Full Uniforming & "Po Folks"
Tue, 4 Apr 1995 20:51:57 -0400
I have been reading the thread on Class "A" uniforms, and have noticed that
some folks out there seem to take pride in the incomplete uniforming of their
units. Some of the excuses I have heard are that the parents can't afford to
shell out the cash for the pants, hats, etc. Frankly, it hits a nerve with
<Soapbox mode on>
I have heard that the kids in their troop are "underpriviledged. Pah! There
is no such thing as "underpriviledged" people, just "undermotivated."
Everyone wants a handout, and nothing is anybody's fault. :(
Part of the program is self-reliance, as well as belonging. The uniform can
be used as a tool for both lessons, if used properly. But, the leaders need
an attitude adjustment to get the point across to the boys.
I agree that parents will pay for that which they think is important. I have
little sympathy for a parent who spends $90.00 on Little League, plus cost
for bat & glove, then gripes about the cost of a Boy Scout uniform. Then
there are those parents who would rather shell out $150.00 for the latest
B-Ks for their kids, but moan over the cost of uniform pants. That dog don't
Now, I have heard that the boys grow three sizes in two years? Well, get the
pants a couple sizes too large, take up the waist, and don't cut off the
excess legs. That's how we got two years wear out of a pair of pants.
Besides, that's what belts are for. What's happened? Has everyone
forgotten how to sew?
Now, I think that, if the leadership is sufficiently motivated, some way can
be found to get all the boys into _complete_ uniforms without the parents
having to shell out a bunch of jack to suit them up. Why aren't the boys
earning money for their uniforms for themselves? Maybe by having it come out
of their own pockets, instead of their parents' coffers, will instill a
little pride of accomplishment that they don't seem to be encouraged to get
by their parents or their leaders.
Believe me, if those were _gang_ colors, the boys would be sprinting to get
their grubbies on them, and not thinking twice! Maybe it's the fact they
don't want to be seen in a Scout uniform.
Now, it would be nice if National would sell the uniforms at cost, but do you
think that registrations are the _only_ way that National funds its staff?
Leaders, you need to properly motivate your boys. Lead by example. Get _your_
complete uniform. Then, start on your junior leadership. Give them a little
directed guidance to find ways to get _into_ uniforms - new, experienced, it
doesn't matter, as long as they're not blown out. If the junior leaders wear
the uniforms, then the rest of the boys will want to, too.
<Soapbox mode off>
BTW, for those who think they can get around the pants issue by using
military surplus uniform parts, think again: it's not proper uniforming, and
it's against our National Charter to wear military uniform parts. Think
about it - if one can afford $20.00 for _used_ surplus uniform pants, then
they can afford another $8.00 for new genuine BSA articles.
Sometimes, I think I'm preaching to the choir, but this thread helps remind
me I'm not :)
Yours in Scouting,
Randy Spradling, P.E.
(and a good old owl, too!)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City