uniforming & merit badges
hilding holroyd (hilding@BLUESTONE.COM)
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:06:04 EST
I feel inspired to address the 2 issues that are
hot on the "air waves".
I am a stickler for correct uniforming. I have a few hot buttons
on this issue. Some things that get to me are:
ADULTS in improper uniform (just a Scout shirt for instance)
Scouts in a parade (Memorial Day/4th of July) in improper uniform
Scouts in a parade, CARRYING THE FLAGS, in improper uniform (REAL hot button)
(I do a lot of parades since I am in a bagpipe band)
Improper placement of rank/sleeve/temporary patches (especially on adults)
(all covered in BSA handbook)
I suppose the list could go on.
As advancement chairman for a BSA troop, I feel it is not my place
to set troop policy, by myself, when it comes to uniforming. That
is a job for the Patrol Leaders' Council and entire Troop Committee.
However, I do insist that any and all Scouts come to a Scoutmaster
Conference and Boards of Review in complete and proper uniform. I HAVE
told a Scout that he could not have his Board of Review because he was
not in complete uniform (did it last night, BTW). I also insist that they
have their BSA Handbook with them.
Adults DO set the example. The SM, ASM's and I all wear our uniforms to
meetings and outings. Without saying too much about it, the Scouts do
wear their complete uniforms to troop meetings. We have purchased some
"troop t-shirts" and will allow them in spring. But only THAT t-shirt will
be classified as "proper uniform".
There are some merit badges that lend themselves to a class type
presentation (someone mentioned First Aid). The Scouts also get
"classes" at summer camp (many of which are merit badge factories).
I encourage the concept of bringing a MB counselor into a troop
meeting to present the badge and then declare that if anyone has
some interest in pursueing the badge, that they contact the counselor
individually. We DID have the full troop work on Personal Fitness MB
as a group. We brought the counselor into the meeting. He presented
the badge and what each Scout would have to do to complete it. He then said
"I'll be back in 1 month". The Scouts then had to do the work on their
own. (For those who do not know, this badge requires the Scout to do
exercises over a month and note improvement). They also had to have
medical certificates and notes from Dentists.
So, whereas I remember doing much work on my own for the MB's I earned,
I also remember a couple of "group effort" badges. Each troop and each
Scout will have to be treated different. I would encourage group efforts
for younger Scouts and more individual efforts for older. Of course I
would also expect different quality of work from a 16 year old than from
an 11 year old. But that is another issue. And watch out for YPP.
I also have wondered how much the Scouts get out of the factories at
summer camp. In most cases, I have been satisfied that the Scout has
learned. Of course there are exceptions. As there are if a Scout works
on a badge at home. In one case, I retained the badge until the Scout
had completed a requirement that was signed at summer camp. (the Scout
did not have his 20 days/nights for camping but the counselor at camp
signed it off. The Scout got the badge, but only AFTER he really had
the requirements completed.)
Conclusion (I'm getting long winded):
Uniforms are part of BSA. In my book, if you are going to wear the
uniform then WEAR IT RIGHT!.
Merit badges are part of the program. Review them with your Scouts.
Bring counselors into the meeting. Ask Scouts questions about the MB
at Board of Review time. If you are not satisfied that they "properly"
passed all requirements, don't send any more Scouts to that counselor.
Build them into the troop program. Many relate to requirements for the lower ran
Hilding W. Holroyd Advancement Chairman, Tr 250
Lakewood, NJ Jersey Shore Council
Eagle Class '68 Japeechen Lodge (Brotherhood)
"I used to be a FOX!", NE-IV-54
"I used to be a STAFFER!", NE-IV-71
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