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Webelos Uniform

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It bears repeating that none of the values listed above - thrift, value, and safety - need to be sacrificed in order to get your Scouts looking their best. As for what @yknot has written, each point addressed has an equally valid counter point.

Thrift - Nobody should spend a single cent that isn't related to delivering an engaging program. Your program will never be as engaging out of uniform as it will be in it. The uniform is one of the most powerful tools you have in keeping your parents and kids involved, so every penny paid towards that goal is a penny well spent. 

Value - I would feel cheated out of the full promise of the Cub Scout program if my kid couldn't wear his uniform when participating in service or community events! In fact, during this time of widespread isolation and limited activity, the opportunity to see a kid in uniform doing good, whether outside or via zoom or other teleconferencing means, is a refreshing beacon of hope during uncertain and troubled times. When I see posts of kids in uniform on instagram, facebook, or other online platforms, I can visualize the full value of our program, and it gives people a much-needed sense of optimism that there is good happening all around us, even if we can't yet go out to see it in person. 

Safety - The wonderful thing about gathering that parts for a uniform is that time is with us, not against us. As we ask trusted friends for gently-used items they no longer need, we can do so with whatever stipulations we feel comfortable. If a friend messages me saying she has a pair of Cub shorts to donate, I can ask that they be washed and disinfected, then left on my doorstep in a plastic bag which I can then wash and sanitize to preference whenever I like. And if it takes a few months to get all the parts - hat, necker, et cetera - well, there's nothing wrong with that. And think how excited my kid will get to go back to Scouts as their uniform slowly comes together! Some socks here, a belt there - sometimes the time it takes to get it all together can generate more enthusiasm than any talk or hype ever could. It's a material (haha) gathering of elements right before the kids' eyes that gives them a tangible means of visualizing the program coming together as they eagerly await the chance to meet in person again. And what a great way to talk about health and safety, as you put together your uniform in a safe way that emphasizes the precautions your family will take to ensure that uniform is a clean, sanitized, healthy option for your kid!

Thank you @yknot for helping clarify the many ways our uniforms can be used to emphasize such important factors as the three virtues listed above. When we really understand what the uniforms represent, they can be powerful teaching tools for almost any virtue in Scouting we need to teach, and they will certainly bring nothing but good to our units and our families. 

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57 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

It bears repeating that none of the values listed above - thrift, value, and safety - need to be sacrificed in order to get your Scouts looking their best. As for what @yknot has written, each point addressed has an equally valid counter point.

Thrift - Nobody should spend a single cent that isn't related to delivering an engaging program. Your program will never be as engaging out of uniform as it will be in it. The uniform is one of the most powerful tools you have in keeping your parents and kids involved, so every penny paid towards that goal is a penny well spent. 

Value - I would feel cheated out of the full promise of the Cub Scout program if my kid couldn't wear his uniform when participating in service or community events! In fact, during this time of widespread isolation and limited activity, the opportunity to see a kid in uniform doing good, whether outside or via zoom or other teleconferencing means, is a refreshing beacon of hope during uncertain and troubled times. When I see posts of kids in uniform on instagram, facebook, or other online platforms, I can visualize the full value of our program, and it gives people a much-needed sense of optimism that there is good happening all around us, even if we can't yet go out to see it in person. 

Safety - The wonderful thing about gathering that parts for a uniform is that time is with us, not against us. As we ask trusted friends for gently-used items they no longer need, we can do so with whatever stipulations we feel comfortable. If a friend messages me saying she has a pair of Cub shorts to donate, I can ask that they be washed and disinfected, then left on my doorstep in a plastic bag which I can then wash and sanitize to preference whenever I like. And if it takes a few months to get all the parts - hat, necker, et cetera - well, there's nothing wrong with that. And think how excited my kid will get to go back to Scouts as their uniform slowly comes together! Some socks here, a belt there - sometimes the time it takes to get it all together can generate more enthusiasm than any talk or hype ever could. It's a material (haha) gathering of elements right before the kids' eyes that gives them a tangible means of visualizing the program coming together as they eagerly await the chance to meet in person again. And what a great way to talk about health and safety, as you put together your uniform in a safe way that emphasizes the precautions your family will take to ensure that uniform is a clean, sanitized, healthy option for your kid!

Thank you @yknot for helping clarify the many ways our uniforms can be used to emphasize such important factors as the three virtues listed above. When we really understand what the uniforms represent, they can be powerful teaching tools for almost any virtue in Scouting we need to teach, and they will certainly bring nothing but good to our units and our families. 

I don't know what to say to your post other than scout uniforms are worn on the inside and not the outside. Uniforms can be a useful tool like many others, I will not disagree, but it's hardly the cornerstone that the scouting program turns upon. There is so much else to worry about right now this should not be one of them. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/31/2020 at 6:18 PM, The Latin Scot said:

Now as I said, there have been a lot of comments here reassuring you that the uniform is not a necessary part of Scouting.

As I said, the uniform is absolutely a Method Of Scouting.

But a scout should not be denied the opportunities of scouting or shamed for an inability to afford it.

