Re: hats, uniforming, et. al... (long posting!)
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Fri, 2 Jul 1993 21:25:16 CDT
I haven't been on the list in the past two days...I've been moving my
office items from one bedroom to the other and rearranging things.
Therefore, I've taken the liberty (if you don't mind) and taking all
of the various questions we've had about uniforming, calling a few
people (and yes, Jessiann, I DID call National....) finding some
answers for us all, and finally, sitting here in an EMPTY HOME (until
our houseguests get here in about twenty minutes!) to reply to all of
them. So...here goes....
(and yes, there's something for EVERYONE here....trust me!)
From: "David Edward 'Byrdman' Byrd, II" <DEB3291@TNTECH.BITNET>
Subject: Re: LEVI-STRAUSS
>I'm getting some laugh from is that 2 people have recommended or suggested
>that LEVI-STRAUSS could provide a quality uniform pant for the BSA. When
>I think it would be crazy to have a company that doesn't support Scouting
>to be supported by us.
I got somewhat distracted by a friend while I was posting, or I
would have included the same thing in my post. I have not bought one
product from Levi Strauss since I found out about this over a year ago. But
anyway, who says it has to be Levi Strauss, Wrangler, Lee, or any other jean
company? It seems to me that whoever currently makes the uniforms for the BSA
could convert from making the slacks they currently make to something more
durable, and I suspect it wouldn't cost much. Of course I realize that it
involves more than that to change ANY item of the BSA uniform.
Just out of curiosity, what is the procedure for changing any part
of the uniform?
ANSWER: The National Uniform and Insignia Committee (next meeting, two
weeks BEFORE the Jamboree, on the weekend of July 23-24), decides on
the uniforming and insignia policies for the Boy Scouts of America.
They review local Council requests for special insignia, national
division's requests for special insignia and directs the Supply
Division to create new items for wear and purchase by Scouts,
Scouters, and the general public. Therefore, it is this committe that
any requests go through to change any part of the BSA uniform.
From: carol eichinger <Carol.Eichinger@MVS.UDEL.EDU>
While we are on the subject of pants, here is a pet peeve of mine. I was in
cub scouts when dear old Oscar redesigned the uniforms. I liked neither the
color for leaders/boy scouts nor the design. The female leader pants were
polyester! A material not suitable for Den Leaders to wear at den meetings or
outings. They were thin, snagged easily, and fit poorly. When I began
working with the troop, I changed my Blue and Gold for the Boy Scout Tan and
OD. Once again I ran into problems with the female uniform. I said the heck
with this and bought a boys size uniform instead. The material is not great
but it is better than polyester. If the present manufacturer uses a heavier
material, they would be fine. Maybe it would justify the cost. Right now the
thin material and poor workmanship does not. We have two pairs of pants, one
allows the white inside pocket to show (not enough green material was used to
prevent this from happening) and the other pair was cut wrong and also sewed
crooked, the side seam sort of is in the front almost. Both problems did not
show up until after a couple of washings, thus not returnable by then. Just
to let everyone know, I wear the uniform to meetings, BOR's, OA, in other
words, to everything I am supposed to, but I am not happy with it and I am not
a fashion plate in any stretch of the imagination. I wore a dress a few weeks
ago, and my husbands comment was "My God, you do have legs!!!"
Boy, talk about soapbox or $.02 worth!! But I do feel better!
ANSWER: (not really an answer, but a comment!) Carol, you need to let
the Supply Division know about your pants problem. As soon as I get
the name of the person that you need to direct your specific comments
to, I'll send it to you (unfortunately, just about everyone at Supply
was out, early fourth of July vacation or something). In the
meantime, I would send a general letter expressing your dissatifaction
about the pants to the Supply Division, BSA, at the National Office.
We would complain IN A MINUTE if the problem came up with our street
clothing, either to the manufacturer or to the store where we bought
the item from...and Scouting merchandise, for the expense involved,
should NOT be any different!
