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Double Eagle

Why are Cub Scout uniforms and universal clothing items?

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As I was browsing the scout shop on line today looking to uniform my new Tiger granddaughter, it came to me what goofed up Cub Scout uniforms we have.  Each Cub rank specific hat is $15, rank specific belt buckles are $7, specific slides are $6, and socks are $6.  Why the heck are Cubs getting a new batch of uniform items each year?  How about just changing the neckerchief and letting it go with that.  That item is only $10.  Early 90s, all Tigers wore were the orange tiger shirt with earned paw prints, as they were just trying out scouts.  We nickel and dime (really $5 and $10) our adults each year needlessly.  How about Scouts BSA get one cub hat, belt, socks, and slide, to wear during their tenure as a cob, much like the troops.  How about cubs wearing out a uniform rather than just getting a new one each year.  BSA does some really questionable stuff and the cub uniform is just one that gets me shaking my head.

If national wants to see the real deal on uniforms, they should take a hard look at the Webelo and why they wear non-fitting shirts that will carry them through Scouts.  They may be Webelo first years, but often wear a youth medium.  Adults just don't want to hand out money like that... a scout is thrifty, but hard to say that when everything is so highly priced. 

With today's prices on scouting, I would never been able to scout back when I started.  Cubs had the blue uniform and hat throughout.  Scouting had the olive green uniforms that were handed down or traded, gear was homemade, neckerchief slides were made, lower income families could scout without feeling lower income.  As a lower income scout, I thought my tin can mess kit, spoon from home, and hand-me-down uniform was great.  It was about the activities and not where or how much your gear cost.            

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When I was talking to the National Director of Cub Scouting, he said they are moving away from the rank specific uniform items, minus the neckerchief and hat. They are just trying to get rid of inventory. 

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That is great news and the right direction.  As we look at back-to-school nights, the worst question is how much will everything cost.  The sooner the better on this change.  Just another example, the wood badge woggle is cheaper than the boy scout metal and cub scout neckerchief slides...hhmmm?  The embroidered neckerchiefs online are the same price as silk screen printed ones.  You gotta wonder.       

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On 5/21/2019 at 3:30 PM, Double Eagle said:

As I was browsing the scout shop on line today looking to uniform my new Tiger granddaughter, it came to me what goofed up Cub Scout uniforms we have.  Each Cub rank specific hat is $15, rank specific belt buckles are $7, specific slides are $6, and socks are $6.  Why the heck are Cubs getting a new batch of uniform items each year?  How about just changing the neckerchief and letting it go with that.  That item is only $10. 

For our pack, and my kids when they were in it,

We recommend the blue shirt, but if they want a belt, we tell them to get the cub scout belt bucket (not the rank ones).  And i have yet to have a scout in the last 8 years buy the socks.

Alot of our dens make custom slides instead using the metal ones. As a pack, in the "bridging up" ceremony, our pack provided them with the next seasons necker and slide.

 

Personally, I like the different colors each year, helps separate the different dens on group outings and pack meetings, but unless you have 50+ kids, its probably not needed. 

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We made universal neckerchiefs and paracord slides for our Pack. I know that's not officially allowed, but whatever, we got tired of the nickel-and-dime routine too. Our neckers are really sharp, with a custom embroidered patch on them. Cost $12 but last all throughout their Cub years.

It is ridiculous. Why on earth there are 3 different belt buckles is beyond me. It really is set up to just sell us more stuff. Not at all thrifty.

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I also advise parents that if they prefer to buy a metal neckerchief slide, buy the Scouts BSA version. It's not rank-specific and can be used all throughout Cubs and Scouts BSA. 

Also not "official", I know, but if a scout can opt to use pretty much anything they want as a slide, I see no reason why the Scouts BSA slide isn't a suitable option too. 

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I'm on my 3rd cub scout and I've NEVER upgraded their belt buckles from one year to the next. They all get whatever cub scout buckle happens to be laying around. They are replaced now and then when lost or irreparably damaged. They are also handed down from one sibling to the next. 

You can't see what rank is impressed on each buckle from a socially acceptable distance anyway. 

Youth-made woggles are an acceptable part of the uniform. When my daughter lost her bear slide several months ago, I sat her down and taught her how to make a paracord woggle. 

I buy hats and neckerchiefs 2nd hand pretty much, or pass them down from one kid to the next The bear scarf my daughter uses now is the same one her brother used 15 years ago. There's a pretty good chance my next cub scout will be sporting the golden Wolf scarf instead of the new red one in a few years, because "once official, always official" and I'm not likely to buy another one when I have a perfectly good one sitting in my bag-o-scout-accessories. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2019 at 9:46 AM, scotteg83 said:

For our pack, and my kids when they were in it,

We recommend the blue shirt, but if they want a belt, we tell them to get the cub scout belt bucket (not the rank ones).  And i have yet to have a scout in the last 8 years buy the socks.

Alot of our dens make custom slides instead using the metal ones. As a pack, in the "bridging up" ceremony, our pack provided them with the next seasons necker and slide.

