Re: Uniform terminology/"police"
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Sat, 2 Aug 1997 20:47:21 -0500
Jim Peterson and Branden Morris both disagreed with the way that catagorized
"official Scout terms" like "Class A", "Class B", etc. that is used for
Scouting uniform wear.
Here's what I stated and some additional information:
I wrote earlier in part:
"They're also "official Scout terms", Ron, if your Council uses them as
such. And most local Councils *do* use the term "Class A", "B", "C",
and "D", with the "lower the letter, the more informal the wear is" thinking.
Here's some additional information on this and the "source documents":
First, I did NOT state that this is a "national official" term; they are,
however, terms used by a good majority of our local Councils, especially
when dealing with organized Scouting activities such as camporees and summer
camps. Our National office and their Regions have used it in the past or
else local Councils would not have picked up on it quickly.
The "Classes" originated, as a great deal of our Scouting lore, from the
military, and in particular from our Navy. There were different classes of
wear depending on what the task was to be. That structure transposed itself
to our Army, and later to the young Boy Scout movement.
The BSA has this to say about the "classes of uniforms". It's found on page
235 of the current _Scoutmaster's_ Handbook_:
"There is no class "A" or class "B" uniform."
Obiously, the word hasn't reached local Councils, nor to lots of units that
choose to use those terms in lieu of the "politically correct" terms,
"winter field uniform", "summer field uniform", "activity uniform", and
"whatever you want to wear" clothing.
Whether you call it "Class A" or "winter field uniform" is up to you (and
your Council); it makes short work of describing what is and isn't to wear.
The contents of the uniforming, as Branden wrote earlier, is going to vary
widely between local Councils. For instance, the last this this issue came
up, Rhett told us how the "winter field uniform" is the "all year round"
field uniform in Alaska; while we would think that places like Hawaii and
Panama merits the "summer field uniform" year-round, we were told otherwise
in those cases as well. Since the local Council can pretty well
"dictate" what the uniforming "standards" are going to be, we'll sure to see
a wide variety of unifoming options.
I've taken a look at my Jamboree stuff, and failed to see anywhere except
among our Council's contingent where "Class A", "B", etc. were used. I'm
sure that many of the Jamboree troops are using some form of "indicia" to
inform their Scouts that there's certain places and times that the full
field uniform was to be worn (like during the opening arena show, for
instance) and when the "activity uniform" (the Jamboree teeshirt and Scout
shorts with socks and shoes) were to be worn.
Jim Peterson writes:
>Sorry, Mike, but I have to disagree. If this terminology were "official",
>shouldn't it appear in print somewhere? I can't find "Class A, Class B ..."
>anywhere in the Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook or Insignia >Guide.
I've heard "Class A" and "Class B" used around our Council, but >not in the
sense that Mike defined them.
The page in the Scoutmaster's Handbook related to the "Classes", Jim; but
your Council surely uses some sort of "system" to distinguish when to wear
the complete (or as complete) uniform and those other times where the camp's
teeshirt is to be worn.
I've looked through my Administration of Scouting manual here too, and I
can't find anything related to it except for the first week's notes that we
are to appear in "Class A" for a photo session and later on that week,
"..all future sessions are in Class B or in Class A-tie". Those were my
notes, not the comments from the BSA's manual for field executives.
I did find references to "Class A" uniforming in the Summer Camp Guides of
three camps: Boxwell Scout Reservation, belonging to the Middle Tennessee
Council, Nashville; McKee Scout Reservation, belonging to the Bluegrass
Council, Lexington, Kentucky; and Wildcat Hollow Reservation, belonging to
the now Shawnee Trails (used to be Audobon)
Council, here in Owensboro. With some minor changes, the verbage that I
posted earlier appears in descriptions of all three camp uniform. The
Boxwell guide goes a little further and explains that "The uniform grades
are intended to provide all of our camp leaders with a way to insure that
everyone is in the proper uniform while participating in an activity.
Scouters should use these grades as a general guide and let local weather
conditions assist you in determining the proper uniform for your Scouts and
Scout leaders. No hat of any kind is permitted inside the dining areas."
>Also, on the subject of "uniform police", which has been discussed on >the
list lately, I keep a copy of the Insignia Guide in my scouting >briefcase,
which I usually have with me at scouting events. I do _not_ go >around
telling other people how to wear their uniforms (even though it >bugs the
heck out of me when "knowledgable" leaders have a row of >Quality Unit
patches down the length of their sleeve), but whenever the >question is
raised, out comes the book.
