Uniforming: my two cents
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Thu, 6 Apr 1995 09:44:14 EST
If this post is too long, I'm sorry, but I've got to add my two cents
worth (well--maybe a nickel's worth) to the Great Uniform Debate of
1995. I agree with the view that full uniforming is important. The
uniforms cost what they cost because BSA makes a profit, which is
recycled back into program (according to my DE).
I would NEVER chastise or punish a scout for failing to show up to a
troop function in proper uniform. However, there are ways you can
encourage proper uniform through a reward system. Check out the
Scoutmaster's Handbook discussion of the Baden-Powell patrol award;
proper uniforming is a requirement for it. Encourage your patrols to
go for the BP patrol award, and reward any patrol that earns it
(adults cook a dutch oven dinner for them on the next camping trip,
Another possibility is to conduct a weekly inspection. Assign points
along the following lines:
shirt: 3 points
tucked in: 1 point
proper badges/patches (including epaulet tabs): 1 point
socks: 1 point
belt: 1 point
uniform pants: 5 points
no uniform pants: 0 points
sweatpants or cut-offs (I despise these on scouts at troop meetings):
General appearance (hair combed, fingernails cleaned, buttons
buttoned, shoelaces tied, etc.): 3 points.
Total points possible: 15
You add up the total patrol score, and then compute an average score
per scout. This gives you a score you can compare fairly with other
patrols, since patrol sizes vary.
The patrol at the end of each month with the best score gets a prize:
I'll buy 'em a pizza or two out-of-pocket, for example. Another
possibility is to give the best patrol first choice of campsites when
you go on a troop campout. We all know there are better and worse
patrol campsites when the troop goes out together.
Of course, the SM and all ASMs are expected to set the example and
wear complete uniform. Also, any member of the PLC is expected to set
the example as well and wear complete uniform. Any scout who is
interested in being a PL should be told up front that proper
uniforming is required as part of the job.
It seems to me that this system will positively encourage the boys to
wear their uniforms, while allowing the diehards who refuse to still
participate (although not in leadership positions), as long as they
can take the flack their patrolmates will generate when the patrol
never gets free pizza!
On a related matter, it ain't just some of the boys who don't like to
wear complete uniforms. In my cub pack and in other units I know
about, I regularly see adults in incomplete uniform. What do any of
you suggest for an adult who wears everything else properly except for
jeans, for example?
ASM (soon to be SM), Troop 120
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City