 

Personally, I like the different colors each year, helps separate the different dens on group outings and pack meetings, but unless you have 50+ kids, its probably not needed. 

This is essentially what we do.

  • Every year each den make some sort of neckerchief slide.  BSA ones get lost on the first wearing and are a waste of money.
  • Belt buckle - I don't think anyone really cares what is one the Scout wears.
  • Hat - completly up to the Scout.  We don't encourage them.
  • Socks - the BSA sells Cub Scout socks?  I don't think I've ever seen a pair
  • Pants - Unless the BSA is now selling Levi's, I don't think I've seen any BSA Cub Scout pants.

So, in our pack, the only update items are the neckerchief & handbook.  In our system the pack provides the neckerchief, the parents the handbook.  We don't get many compaints.

Please BSA tough - let's not get rid of the level neckerchiefs.  This is about as classic Scouting as you get.

Edited by ParkMan
Forgot to add final point.

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Personally I wish cubs would switch to a navy blue polo style shirt with the Cub Scout logo on the chest and a flag on the sleeve and a red or gold merit badge type sash. It would be more affordable for parents and - more easily passed down or kept as a momentous of the time in life. 

Our pack is thinking of ordering pack hats this summer. Then a child can wear it until they lose it from K-grade 5. 1 hat for $14 one time  (maybe 2 if they lose it) vs $14 x 5-6 years.  

We also hold a uniform swap for the shirts and neckerchiefs - but some don’t want to pass it on because the patches earned are on the shirt with badge magic. A red or gold colored Cub Scout Sash would make that easier too

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4 hours ago, Momleader said:

Personally I wish cubs would switch to a navy blue polo style shirt with the Cub Scout logo on the chest and a flag on the sleeve and a red or gold merit badge type sash. It would be more affordable for parents and - more easily passed down or kept as a momentous of the time in life. 

A red or gold colored Cub Scout Sash would make that easier too

No, to much like GSUSA. One of the loudest complaints I hear from old Girl Scouts is that they don't have a uniform and the only way to tell someone is a Girl Scout is by the cookies.Besides red has never been associated with Cubs, only Explorers up to 1980, and Boy Scouts from 1980 - 2009. The blue uniform has a long history, and easily identifies someone as a Cub Scout.

 

4 hours ago, Momleader said:

We also hold a uniform swap for the shirts and neckerchiefs - but some don’t want to pass it on because the patches earned are on the shirt with badge magic. 

BADGE MAGIC IS EVIL! I hate the stuff, and have seen too many shirts ruined.

 

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Posted (edited)

Back in the (ahem) good old days,  (Bobcat, wolf, bear lion, Webelos….), one Cub Scout cap, one Cub necker, one Cub slide/woggle.   Blue shirt thru Webelos,  khaki shirt when one became a Boy Scout . 

My "activity " shirt was the t shirt for the Cub Scout softball league (Yep ! You heard right). 

I often tell Cub Packs,  when I hear complaints about the expense of a new hat & necker each year,   if the Pack finds agreement in it,  decide to wear ONLY one necker thruout , one cap thruout.  When Webelos was made a twoyear program, and the AoL became the last "rank" rather than an "award",  the rank of Lion was eliminated. 

THEN.... BSA looked at Daisy Scouts, said "wow" and decided the best rank for a first grader would be.... Tiger 

Then Kindergarten needs a Cub rank, make that.... Lion. ..   So much for the  natural size/strength progression. Lost the Jungle Book reference. It used to be official, now only if the locals bring it up. 

I could wax poetic about this stuff all night, but I have to help set up and run the Scouterhorn at the Sandy Spring Museum Strawberry Festival tomorrow, that is, if I have sufficient Scouts and adults to help....  Good night all.

Edited by SSScout

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On 5/31/2019 at 9:17 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

No, to much like GSUSA. One of the loudest complaints I hear from old Girl Scouts is that they don't have a uniform and the only way to tell someone is a Girl Scout is by the cookies. Besides red has never been associated with Cubs, only Explorers up to 1980, and Boy Scouts from 1980 - 2009. The blue uniform has a long history, and easily identifies someone as a Cub Scout.

Girl Scouts might wish they had more of a uniform in theory, but in practice I'm not so sure they'd really like it or that what we have is the best option. Kids generally don't like the BSA uniforms. Try getting scouts at pretty much any age/rank beyond Tiger to wear a uniform to school. My son hates going out in public in-uniform. We went out for ice cream after a recent scout activity and he wanted to go home first to get changed (I didn't let him).

I've debated a local scouter on the uniform, he thinks it should be worn always, no exceptions, because it's a "field uniform suitable for any activity." I've argued that the various complaints and problems with the uniform prove how unsuited it really is for youth field use.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I've long admired the more European standard of limited uniform use in the field in favor of a necker over whatever clothing a scout is wearing (Bear Grylls style). Not as a replacement for the uniform but just as a more welcome option to it for activities. Maybe there's a way to simplify uniforms. It's all of the moving parts that seem to be most problematic and easily lost.

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