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EmberMike

Ditch the Neckerchief

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My boys use a custom made necker.  36" square, blaze orange, boys wear a black surged satin stitched border, the next patrol can have another color, and the adults wear white border.  No other markings on the neckers.  They are visible from one end of the camp to the other.  The boys use corresponding para-cord woggles.

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I still wear a real neckerchief, square of course. It is immensely functional as I often demonstrate on outings. Unfortunately, my troop currently has opted-out of neckerchiefs but I am trying a new approach - the necker as gear not as uniform. My fiendish plot starts with a wilderness survival campout which requires scouts to wear a neckerchief and use it during the weekend activities - water filtration, first aid, signalling.

 

My $0.02

I think an interesting twist to you plan might be to NOT require the necker....

instead, plan the events and challenges where the necker could be a useful tool, not in an obvious way, but very subtly....

plan it so that the scouts actually discover the idea for themsleves that a necker can be useful.  You might have one in your back pocket more as a bandana, and they might if they are being observant, see you using it to great utility to work through the problems.....

with the idea of letting THEM discover it.

 

......

I have two thoughts on them being uncool - when I was a cub, we wore our uniform to school on den meeting day.  Around here at least that just doesnt happen so the only times a Scouts friends might see him in uniform is when they're doing something around the community - scouting for food, or a parade  or service project.  At that point, I doubt it is the neckerchief that causes the teasing so much as the uniform in general.

 

The other thought is much more noble - rather than discard the necker (and eventually the uniform?) so kids dont get hassled for being uncool, I would rather put in the effort to make Scouting something that kids can be proud to be a part of.  A challenge for sure, but one that needs to happen to help ensure our survival.

I'm a proponent of the uniform.  Pretty much wear it through all of camp, even though "class b" might be the uniform of the day.

But

I think the underlying thing in what you wrote is huge.... focusing on making the scouting program something they are proud to be a part of...(& I would add something of value).  With that in mind, if we were to step back and look at the big picture, would it really be so bad if the uniform went away entirely?  I'm thinking as long as we are building character and the scouts are having fun, we are meeting the bigger goal, right?

 

Ditching the necker was seriously talked about in the UK in the late 90s as part of the big overhaul of uniform. They were kept in the end because the kids demanded it! The scouts themselves wear them with real pride at district and county events. There's always inter troop rivalry and the different colours of troop neckers helps reinforce that. From my perspective I like them as it helps distinguish my scouts from other troops at a distance.

Interesting!

I think that points to a natural desire for uniforming's sense of belonging and all of that.  It really isn't such a bad thing.....just a balance to find what works and what doesn't

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Interesting!

I think that points to a natural desire for uniforming's sense of belonging and all of that.  It really isn't such a bad thing.....just a balance to find what works and what doesn't

 

I couldn't agree more.

 

I've always thought that one of the successes of scouting, what makes it more than just another youth club, is that it taps into a very basic human need to belong, something which is particularly strong among teenagers. The uniform taps into that. It gives a sense of belonging at multiple level, from the patrol through to an international one.

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I am never without my neckerchief. Since I am a Cub Scout leader, I wear the Adult Webelos Den Leader neckerchief, which is the crazy plaid number with gold trim. It isn't the most attractive item in the BSA wardrobe, but I am never without it, and the boys know it. Especially since they are Cubs, where the neckerchief is still required, I make sure to talk to them early about the usefulness and history of the neckerchief so that they simply expect to be wearing them when the bridge over in to the Scouting program. And since one of our traditions is for the New-Scout patrol to hand them their New-Scout patrol neckerchief when they bridge over, it takes them a long while to discover that wearing the necker is optional as a Boy Scout, nor do they want to give them up when they find out that it is. 

 

Starting them on the tradition while they are young Cubs is a huge part of getting it into their hearts and heads; luckily I am in a great position to do that as a Webelos leader.

