Re: another visit with uniforming
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Thu, 6 Apr 1995 19:41:36 -0500
I am in synch with Joseph T. Nairn on uniforming. I own a complete
uniform, but I don't require it among my Scouts. Some boys would be
buying two uniforms/year at the rate they grow. It is an unecessary
expense. We require a Scout uniform shirt. Upon this shirt they can
wear their awards, be identified as a Scout, and take pride in their
uniform. The color of their pants might make some impact on pride, but
the shirt is the primary uniform article that identifies the program, the
accomplishments of the boy, and the unit he is from. All the pants do is
keep his knees from being skinned and his legs from getting tanned.
Jeans can accomplish the same thing.
Someone compared the costs of Scouting to Little League. Apples &
oranges. They compared the cost of complete uniforms, added the extra
costs of baseball mitt, shoes, etc. For the Scouting costs you must also
add the camping gear, troop dues, and cost of activities. Few parents
will be sending their sons to play baseball in Cimarron, New Mexico or
Ely, Minnesota. Have anyone priced a National or World Jamboree lately?
Don't get me wrong, if all my Scouts showed up at my next troop meeting
with complete uniforms, I'd be thrilled to death. A fully uniformed troop
absolutely DOES look sharp. They are also very worthy of any compliments
they receive on their appearance. It just doesn't land at the top of my
priorities of Scouting methods.
The idea that a Scout is just half in the program if he doesn't have Scout pants
is an insult. It just means
he is not wearing a full a uniform. I have had some outstanding Scouts that
didn't own full uniforms. A couple of them purchased full uniforms by attending
a National or World Jamboree or working on national high adventure staff at
Sommers or Maine, where the full uniform is required. I don't believe
they suddenly blossomed into the full program when they put on forest
I've heard the statement made that Scouts act better when they're in full
uniform. I know some extremely high quality troops that are very strict
on full uniforming. I know some very high quality troops that aren't.
I know a troop from camp that wore full uniforms. Obviously their leaders
must have believed full uniforming would magically transform them, they
were wrong. It was one of the worst behaved troops I've ever had the
misfortune of knowing. Of course there were some outstanding boys among
them, but as a group they acted like idiots, and did more to disgrace the
uniform. Pride? They didn't show it.
The moral of this? The color of the pants don't make good Scouts. If
wearing the Scout shirt doesn't instill pride, how much effect will a
pair of pants add. The color of the pants don't make a good program.
Twenty years from now it's not the clothes they wore that will affect
their lives, but rather the ideals and beliefs they were exposed to. It
will be the lessons they learned while outdoors with their fellow Scouts
that will affest them. It will be the example of their leaders that will
affect impressionalbe minds. That example better reach far beyond the
clothing they wore. It's not what we put on our Scouts that make
them good Scouts, it's what we instill within them.
The most important parts of Scouting don't hang in a closet at the
end of the day. They remain a part of you. It doesn't make a difference
if a boy is wearing jeans or uniform pants with or without cargo
pockets. You can be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obediant, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent in any type of
clothing. You can gain valuable lessons from participating and growing
in a quality program. Telling a boy to go home and miss those
opportunities because his pants don't match everyone else's doesn't sit
well with me. I'm there for the boys, not for the sales staff at
National Supply. The uniform is nothing compared to the boy inside
them. Our aim is to make him his best, not his wardrobe.
I know there are hard liners who beleive that if you're not in a full
uniform, you're not in their troop. That's their perogative. I respect
their opinion even if I disagree with it. If my boys want full
uniforming in our troop, then that is the way it will be. The boys own
the troop. It will be their idea, it will come from them. Someone spoke on
Baden-Powell's view that uniforms shouldn't be required, boys should want to
wear them. I
agree with encouraging full uniforms, but stop short of requiring them.
I do own a couple sets of full uniforms myself, and I wear them. I also
need to buy another new one, to replace an old worn shirt and pants. But it
will be my choice to purchase that new unifrom, not because someone is
threatening to block my participation from Scouting if I don't buy it and
There are troops that are strict on full uniforming and those that are
not. It is good boys and their families have that choice. I suppose
there are just arguments for both sides, and certainly room for both in the
My $.002 worth.
YIS, Cliff Golden Scoutmaster Troop 33
DeKalb, Illinois Advisor Explorer Post 333
Three Fires Council BSA District Commissioner, Kishwaukee District
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City