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It's myth debunking time!

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I fell for the myth that our congressional charter doesn't allow us to wear camo as part of the uniform so we don't imitate the military.


It kind of made sense to me, but then I thought about our uniform. so I read the congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America. It wasn't there. But wait! What's this next page?




The only reference to BSA and military is in paragraph three, first sentence. And I quote --


"The Boy Scout movement is not one seeking to promote a juvenile military system (we must have had critics even in 1916 -- editorial,) but is intended to supplement and enlarge established modern educational facilities in activities in the great and healthful out of doors where may be the better developed physical strength and endurance, self-reliance, and the powers of initiative and resourcefulness, all for the purpose of establishing through the boys of today the very highest type of American citizenship."


I know it's a long sentence. I just typed it. How someone got "you can't wear camo" out of it, I just don't know.


Any other myths out there?


DS(This message has been edited by dsteele)

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dsteele please don't make me look it up again. That is one of the most boring congessional acts to wade through. I will agree that the uniform has a military origin and still maintains many military elements. But about a year ago I researched this for a Roundtable presentation and there is a clause added in the 1920s that says the BSA uniform is not to mimic any US Military Uniform.


I immediately thought of the Sea Scout uniform which certainly mimics a seaman's uniform Then I found out that by definition the Navy is not a branch of the military. It is the Navy and military refers to ground forces. Likewise the old Air Scout program was able to dress as airmen since they are not by definition ground forces.


So do the rules say no fatigues or BDU's? That is debatable and a huge waste of time. The main point is that a field shirt and BDU's or fatigues is out-of-uniform not because they are military, but because they are not BSA uniform pieces.


Wear what you want but don't call it a BSA uniform if it isn't, and don't think you have the option to establish BDU's or fatigues as BSA uniform options within a unit. The BSa uniform is controled by the National office of the BSA.


My favorite Myth,

The one that goes ...you must travel in uniform to be covered by scout insurance. I've heard this for years.


My Second Favorite...That Scout Spirit is determined by attendance.


My Third...That to be considered "Active" for Rank advancement simply means to be registered.


All three are hogwash.



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One of the longer threads in this forum dealt with camouflage suits and uniform parts. I was amazed at how controversial the topic was. I don't think anybody ever claimed that camouflage was disallowed, but then it is not part of the official uniform either. Legal or not, troops have, and take, a lot of latitude in designing their "activity" uniforms. Mostly that means troop t shirts, but there is no reason that camouflage could not be included. Before BW jumps back in, I am using the term "uniform" loosely here, and am not narrowly refering to the officially sanctioned uniform.

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OK, I just couldn't let this slip past as I have been waiting for the yearly post on this myth with bated breath. Yeah, I know it is a mite early, but I have seen it even earlier.


Tiger uniform changing to the blue Cub Scout uniform. This is the last order of orange shirts on the shelves at national, after they are gone, it's blue all the way!!!


What Horse patooty!! That one last shipment has lasted at least 5 years, if not longer! Tigers are ORANGE, at least until further notice from National. And I kinda like them that way!


Nut :)

blushing Tiger orange & black!

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Many people take the no camo serious. I won't take the time to find it, but there was an earlier thread where a parent was denied entrance into a council camp because he was wearing camo. If I remember, there was even a threat of calling the sheriff to have the man removed if he didn't leave willingly. I don't think scouts should dress like infantrymen. However, and I know BW is a stickler for the official uniform, how many scouts do you see in uniform except for flag ceremonies? Not many. They were their regular street clothes very often. I have scout pants and I have a pair of camo BDU's I bought for hunting. I won't wear the camo BDU's on a scout campout or function. But I have to tell you, for ruggedness in the out of dorrs, they can't be beat. For crying out loud, if the military will wear them into combat, they have to be good. Most guys out in the woods want something to wear that will stand up to their activity. The pants the wear to a meeting or to a COH just don't ut it. BDU's can be found online or in surplus stores in a variety of colors. The come in tan, olive, navy and black. The military wears camo. If scouts and scouters want a pair of colored BDU pants for activity wear, I say go for it, just have the official uniform handy for the appropriate times and functions.

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There are all sorts of myths,half truths,and misunderstandings.

Sad to say that a lot of these come from those who ought to know better: Training Staff, District Committee Members, Commissioners and even the professionals.

These do cause a lot of frustration and at time ill feelings.

In my "Department" I find that I'm constantly having to explain what the district and the key 3 can and can't do.

Someone is unhappy about the appiontment of a unit leader or the way he or she is performing. What are we /me/ you going to do about it ? Why don't you kick him or her out !!

Wearing my other hat in Training. I hear, "I'm an Eagle Scout, you can't teach me anything new"

The list of ways people try to alter or change the program is unending. Then when it fails to work, they try to locate blame as far from home as they can.

