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"Unofficial uniform"

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@Mrjeff,

I hope you don't feel that you are being personally attacked by this discussion; certainly that is not my intent and I apologize if you feel such. My confusion stems from the fact that you seem to opine that this is a binary, one-or-the other choice - that either you care about uniforms, or you care about people. In fact, you even state:

1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

So, continue to focuse (sic) on the clothes and lesson teaching if you want to; but I will continue to focus on the youth and their desire to have good clean fun.

But why do you imply that it must be one or the other? Do you truly think that we don't focus on the youth and having fun, and that we go to bed at night thinking about patches and pins? Heaven forbid; the very suggestion is silly. Rather, I believe in doing ALL of these things - and with a specific, meaningful goal: to help make these young people into better adults, better citizens, and better family members. I believe in making Scouting fun just as much as I do in getting these kids to look and feel their best, because these things help make them better people. But uniforms aren't the end goal. Fun is not the end goal. These are certainly tools that we use to engage young minds and hearts - but they aren't the end goal

1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

Like I clearly stated, I have my own opinion and if its offensive or off-putting to you, I dont care. I made no assumptions about issues like character or values. I did say THAT IF YOU ARE THAT FOCUSED ON THE UNIFORM perhaps you should focus on the person and not his CLOTHES.

You needn't worry about offense; I have learned not to be overly concerned with something a stranger on an internet forum posts about something I already understand, and I certainly wouldn't be so petty as to be offended by anything you say. Speak freely here! But do please note that here, you are suggesting that people who do focus on the uniform, somehow, DON'T focus on the person, and just because they pay attention to how they dress in the uniform. You even use large capital letters to make this point. Yet that's not quite reasonable, is it? Just because somebody really cares about the uniform, that does not make them any less interested in the person than you are. The emphasis on one is unrelated to the sentiments of the other. Yet in that same vein, the way a Scout (or leader) wears the uniform does tell us a bit about who he is, and what he believes, and what he thinks of himself. The clothes, in fact, help us focus on the person. That's why we do this.

I would like to state, emphatically, that we are all on the same side. We all want to help these young people grow into responsible, mature adults, and we do it with all manner of methods - making the program fun is a huge part of it. So is the uniform. So are the outdoors, and the patrol method, and service. The whole POINT of these things is to focus on the person - just as you said. If we didn't care about each youth who walks into our meetings with all our hearts, we wouldn't care about any of these things. But we do, and so we do all we can to make sure every Scout has the best, richest experience possible. You say let's make it fun, and focus on the person. I agree 100%. But I also say let's do MORE. Let's get our uniforms right. Let's do the patrol method correctly. Let's do EVERYTHING we can, and let's do it RIGHT - BECAUSE THE SCOUTS DESERVE IT.

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I agree that proper uniforming is important but I do not place it high on the list of priorities.  I believe that the reason Venture Scouts can choose their own uniform requirements is a direct coorilation with the fact that many young adults don't like the idea of wearing a uniform.  I don't like the idea of wearing a scout shirt with jeans, and I don't like generic ball caps with the uniform bug I would rather see the youth then gripe about his Atlanta Braves ball cap. I think it's silly to have a position patch on both sleeves or to have a row of six service star above the pocket. But if someone chooses to do that it is fully and completely their decision and it is neither my responsibility or duty to correct that person.  At one time it was appropriate to wear one national and one world jamboree patch above the pocket.  Although that has changed some still do it and to me it is of no consequence.  If a person wants to wear a mentor pin, eagle parents pin, or 25 square knots it is of no consequence. On one occasion I knew a scouter who wore a Vigil pin on each collar and there are many who wear a legend patch on the back of their OA sash.  Beaded OA sashes are prohibited but a lot of people wear them and even Mr. Goodman is seen in pictures wearing a beaded sash. That's not to mention special shoulder loops or awards that are authorized and presented by local councils.  To me, in the grand scheme of things it just is no big deal.  As far as lessons go, everything that young folks do does not need to be a lesson, some things are just fun. I also feel that adults who are uneducated in the area of psychology, sociology,  psychiatry,  peer pressure, and all of the outside factors that contribute to a person's individuality should proceed with caution when attempting to teach a lesson on ethics, morality, honesty, and human interaction. I wonder how many volunteer "teachers" are familiar with the basic learning modalities and are skilled in the techniques needed for each of them. But that's another subject. These are my thoughts and opinions on the subject.  In short, I choose my battles carefully without losing focus on more critical issues.

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27 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

 I believe that the reason Venture Scouts can choose their own uniform requirements is a direct coorilation with the fact that many young adults don't like the idea of wearing a uniform. 

Here is the actual truth on why Venturing crews can choose their own uniform: when Venturing split from Exploring in 1998, it was so sudden that no uniforms were in existence.