From: William Glover <WAG@LOYOLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Test Hats
With regard to a new test hat...
I have yet to see the new hats, but look forward to seeing any deviations
that might work for the scouts. I thought the wisest move was the baseball
style hat introduced...hum..I guess it was around 1981. The only problem that
I find with it is that it really does not give enough cover from the sun,
especially in these days of heightened awareness to sun exposure. An "ausie"
style with more cover and crushable (not hard formed). Well maybe an
Indiana Jones style, since Spielberg is closely linked to scouting.
I would also be interested in any information regarding any test marketing
of the Boy Scout uniforms.
Since we are talking about the uniform, when do you think National may
consider scout pants that are more durable, ie. jeans, Dockers, etc. I don't
know who cuts those things out! Well scouting goes on,
ANSWER: The Uniform and Insignia Committee DOES NOT HAVE ANY "TEST
MARKETING" going on presently. The hats that we've been talking about
will be addressed in a "later entry".
The BSA contracts to several firms to do the pants for them, both the
shorts and the long-legged pants. AT ONE TIME there was consideration
about green "bluejean" materialed pants for Scouts and Scouters to
wear. When Scout Executives were asked about it, most of them
expressed an unwillingness to "change from the material we've been
using as our uniform", a blend of cotton and polyester. (the source
for this is a 1979 August ProSpeaks professional magazine). Times may
be changing since then to create a "scoutjean" in dark green to wear
with the present uniform.
From: Kathie Cerveny <kathie@DELTA.EECS.NWU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Test Hats
> Count my vote as a yes for the bush hat! It's what I wear anyway. :)
> Interestingly enough, ever since Desert Storm, I've noticed an increasing
> number of youth and adults showing up at summer camp and camporees with
> Army surplus desert camo bush hats. Wouldn't it be nice if BSA could take
> advantage of this fashion trend and blend right in with their own? (I've
> seen the hat--it's pretty nice!)
That will not happen most likely -- camoflage clothing has been EXPRESSLY
forbidden for wear to any official Scouting activity. This is based on the
"Imitation of United States Army, Navy, or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited,
in accordance with the provisions of the organizations'Congressional Charter."
page 15, Rules and Regulations - BSA
It is further a matter of personal taste as to whether our program should
suddenly start taking "advantage of this fashion trend and blend right in with
It is noted that in 1910 - 1950s - etc. , our uniforms have HARDLY blended into
the "fashion trend" and that fashion has never been apart of our movement,
however, our uniform is distinctive, copyrighted, and in spite of giving into
the "young men" who want to look like their clothes are torn and tattered --
the national uniform committee has been making the statement over and over --
no camoflage clothing allowed. However, as you say, most people don't give a
darn, and will allow anything to "keep a boy" in our program.
I have to wonder out loud here -- is that what we are all about -- keeping a boy
in our program, even if he won't follow our rules?
Is this how we set the example and aid him to becoming the "best" adult male he
No need to get upset, gentlemen, that question will never be answered to the
satisfaction of all.
ANSWER/COMMENTS: First, having had given my "Desert Storm" camo field
hat to a Scout at a summer camp, I know firsthand of the popularity of
the "Desert Storm"-like materials. Actually, ANYTHING with the tan,
black and brown design (and I DO MEAN ANYTHING) is in demand (just
like the "jungle fatigues", banadanas and shirts with the sleeves cut
off and the military patches intact were popular during and after the
Vietnam War). It may be "great to wear" but many of those that
actually *fought* in those wars may take offense at a child wearing
those items in camp...and particularily in a BSA camp, where formality
and uniformity is the norm, not the exception.
Next, while you are absolutely correct in the reference, it has been
the BSA (as Carroll Hale noted later on) that has "copied" various
military designs and created "Scout-like" versions, which were not
only popular, but also very useful.
Military Drill Sergeants wear with distinction and pride the "smokey
the bear" hats popularized by doughboys (and before that, by Scouts).
