;) The other reason I remained active, and do so to this day even before I had kids in the program, was obligation. As a youth, I felt obligated to give back and help those new scouts and everyone really along the trail. As an adult, I wanted to give back like some of my leaders did for me. My SM, ASMs, and MCs were soem of the best role models I ever had and cannot forget what they did for me.

 

Now it's payback. ;)

 

 

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I did wear my uniform to school in Cub Scouts (69 to 72) but never wore my uniform to school in Boy Scouts (graduated high school in North DuPage County (I mean western Cook County) in 1979). No one I knew wore their Boy Scout uniform in Jr. High or High School. I think it had less to do with geekiness than the simple fact that Troop meetings didn't start until 7:30 (that was pretty much the norm for all the Troops). And they didn't start until 7:30 because the high school's activities were done by 6:00 and everyone would have plenty of time to get home, have a quick dinner/shower, change, and be at the meeting on time (except those of us on the swim team - my school had no pool of it's own - we took a bus to another school - most of us didn't get home until 7:30 from November to March - we just came late).

 

Maybe it was my school, or my school district, but there wasn't a big "geek/nerd" population - at least not in the way we think of it. The ones who thought Scouts was uncool were the burnouts and stoners - and they were on the lowest rung of the totem pole. Everyone in our school had something that could be pointed at as being "geeky" or "nerdy". Most of the people in my school were preparing for college and that meant some "geeky/nerdy" classes that had to be taken. There are still people who have a hard time believing this but my school district required, back in the late 70's, that we take, as one of our required mathematics classes, a progamming in basic course. Yep - we had required computer courses from 1975 on. My school offered advanced courses in cobol, fortran and RPG progamming as well. In a district that required 6 semesters (out of 8) of Math (at Algebra and above), 6 semesters of Science, 4 semesters of Social Science, 8 semesters of Humanities, 2 semesters of Foreign Language (with an exception for those who had foreign language from 3rd through 8th grade - I was in the last class that had required foreign language in elementary school), and 2 semesters of business, it was hard not to end up taking some kind of "geeky/nerdy" class. About 40% of graduating seniors had at least one semester of Calculus - I guess we were just all nerds (cue the ending to Revenge of the Nerds).

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Yeah Gern, recruiting would work best with a 3 pronged attack (like a pitchfork?)

Boys: The adventure, using knives and axes, seeing bears, hearing coyotes howl, shooting shotguns & .22s etc.

 

Moms: All that citizenship jazz...

 

Dads: We give sons a chance to have a semblance of the childhood their dad had, maybe.

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Sequoiya (sp),

You need to stress the MAYBE for the dads. I'm a TCDL, and I am surprised at the number that have never been camping before ever. Over 50%. And those that have done camping are usually car campers, only 2 of the dads have ever done any type of backpacking.

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Gosh oh Golly Beavah, GHB asked twice for dates as he was assembling a timeline, I gave him dates based on my experiences, I am not stuck in the 60's (or I am). But in this case, the 60's reference was in direct answer to a direct question from a poster.

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