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Grown man in a Boy Scout uniform .....rant

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Giving heed to mindless comments simply gives the authors of those comments power over you that they do not otherwise haver. Ignore them.


And Beavah, I would try not to judge millions of people simply by when they were born. I do not judge Gen Y by Paris Hilton.

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I must admit this is a topic that hits close to home.


I live in an area that scouting has a solid foundation on the Cub level and and what I would consider a poor tranfer to the Boy Scout level. And yes, I do believe it to be somewhat of an image problem.


We as scouts can help rectify some of that.


As scouts we are somewhat invisible to the public. The Girl Scouts have a cookie sale that puts them in the forefront every year. Make your scout troop as visible at functions as possible. Get out to high school football games and help with concessions. Do the same at little league games. Civic events like Walk America and Relay for Life need groups to help hand out water. It works as a service project and gets exposure to moms and dads who have children that probably havent considered putting their kids in Scouting.


Beyond that, make time to get to know the editor of the local newspaper and see if they might help you by running a weekly article that scouts from your local community can help write. Boys want and seek the advice of other boys. Make sure you let others know of summer camps, high adventure outings, and services that the BSA provide to the public.


But to go back to the uniform. Give them a speech about the pride in the uniform. Make sure they know about famous people in our history that have been in the BSA uniform. I think boys will then understand that the uniform is a symbol of something greater and not just some old "dorky" thing they "have" to wear to a meeting. Its up to us as leaders to keep them informed.


IMO, If an adult cant wear the uniform and not let a snicker from kids bother them, then I believe that the adult is somewhat embarassed to wear it to begin with.

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Since the arrival of our current Council executive, Scouting here has ceased to be invisible. Scouts rake leaves in the Fall for elderly homeowners, staff the local outdoor show, clean up parks etc. All these events receive coverage on all local TV stations and in the local press.

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My family never travels anywhere without our "class A's". Learned the lesson the hard way, our DE was in D.C. during President Fords Ceremonies, if you had your uniform on it was a free ticket to everything. The Ford family informed the the powers that be, that the Scouts where "special" invited guest of the family. He didn't have his but some of his friends did and they went to many of the official functions, and where given preferred treatment, just because they where wearing the uniform.


My sons have reached the point that they wear their uniform so much that they feel a little funny when they don't have it on. One son is on a little trip with his grandmother and he took his switchback pants because he likes to wear them more than most of his regular clothes. He's also 6-3 and a football player, nobody makes fun of his choice of clothes.


Be proud of the uniform, more and more the people on the streets still respect it more than we know.




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And Beavah, I would try not to judge millions of people simply by when they were born.


Yah, I was just tryin' to buck up Pack378, eh? ;) He was seemin' a bit down on his generation.


seems to be a bit heavy on the doom and gloom


Lookin' back, I guess it might seem that way just 'cause of the order I put things in. I really wasn't tryin' to be gloomy.


Me personally, I think Scouting does a wonderful job for a lot of kids, eh? It's sometimes the most significant growth experience in their lives as young people... stays with 'em forever. I'm in it for that reason. What each of us does in Scoutin' every day matters. It's worth bein' proud of, and I wear da uniform proudly too.


But we also gotta be honest with each other and guys like Pack378, eh? It's easy to point to da fact that the "Green Zone" is relatively safe, and ignore a bigger picture.


The bigger picture is that even da kids who love Scouting are reluctant to admit it to their school peers for much of their Scoutin' career. I don't understand it myself, 'cause I think what we do is pretty cool. But honesty demands that we acknowledge that. And most Boy Scouts would die before wearin' their uniform to school. Pointin' to individuals or troops that are an occasional exception doesn't change da bigger picture.


The bigger picture is also that the perceived positives among our fellow adult citizens have diminished somewhat in recent years. Yah, yah, those of us who are livin' in conservative white middle-class communities might not be seein' that yet, and I'm glad. But white middle class communities are becomin' a smaller % of da kid population every day, and not everybody is a conservative :p. We can all point to the people who come up to thank us - they're obvious. Even if they were only 1% of the population we'd all have lots of great anecdotes to report, eh? What's less obvious are the people who roll their eyes and look the other way, or who do as Pack378 says and quietly badmouth us over our poor safety record, or "Leave Much Trace" unethical camping, or child abuse or right wing ideology or just that sports show more obvious results for fitness and character. Dat's out there too, eh? And it never used to be.


Last, we gotta recognize that our "dads as volunteers" setup (or moms for cubbies) might not be the best fit for the majority anymore. Lots of single-parent families out there. Lots of folks working two shifts. Lots of families with both parent workin', so weekends get spent doin' housework and yardwork and such. Yah, yah, and we can all point to exceptional single-parent dual-shift folks who are outstandin' Scout volunteers, I know several. But in da bigger picture, it matters overall. We've got less good volunteers.


