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How Do We Make Uniforming A Viable Method?

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Many say the uniform is expensive.  What are some ways to work around that?  Is the uniform as important today as it was 30 years ago?  If not, why?  If so, why?

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Somebody sent me a website that sells uniforms. They collect them from Salvation Army Stores and have agreements to buy them from factories that turn old clothes into rags. 

http://ascoutisthriftyuniformexchange.weebly.com/prices.html

Some councils, districts and Troops offers the same. I imagine my troop could outfit maybe 10 new Scouts with the spare uniforms we have floating about. May not fit perfectly, but for a family with financial difficulty, it could be really helpful. 

Sentinel947 

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I think it depends on what you see as the purpose of uniform.

 

Young people have a very basic desire to "belong" to something, that's the same where ever you are in the world. And that in itself is one of the reasons why scouting has grown for over a century and is continuing to grow. The uniform is part of that. It may well be that scouts are shy of wearing it in the street, and given the hard time they sometimes get for it I can't blame them. Yet that uniform, when they are at their meeting place or on camp means something. It's part of who they are and what they belong to.

 

Now that's not to say kids are generally that keen on it being super smart. Certainly mine aren't, they're a right scruffy bunch. Fact is I take a little bit of pride in my scruffy looking rabble. This photo album is of general scout stuff in summer 2012. It's one of my favourite albums. As you can see badges in the wrong place, missing woggles, shirts untucked etc. The uniform is there though and in particular the necker. It's just worn the way they wear it.

 

So yes it is still important, you just have to let the kids lead on it.

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Our unit's QM actively contacts scouts leaving the program to collect unneeded gear. He maintains an inventory and we open it up to any scouts who need gear.

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The uniform is functional and a method. How important is the uniform depends on how it is used functionally and what you want our of the methods. Functionally the uniform is and equalizer that both hides and identifies scouts in the program. The poor scouts is equal to any other scout in uniform and identifies himself with patrol, troop and rank patches. All of these things are meant to prevent barriers in their goals to follow their dreams. 

 

On the method side, there is not method that challenges a scout to honor the expectations of being obedient than the uniform. If the troop expectations are full uniform and the scout shows up in jeans, well he made a wrong choice. How many wrong choices can a scout make before it becomes a habit. But don't misunderstand, telling a scout to get in proper uniform does not have the same possitive impact of the scout himself choosing to wear the uniform because it is the right choice. 

 

Many adults say wearing the uniform brings pride in being a boy scout. But I say just the opposite, how a scout wears the uniform shows how proud he is to be a boy scout. In fact, I learned that that 9 times out of 10, a scout who not in proper uniform who usually is in uniform has a big problem going on in his life. Made for some very good SM conferences. 

 

The main thing is you are going to haft to get in your mind is how you want the scouts to grow with the uniform. Once your figure that out, then you can answer  your other questions. But get ready, the Scout Handbook explains proper uniforming. It's hard for me to explain to scouts that they can deviate from it. In fact, we didn't. That doesn't mean our whole troop was in full uniform. Many scouts made the wrong choice.

 

Barry

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Now that's not to say kids are generally that keen on it being super smart. Certainly mine aren't, they're a right scruffy bunch. Fact is I take a little bit of pride in my scruffy looking rabble. This photo album is of general scout stuff in summer 2012. It's one of my favourite albums. As you can see badges in the wrong place, missing woggles, shirts untucked etc. The uniform is there though and in particular the necker. It's just worn the way they wear it.

Great photos skip, thanks for sharing them.

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Thruout the world, Scout world that is, the NECKER is the defining piece of Scout clothing.  Altho I have never been to  a World Jamboree (coming here in 2019!), all the info I have and the pictures I have seen indicate that even if  a Scout Troop can't afford a uniform shirt (much less pants or shorts), they will wear the necker. It will have pins and patches on it.  It means "Scout" to the rest of the community, in their service and hikes and comings and goings.

The bigger point here, especially in this thread, should be why don't American Scouts like the neckerchief?   It is , uniformly, the one item I hear about that a boy doesn't want to wear , EVER.   National has even made it "optional" to the Troop to decide! 

Now, this is not the same everywhere.  I see some Troops that love their special, custom to them, necker. Take pride in them, even.  

But if the uni is one of the "methods",  what is it, outside of the "dork" factor, that makes it hard for a boy to want to be SEEN as a SCOUT?

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Show up for a football game with your pads, helmet, jersey and blue jeans and see how often the coach sends you into the game.