I have seen it happen and it is a shame that people value wearing a uniform over giving scouts with limited financial means opportunity.

Edited by CynicalScouter

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Posted (edited)

I agree 100%. Those who deny Scouts opportunities because they lack a uniform do not understand the purpose of Scouting, and those who end up fretting because they don't have one yet suffer from an unfortunate lack of imagination. However, @yknot and @CynicalScouter, be very careful with your comments -  one might suspect that you feel supporting and/or promoting the uniform must equal either a disproportionate understanding of the values of Scouting, or that it somehow limits opportunities for Scouts with limited financial means. But these would of course be egregious assumptions; my specialty is working with low-income and migrant families, and I have never allowed finances to hinder a Scout's ability to participate in our activities in any way whatsoever - especially since I come from low-income circumstances myself - and yet I have always managed to successfully equip every Scout in my dens with a full uniform, because I used my imagination and every resource available to me. That isn't "valuing wearing a uniform over giving Scouts with limited financial means opportunity" - that is turning the uniform into an opportunity. And that's the whole point, isn't it? 

I think too often we create false dichotomies in our efforts to rationalize not wearing the uniform - unfair but common sentiments we have all read and heard a million times before, such as "if you focus on the uniform, you will be ignoring poor Scouts," or "if you are worried about uniforms, you must be forgetting part of the Scout law," or "leaders who emphasize the uniform should be focusing on the Scouts themselves" - and other habitual, illogical conjectures that pit one notion against another in unrelated couplets that make unreasonable comparisons with no basis in fact - as though somehow supporting the uniform as a method of Scouting must somehow mean you are deficient in some other aspect of the program. This is, of course, patently ridiculous, but as a rhetorical device I can only assume it makes anti-uniform Scouters feel somewhat comforted as they settle into the false presumption that people who advocate for the uniform must surely be lacking in some other, more important virtue, and so they think, "I can put down wearing the uniform because I am superior in a real Scouting virtue, and those who care only about uniforms must be ignorant of best practices or key human connections that I won't forget because I am not blinded by neckers and socks and hats." But of course, once this line of thinking is exposed for what it is - a rhetorical trick with no truth behind it - I can only imagine it must lose some of its value as an argumentative tactic. :rolleyes:

As we can all safely understand by now (I hope), such supposition is both absurd and condescending, and logically it is as erroneous as it is patronizing. It is possible, in fact far more probable, that those who care about uniforms see a bigger picture, and perceive that they are part of a much broader, more compassionate and comprehensive understanding of both Scouting and its potential to elevate character in ways that aren't limited by finances or circumstances or current events, because they begin in the heart and find expression in everything we do. That kind of understanding isn't limited by uniforming - it opens doors with it, and with enough resilience and sincere effort, it finds ways to use the uniform as a powerful means of inclusion, a way of bringing Scouting in to the program. Only those with limited imaginations or who don't understand their purpose could ever find ways to turn them into exclusionary barriers. I'm grateful I have never been weighed down by such artificial and unfortunate worldviews; rather, my efforts to make the uniform a key part of our program has led to increased success and loyalty to the program - and my most faithful Scouts are always those whose families deal with extreme economic hardship, but who are clever and resourceful enough to find ways to make it work, and who then carry on those skills towards finding success in other, more important aspects of their lives. After all, I was a Cub Scout who had to find innovative ways to make money to get my uniform in order - and later found equally innovative ways to get the money I needed to go to college.

Is the uniform a 'cornerstone' of Scouting? No, I suppose that isn't the word for it - but it is one of the core methods. So is it one of the most effective means of making it a success? Yes. Absolutely, 100% yes. And I dare say that if you don't believe that yet, you have never really tried it. And that's okay - it took me a long time to figure out how it mattered, and why it was important at all. But I did, and you can too - if you are willing to look at it from a whole new perspective. But since when was it a bad thing to be open to change? 

Edited by The Latin Scot

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Posted (edited)
On 7/31/2020 at 4:36 PM, CynicalScouter said:

a scout may never, ever, EVER be penalized, punished, or denied any scouting opportunity for lack of a uniform. EVER. Even for an Eagle Board of Review, a "Class A" is not required.

Very true.  I will admit that I like seeing a unit where everyone is properly uniformed, but if I have to choose between a scout being in uniform, or being in attendance, I will take being in attendance.  I had an Assistant Cubmaster approach me at a pack event asking for me to step in as a commissioner.  His opinion was that several boys should not be allowed to take part in the first pack activity of the new scouting year (rain gutter regatta) because they were not in uniform, and being in uniform should be required to participate.  He was not happy to hear that BSA policy does not allow exclusion based on being in uniform.

As to the inspection sheet 2008 & 2015 printing stating that Webelos choose the uniform they want to wear, that is out of date.  The 2018 inspection sheet is clear that the tan shirt is the official Webelos uniform.  That being said, as has been stated before, all previous uniforms are acceptable for wear, so I would not sweat it.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 4:36 PM, CynicalScouter said:

a scout may never, ever, EVER be penalized, punished, or denied any scouting opportunity for lack of a uniform. EVER. Even for an Eagle Board of Review, a "Class A" is not required.