They not only wear it as a symbol of power and distinction, but also
as a way to keep the head cool while new Privates are sweating in the
heat of the outdoors. The hat, while Carroll and others don't really
like it, was designed for 360 degree protection from the hot rays from
the sun (and combined with a pair of Ray-Bans (tm), makes even the
smallest in stature LOOK like he or she's "large and in charge"!!
I will, however, answer your question...if it means the difference
between a boy being out on the streets and in Scouting, YES. Whether
the kid wears a camo hat when he comes to my meeting or the standard
BSA baseball hat, all *I* am interested in is whether or not he takes
that hat off indoors; whether or not he uses the Scout salute when he
repeats the Pledge of Allegence; and whether or not he uses the hat as
a weapon or as a frisbee during the meeting or at camp. I WILL also
tell him, encourage him and even (as someone did for me, because my
mother and father would NOT buy me a $7.50 one!!!) purchase him a BSA-
issued hat of his own if he don't have the resources to get one on his
own (I didn't have the resources to buy a red beret when they came
out, and my Scoutmaster, Doug Lovett, got one for "himself", he said,
and "it was too big, and the only sizes they had was large and extra
large...do you want it??" --it's sitting on top of the slide
From: Jim Sleezer <JHS8@OSUVM1.BITNET>
Personally, I can do without hats most of the time. But since I'm now in
Oklahoma I dug out my old campaign hat (purchased at least 25 years ago)
which has been stored in one of those masonite holders for most of that
time. The broad brim helped keep off both the sun and the rain at camp
last week. The baseball camp just didn't do it!!
ANSWER: Jim: Where can I get one of those holders?? I've got a campaign hat
that I need to safely store it?
From: Don Izard <IZARD@UBVM.BITNET>
Subject: Re: Test Hats
I have to take some exceptions to your reply on hats!
BUSH hats and Tilley style hats in general are NOT US
millitary and are not nessarily camoflagged!
In fact the US contingent of BSA scouts to the WJ
in Austrailia in 1989 (i think), were issue a orange BUSH
hat, and in fact WORE the bush hat as the official HAT!
Also as far as STYLE of the uniforms. . . . When BSA
decided to change the uniforms to the current TAN,
a major fashion designer was contacted, I believe it
was Oscar D Larenta or someone such as that!!!! BSA
made a BIG about the re-styled uniforms for a few years.
SO, it would appear that STYLE was important to BSA.
ANSWER/COMMENT: Yes, Don's right. In 1972, fashion designer Oscar
deRente was contacted by the President of the BSA to "design us a set
of uniforms that will take Scouting into the next century".
The promises, as was published in the nation's newspapers, were many.
Wash-and-wearable shirts and pants that Scouts can wash and dry in
hours out-of-doors (I've tried this...have lots of time and extra
pants..the shirts do fine). Side pockets large enough and wide enough
to stuff a Scout Handbook and a compass into (well...they got the
compass part great...when Scouters tried to do this, they either ended
up with books that lost the bindings or were curled up). Well-fitting
pants (Carol's comments earlier was proof enough..but you can also
ask lots of other men..and later women). Materials made of wool and
cotton blends (the old woolen shirts were better crafted than the tan
woolen shirts mostly worn by professionals). Buttons that will stay
attached (well..only if you do what I do, and reinforce the buttons
before wearing it...). Finally, materials that will resist soiling (if
you got one of the FIRST shirts, this is true..they Scotchgarded (tm)
them...the present ones don't have that feature!!).
What we got, well...you've seen them. The uniforms were designed to
meet five basic criteria (I wrote about this about two years back)...
1) the tan and green colors were designed to be striking, so that
Scouts would be distinguished from other "uniformed organizations".
(please note that many security firms, gas stations, and several
resturant chains all have used tan shirts with a dark colored pant
too....and that the BSA uniform comes CLOSE to those worn by the U.S.