Add it all up and we see a loss of camps. We see a lot of districts that are only functional on paper. We see a gradual membership decline. We see a loss of a lot of youth when they hit middle school and high school and play a greater role in makin' their own decisions about extracurriculars. We see our national corporation movin' toward school-based, non-volunteer programs like Learning for Life. That's just bein' honest, eh? Which is all Pack 378 was bein', I think.


It's still a great program, with wonderful people. We still do a super job for a lot of kids. We still have a lot of friends in the community. For almost all of us in our individual programs, it's a great, positive experience, and da negatives hardly affect us at all.


But a Scout is Trustworthy, and that means bein' honest with ourselves about da bigger picture.




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I feel self-conscious at times when I walk into a public place in my uniform, but I'm really not sure why. I have never had someone say anything negative to me, or, for that matter, even snicker. What I have had (just about every time I put it on and am seen with the kids) are people walking up to me thanking me for what I am doing and the time that I am spending with youth. They don't even know me from Adam, yet they want to thank me. If they've been in Scouting before, I generally get a good 5 minute of "the good ol' days" from when they were Scouts.


Adults that wear the uniform are seen as people who really care about tomorrow and our youth. If there are any snickering or questionable thoughts that people have when they see me, they are coming from ignorant people, and I really don't care what they think.


Kids do tend to snicker, and quite frankly some of them are to young to know better, so they wouldn't fall in the ignorant category. However, most kids make fun of other kids for any reason they can - it's just part of being a kid. Most kids that have a friend who is a Boy Scout generally knows what goes on and is supportive. I've seen alot of them snicker, but I've seen far more of them show up at Eagle Projects or at an Eagle Court of Honor to be there when their friend is being recognized for a great achievement.


And by the way, I was not a Boy Scout either as a youth.(This message has been edited by AntelopeDud)

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Beavah, your last post alludes to those fellow Americans who roll their eyes and look the other way when spotting a Scout or Scouter in uniform I take it? Are we now to "Do Our Best" to try and win over any and all who have a preconceived notion or idea that paints Scouting in a negative way for whatever the reason?


I can hope to influence such people by ensuring my actions and behavior exemplify the Scout Oath and Law while in uniform and ESPECIALLY when not in uniform...perhaps some folk may change their tune regarding our movement...but I wont let my expectations outrun reality.


To use the homespun approach as you do..if I may.. "Never try to teach a pig to sing, you'll just waste your time and pi$$ off the pig". Attempting to alter opinions of those who have a negative view may well lead to confontation...something I would rather avoid.


I didnt become a part of the Scouting movement to win the hearts and minds of those who find little to no use for ourselves and what we do...I signed up to do what the Aims claim, and if along the way someone changes their mind..great, but I prefer to keep my focus on the Scouts. If we as Scouters do what we are supposed to do,...WE WILL look good in the publics eye. Theres always going to be somebody or someone thats bound to gripe about us no matter how much good we do.


The comments regarding white upper middle class and conservative....do they really belong here? I know plenty of Scouts and Scouters that are avowed liberals, card carrying democrats,and non caucasins to boot. Lets work to be inclusive of all who seek what we have to offer...but lets not insist we go and dragoon them in simply to satisfy diversity.

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I've seen both sides.


Once when selling popcorn in MD, my son (who was a Wolf at the time, 2nd grade) approached a man with an offer to sell him some popcorn. The man yelled loudly back at us "No thanks, I don't support the Hitler Youth". This was in 2001, shortly after the "Dale" decision.


I guess I wasn't very Scout-like, but I chased the guy to his car and asked him not to yell at the kids just because he had issues with BSA policy -- they weren't responsible for it. I didn't make a very good impression on him.


But the positive experiences have far outweighed the bad. I too, have been stopped in restaurants by people who want to shake my hand and thank me for working with kids. I too hear the war stories when an old-timer was a Scout long ago.


I've never had anyone buy me a meal, but I've heard it too often to doubt that it happens frequently.


I don't know how people form their opinions of Scouting, but I like to look on the bright side at those who support us, even when we don't know it.

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Yah, kraut-60, good thoughts, eh? I agree with you.


