Re: Uniform thoughts
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 15:28:45 -0400
About 11 1/2 years ago, I was among a group of adults preparing to form
a new troop. We made several important decisions during those formative
days which affected the troop for many years. I can only think of one
significant aspect of our early troop program I would go back and change
and this is that we allowed the boys to wear blue jeans as an
alternative to Scout shorts and trousers. We had many Scouts who
elected to wear the official uniform but about half usually wore jeans
Over the years, we toyed with the idea of becoming a "full uniform"
troop on several occasions but it took us nine years to do this. During
this period, we spent many hours discussing the situation during PLC and
Troop Committee meetings and wasted a lot of time that could have been
spent more wisely if he has just been a "full uniform" troop from the
very beginning. We finally implemented a plan to fix the situation
after we returned from summer camp in 1995.
We sat an effecive date, gave everyone several weeks notice and, on
Sepetember 1, 1995, we became a "full uniform" troop. Since then, we've
continued to grow as we've had over 40 boys join the troop. And not a
single parent has complained.
Yes, the boys and/or their families do have to spend another $35 or so
to purchase the trousers or shorts if they can't find a pair in our
uniform bank. But the boys look SO MUCH BETTER than before and we get
so many more nice comments from non-Scouters when we travel or
participate in public activities. And if a boy can't afford the
trousers or shorts, we find a way to get them for him. We've only had
to do this once during the past two years.
I was not a Boy Scout myself, but I own a copy of the Handbook for Boys
(Fifth Edition from 1957) that I would have used had I been a Scout. On
page 50, the handbook states, "You do not have to have a uniform to be a
Scout, but you will be a better Scout if you do own one."
I sincerely believe this is true. My observation is that boys who wear
the full uniform have more pride, they act better and the image they
project to the public certainly helps to enhance the Scouting Program.
In my opinion, the rewards for presenting a better public image far
outweigh the added cost of obtaining the shorts or trousers. I'm very
happy that our troop decided to become a "full uniform" troop. I only
wish we had done this from the very beginning.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City