Here is the background. Someone sued a police department for discrimination when they could not join a Law Enforcement Explorer Post. It went to court and BSA lost. BSA rushed to separate traditional Sea Explorer Ships, High Adventure Explorer Posts and  Religious based Explorer Posts from the Career Oriented Explorer Posts. So Career Oriented Explorer Posts like Law Enforcement, Aviation, and Fire and Rescue remained Exploring under the BSA's Learning for Life subsidiary.  Sea Explorers became Sea Scouts once again, and HA and Religious based Explorers became Venturers. There was no uniform available. In fact National made a bunch of Venturing, BSA name taps to be added to the green Explorer shirts, but no Venturing socks or shorts came out for a year afterwards in 1999, and the pants came out 2 years after Venturing split off in 2000.

I got a hold of a Venturing BSA name tape when I was at the 1998 All Hands Conference, and never put it on. I wore my green Exploring shirt so much in 2 years of summer camps, that the shirt was faded enough that the name tape did not match in color.

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I dont think this is exactly correct. I was at the National Law Enforcement Conference in Washington DC when Jim Kaminski made the initial announcement concerning Explorers being removed from traditional units and being placed with Learning for Life and it was far more complex than that. Most of us in attendance were not very supportive of this change and the reasons for this change.

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Regarding the reason for the split, I'm just giving a summary of what the then national director of Venturing told us in the spring of 1998, just before it was announced. As for the uniforms,  well that is what my supply division boss told me. They could be wrong though.

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On 8/27/2019 at 8:10 PM, Mrjeff said:

This is awesome! I guess I'm one of the old farts now. Over the past 40+ years I've received 13 square knots, two Eagle Dad pins, and a partridge in a pear tree. Yes I wear all 13 knots because they outline my scouting adventure that I shared with two daughters and three sons. I proudly display that two of my sons are Eagle Scouts and I will be adding an Eagle Scout grandparent pin as soon as he completes his project.  I ain't gotten paid and I bought my own clothes and I really don't give one twitch about what somebody else thinks about how I decorate my clothes.  Very very very few wear a complete uniform with everything is perfectly placed.  Anyway, that's my view on things and if you agree that's fine and if you don't, you are the one stressing about it, not meeeeee!

 

18 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

Like I clearly stated, I have my own opinion and if its offensive or off-putting to you, I dont care. ......bla bla bla bla .... As I previously stated, THIS IS MY OPINION AND NO AMOUNT OF ELOQUENT DIALOGUE IS GOING TO CHANGE IT.  Your opinion is important even if I dont agree with it and I would respectfully suggest that you do what you do, and mind your own opinion without attempting to change the important opinions of others.  Unit leaders are responsible for the appearance of their unit and adults are responsible for their own appearance.  And since I agree that there are no real uniform or patch police no one has the responsibility of correcting or criticizing another's choice in what they put on their shirt. If someone feels that it is their duty to do so they assume the position of the mythical uniform police.

Just because someone is anti-uniform doesn't mean they aren't a form of uniform police. I respect your opinion once , but over and over and over? There comes a point when the scouting response is just agree to disagree.  

Barry

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Interesting discussion. So close to the trees. I mean, here we are trying to motivate our youth to improve their character and we think we have a clue. Who here thinks they know exactly how to motivate any teenager to do anything? Character is hard but maybe just taking out the garbage without being reminded? That should be easy. Or not. We all have ideas but no scientific proof.

Bottom line, Mrjeff just joined us, dragged up an old thread and argument from 2014, and we're nowhere closer to an answer. Surprised? Maybe a better discussion is how can we possibly break this pattern? I don't have an answer but I'm guessing we aren't close. Just my cents worth.

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This is the same uniform debate I've seen on various Scouting discussion forums for the last 25 years.  Lots of passion for a few days until the participants are worn out, but no resolution.

43 minutes ago, MattR said:

Maybe a better discussion is how can we possibly break this pattern? I don't have an answer but I'm guessing we aren't close. Just my cents worth.

Maybe redefining the issue might help us pin down the areas where differences arise.  What if we took sewn-on, glued-on, pinned-on, and hung-on awards and insignia out of the equation:  Suppose that for both Scouts and adults, their council, unit, patrol, rank, and position of responsibility were all indicated by a combination of pre-printed shirt logos, pocket flap color, and neckerchief design; no badges, patches, pins, or other items were authorized to be attached to uniform shirts.  How would that change the debate?

 

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1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

This is the same uniform debate I've seen on various Scouting discussion forums for the last 25 years.  Lots of passion for a few days until the participants are worn out, but no resolution.

Maybe redefining the issue might help us pin down the areas where differences arise.  What if we took sewn-on, glued-on, pinned-on, and hung-on awards and insignia out of the equation:  Suppose that for both Scouts and adults, their council, unit, patrol, rank, and position of responsibility were all indicated by a combination of pre-printed shirt logos, pocket flap color, and neckerchief design; no badges, patches, pins, or other items were authorized to be attached to uniform shirts.  How would that change the debate?

 

National was looking into that a few years back. It was even tested in 1 council. It didn't work because just buying the individual rank shirts, eaht rank got it's own t shirt, was  more expensive than the current uniform.

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37 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

National was looking into that a few years back. It was even tested in 1 council. It didn't work because just buying the individual rank shirts, eaht rank got it's own t shirt, was  more expensive than the current uniform.