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I collect neckers. I have some from all over the USA, as well as the UK and Canada. Last meeting as a TCDL, I was asked to come up with something about neckerchiefs and why they are used in Scouting.  I had a few on hand to demonstrate the various uses.  One of the other leaders commented that I need to wear the collection instead of the same one over and over. Great conversation starters. Had lots of tales regarding them.

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My boys use a custom made necker.  36" square, blaze orange, boys wear a black surged satin stitched border, the next patrol can have another color, and the adults wear white border.  No other markings on the neckers.  They are visible from one end of the camp to the other.  The boys use corresponding para-cord woggles.

 

Assuming that "blaze" is USA speak for "dayglow", some wear those over here too, but go one step further and have a hi-vis reflective border sewn on to it. Yes, agreed, they certainly stand out! And useful when you are out and about in the dark.

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Assuming that "blaze" is USA speak for "dayglow", some wear those over here too, but go one step further and have a hi-vis reflective border sewn on to it. Yes, agreed, they certainly stand out! And useful when you are out and about in the dark.

Unless, you are trying to capture your opponent's flag unseen!

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Just put the necker on your dog and let him loose.  You'll have the flag in no time.

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Not a fan of the somewhat vulgar title, but a great article otherwise. We should be encouraging both the history and the wearing of neckerchiefs in our Troops. They really are one of the most visible emblems of Scouting.

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Not a fan of the somewhat vulgar title, but a great article otherwise. We should be encouraging both the history and the wearing of neckerchiefs in our Troops. They really are one of the most visible emblems of Scouting.

 

 

Shouldn't we be encouraging them to make their own decision about this optional part of the uniform? I'd love to see some thoughtful debate among the boys about the pros/cons, personal opinions, etc., leading up to a vote on the topic. 

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Shouldn't we be encouraging them to make their own decision about this optional part of the uniform? I'd love to see some thoughtful debate among the boys about the pros/cons, personal opinions, etc., leading up to a vote on the topic. 

By way of "encouraging," does that include warning them that they run the hazard that any scout from anywhere else in the world (from any other time in history) will, upon seeing them in their pretty tan shirts and glorious epaulets, challenge them with, "Where's your neckerchief?"

 

And, how often should the boys have this vote?

Once? If so what right do your boys have making a decision for scouts decades later? :( Keep in mind: fashion's fickle.

Yearly? If so, things like this can be divisive. (I can see some SPL's campaign plank: "Repeal and replace my predecessor's affordable necker act!")

 

Basically, if you're troop sports a neckerchief, I'd advise just going with tradition unless a super-majority of boys (including troop alumni and feeder packs) wants to change. If not, I'd advise going with the flow, but modelling your desired behavior, offering newly-forming patrols the opportunity to innovate.

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Shouldn't we be encouraging them to make their own decision about this optional part of the uniform? I'd love to see some thoughtful debate among the boys about the pros/cons, personal opinions, etc., leading up to a vote on the topic. 

 

Ours did just that. They decided to ditch the necker. I supported it. The troop committee tried to override it. PLC stuck by their guns. 

 

Then the parents on the TC, many of whom have sons on the PLC, "talked" to their Scouts. There was a re-vote and the neckers were kept.

 

The irony: The sons of the folks on the TC who were strong-armed in to changing their vote NEVER wear them with the uniform. So, of course, no one else does either. In solidarity with the PLC, I never wear mine either.  :D

 

NOTE: PLC got votes from each patrol. The vote was 80% in favor of ditching the necker.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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... Then the parents on the TC, many of whom have sons on the PLC, "talked" to their Scouts. There was a re-vote and the neckers were kept.

 

The irony: The sons of the folks on the TC who were strong-armed in to changing their vote NEVER wear them with the uniform. So, of course, no one else does either. In solidarity with the PLC, I never wear mine either.  :D

 

NOTE: PLC got votes from each patrol. The vote was 80% in favor of ditching the necker.

Quick question, were your TC parents troop alumni?

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