Craig Bond (CraigB1051@AOL.COM)
Tue, 11 Apr 1995 12:52:47 -0400
Okay, I've watched and read and slept on this issue a great deal.
If we were talking, I'd have bit through my tongue; as it is, my
hands are black and blue, I've slapped then when they've started
writing replies to this uniform issue.
I will not comment on the uniform policy. It is what it is.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is whether a troop
looks better when dressed in jeans or greens.
IMHO, it is indisputable that a troop looks good *only* when all
members are uniformly uniformed. That's the sight I see at my
poorest troop's Court of Honor -- all neckerchiefed and all in
greens. Some long jeans, some green shorts, some jean shorts and
some long greens -- the sight I saw at a recent Court of Honor --
simply does not look good. It might have if the home address of
these boys was not one of the richest census tracts in the state.
I do have a problem with the description of BSA goods as
undesirable (my word). I don't know what specific goods the writer
was describing, but suggest in the strongest possible terms that he
send specific criticism to National Supply and, if failing to get
a response within a reasonable period, send it higher than that (I
would not, of course, *say* that you should send a letter to the
Chief Scout Executive).
Y'know, although snail mail is named such for a reason, it is still
a very logical step in getting changes made, getting messages
through... And I say that because it is my experience that people
often overlook the most obvious resources for answers (telephone
books for addresses; public libraries' reference desks for
quotations and a myriad other information needs).
I also have a problem with the description of the uniform as being
less durable than alternatives -- the trouser greens less durable
than jeans, for example. The description is just plain wrong.
I have two Scout sons and their uniforms went to Philmont, Fort AP
Hill, summer camps, summer camp staffs, day camp staffs, camporees,
canoeing, campouts, hiking...and they were outgrown faster than
worn out. Indeed, the most likely reason for replacement other
than being outgrown was due to a paint spill or other inappropriate
use -- and don't try to tell me that wouldn't have happened had
they been wearing Girbaud (sp?) jeans!
I wear the uniform, shirt to socks, trousers most of the time,
shorts at camp, virtually every day of the year. As a professional
Scouter in an urban/suburban/rural area, I find it a very useful
recruiting tool and instant identification.
In the past five years, I've bought five pair of trousers and two
pair of shorts. I currently have two pair of trousers in good
shape, although one has acquired some mysterious black spots that
look like ink and I'm now only wearing them to campouts, so I guess
I need another.
My shirts -- I've currently got about eight -- have lasted far
longer than the whites and blues I used to wear with my suits.
They are also more likely replaced for soiling than wear -- in
fact, in the past five years, I've only stopped wearing one -- it
was the polyester, held a sleeve crease and resisted wear-creases,
and had my favorite combination of OA flap and temporary patch; I
simply wore it out.
So, the uniform will stand up to any comparison. I personally
prefer the cargo pockets and may take up the suggestion of simply
removing them from my dying trousers and sewing them onto the
new... need to give that some thought...my sewing skills are not
that of a domestic god.
As for other equipment in the catalog, camping, etc., just as with
any other retailer, you always have the option of using another
supplier. The *only* items you must buy from BSA, if you wish to
be a member, are the uniform parts.
Remember that this is *membership* organization, and many other
policies will become clearer.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City