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mrkstvns

Uniform Inspections

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As you may know from the multiple threads in this Forum, there are official guidelines for BSA uniforms, an official guide to placement and appropriateness of badges etc., and. there is even an official uniform inspection form, complete with scoring system and notes for feedback to individual scouts.  The uniform is one of the "methods" of scouting and Scoutmaster position training these days includes a module about the uniform per BSA guidelines.

It has me curious.....does anybody really USE the inspection form or demand adherence to the guidelines?

I constantly see scouts wearing nylon basketball shorts with their class A, blue jeans, unofficial socks, no belt, etc. Sometimes, it seems more scouts are non-compliant with the guidelines than wear the uniform correctly.  But it's never seemed like a particularly big deal to me, especially for routine meetings and troop activities (though I do encourage my own son to dress sharper for things like Court of Honor, Board of Review, etc.)

But INSPECTIONS?  Hmmm.  Scouts isn't the military and I'm not sure that level of discipline is helpful.  But maybe some others do uniform inspections....maybe...

Do any of y'all EVER inspect uniforms?  Know of any units in your district that do so??

BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia
https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066/33066_Section_1_WEB.pdf

BSA Uniform Inspection Sheet:
https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34048.pdf

 

 

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I've seen it plenty of times as part of the scoring at district camporees. Our council camps have a 100% uniform award at summer camp. There are two kinds of troops here: those that win that ribbon every year and those that don't even try. 

As for inspections during troop meetings, I've never seen it done. 

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Posted (edited)

Actually, I started holding regular uniform inspections with my Webelos den during the last few years I was with them, and the results were dramatic and successful. I taught the boys why we wear uniforms over and over again, and I held myself to the same standards as they - we were all expected to look our best, as a team, and with a few very small incentives (a special ribbon for the den flag, or perhaps a treat after a few weeks of consistently good scores), we eventually had a den of boys whose uniforms we ALMOST ALWAYS perfect, from the socks to the necker to the hat. And this eventually affected the other dens and patrols that met in the same building - soon my Webelos Scouts challenged all the older patrols and the younger dens to a massive uniform challenge based on the average weekly score of each patrol/den over a period of three months, and after the first few weeks ALL the Scouts in the whole building were looking FANTASTIC!

Naturally, my den crushed the competition. :rolleyes:

I will say though, it really wasn't difficult to get the boys motivated. And my inspections are pretty strict too; I don't let misplaced patches fly, and every Scout was expected to be 100% current on his rank and position Nothing out of place, that's my motto. My assistant never even fully passed an inspection! But I made it fun, and I always reminded them that, in the end, I didn't actually care if they forgot their socks or lost their neckerchief, but that I was just happy to see the effort they put into it and ALWAYS thrilled when a boy did his best, whatever the results. And that, I know, changed the results over time. I think it helped them WANT to look their best, and all my boys that are now Star and Life Scouts still put a lot more thought into how they present themselves in uniform than most other Scouts in our district. I like to think they've learned something beyond just proper uniforming - hopefully they realize that they way they look affects the way they feel, which affects the way the act. It also has a great influence on the way others will interact with them. And in the end, it had a massive influence on the boys' behavior as well. The effect their appearance had on their maturity, cooperation, obedience, and Scout spirit was palpable - the uniforms, in their small but highly visible way, did indeed help make them better people! Our entire congregation noticed it; soon the boys were dressing better for church too, and for school, and for - well, life!

Uniforms make more difference than we give them credit for sometimes.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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Posted (edited)

As a fun side note, I think I re-read the Guide to Awards and Insignia at least every other week. I LOVE when everything is in its proper place, and one of my favorite games for teaching Scouts (and leaders; I use it at Roundtable often) is "Pin the Patch on the Uniform." I have a picture of a Scout in uniform on the wall, sans insignia, and each Scout(er)s comes up with a small paper picture from an assortment of various patches and awards that they must put in the proper place. It's a fun, stress-free way to teach good uniforming, and the boys actually love to play it! Older boys like trying it blindfolded even. Uniforming doesn't have to be about OCD, nitpicky corrections by some 'uniform police' - it can be a fun and engaging way to teach values and principles to the kids if you just know how to use it!

And honestly, I LOVE when boys try to correct me when they think they've found an error in my uniform! I gotta be willing to take if I'm aiming to give, as it were, and while they have yet to catch me in any egregious error, I will gladly accept a valid correction if ever I'm in the wrong. Wearing the uniform should be a delight, for pity's sake! :p

Edited by The Latin Scot
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I would have the SPL do it twice a month. But, he hasn't even tried once.

FYI: I can't find the pre-printed inspection sheets anywhere.