Forest Service and many state wildlife agencies)
2) the tan shirt would serve as a better disperser of body heat than
the old shirts (can't argue there...at night time, it DOES get cool!).
3) the tan shirt would best "display" (showoff) the various full
colored patches and insignia of "Scouting/USA" better than the old
ones would (or could) (that point is paramount, because the BSA built
its programming around the Cub Scout shirt and the Boy Scout shirt
over that next seven to ten years).
4) the tan shirt would better prevent Scouts from being targets or
blending into the forest green background better than the all khahi
(green) uniform shirts did (not really...if a Scout was not where he's
supposed to be anyways, it don't matter if he's wearing safety
orange...he'll still get shot at!).
5) the tan shirt will not show dirt and dust as much as the old shirts
will (that, again, is true...it won't...but then, that's the whole
purpose of the shirt.....it is, after all, a FIELD SHIRT, not a "dress
shirt for Scouts". It is SUPPOSED to get dirty and wet and muddy and
smelly...(I guess Oscar has NEVER seen children play, huh??)
I'll answer the "Jambo hat thing" later on, since someone else brought
it up also....
From: Nathan Brindle <NBRINDLE@INDYCMS.BITNET>
Organization: IUPUI Student Activities Office (317) 274-3931
Subject: Re: Test Hats
Thanks, you took my 100+ line reply and condensed it into two screens.
Let me add also that part of the problem we have with boys not wearing
the uniform today is a perception that it's not "cool." When we can't
even get OA members to wear it to the lodge meeting, there's something
wrong. Consider that kids are VERY fashion conscious these days and
much as I hate to admit it, they don't want to wear the same thing year
in and year out. I do not advocate a continual change in the uniform,
however, any more than I would advocate a move to a more military style
in hats. (Kathie, I meant a plain color, not camo--I just didn't say
And as for hats in general, when I was a kid and those berets came out,
we hated 'em and rarely wore them. Looking back with 20-20 hindsight,
I have to admit that they looked pretty snappy--for the '70s, anyway.
Just my $.02, but a little unit option on hats might be welcome--especially
since it seems to be the rule rather than the exception these days. If
the hat is acceptable by BSA standards, why not? It might even promote--
*gasp!*--pride in one's unit.
ANSWER: Nathan, those OA members are NOT wearing their uniforms out
of "lack of style", but rather because they *choose not to follow the
Obligation* and they should be *told so*.
(I had this same problem with my OA chapter as well.....)
"Your Obligation to this Order, in part, stated that you will
"..ALWAYS AND FAITHFULLY OBSERVE AND PRESERVE..." the traditions of
the Order. One of the traditions of the Order and of the Boy Scouts
of America is the fact that we are a UNIFORMED organization. As
Arrowmen, we are looked up upon by our fellow Scouts and Scouters as
examples of what a good camper is and what a good Scout is supposed to
BE, LOOK and DO. Imagine your surprise when you come to a Ordeal and
find Allowat Sakima, the mighty chief, in a pair of cut off shorts and
a teeshirt with holes in it....you first say, "Great, cool...", but
inside, you would lose confidence in him. You would feel disappointed
after you have been told that this is it, your Ordeal is over, and
perhaps many of you won't even listen to Allowat as he told the story
of the Order to you.
Likewise, when you come to a Order of the Arrow--or even your
unit's--meeting not "dressed for the part", you tell everyone there
that what you are doing is NOT important. It's not something that you
would be proud of. Its' not worth the time to "be prepared" for.
Nobody but yourself can "make" you wear the uniform of our Order.
But, trust me, if you wear the uniform of our Order proudly, with our
Lodge flap in place and all other insignia there, you are telling
Scouts and Scouters two important things.
That no matter what, you have an Obligation to them....and you are
keeping it. And that you are proud to be a honor camper and Scout.
And they...and I...will ALWAYS respect you as a brother for both.
