Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 11:10:59 EST
Here we go with the uniforming again! It seems to me the thing to do
is make it clear that you expect your boys to wear correct uniform.
But rather than punish them if they don't, what you do is reward the
patrols that make an effort to comply with uniforming. You do this by
rewarding the best-turned out patrol each month.
I agree with Steve in Newark that you'll find a lot of variation in
uniforming. However, one can recognize effort, if not attention to
meticulous detail. If a scout shows up with a tucked in shirt with
all the correct patches, who's going to grouse about the numerals
being a bit lower on the sleeve than they're supposed to be, or
Uniforming is one of the 8 methods of scouting, though, Steve; there
are reasons why it is important that are totally unrelated to the
military analogy that gets served up all the time from uniforming
critics. The analogy I use is to a marching band or a sports team.
People accept uniforming here all the time--why should the boy scouts
be any different?
Uniforming is also a great leveler, particularly when you are in a
troop with boys from widely varying income levels. I've got rich kids
and poor kids in my troop, but uniforming makes them all scouts. I've
also noticed that scouts in uniform tend to act more like scouts, in
terms of things like deportment, language, courtesy, and so on.
I have made it known to my boys that shirts and pants, belts, and
socks, all worn neatly, are my standard. I have an inspection system
that assigns points to scouts for compliance. Each month the patrol
with the best average score gets rewarded--pizza and cokes on the SM,
a batch of dutch oven biscuits for breakfast on a campout, dishes
washed by the SM, etc. It's worth the trouble to me to have a
This system works. It also allows the diehard no-uniform types to
continue to participate if they want--although they have to put up
with the peer pressure from those in their patrols who want to win the
inspection competition each month.
Anyway, scouts moving on down the trail on a camping trip is
great--who doesn't like that? Outdoors is one of the eight methods of
scouting. But I'd like it even better if the scouts moving on down
the trail have made at least some effort at uniforming. That's two
methods of scouting!
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City