Re: UNIFORM INSPECTIONS
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Thu, 22 May 1997 15:28:30 -0500
I read over a late lunch twice Lareen's posting about the uniform inspection
in her Pack. It seems that we're really talking about two separate issues:
recognition for participating in a uniform inspection and the manner in
which the inspection is being conducted....and why.
Let me answer the last issue first and then the first one:
The BSA asks Commissioners and local Councils to conduct uniform inspections
as part of its rechartering process for a really important reason.
To establish and maintain the standards of the program and to eliminate the
"wearing or display of insignia not approved or appropriate for wear by the
BSA". Uniforming is important, and should not be taken lightly by any
Commissioner nor professional....it's what makes the BSA the same no matter
where you are, and links all members of various backgrounds, racial and
ethnic backdrops, and those from other countries to the programs of the Boy
Scouts of America.
This is why as part of the rechartering process, we ask units and their
Commissioner, to perform a simple uniform inspection process, utilizing the
membership and leadership of the unit. The inspection itself can be done by
the individual Cub, Scout or Explorer themselves...it doesn't take a guy or
gal in "full uniform" to actually "do the inspection"...it does, however,
add a air of "specialness" to the event, and as a Commissioner and
District/Council/National Scouter, I've been asked lots of times to be the
"inspector" during several unit-level uniform inspections...and have enjoyed
I've also had the District's Executive (especially if he or she is new to
the "game of Scouting") come along with me as we do a uniform inspection
together.....it's a great learning experience for both volunteer and
professional. Don't be afraid of getting your Council Executive or one of
those "office guys or gals" to come out! The "office guys or gals" are the
Field Directors and other professional staff members that don't have "field
obligations" and may be secretly wishing and praying that someone calls them
up and asks "Hank, would you like to come out, be our guest, and do our
uniform inspection for us next Monday??"
(and Hank's on the other end of the phone silently screaming "YES!!!"
while calmly explaining "I may be late, but sure, I'd be happy to come out
But it doesn't take me nor anyone else to do the inspection...the unit
leader or unit commissioner or both *should* be the ones doing it....but
some highly successful uniform inspections done by the Scouts
themselves...they were harder and forgiving at the same time to each other
than ANY adult can. Just pair them up, give each the inspection sheet, and
allow them to score each other. You'll be surprised at the results...and
no, most of the ones I've seen in that way, the scores are actually LOWER
than what would normally be done by adults doing it...
Another example of "something that youth can do because it's THEIR program".
The SCORES of the uniform inspection are NOT REPORTED to anyone, which begs
the question (and which I've answered earlier) "Why do it, then??" So, now,
the first part of Lareen's posting comes out: in what form and for what
reasons should you recognize individual and unit participation in the
When I was growing up, we had two "levels" of completion in the charter
uniform inspection: the first level was the "mandatory" level. If you were
there, you were recognized for being there...uniform or not, correct or not,
you were present for the uniform inspection and recieved a sheet which you
can take home which explains the inspection, your score and what you can do
to better your score next time. Most Scouts threw the sheets away quickly
after leaving the Scout "hut" and before they got home (which explains what
Joe Decker did, which I'll explain in a minute.
The second "level" was for those that "passed" the inspection (the District
had a "passing level" which they inched upward by two points per year while
I was there from 60 to 68 points) and recognitions for those Scouts AND
Scouters that passed. At the bottom end, you received a segment (I was in
Europe at the time) with the words "uniformed"....if you
scored above the passing but below the "award stage" (90), you got a pocket
card (the BSA still makes them, by the way...check with your Council office)
and above the "award stage", you received a certificate and
perhaps one of those BSA Contest medals (I never got one of those, but I was
part of an "inspection team" that used them, which they got engraved on the
backside "Troop Uniform Inspection winner" and the year.) Those that won
more than once got to put one of those service stars with the number "2" or
"3" on the medal.
In that way, Lareen, EVERYONE got recognized, no matter what the pocket
looked like, or if the CSP was one inch lower than the shoulder seam or if
they wore ALL of their year pins on their uniform pocket flap or if the
WEBELOS Cub Scout activity award pins were on the left pocket flap instead
of on the colors or on the hat.
I never forgave Joesph Decker for stealing all of the money from our Troop's
treasury the year he was Scoutmaster, but there was some good from the man
anyways....instead of giving us the Inspection sheets, he
mailed it home to our parents with a letter emphasizing uniform wear and
insignia placement. It was the first time I recalled that the Scoutmaster
even *communicated* with all of the parents of the Scouts in the Troop.
My father got the sheet, showed it to me and told me "if you're going to do
this, son, you need to make sure that your badges and cards and whatever are
all in the right places. When I faced soldiers (he was a Drill Sergeant at
the time), I had to make SURE that everything I had on was correct and in
the right places...because everyone looked at ME as to how everything should
be worn. If you want to be taken seriously as a leader in this Scout stuff,
you have to LOOK the part."
(and yeah, I STILL have that inspection sheet, Jessica...it's in the file
marked "Troop 184"...I do keep everything, don't I?? *grinning broadly*)
Hope that helps to separate the PROCESS from the REASONINGS behind the
Uniform inspection process!!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://www.vhm.com/~uscardnl/
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 firstname.lastname@example.org
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