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The best SM minutes are true stories. I shared this minute with my troop a while ago and also posted it on Scouts-L.



The Uniform


This Scoutmaster Minute is for those of you guys who sometimes feel "conspicuous" when you wear your uniform out in public.


Last Thursday evening I had a Court of Honor to attend for a Scoutmaster friend of mine who was receiving a special award. His troop is way south of the river and I knew that I wouldn't have enough time after I got off work that evening to drive home, get dressed and then drive all the way back, so I brought my Class A uniform to work with me that day on a hanger. After work, I got dressed and then, since I still had a little time before the Court of Honor and because I was a little hungry, I decided to grab a bite to eat. I went into the McDonalds and stood in line. It was pretty crowded and I noticed a table of high school guys, maybe 16 or 17 years old, behind me and to the left. As I stood in line, looking up at the menu and deciding whether I wanted combo meal #1 or #3, I heard one of these guys snicker and say, "Hey! Look at the Boy Scout!"


There was a split second of embarrassed silence. Then, as I was turning around to say something, one of the other guys at the table said loudly, "Yo! Dude! Chill out! I'm a Scout!" Our eyes locked for an instant, and even though we had never met before, we shared a bond of comradeship, this 17 year old and me. Then, without skipping a beat, the fellow in line in front of me, about my age, who hadn't seen me enter the restaurant, turned around and said "Me, too!" and he grinned and gave me an OA handshake. Unbelievably, one of the guys in the kitchen who was wrapping up burgers called out over the counter, "Hey, me too!"


And then, not to be left out, I heard an 8-year old voice pipe up from one of the tables, "I'm a Cub Scout!"


Well, after I had paid for my burger and left, I was feeling pretty good. You see, there are a lot more Scouts out there that we realize. We may not be in uniform all the time, but we are all Scouts just the same. We all follow the Scout Oath and the 12 points of the Scout Law. I'm very glad to be part of that brotherhood.

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Just out of curiosity, what would you have said to the young man had the other Scouts in the restaurant not spoken up? That may also make a good SM-minute... Being a youth in Scouting up until a few days ago, I can assure you this issue ("ah - the cool guys are gonna see me in the stupid uniform!") is very important to youth scouters. For adults, perhaps it isn't a big deal - chances are, you're never going to see the kid who started to give you a hard time again, and its easy for you to brush off rude comments like that. However, for the 13-15 year old, its a much harder thing to do, especially when they may encounter the rude kid each and every day at school, in the neighborhood, etc.


So - I think this is a great story, and shows the power and commradery of the Brotherhood of Scouting. But, I'm still interested - what would you have said to the young man, and what how would you suggest your Scouts handle similar situations?

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