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Girl Scouts vs. School Dress Code

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On 4/24/2019 at 12:42 PM, walk in the woods said:

I don't know about satin hats or bonnets, whatever the heck that means.  But I've looked pretty rough when dropping my kids off at school, and once or twice when I noticed they left something important on the back seat, say lunch or some paper that needed to be turned in that morning I turned around and took it into school --- I didn't care that I hadn't showered, shaved, dressed for work yet, etc.

Of course I wasn't the only one.  One cold morning on the way to school I noticed a car on the side of the road on an otherwise deserted stretch.  On the way back about a mile further along I saw a gentleman dressed in cartoon print pajama bottoms, a hoody, and a pair of crocs.  I pulled over and said "I bet you need a ride somewhere."  Yup, his car died on the way home from dropping his own kids off.

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Sorry but I was a baseball coach and now a Scoutmaster.  In BSA, we wear a uniform for a reason.  If one of my players showed up not in his baseball uniform then you dint play.  My question to the people pushing back on the uniform is this.  Would you show up at your Softball, baseball, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey game wearing jeans and a T-Shirt and expect to play? No, why? Because it doesn't fit to the activity.  We wear a uniform,. If you don't want to wear one, don't join.  

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1 hour ago, Ranman328 said:

Sorry but I was a baseball coach and now a Scoutmaster.  In BSA, we wear a uniform for a reason.  If one of my players showed up not in his baseball uniform then you dint play.  My question to the people pushing back on the uniform is this.  Would you show up at your Softball, baseball, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey game wearing jeans and a T-Shirt and expect to play? No, why? Because it doesn't fit to the activity.  We wear a uniform,. If you don't want to wear one, don't join.  

Out of curiosity, you say in BSA we wear a uniform for a reason, what is the reason you would give for that?  It's surely not because the uniform is a superior way to dress for outdoor activities.  The uniform can be appropriate attire,  but it can also be incorrect depending on the activity and the uni.  In our troop we preach no cotton on winter outings, but there are certainly cotton uniforms, even the poly ones are good but not superior to other clothing. 

I still believe in the uniform, but just to push back a little, did your players wear their baseball uniform every time they met as a team?  For practice, for banquets?  And why did they have uniforms?  In sports it distinguishes between opposing teams, but in scouts we don't have an opposing team and the better we're doing scouting the better chance there's nobody around but us.

Our troop does a lot in uniforms, but we never send a scout home because he doesn't have one.

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Realistically speaking, I have never seen uniforms being used a means of exclusion amongst Scouts - obviously, nobody is going to send a Scout home because he doesn't have a uniform. But as Baden-Powell put it in the 1908 edition of Scouting For Boys:   

The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across the world.  The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him a credit to our Movement.  It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop.  One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the whole Movement in the eyes of the public. Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood.

Also, from 1913:

I HAVE said before now: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear a uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it. The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout Movement — the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on them to wear uniform if they don’t like it. At the same time, they have their positions to think of others rather than themselves. Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance to be in the same brotherhood with them.

Uniforms are not the point of Scouting, but they are certainly one of the symbols of this movement, and we want our young people to identify with that symbol. When youth look differently, they feel differently, and when they feel differently, they act differently. The more we can get them into their uniforms, the better. I feel that goes double for leaders.

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The uniform is not required. Not even when in front of the Eagle Board. It serves a purpose and we want our scouts and ourselves to be in the appropriate uniform to the best of our ability. But again, not required. 

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18 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

Out of curiosity, you say in BSA we wear a uniform for a reason, what is the reason you would give for that?  It's surely not because the uniform is a superior way to dress for outdoor activities.  The uniform can be appropriate attire,  but it can also be incorrect depending on the activity and the uni.  In our troop we preach no cotton on winter outings, but there are certainly cotton uniforms, even the poly ones are good but not superior to other clothing. 

I still believe in the uniform, but just to push back a little, did your players wear their baseball uniform every time they met as a team?  For practice, for banquets?  And why did they have uniforms?  In sports it distinguishes between opposing teams, but in scouts we don't have an opposing team and the better we're doing scouting the better chance there's nobody around but us.

Our troop does a lot in uniforms, but we never send a scout home because he doesn't have one.

Once again go as far to the other end as possible.  Yes we wear a uniform for a reason.  Pride, Unity, are two examples.  No we do not wear our dress, Class A, Field Uniform to everything.  We have a Class B or Utility uniform we wear to do work, summer events, etc.  Yes, my baseball teams wore a practice uniform to practice.  Yes, football players wear a practice uniform, as do soccer and lacrosse.  Not sure where you are going with this other than oppose my post.  Never did I say I would send anyone home if they didn't wear a uniform.  I frankly, am offended you would even suggest that I did.  I am a Scoutmaster that tells his scout I would rather have them there not in uniform instead of them not being there at all. 

