Re: BSA: Uniform wear complaint
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 28 Feb 1995 00:25:59 CDT
>I just got the current copy of Scouting over the weekend, And I have
>seen some pictures in there that somewhat disturb me. Accompanying
>the article "Fishin' Lore '94", there are several pictures. Three of
>them caught my interest, right off.
(description deleted only for space)
>Am I expecting too much here? If the boy is going to allow himself to
>be photographed for publication, shouldn't he (or his leader) make sure
>that he's in FULL uniform?
>I see this frequently, in the pages of Scouting, and it galls me every
Me too...we've talked about this before, and I've forwarded our
combined complaints to both the Editorial Director as well as to the
the Editor of _Scouting_ (with a copy of course, to my SE and Gene
Daniels (whom asked for a copy).) Gene is one of the senior people
around _Scouting_ (some say that he's been there since the BSA was
Here's what I've shared before: First, many of the pictures taken are
supposed to be of the "candid" variety. While the unit may know that
"people from _Scouting_ are here to take your pictures", and while
there are several pictures which may be taken but never used, the
actual decision on which pictures to use are exclusively the editors'.
They like to use the pictures that illustrate Scouts "being boys".
When Gene Daniels or one of the other photojournalists come to your
Council, there's usually a parade of National and Regional folks close
at their heels, *in addition to* your Council Executive and several
other "straphangers". Therefore, the "typical shoot" as explained to
me by the folks at _Scouting_, consists of a two-person magazine crew,
accompanied by about ten others, all telling the crew "how important
this is", "which Scouts/Scouters should be in the picture", "what
they should be doing", and even "what location should be emphasized".
There's a LOT of "grip and grins" taken too, many of which are sent to
the Scout Executive or the unit leader and the rest destroyed.
The magazine staff HATES unit meetings, especially Troop and Pack
meetings, because while they may find two or three good pictures to
illustrate the article, they end up shooting everything everyone from
the unit leader and the District Executive on up "thinks important to
An "effort" is made to check proper uniforming and insignia placement
before publication (the pictures are circulated around several
divisions (part of the release each person signs), which explains in
part how come, for instance, a picture taken of me for an article a
few years back, ended up instead on the cover of one of the
Philmont Volunteer Training Center brochures!), but admittedly, the aim
is NOT to show "perfect Boy Scouts", but rather "realistic Boy Scouts
enjoying the program". When I pointed out that the magazine sends a dual
message, one of in one case "do what you want, because that's Scouting"
and the other "the rules of Scouting are these....and we have definate
ways to wear the uniform and the patches on those uniforms", I got back
as a response "That's true. But you have to understand that we don't get
a lot of time to stage illustrations; when we do, it LOOKS staged and
that's NOT the image we want to give Scouters and their parents whom read
Finally, when I mentioned (as illustrated in the email postings
sent the first time we talked about this), that "we use _Scouting_ as
a tool in coaching Scouting volunteers and to train Commissioners", I
got back a nice "yeah, we know", response, "again, we want to show
Scouts having fun and enjoying themselves. This isn't done with clean,
crisp uniforms with all badges in place and neckerchiefs draped exactly.
It's done with halved uniforms, a kid just excited about getting a badge
wearing it incorrectly perhaps, but he's *wearing it*."
In other words, we're fighting a battle over "what the policies are"
and "what the perception is". The policies are that Scouts wear
uniforms, that those uniforms reflect current standing and position in
the organization, and that those uniforms are worn as complete as
possible by those youth members and by those adults that work with
them as a visible example.
The perception is that unless we see Scouts out of uniform -- with
patches everyplace except and including where they are supposed to be,
and that adults in those programs wear whatever they choose because
that's what the kids are going to do no matter what -- it's not a Good
Event or an Enjoyable Program.
I don't like it. While both _Scouting_ and _Boys'_Life_ ARE getting
better at this, they STILL have a LONG, LONG WAY TO GO in reflecting
what Scouting is ALL about; at the same time emphaizing that the
uniform -- correctly worn and reflecting what they do and how MUCH fun
they've had doing it -- is an important part of what kids join
If you DO NOT like how the illustrations are pictured, PLEASE, PLEASE
write the EDITOR, SCOUTING MAGAZINE, at the BSA's National office
address. To help things out, copy or clip out the picture(s) and let
them know that you don't like it. While you'll get back a "pretyped
response", eventually *they will get better*. I personally doubt it:
I have copies of older _Scouting_ issues where this same issue was
addressed then, and the same answers were given.
But let them know.
Finally, remember that unlike _Scouting_, _Boys' Life_ is designed as
a COMMERCIAL VENTURE of the BSA....and that many of the "rules"
associated with how Scouting is "marketed" in our in-house
publications, are bended and broken in that venue. It's only because
BL is used in part as part of the BSA's promotion and recruitment
program and *perhaps* "nice, neat uniforms" are NOT what the BSA wants
its image to be (that is, until we get them to join...and then, it's
"you have to wear the uniform NOT as the young man in BL, but how the
BSA says you should....")
What a mess!
Settummanque!@Tunnelling from underneight 300+ messages!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
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