From: The Incredible Byrdman <DEB3291@TNTECH.BITNET>
Subject: Re: Test Hats
Bill Glover wrote:
>Since we are talking about the uniform, when do you think National may
>consider scout pants that are more durable, ie. jeans, Dockers, etc. I don't
>know who cuts those things out! Well scouting goes on,
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this! During my career as
a Scout, I had several pairs of pants and one pair of shorts that had to be
resewn, because the seams just fell apart. The shorts have been a little
more durable, but not by much. I recall someone saying(not on the list)that
the first Scout pants were made by Levi Strauss. Each pair of pants came
with the guarantee that if two Scouts could take a pair of pants and rip
them down the middle, they would replace them free of charge. It seems to
me that a slightly heavier weight fabric and some double-seaming and
possibly some rivets at stress points would yield a more functional uniform
Well...the FIRST Scout pants were made by a company called Sigmund
Eisner, Inc. (which also makes to this day the U.S. military's
uniforms, one of several sources...), and yes, they did make that
claim that "if two Boy Scouts can take a pair of our pants and rip
them down the middle using their hands and pure Scout strength, the
Manufacturer will gladly refund the money spent and replace the pants
free of charge". Eisner made also the Boy Scout Hat and the Boy Scout
*SUMMER HAT* (which looks a close resemblance to the hat that de
laRente created for adult females to wear!!) as well...
I'll ask around about the "levi connection" next week....
From: Olan Watkins <o.watkins@GENIE.GEIS.COM>
Subject: Re: Test Hats
Can't remember who asked the original question about the hats, but the one I
bought is olive green and except for the snaps on the sides to hold the
sides up like an Aussie bush hat and the red FDL on the front, the hat would
look very similar to a GI bunie or jungle hat. It has a throat strap and
comes in small, medium, large, and xtr large. I believe the cost was a
little over $7. I did not see the blue ones. It is an excellent hat for
outdoors use, canoe trips and things like that, it will absorb a lot of
sweat and provides good shade for the face and neck. I found this one in the
Longhorn Council Scout Shop (Texas).
ANSWER: There were also postings placed here that you can get the same
hat from the old Mahoning Valley Council and I've heard that you could
get them from the Four Rivers Council in our state. So, after I'd
called National and got their "We're not testing anything" answer, I
called the Four Rivers Council in Kentucky and the Mahoning Valley
Council in Ohio. BOTH Councils are NOT field-testing anything...it
seems that during National Camping School, a staff member came wearing
a smartly-different "bush hat", complete with the red "scout emblem"
in the center. They are SELLING THEM AT THE COUNCIL CAMPS AS "NOVELITY
ITEMS" and NOT as official hat gear (but, you know how THAT
goes....it'll be "acceptable hat gear" in the Council). In talking
with the staff at the Scout Shop that Frank Bates provided us with,
the office manager ordered them from a company in Florida doing
business with several summer camps. They are as described but ARE
NOT BSA-labeled "hats" (okay...they DON'T HAVE THE BSA SEAL on them,
which makes them "official".) Paducah is selling them as a "premium"
for attending Camp Roy Manchester this summer (hey, anything to get
them there, right??).
So, write the address and request a "left over one" (the Scout Shop
don't have them in stock there, but I'm sure that after today, they
will get a few over the weekend from the camp and offer them for sale
at the Scout Shop on Tuesday (remember, in the USA, Monday's a Federal
Holiday and Scout Shops will be closed)
*you think that *I'm* going to tell you that you can't wear them???
Hey...we all KNOW the policy....so why repeat it...all I can say is
that I prize my German felt green "huntsman hat" and that I do wear it
outdoors with my Scout uniform at camporees and other events I
attend...and while I have received a lot of stares, I haven't got a
single request (other than Jessiann's) to "put it away"!! *
From: "E. C. HALE" <ARTHALE@EKU.BITNET>
Subject: COMMENTS ON UNIFORMS & HATS FROM A CURMUDGEON
I started to send you a short note on your remarks regarding
uniform regs. and ended up writing a book. I've decided to post it
to the List.