I do the same, Jim....have a copy in my "four pounder" that currently is
sitting atop one of my file cabinets now, open to find those camp guides.
However, the Insignia Guide is just that....a GUIDE. It does give some
guidance for where the majority of the BSA's insignia belongs, and gives
some teeth to those that choose to wear "eleven Honor/Quality Unit" patches
down the right side of the uniform because "Once you've earned them they're
But the Insignia (Control) Guide fails to answer questions that were
recently raised here...good questions, not "ones to just be asking". Like,
where do you wear both Order of the Arrow and merit badge sashes? Like
what insignia goes on the backside of the merit badge sash? Like, if the
OA flap exceeds the dimensions of the right pocket flap, can you wear it?
Or "why isn't there a place to wear the Girl Scout First Class or Gold Award
on the BSA field uniform"?
Those questions and a lot others are not answered within those pages, Jim,
because the BSA rightfully asks each and every local Council "Hey.
This is where we (the BSA's Uniform and Insignia Committee) feels that these
patches and items should be worn. What do YOU say about it? Want to go
along, or do you have a better idea??" Most Councils say
"Nah.....we'll go with your guidance". Some Councils put out their OWN
"exceptions" to the way insignia is worn.
Most of them DO tell us; a couple don't, where I have the problem. For
instance, the old Delta Area Council had a rule whereby you can ONLY WEAR
NINE SQUARE KNOTS on your field uniform. You earn or receive that tenth
one, and buddy, you have to take ONE of the others off if you intend on
wearing it in THEIR Council. As a visitor, I wasn't aware of their "rule"
until I attended and spoke during their Commissioners' Conference.
Afterwards, I was told by two volunteers and a professional in private "You
aren't supposed to be wearing more than nine of them things".
The Insignia Guide simply states where those little rectangular pieces are
worn; it fails to say *how many* can be worn on one shirt nor does it tell
what do you do when you're honored enough to get two District Awards of
Merits or more than five Scouter's Key awards (try this, insignia guys and
gals: get a Scouters' Key out and try to put on there more than five
devices....it's hard to do and even harder to wear it)!!
>Am I a member of the "Uniform Police"? I don't
>think so. I just try to set a proper example by wearing my uniform and
>insignia correctly and helping others *when my input is solicited*.
That's what ALL Scouters (and Scouts) should be doing, and just by informing
those that "come up short" that "Hey, look....I'm in the same game as you;
but you really look silly when you don't wear the badges and stuff the way
you're supposed to"...you're adding to their Scouting wealth of
knowledge...and not belittling them.
They seriously *do_not_know* where to wear them or how to wear them.
As a former Commissioner, I "set the example" for the volunteers in my
District....as a former Scoutmaster, I "set the example" for my youth
members. I did the same as an Exploring leading and as a Council operating
committeemember. But the "example" only goes a certain distance, and
doesn't mean a thing to that new Scouter that's trying to "get with the
program", and somehow finds him or herself the subject of intensive stares,
laughter, and sometimes ignorant comments like "He's got to be a newbie!" or
"She's really making the uniform look trashy there". Being a "brother to
every other Scout" means just that.....taking your brother aside, and saying
"Hey...I'm not gonna let them make fun of you.
Let's fix your neckerchief...see how I'm wearing it?? The big part belongs
in the back" and *repairing it* before the person goes back out "into the
If your "brother" doesn't want to accept the help, so be it. You did your
obligation to him or her; but you'll have another opportunity to help them
out again. Keep on helping....eventually, the person, like siblings
everywhere, will scream for intervention ("MMMOOOMM!! He's picking on me
again!!"), will tell you where to go ("I don't need you, okay...back off!"),
or will accept the advice ("You know, I was wondering why everyone was
looking at me that way....").
One out of three chances to help out isn't bad; beat lottery odds anyday!
Some of us need that extra "uummph!" that the Insignia Guide provides, and
I'm glad it's there to give it. But a great more of it is just good ol'
"Scouters' Sense"...that common sense that says that there's a limit to what
you can wear, book or no book....that's why I don't wear no more than
fifteen knots and I'm VERY careful where I wear that shirt containing those
to and under what circustances. Likewise, I'm VERY aware that wearing a
older Scout uniform sometimes makes me seem to be the "old man in the
crowd", "livin' the past instead of the present" instead of "someone who's
with the program".
Thanks for posting, both of you!!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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