Interesting -- I did not know that.  Here, it's a hypothetical, not a proposal.  The debate, as I frame it, is:  How enthusiastically should Scouters promote the correct and complete uniform in our interactions with other Scouters and with Scouts?  The idea of this hypothetical is:  How much of the uniform debate is the result of (i) complicated, detailed insignia rules, and/or (ii) the large number of insignia types, and/or (iii) the need to attach them to the uniform? 

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Looking at the Tiger handbook today, there is the usual placement of items listed in the book like we always see in handbooks.  Some of us used to hand sew items on uniforms and still take pride in placing things correctly.  While traveling around the US in a scout uniform, I've been approached more times than I can remember, I get asked about the program and find most former scouts always recognize uniform items. 

I would hate for us to get so relaxed with the uniform that we get mistaken with other organizations.  A scout uniform has been known by Americans since it began, with only the big change from OD green to the tan uniform in 70s, we've been the same. 

Come to think about it, I can't think of any organization like ours that has a uniform so recognizable.  That's why I try to wear it correctly.

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14 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

... Suppose that for both Scouts and adults, their council, unit, patrol, rank, and position of responsibility were all indicated by a combination of pre-printed shirt logos, pocket flap color, and neckerchief design; no badges, patches, pins, or other items were authorized to be attached to uniform shirts.  How would that change the debate?

 

12 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

National was looking into that a few years back. It was even tested in 1 council. It didn't work because just buying the individual rank shirts, eaht rank got it's own t shirt, was  more expensive than the current uniform.

I keep telling you all, electronic ink fabric is the future. No badge sewing or shirt swapping. As soon as the BoR chair shakes your hand, the event is automatically relayed from shirt-to-shirt over an ad-hoc troop network and the new rank appears on the left pocket.

Courts of Honor? A an image overlay of a sash will appear across the shirt with scrolling MBs on the front and every temporary insignia the scout has ever earned on the back. The minute the shirt hears the scout talking lodge business it wil fade the MB sash and project the O/A sash.

Want to trade a patch? Slide the image of it to the edge of your sleeve, then bumps sleeves with your swap partner, whose name you won't have to worry about because you social media profile will be exchanged in the process. Scouts will have an extra frond in their Eagle Palms for every thousand exchanges.

Hackers will produce pants and shorts with electronic ink for those scouts who think favorably toward hanging sashes on a belt (or, as I call it, sash rack) when they aren't on a shoulder.

Embrace the future and make Uniforming fun!

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The discussion is typically a battle of passions for the uniform, not practical applications of the uniform.

I agree the BSA is identified by the uniform because through all of it's changes, the uniform is still a reflection of tradition. I wore my dad's scout shirt and hat during my scouting experience. That means more now than it did then, but it means a lot to have that identity as brothers.

More  importantly, there is a purpose for uniformity in the program.  Uniform actions with the patrol are practice of selfless individual actions. Uniformity directs a state of mind for considering the good of others first. Uniformity subtly sets fertile ground for living the Scout Law.

The uniform is an equalizer that gives each scout equal stature for self- identity with the patrol. In uniform, the rich scout has no more stature than the poorer scout standing next to them. The stature of rank and responsibility identifies the maturity and experience of the individual. 

Uniform can be and indicator of personal life experience. I accidentally found that the uniform (or dress) often identifies that state of mind of the scout as well. More often than not when I asked a scout, who wasn't in his typical habit of wearing the uniform, how he was doing, I found he was dealing with a difficult struggle in his life.

I admit I get as frustrated with the hypocritical anti-uniform police as I do by the so-called uniform police because both are selfishly ignoring the practical growth advantages of uniformity in the patrol and the state of mind of each scout. Scouting is a wonderful program when the adults removed the barriers that corral a scout from finding his hidden virtues, as well as exposing bad habits. I've said many times that the two methods that challenge adults the most are "Advancement" and "Uniform". The adults, more often than not, are doing both wrong.

Barry

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8 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I've said many times that the two methods that challenge adults the most are "Advancement" and "Uniform". The adults, more often than not, are doing both wrong.

It is no coincidence that those two Methods are the ones with highly detailed rules and requirements governing a large number and wide variety of separate applications (specific rank and award requirements in the case of Advancement; specific badges, patches, pins, dangly things, loops, sashes, neckerchiefs, hats, belts, and other uniform parts and accessories in the case of Uniform).

  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are to miss something or get something wrong.
  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are for a range of opinions and practices to develop concerning application of the rules.
  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are to get wrapped up in the rules and forget (or ignore) the point of the Method. 

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7 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

It is no coincidence that those two Methods are the ones with highly detailed rules and requirements governing a large number and wide variety of separate applications (specific rank and award requirements in the case of Advancement; specific badges, patches, pins, dangly things, loops, sashes, neckerchiefs, hats, belts, and other uniform parts and accessories in the case of Uniform).

  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are to miss something or get something wrong.
  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are for a range of opinions and practices to develop concerning application of the rules.
  • The more numerous, detailed, and specific the rules are, the more opportunities there are to get wrapped up in the rules and forget (or ignore) the point of the Method. 

Hmm, that makes a lot of sense. Also, I find  that adults who don't really understand how patrol method works like to go to structure because they can more easily judge their success and failure. Good post.

Barry

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