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2 hours ago, Saltface said:

As for inspections during troop meetings, I've never seen it done.

Don't see it much anymore, but it was a regular part of our meetings back in the day (way back, as in 1964 +)

Now, it does seem there are few who are fully and correctly uniformed.  I make sure that my own scout & I are fully and correctly uniformed at all times, as for the rest of the troop, I will point out something that needs correction (patches on the wrong sleeve, etc), but have reached the stage of life where I am more concerned with the scout inside the uniform, rather than the uniform itself.

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Back when I was a Unit Commissioner, I would do inspections during my meeting visits.   I always brought small prizes.  I would give out stuff for being "fully uniformed," for most number of uniform shirts in a patrol, etc.  The boys started to enjoy the competition and I started to have to think of higher bars for prizes.  It also gave me a chance to see if there were consistent missing things that might be the result of a families inability to afford.  At the time I had a pretty good line on both used pieces and people who had money but not time to give.  We were able to get boys lots of "really gently used" uniform pieces that way. 

 

I like uniform inspections for building the team feel that a well uniformed group has.  But I am always cognizant of really good reasons why boys might not be in full uniform.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

As you may know from the multiple threads in this Forum, there are official guidelines for BSA uniforms, an official guide to placement and appropriateness of badges etc., and. there is even an official uniform inspection form, complete with scoring system and notes for feedback to individual scouts.  The uniform is one of the "methods" of scouting and Scoutmaster position training these days includes a module about the uniform per BSA guidelines.

It has me curious.....does anybody really USE the inspection form or demand adherence to the guidelines?

I constantly see scouts wearing nylon basketball shorts with their class A, blue jeans, unofficial socks, no belt, etc. Sometimes, it seems more scouts are non-compliant with the guidelines than wear the uniform correctly.  But it's never seemed like a particularly big deal to me, especially for routine meetings and troop activities (though I do encourage my own son to dress sharper for things like Court of Honor, Board of Review, etc.)

But INSPECTIONS?  Hmmm.  Scouts isn't the military and I'm not sure that level of discipline is helpful.  But maybe some others do uniform inspections....maybe...

Do any of y'all EVER inspect uniforms?  Know of any units in your district that do so??

BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia
https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066/33066_Section_1_WEB.pdf

BSA Uniform Inspection Sheet:
https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34048.pdf

 

 

My troop has dabbled with inspections in the past. Hasn't been a consistent thing. Only other place in Scouting I've seen uniform inspections is at NYLT. There it's partially a game, and partially about building patrol cohesion/unity through uniforming. 

Edited by Sentinel947
Terrible typos

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District camporee has uniform inspection. Old troop has an informal one. Scribe keeps track but does not use the uniform inspection form. 

Current troop does surprise inspections at meetings. Sheet is not used, but they are looking for all the items on it.

Troop I grew up in did weekly uniform inspections.

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My Troop occasionally perform uniform inspections for an arbitrary period, and recognizes the scout who best meets all the criterias. This exercise has improved the appearance of the scouts well past the exercise.  I suggest doing this type of exercise in the Winter for 8 weeks.  There isn't much going on outdoors this time of year.

 

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3 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

I LOVE when everything is in its proper place, and one of my favorite games for teaching Scouts (and leaders; I use it at Roundtable often) is "Pin the Patch on the Uniform." I have a picture of a Scout in uniform on the wall, sans insignia, and each Scout(er)s comes up with a small paper picture from an assortment of various patches and awards that they must put in the proper place.

I like that idea a lot.

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I am very nit picky with uniforms. I originally gave the suggestion at a meeting one time that we do a uniform inspection, its now become something that's done every 2 to 3 months. It being my idea, I get the privilege of doing it myself. I try not to be so critical about it, seeing as not all of our scouts are capable of finding the means of putting their patches on their uniforms.

 I think that its a great way of getting your scouts to keep their uniforms in tip top shape. Also it gives them the opportunity to learn about all of the different patches and where they go.

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Our troop does them and I don't care for them.  As a PL, my son had several interactions with scouts that could not afford pants that would quickly be outgrown, over priced socks or a belt that would be worn once a week for an hour.  He'd tell them to be as prepared as they could and that's what they did.  But when the SM has everyone line up by patrol like a military drill and the PL's check off boxes on the uniform sheet, all that does is bring attention to the fact that some scouts did not have the entire uniform.  Well guess what, those scouts aren't with the troop anymore.  I was the only person interested in starting a uniform exchange so that didn't get very far.  When a scout earns a rank or leadership position, those patches are given to him/her.  I think its reasonable to request a few minutes of effort to update the shirt but I'd rather have a scout family spend $30 on a campout then on a pair of official pants that rarely get used.

 

 

 

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