Doug Gentry (Post311@AOL.COM)
Wed, 12 Apr 1995 02:44:25 -0400
Well, after reading several days of discussion on the Boy Scout uniform
requirements I think I'll jump in.
Last year I worked for our council to charter some inner-city scout troops.
None of these boys had money for uniforms, and they were all scholarships.
A boy is not required to own a uniform to be a scout.
The district had a "district" T-shirt. So, each boy was given one so they
could have something to wear that identified them as a Boy Scout.
There is no requirement that a boy wear the "official" uniform when
travelling to and from a scout activity.
The scout handbook says the uniform should be worn during scout activities,
and many districts and councils have made it an expectation that the uniform
be worn during travel and events.
Many scout camps have the expectation that the "official" uniform be worn
during certain times.
Our inner city kids wore their T-shirts.
There are, however, certain programs that require a boy to have a full
"official" uniform, such as Pinetree, or the National Jamboree.
You might notice that I have been saying "official" as opposed to the "class
"Class A" is a military term. Boy Scouts is NOT a military organization.
(House Report No. 130, 64th Congress, 1st session:
"The Boy Scout movement is not one seeking to promote a juvenile military
The BSA guidelines do state that if you are going to wear the official
uniform that it must be worn as a complete uniform, pants and shirt with the
required patches. (Rules and Regulations; Insignia, uniforms, and badges;
Official uniforms, clause 2. and Protection of uniforms, clause 4a)
I am also involved in some non-innercity units and these kids have money.
But, I should also say that I do not require the boys in my pack, troop, and
post to own the official pants, but most of them do.
I encourage them to buy the complete uniform. I also shop the thrift stores
and buy used uniform shirts for 2-3 bucks, add the patches and sell them to
the kids at well below the 'new' cost.
My biggest concern is those scouts and scouters who wear military style
uniforms or camoflauge.
The wearing of military style uniforms, especially campflauge, is prohibited.
Period. No discussion!!
Camo is the official uniform of the US Army. The rules and regulations of the
BSA forbid its wear (same section as above, clause 4b).
Two years ago, at a district camporee, there was a troop that had a patrol
who voted to make their official uniform camoflauge.
These boys paraded around the scout reservation in head to toe camo,
including jump boots and balloon straps.
Many adults were very disturbed by this display. And to add fodder to their
cannon, these boys were involved in some intimidation of younger scouts after
The camo issue really polarized our district. Those who thought they were way
out of line complained quite loudly. The Scoutmaster of these boys and a few
of his supporters whos troops also had boys who wore camo felt that it didn't
matter what uniform they wore, as long as they did the scout 'program', and
were having fun.
The Council executive staff didn't want to take a stand.
A year later, I was on the staff who planned a camporee and we announced
ahead of time that at certain times, the "official" scout uniform would be
required (if they own one), and camo would not be allowed during these times:
Flag ceremonies, worship services, and evening campfire.
One troop staged a boycott during these times because they disagreed with the
policy. After the camporee they complained to the District Executive that
they were not allowed to attend during these times.
To solve the issue, I called National in Texas and talked to the National guy
in charge of Boy Scouts. I think his name was Mr. Peterson.
Mr. Peterson made it quite clear that the BSA authorizes only the wearing of
the complete official uniform. No other combinations are authorized.
He also made in clear that anyone who thinks camo is acceptable, belongs to
the wrong organization.
Needless to say, nothing in our district has changed. There are still boys in
camo, however, they no longer look like junior soldiers.
And until the Uniform Police force the issue of complete uniforms, we can
only 'do our best' to see that each boy has a complete "official".
On My Honor,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City