 

 

Edited by MikeS72

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20 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Considering the National Supply Division, the ones who sell the uniforms, is still stating that Webelos can still wear  the Blue Uniform, I think that the new rule will be overruled with the next handbook printing, which the way things are going will probably be in 2022 or 2023.

 

https://mediafiles.scoutshop.org/m2pdf/6568_103111_Web_UniformInspSheet_R11.pdf

If you look at my earlier response to this thread, you will note that while I am a big fan of wearing the uniform properly, I am more concerned with scouts being able to participate regardless of the ability to afford or obtain a uniform.  As any uniform, regardless of time period used, is still official and can be worn, I would not be concerned at all if the Webelos in any pack decides to get a little more use out of the blue uniform.  (in the packs I work with, I find that the Webelos usually look forward to changing uniforms)

Several people have responded by linking out of date versions of Webelos Inspection Sheets.  The link below is the current version. 

https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/510-75018-WebelosInspection_WEB-1.pdf

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These discussions always teeters on affordability. If the scout can afford a uniform, then what. Is there any excuse for not wearing it when it is expected .

Barry

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Uniforms are a tool to engage scouts in the program. They are important. They are not the program though. Latin Scot, the last word in your commentary was "change". We are all facing this because we all have to adapt to new times. The current uniforming scheme in scouting is not thrifty. It's the by product of a marketing philosophy meant to sell more uniform components and accoutrements to a captive market--us. Somewhere, at some point before the 2018 change requiring Webelos to wear a tan shirt, some number person at national realized BSA could sell more shirts if they made that change. In this time of Covid, I don't think anyone should be worried about a Webelos scout showing up in a blue shirt. In my opinion. 

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48 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

If the scout can afford a uniform, then what. Is there any excuse for not wearing it when it is expected .

Scouts don't need an excuse for not buying a uniform, and they certainly don't owe me any explanation.  If they don't want to buy a uniform, don't buy it.  It's not required.

In any case, it might seem foolish, to many people, to buy a uniform while BSA is in bankruptcy proceedings.  We don't even know if BSA will exist a year from now.  We are in uncertain times.  Best to put off purchases until we know a little more.  Same goes for unit equipment.  Wait and see.

 

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56 minutes ago, David CO said:

Scouts don't need an excuse for not buying a uniform, and they certainly don't owe me any explanation.  If they don't want to buy a uniform, don't buy it.  It's not required.

National created the loophole for hardship. Scouts needs an excuse because they made a wrong decision. The scout handbook clearly describes how a scout should wear the uniform. 
Barry

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

National created the loophole for hardship. Scouts needs an excuse because they made a wrong decision. 

Nonsense.  Some people can't get past the idea that scouting is a voluntary activity.  It's not like school.  Kids don't have to do it if they don't enjoy it.  It's not supposed to be a chore.  Advancement is voluntary.  Uniforms are voluntary.  

I can't stand it when adults say that kids are making a wrong decision by not pursuing a rank, not joining OA, or not buying/wearing a uniform.  That's their decision.  Let them decide for themselves what is a right decision for them.

The worst decision a boy can make in scouting is to do things (they don't like doing) just to please the adults.

 

Edited by David CO

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30 minutes ago, David CO said:

Nonsense.  Some people can't get past the idea that scouting is a voluntary activity.  It's not like school.  Kids don't have to do it if they don't enjoy it.  It's not supposed to be a chore.  Advancement is voluntary.  Uniforms are voluntary.  

I can't stand it when adults say that kids are making a wrong decision by not pursuing a rank, not joining OA, or not buying/wearing a uniform.  That's their decision.  Let them decide for themselves what is a right decision for them.

The worst decision a boy can make in scouting is to do things (they don't like doing) just to please the adults.

 

It’s not about pleasing adults, it’s about developing moral and ethical decision makers. Under your theory, a scout doesn’t have to do a thing and would be fine. But, the patrol would struggle dragging the selfish anchor. 
 

Barry

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5 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

 Several people have responded by linking out of date versions of Webelos Inspection Sheets.  The link below is the current version. 

https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/510-75018-WebelosInspection_WEB-1.pdf

While my document is out of date, it is posted on a BSA website. I do not believe yours is a BSA website.

Don't you love BSA's attention to detail? Reminds me of when BSA banned Dodgeball, stating it has never been an approved activity, yet one BSA website still listed Dodgeball, and its variations,  as approved games. 

 

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Under your theory, a scout doesn’t have to do a thing and would be fine. But, the patrol would struggle dragging the selfish anchor. 

More nonsense.  A scout who doesn't buy a uniform isn't being selfish.  You can insult the scouts all you want, they still don't have to buy the uniforms.  That's the bottom line.

 

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21 minutes ago, David CO said:

More nonsense.  A scout who doesn't buy a uniform isn't being selfish.  You can insult the scouts all you want, they still don't have to buy the uniforms.  That's the bottom line.

 

The loophole is your principal argument. I’m ok with that.

Barry

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