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- The uniform is still optional.

- The uniform method was the 8th method and not added until the 1980's.

- A scout is expected to be a scout whether he is wearing his uniform or not, the Scout Oath and Law still applies.

- As pointed out, National does not understand the importance or proper wear of the necker.

 

One of my scouts had an interesting uniform idea: download all earned awards to a scout's smartphone/tablet for display as desired. No sewing, no cost, an electronic sash of sorts.  Sounds radical but it may be the future.

 

My $0.02

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The bigger point here, especially in this thread, should be why don't American Scouts like the neckerchief?   It is , uniformly, the one item I hear about that a boy doesn't want to wear , EVER.   National has even made it "optional" to the Troop to decide!

Good question. I think one of the reasons for the dislike of the neckerchief is that it is treated like a dress tie. It's supposed to be neatly rolled and tucked under the collar. That and the official neckerchief slides constantly fall off. Result is that scouts are constantly loosing their neckerchiefs when they are active. Then some adult comes by and chides the scout for having a "messy" neckerchief, or for not wearing it because they can’t find the slide that flew off into the bushes who knows where. It’s all part of where the uniform seems to be made for sitting in meetings and not playing ultimate frisbee (especially the cub uniform with all the flappy recognition stuff).

 

Look at the photos that Cambridgeskip posted. You see that the neckerchiefs are worn loosely, and they are secured by either a woggle, what looks like a band tie of some kind, or just a knot. Much more practical.

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""Look at the photos that Cambridgeskip posted. You see that the neckerchiefs are worn loosely, and they are secured by either a woggle, what looks like a band tie of some kind, or just a knot. Much more practical.   ""

 

Friendship Knot  , very widely used in Europe:        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship_knot    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lpSWxSTuVY

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When my daughter was in grade school, she wore a uniform.  When she went to middle school, there was no uniform.  The explosion of ridiculously expensive and revealing clothing worn by the girls was incredible.  She wishes they'd stayed with the uniforms.  The uniform removed any temptation to show off by buying expensive clothing - it made all the girls look equal.

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Design a uniform that scouts actually want to wear.   

 

Has National asked the scouts "what would you like in a uniform?"   I rather doubt it.  

 

I think the ODL, Centennial, the Uniform After the Centennial, etc., were all designed with the middle-aged scouter in mind.

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Thruout the world, Scout world that is, the NECKER is the defining piece of Scout clothing.  Altho I have never been to  a World Jamboree (coming here in 2019!), all the info I have and the pictures I have seen indicate that even if  a Scout Troop can't afford a uniform shirt (much less pants or shorts), they will wear the necker. It will have pins and patches on it.  It means "Scout" to the rest of the community, in their service and hikes and comings and goings.

The bigger point here, especially in this thread, should be why don't American Scouts like the neckerchief?   It is , uniformly, the one item I hear about that a boy doesn't want to wear , EVER.   National has even made it "optional" to the Troop to decide! 

Now, this is not the same everywhere.  I see some Troops that love their special, custom to them, necker. Take pride in them, even.  

But if the uni is one of the "methods",  what is it, outside of the "dork" factor, that makes it hard for a boy to want to be SEEN as a SCOUT?

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s when we had whole sale changes to the programme here there was a proposal to drop the necker from the uniform. The result was close to insurrection from the kids! I don't know how it works with the optional one with you but for us each group in a district has their own colours. The kids take real pride in them particularly at district and county events when it becomes really quite tribal! The necker was retained.

 

It is up to the individual scout what they use as a woggle. Some will buy one specially, some will keep their old coloured plastic one from cubs, some make one, some just use an elastic band or hair bobble. The friendship knot is increasingly popular. It's not "official" uniform but on camp I encourage them to push the woggle up one side of the necker for safe keeping and tie the two ends.

It's much more practical!

 

Some groups are more obsessive about uniform than mine, it's quite varied. I ask for shirt and necker on at flag break and flag down and investitures. On camp the necker stays on all the time.

 

Other groups insist on uniform trousers and some, for reasons I can't fathom, black polished shoes. While the uniform trousers are quite practical it strikes me that if you are asking for formal shoes either you've got the wrong programme or you're going to end up with some really upset parents!

 

As it is I like my scruffy little band :)

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When my father was in scouts, very few in the patrol could afford full uniforms. They had the neckerchief (a square, not the useless triangle) and the patrol sewed armbands from leftover scrap fabric to which they affixed their patrol emblem. That was their uniform.

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