FYI: Some Comments On B.S.A. Uniforming Practices
When you wrote, "imitation of United States Army . . .
uniforms . . . prohibited . . ." I had to smile a little. I know
that's the current rule and that it has been pretty effectively
followed for the last twenty years or so. HOWEVER, no matter
whether the rule is in congruence with the original congressional
charter or not, the practice of the matter has been something quite
different. My father's Scout uniform (1917) was an almost exact
copy of the WW I Doughboy's outfit (that's looking at it from the
campaign hat on top to the leggings on the bottom). In my own time
as a Boy Scout (late 40's to early 50's), the Sea Explorers were
nearly indistinguishable from actual navymen. In my case, when I
entered the Air Force in 1955, my khaki uniform (actually a tan),
with the exception of its color, was very similar to the Boy Scout
uniform I left behind.
BTW, I'm not in favor of military camo uniforms for scouts
because the boys around here who wear them seem to think this makes
them some sort of junior Rambos and they act accordingly.
Additional comments of the scattershot variety:
I'm not a fan of the Smokey hat. It's heavy to wear, clumsy
to duck through the brush in and an absolute pain to store in camp
besides being prohibitively expensive. It does look good. The
ball cap is worse. Even though it's cheap, it offers little
protection beyond shading the eyes and is UGH-LEE to the max! I've
seen photographs of Baden-Powell wearing a sort of fedora that
seems to have a lot in common with the crushable outdoor hats like
those sold by L. L. Bean. I think something on the order of this
(in felt) would be great for adult leaders and a cloth version
would be just about right for the boys. This sort of hat offers
much better sun protection than the ball cap and is handier by far
than the Smokey.
Finally, THOSE @#$% SHIRT BUTTON HOLES are the worst! Mature
males like myself (a.k.a convex abdominal profile) cant keep the
ones just above our belts buttoned. No, the cause is not the small
amount of adipose tissue there, it's because the slit is vertical
rather than horizontal. I know it would cost an extra .50 for the
fabricator to have to turn the shirt a few extra times when
putting in the button holes, but I'd be willing to pay it!
ANSWER: Carroll, you and I BOTH suffer from that malady...hehehe why
can't they make a shirt with spandex at the bottom, huh?? heheheh...
While I have to keep my tummy down or else I'll NEVER wear Liet.
Colonel's insignia in MY lifetime, I can understand your
concern...I've been tightning the buttonhole at the top and bottom..
but I like the horizontal buttonhole idea...can they do that for other
shirts as well?? We may have a patent improvement on our hands!!
Seriously, your posting kinda brings it all together for this posting,
long as it is....the BSA started out gang, as a "imitation" of
Baden-Powell's exploits and adventures, so why should we try to
distance ourselves from the military "forebearers" that the BSA and
indeed ALL Scouting came from?? Yes, we don't want our youngsters
recreating the Battle of Pork Chop Hill or some other military
conflict while at an activity designed to mold them into good
citizens and responsible adults. Yes, we don't want them picked up by
over-zealous military/shore police whom cannot recognize a 15 year-old
from a 18 year old deserter.
No, we don't want those things to happen. But at the same time, we
can't afford to turn our youth into "instant adults". We have to give
them adventure, we have to allow them to use their imaginations and
let go the "traditional". If we didn't do those things, we would NOT
be here, conversing over telephone wires, screens and modems today.
At the same time, those of us that are, are members of a UNIFORMED
ORGANIZATION, with defined and specific rules as to how their uniforms
and insignia will be used and how you can wear them. So, we have to
to follow *their rules*.
My .02 seems to run long today.
I've overused my .02 and a couple of others' .02s as well....I hope
you don't mind too much!!
Have a great Fourth/National Day everyone!
Mike L. Walton
(the man with "that awful green hunters' hat!" )
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
( 3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / (available Scouting speaker) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City