I don't think there's much point in gettin' too upset about our slow erosion in the public sphere. Really doesn't affect us much, eh? Even guys like me who've worn gold tabs in the past are really more into it for what we can do for kids locally. But it does affect us on the edges, and it affects da kids and parents who are on the edges, makin' 'em less likely to choose Scouting. Good kids and good parents, too, not just pigs. ;)


That's new. In days of yore, we didn't have articles in Backpacker about how we were unsafe in the woods, or land managers who'd prefer to ban Boy Scouts if they could because of lack of LNT ethic. We didn't have as direct a fight in da culture wars, and we didn't have a large set of American parents who feel that sports are better at character and fitness than we are. No harm in recognizing those pressures, and what their long-term effects are. I think the biggest one is fewer of the long-term Lem Siddons type SM, because of mobility, dual income, and other family pressures. Consequences of the times, with impacts on us.


Not sure why comments about white, etc. wouldn't belong here, eh? That's our demographic, just a statement of statistics. Every regional office knows it from our numbers. Scouting has made very little inroads into other socioeconomic and ethnic communities. Just who we are, eh? Like you, I'm not in favor of dragoonin' folks for diversity, I think in most cases we don't match the need/market for what other folks are lookin' for.


So like I said, I'm not down on the program, I'm a big fan. We do a grand job for the kids we reach, and will for some time to come. There's no harm in acknowledgin' the truth about the broader picture, and how it impacts us. Even da small things, like discouragin' Pack 378 eh? :( And who knows, perhaps acknowledgin' 'em will give somebody a good idea on how to do things a bit better for the kids they're workin' with. :)




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Most people I've encountered who hold such negative views of scouts are the under-educated, ignorant brutish louts, who also believe the 911 attacks were performed by our government not terrorists and the moon landings were also faked. Most of the dads in our Pack are large manly men who no one mistakes for gay and our leaders, me included look quite dashing in our uniforms.

We also have lots of Boy Scouts in our area who are star athletes such as in football.

funny how people who complain about our uniforms as conformity don't mind their son wearing a football(, baseball etc) uniform.

You can't argue with these people. You can only smile and say " I'm sorry you feel that way. We believe we are raising our son in a way that prevents him from turning to the Dark Side." Then walk away.

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Well Beavah, I too agree with what you posted. I feel the Scouters and Scouts who earned the ire of land managers and the bad ink in Backpacker are the reason they see ALL of us in the same perspective...the shame of it is, that the few affect the many,...the few who are "kinda" Scouters and Scouts...the close enough bunch...The "Trained patches..we dont need NO Trained patches!" kind of Scouters/Scouts.


I hope that Scouting can be made availible to ALL kids,regardless of what color or shade they were "issued" in. I really wish we could show the parents and kids from the inner city and minorities that Scouting isnt some "white-boy" only club...I see a lot on the news from Milwaukee and how so much seems to center around gangs and violence and the youth that are caught up in it....its heartbreaking,..these kids deserve better, but too often being educated and hardworking are derided and mocked, as if its "cool" to be stupid!


Maybe we can make a differance for those kids Scouting hasnt yet reached...but they have to want to grab the opportunity...I dont see it happening yet. The parents or lack of parents/parent will scuttle this before we can get it to float. How do we reach them?


One conclusion I've drawn regarding sports vs Scouts...sports has a definite time line and schedule, date and times are drawn up months before, and strictly adhereed to. Sports are minimally dependant on parental involvement for the most part...coaches and asst. coaches handle the brunt of it..parents rotate the snack and juice duty from what I've seen.


Sports might handle the fitness part better than we do, but I believe we do better in the long term as kids who are Scouts will usually be introduced to leadership while in Boy Scouts. The team captains/co-captains positions are rarely all-inclusive to all team members. And while we're talking sports...the never ending black-eye professional sports seems to find itself mired in due to misconduct of a few players doesnt deter kids from looking up to them...those guys arent good role models, many are criminal in their conduct and actions...yet thay still make the big bucks..thats what kids see, and remember.


We could be perceived as a lifeboat of decency in a sea of indecency...the thing is the folks who are "drowning" dont know they are..thay think they're "cool".

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My Cubs used to get off the bus at the VFW Hall where we had meetings. They wore their uniform to school all day with mixed reviews.


The teachers loved it.


The second wolf meeting one of the new Cubs said, "Do you know that the girls chased me around during recess beause I had my Cub Scout shirt on?" He smiled.

Talk about playing hard to get but easy to find.


Once they said a boy on the bus named Nick said, "Cub Scouts SUCKS"

They were upset. I simply said , "Why don't you invite Nick to the next meeting so he can find out how really bad it DOES Suck. Because I've run every meeting we have had and I've never seen Nick here."

They thought for a minute shocked that I said SUCKS and finally replied, "Yeah, how does he know what we do here?"



Gentlemen and Ladies CONTINUE TO MARCH you are helping these kids in ways you can't imagine.


Pack asked "what is happening to this coutry?"

A good 50% of it is going to hell in a handbasket. I'm on a mission to save the other half and I know many of you are too.




