James H. McCullars (mccullarsj@EMAIL.UAH.EDU)
Tue, 11 Apr 1995 15:36:14 -0500
Bruce D. MacKey writes:
-->gold BSA Troop 335 on the front or back. If there is one thing I learned
-->after twenty-five years in the Army it is that the individual, not the
-->uniform, is the important thing.
That may be true; however:
A patrol officer may arrest you whether he is in uniform or not, so why not
wear blue jeans with his "uniform" shirt?
The quarterback at Alabama can play just as well in his practice pants, so
why wear uniform pants?
Your kid in Little League can hit just as well wearing sweats, so why wear
pants that match the shirt?
And finally -- those soldiers with whom you served during your 25 years are
just as respectful in uniform as in jeans, so why not wear jeans to
The answer is, they are all out of uniform. If the cop on the street
wore cut-offs, we would say he is out of uniform. If I saw a soldier
wearing a BDU shirt and gym shorts, I would say he is out of uniform.
Sure, they are all the same person inside, but all of our first impressions
are based on outward appearances.
While I'm on a roll here, I would like to address a couple of other
concerns about uniforms I've seen raised. Many people have raised the "not
every kid can afford a uniform" question. It has been my experience,
however, that those troops that are the strictest about requiring uniforms
also make sure that every kid actually has one. In my troop, the problem
is not the ability to get one, it's just laziness on the kids' part to put
the thing on when they need to. I have seen boys claim that their uniform
is in the wash two weeks after a camporee. Heck, I live by myself and I do
laundry more often than that!
I think only once in my entire Scouting career (as an adult, anyway --
proper uniforming used to be the norm when I was a kid in Scouts) have I
seen a whole troop in full and complete uniform. We attended Boxwell
Reservation for summer camp last year, and I saw about 20-25 boys from a
troop in Murphreesboro, Tennessee march to retreat one night in full
uniform. I looked closely and could not find one kid missing a neckerchief
or shoulder loops or Scout socks or anything. It really made an impression
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City