Embarrassed of Uniform
Barry C Runnels (Barry_C_Runnels@MMACMAIL.JCCBI.GOV)
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 11:14:51 CDT
I usually stay out of this thread because there is so much passion for it
and against it. But it also came up several times at our Woodbadge.
After talking with several good Scouter friends, I will admit, I am in a
minority with my views. We are a very boy run Troop. I know most all Troops
are, but we seem to push it more than many in our District. When we started
our Troop three years ago, we had four goals for our Scouts; Put primary
emphasis on "boy run and leadership", to make all activities "FUN", and to
use the "Eight Methods of Scouting". We also said we want to stay small,
but that went out the window after the first year.
We try to put the burden of the Eight Methods on the Scouts and not the
adults. Yes, we as leaders have to teach, train, monitor, evaluate and
cheer on our boys. We try (and fail A LOT) to let the Scouts run the
program. Most experienced Troop Adults will tell you that is the hardest
part of Scouting in Troops because for some reason the Scouts always want
to do it different than the adults.
My Scouter friends says that UNIFORM is one of the Eight Methods so they
enforce it to make sure it is done. I asked them if they run the PLC
meetings, Troop meetings and Patrol Corners meetings to insure the
Leadership Development part of the Eight Methods. Of course not. They
wouldn't admit if they did.
Many leaders use the Uniform Method as an excuse to make Scouts dress they
way the adults want. If the Scouts are capable of leading their Troop
program, aren't they capable of deciding how a Troop should dress. One
leader asked me, "what if they decide to not where any part of the BSA
uniform?". I say, "then we aren't doing a very good job as adult leaders
educating the Scouts to why the uniform is important to our Scouting
program". That is why we are there.
If the boys belive the uniforms are important to THEIR program, then they
will wear them in the Troop. If we push it, then we take away control of
one method of Scouting and they are only doing what the adults are making
them do and left with only have seven methods to work with. It is a lot
easier for them to enforce uniforms when they believe in them than it is
for adults to push those nerdy things on them when they think it has no
benefit to Their Troop.
As adults, we are their role models and example of how adults should act.
Youths learn most of their behavior by WATCHING other peoples behavior.
Either we trust them or we don't. Sometimes we have to step in and point
out why some of their decisions may be dangerous or not conducive to
Scouting. But most of the time we let them learn from their decisions. We
adults have to present a positive image and example. Through our example,
we can show how to properly wear the uniform, but we better be able to
explain why we wear it, other than the Eight Method tells us to.
If the adults in your Troop don't like to wear their uniform, then they
don't understand how it helps their Troop program. It has not been
explained that a uniform identifies their Team. They haven't learned that
it puts everyone on the same level and forces the actions and achievements
of the individual to stand out instead of clothing they wear. They don't
understand the Eight Methods of Scouting and they don't understand it hurts
the program more than they helps it. They have not been taught the basics
I am not a anti uniform person. I really enjoyed the uniform part of
Woodbadge. I enjoy being part of a group that strives for the same goal and
let our personalties, individual skills and achievements show our
differences in a Team that is all dressed the same. I want to give that to
Personally, what I would like to also see from you guys are more good
reasons for us to explain why uniforms are important to a good program.
Give us more tools to take back to our Scouts and adults, so they can say,
yes I see the importance in wearing the uniform. Give us the basics so we
can let the Scouts decide what is important for their Troop.
Hope I wasn't to long. I have to get better at showing my view in shorter
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City