BUT SINCE YOU ASKED, SCOUTS WAS STARTED BY LORD BADEN-POWELL AND I THINK HE SAID IT BEST AND HE SAYS ABOUT THE BOY SCOUT UNIFORM:

"The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country!"  ANY QUESTIONS?  Does that cover why we wear a uniform.  Thanks

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13 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

  ANY QUESTIONS?  Does that cover why we wear a uniform.  

No, it doesn't. That may have been true in 1920, when the traditional uniform of the time was universally accepted, but that isn't even close to being true today. Every country has its own distinct uniform. There is nothing universal about the scout uniform today.

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The uniform symbolizes a uniform heart and mind.

Uniformity symbolizes the whole of the group working in unison for a common goal. Uniformity also requires individuality of each member for the common whole to reach the goal. Like the complicated workings of a Swiss watch, each piece is different to the other pieces, yet the failure of a single piece stops the process of the whole. 

I tell my scouts the uniform is important because everyone becomes equal to the whole of the patrol. The poor scout is equal to the rich scout. The more educated are the same as the less educated. The scout with learning disabilities is equal in uniform with the witty patrol mate. We are equal in uniform.

Yet, the uniform also gives each scout their own identity. A scout is identified by their patrol and troop. Their experience is evident by their rank and position of responsibility. The uniform identifies Arrowmen and other respected honors. I can walk up to any uniformed scout and request specific aid simply by looking at the individuality of the the scouts uniform. Each individuality of the patrol is a  working piece of the patrol whole.

The uniform is more than a shell of the individual, it’s also a state of mind. Uniformity of the whole is dependent on each member of the team filling a need to reach the unified goal. The more uniform the team, the more efficient their process and reaching the unified objectives. I see this efficient uniformity in high adventure crews at the end of a trek. The strenuous requirements of the trek mold the crew to become so uniform in mind by the end of their trek, they don’t even need to communicate with each other in breaking camp and hiking the trail. It’s beautiful to watch. We also see something like this in our patrols at the end of summer camp.

But, I’ve never seen a more uniform patrol than the one patrol I saw at Philmont. These scouts wore the full uniform sharply during their whole trek. When ever we crossed paths with that crew, they were marching, singing and chanting in uniform stride. It was the ultimate in a uniform heart and mind. When one member made a decision, each individual reacted without question in unison to compliment the single action. That was 20 years ago and I know their scoutmaster still smiles.  

But one doesn’t have to dress in uniform to be uniform. The goal of patrol method is to develop a uniform heart and mind. Bringing uniformity to a uniformed mind is as easy as serving others. When we think about it, serving others is a desire of bringing uniformity into a relationship. We can see the desire of developing a uniform heart when the patrol leader serves the patrol in guiding a path to the unified goal. But there is just as much uniformity required, if not more, in the desire of uniformity by serving the patrol leader and other patrol members. So, if serving others is a desire of bringing uniformity to the group, imagine the impact when serving the community through service projects. Many adults see service projects as a requirement to sign off, but the selfless desire to serve builds a unified heart with community. That is why the “Citizen” Aim is so important.

The uniform should also reflect the heart and mind of the scout who wears it. I know this to be true because I could often tell when a scout was in a personal struggle at home (divorce)  just by the way they wore their uniform, or rather, the unconventional way they wore the uniform. If a the SM wants a true measure of the heart of the troop toward the program, they only need to observe them in “THEIR” decision of wearing the uniform. I hear it often that the uniform brings pride into the scout. Ibelieve the opposite, the uniform reflects the scout’s pride of being a scout.

What about those looking in? What uniformity do they see in the scouts? Our troop requires wearing a uniform during travel so the scouts are identified to their responsible adults. But, the true indication of uniformity in the program came when the scouts aren’t wearing a uniform while coming home from summer camp in Colorado. Between the week at camp and our white water rafting stop on the way home, we agreed a clean set of clothes for the long drive home would be the most comfortable. After several hours on the road, We stopped for supper at a pizza restaurant in the Texas panhandle. The adults hung out in the parking lot for a few moments to clear the minds of the long drive. When we walked in the restaurant about 10 minutes later,  the SPL came over to explain that the PLC had already set the patrols away from the other restaurant patrons as well as the troop adults. The 60 or so scouts could have overwhelmed the much smaller local crowd, but they were at their best in behavior and serving. If that wasn’t enough to impress this SM, we learned later that some of the local patrons and restaurant manager picked up the tab for half of our pizza and all the drinks. The manager said the SPL took control as soon as the scouts walked in door discussed with other scouts how the they would pick tables where they wouldn’t bother anyone else. It seems that while we weren’t in uniform, the uniformity of their hearts and minds were in clear view of the locals. And the locals responded.

Adults always struggle with the uniform because in general vanity clouds the mind. If they could see the uniform as a tool for developing the heart, then they can approach the challenges of the uniform from a different perspective. A perspective that will live in the scouts heart and mind for the rest of their life.