I have had parents who thought that Tom Watt and Trails End are owned by the BSA.

People who think that the key 3 get paid !!

Then we have the police. Uniform Police, Fund Raising Police, Tour Permit Police and Advancement Police. This band of enforcers, will arrive out of thin air, ready to give 20 lashes of a wet Wood Badge to any and all of those who break the rules.

Many years back, I used to attend a very boring meeting, in an effort to bring some life to it, I would pick on some rule or something that wasn't really clear, and open it up for debate. I remember discussing, How to determine the sex of a fish!! If a Scout who spoke a dialect of Hindu, that only his mother spoke could use English as a foreign language or if the Hindu was the one to use for the patch.

We can all look for the something that is not clear.

But this is such a waste of time. We have a great program, let us all go out and deliver it to the youth. When there is that something that we don't understand, take a look at the easy things - The Methods of Scouting. The Scout Law and Oath and the Mission.

We can take along the Guide to Safe Scouting, in order to ensure that we are not too far off base.

And we the people who ought to know what we are asked have got to get used to telling people " I don't know, but I will get back to you."

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OK, that's it! "The Navy is not part of the military"??????? According to MY dictionary, "military" used as a noun means "armed forces". Period. So, even the Coast Guard is an "armed force", even though they are not in the Department of Defense. "The Navy is not part of the military?" Come to Norfolk and say that to the crew of a submarine full of Harpoon cruise missiles coming home from a year-long deployment! I guess the President was mis=informed when he flew out to the aircraft carrier last week.


I'll admit, I don't know what our Congressional Charter says. But I do believe there are laws against impersonating a member of the military, as well as doctors, police officers, clergy, etc. So while wearing a pair of BDUs may not be "illegal", trying to convince others by fraud that you are a SEAL or Airborne Ranger or even a Yeoman is. I also don't believe that an 11 year old running around the woods in a scout shirt and BDUs, camo or otherwise, rises to the level of "impersonation", or even the capital crime of "mimicry". Now if anyone is issuing their scouts rifles and fake military ID cards, and painting their canoes and F150s OD green with white stars on the doors, I'll sit up and take notice! But in an otherwise good Troop program, is what they wear really important? The most grievous offense they are guilty of is not being in complete Scout uniform...it doesnt' matter if they are BDU's, blue jeans, sweat pants or pajama bottoms. The choice is to either be "in uniform"...or not.

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If you had the choice, would you rather have your boys in BDU pants, uniform pants, or blue jeans while in the field? Come on now, use a little common sense.


BTW- the Coast Guard was in the Department of Transportation until this year when it was moved to the Department of Homeland Security. It is only a part of the Department of Defense during war at which point it is in teh Department of the Navy.

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My apologies, folks. I didn't mean to open pandora's box on an old debate. Bob, don't look anything up unless you feel compelled to. I'm certainly not going to ask you to.


The only congressional stuff included with the latest issue of the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America opened with the congressional charter and the report I referred to. Frankly, I have no interest in anything congress has passed referring to the use of camos in our uniforms. The only uniform guide I will accept is the Insignia Guide -- latest edition. That's the interpretation of whatever rules, etc. by wiser heads than mine.


Camos, or BDU's are not uniform parts. In most of the posts I've read, there is no question. However, I haven't seen anything that says we can't wear them period. And camo doesn't mean military. I don't know about other states, but hunters in Michigan wear "camo safety orange." It wouldn't do you a bit of good against any human foe and certainly isn't military.


As to navy being military -- not about to get into that one. I can't even take credit for starting the argument -- I think that one began betwen John Adams and George Washington.




PS -- what I was looking for in this thread was questions people had about BSA policies and things they'd been taught that didn't make sense to them. Perhaps we could direct this that way? Then we'd be helping to clarify, with sources, confusion amongst BSA people rather than jumping on each other over trivialities.



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I dont think it was Camo that got the parent in trouble, it was the pseudo-representation of a military uniform that is the trouble. Wearing Camo is fine, its impresonating a military uniform that will get you in trouble.


Now, there is a district in our Council that banned Camo at all District event, I think that moronic, but thats only my opinion, people have the right to be wrong.

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OA Chapter names MUST be the same as the District names, regardless of what the boys voted on. (From our SE). A quick check of other councils' web sites tells me that's a myth.

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Bob White...Oh Great One,


Tell me more about the myth concering wearing uniforms while traveling. I've been told over and over again at all levels of training that the leaders and the scouts must be in uniform while traveling or attending an "away" activity for insurance pruposes.....please(This message has been edited by fotoscout)(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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There is no insurance requirement that requires Scouts or adults to be in uniform while traveling. There is no BSA policy that states such, either. Actually, uniforms aren't required bya the BSA!


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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