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You and Beavah have most definitely got my little grey cells in overdrive.

Many years back the actor Peter Sellers (before he made it big in movies) was big on BBC radio in the Goon Show (See: http://www.thegoonshow.net/characters.asp

Grown men dressed in Boy Scout uniforms were at the time seen a being comical (Other than for sports no grown ups wore shorts.)

I don't have a problem wearing a Scout uniform out in public, but I have seen some Scouters who look like walking Christmas trees!! Shirts with lots of dingle dangles, beads, red jackets covered with the patches from every Camporee and event that they have ever attended and I'll admit to thinking that he looks like a real twit.

My son, now 19 is not a "Closet Scout". Just about everyone he went to school with knew he was a Scout, in fact over 30 of them turned out to help him with his Eagle Scout project, not bad when you think that the class of 2007 graduated 178 students.

Still since he turned about 15, while he is happy to wear his uniform at Scout functions, he is more comfortable changing into it when he gets there.

I'm not sure if it's just in our area? Or maybe just his friends and the kids that I know? But many of them seem to act and think that it's "Cool" not to be "Cool"!!

They are happy not to follow the fads and fashions (At least to a certain extent!!) They are not "Driven" MTV!! They seem proud to let everyone know what they are up to and doing.Some are happy to openly proclaim that they do go to church and have had their pals help send packages overseas to the needy, many were happy to sing in the school choir (When I was that age I wouldn't have been seen dead in a choir!!) Some are into Heavy Metal music, others into Country.

Still I do agree that Scouting and the BSA does have an image problem.

The people in my small town, do seem to think very highly of adults who volunteer, in fact I hear what a wonderful job I do every-time I get my hair cut.

Our local paper will go out of it's way to print anything a Scout unit sends in.

Sadly most of what is sent in is the posed picture of an over weight Scouter handing a Scout an Eagle Scout Award.

We seem to sell (market) this great youth organization to adults??

"Character Counts" and all that good stuff might sound good to adults and might bring in some funding from big organizations? But I have yet to meet a kid who joined or stayed in Scouting for a character overhaul.

I like to think I'm about as left wing as they come!! Fox News (Or is it Fox Views?) doesn't air in our house!!

Diversity is kind of hard in our area. Of the 178 who graduated there were two African American students!! The Synagogue in the next town (The only one around as far I know) closed because of lack of members, they donated the building to the local council (not Boy Scout).

There are areas in the Council where many African American families live and we as a Boy Scout Council don't seem to have made any real progress starting units that would serve the youth in these areas.

Scoutreach if it was taken seriously (I mean as a way of serving the youth in the area, not playing number or membership games.) could make a big difference. Sadly this just isn't happening.

Maybe because the BSA fails to recruit a fully diverse staff? Maybe because some Scouters don't feel safe or at ease going into these areas?

Of course as we all know, while uniform is a method of Scouting, having a uniform or wearing a uniform is not a requirement of membership.

I don't think no matter what changes are made to the uniform, that it will ever be "Cool", not because of what it is but for what it symbolizes.

Venturing uniform standards (Whatever that means??) Don't seem to have done much to boost membership or have made the program more attractive to older youth.

Maybe past generations were more comfortable wearing uniforms? Not just Boy Scout uniforms but uniforms in general. I know a lot of people who are required (and given) uniforms for work, but they seem happier to change into their uniform once they get to where they work.


A few years back a good pal of mine and myself were coming home from a WB course, we stopped for something to eat in Indiana, PA. Which as well as being the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart

(See: http://www.jimmy.org/scoutaward ) is a big college town. For some reason we had to move some stuff in the back of the truck, as we were moving the stuff a couple of college kids yelled from their car "Hey!! Love them crazy socks!"

Of course they must have only seen my legs from the back -They missed my sexy knees.




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Yeah, sure, I'm biased, but for everyone (and I mean everyone) that shows up at my door, or who stops me at the entrance of a store, or who's standing along side the road with a car wash sign... IF they are in uniform (cub, boy, girl, venture, etc...) they will get a sale. I get so tired of buying GS cookies from my co-workers that last year I called up the GS office and told them that any girl who showed up in uniform at my door would get a sale. Well, I'm still waiting.


As far as my wearing of the uniform? I think there were bets going on with the boys this spring when we were all taking our annual swim test (we were going to a camp that didn't offer the test), as to whether or not I was going to wear my uniform for the test or not.


Occasionally I have received a free meal at a fast food restaurant for bringing in the boys (same for any bus driver), but I have never received any positive or negative comments in public as to wearing of my uniform. I guess this is ok because then I don't have to deal with these issues other people harbor.





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