Barry

 

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On ‎4‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 8:53 AM, David CO said:

No, it doesn't. That may have been true in 1920, when the traditional uniform of the time was universally accepted, but that isn't even close to being true today. Every country has its own distinct uniform. There is nothing universal about the scout uniform today.

So now we are talking about every country in the world to make the narrative fit right.  Yes, that is why we wear the uniform.  This is the problem with BSA today.  A great program was developed and is based on following the Scout Oath, Law, Outdoor Code and the points of Scouting.  Also deeply rooted is TRADITION.  Things keep getting changed in some cases just to change things other times, people want to come in and cause trouble just to cause trouble. 

BSA has a program with a rules, policies and yes, we wear a uniform.  Again, I say, if you don't want to follow the rules, policies and wear a uniform, then don't join.  There is nothing requiring or forcing anyone to join. There is the four H club, the Boys and Girls clubs, and so on. 

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12 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

There is nothing requiring or forcing anyone to join. 

There is nothing requiring or forcing scouts to wear a uniform either. It is not a choice between wearing a uniform or not joining. It is simply a choice between wearing a uniform or not wearing a uniform. They can join either way. That's the rule.

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12 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

BSA has a program with a rules, policies and yes, we wear a uniform.  

BSA does have a program with rules and policies. And no, we do not all wear a uniform.

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On 4/25/2019 at 10:07 PM, Ranman328 said:

We wear a uniform,. If you don't want to wear one, don't join.  

Good point.

I like scouters who say things like that.

My son's first scoutmaster was a great guy who set a strong example for the boys. When my son went for his Tenderfoot scoutmaster conference, he was told to come back next week because he was wearing jeans and red gym socks, but a Class-A shirt.  Wish more scouters would keep the bar high enough to help the boys learn pride in who they are as scouts... 

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On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 9:12 PM, David CO said:

There is nothing requiring or forcing scouts to wear a uniform either. It is not a choice between wearing a uniform or not joining. It is simply a choice between wearing a uniform or not wearing a uniform. They can join either way. That's the rule.

So David CO, why do you do Scouting then.  You constantly push back against everything that is Scouting.  I notice that you are one of the folks on this group that post negative comments about what Scouting is.  I don't get it.  If you don't want to wear a uniform or follow policies and want to do the exact opposite or find and pick each and every opening to do the opposite of what the program is really about, why do it.  Why not move on and find something that aligns with your views? 

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I'd agree with everything @Ranman328 and @mrkstvns said if my scouts who broke bad weren't also so neatly uniform. :(

My stance is more nuanced, like @Eagledad's. And, as @TAHAWK notes, BSA's absurd slavery to fashion has hurt, rather than helped, neat uniforms.

That said, if one SM lean into uniforming and another is less demanding, I'm fine with both of them. It's a big country.

One wonders, however, if GS/USA's coaching parents and girls in opposing their school dress code could also be used to encourage them in opposing their SM's stance on uniforming. 

 

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I am pro uniform. I know that there are families with financial restraints because I was in one of those families growing up, and with 5 members in the family at one time, it get expensive fast. BUT WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY! (emphasis). Growing up, I had hand-me-downs, thrift store, and even imitation uniform parts. In fact, I did not even own a complete, new  uniform until college, and then it was issued to me by the Scout Shop I worked at. (DISCLAIMER: I am a former National Supply employee in addition to former DE.) I am fortunate in that the quality of the older uniforms is 110% better than the current uniforms, and I still have those uniforms from young adulthood and during my professional career in service still 20+ years later (OK, some of the socks have been thrown away, and my favorite uniform shirt from the 1970s is on it's last legs ;)  ). But my kids have uniforms from thrift stores, Ebay, Craig's List, etc. Even the wife's uniform was from Ebay. Again where there is a will, there is a way.

Like I said, I had imitation Scout pants for a while. Only difference between them was the BSA snaps. I was fortunate that for my troop black socks were OK with the pants, but you better have the Scout socks in shorts. But I was constantly searching the nearby thrift store for pants and finally got them

There seems to be a big difference between those troop that are fully uniformed and those that are not. The fully uniformed ones tend to be more active, have more pride, and tend to retain older Scouts better. I've been in troops of both persuasions over the years, and the fully uniformed ones were better.

Now, do I wish the BSA uniform was better quality, cheaper, and more outdoor oriented? Absolutely. But  the uniform is a recognizable item to the public, and whether it is a fashionable one, or an outdoor one, we need it to promote the organization

Finally regarding GSUSA, one of the complaints I've heard about them is their lack of visibility in the public. You see Girl Scouts selling cookies, and the only way to tell is the boxes of cookies, unless you have them wear a vest or sash. Whereas if the Scouts BSA unit is selling popcorn, or spaghetti dinners in my troop's case, you can tell we are Scouts because we have a uniform.

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