Re: Uniform thoughts
Steve Hoar (shoar@INFINET.COM)
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 14:23:51 +0000
Having spent a career in the military as have many of you, I imagine you all
heard the old joke about the difference between the Boy Scouts and the
military. The difference was stated that the Boy Scouts had adult leaders.
I really wonder how many real scout 'leaders' we have. We have a lot of fine
organizers, managers, and administrators. But I see a real lack of leaders.
What do I look for in a leader? Well, he leads by example. First, he would
always have the complete uniform and if necessary have if fitted so that his
gut doesn't stretch the shirt so much that he becomes a laughing stock to the
boys. How can you expect him to look sharp in uniform when you look like
Shamu the whale in spandex.
Second, He would adhere to the BSA policy and never let the boys
see him mocking policy by smoking in uniform in front of them. (Practice
what you preach). The boys know you are breaking policy and in your
willingness to defy policy you have discredited yourself in the eyes of
the scouts and you will find it very hard to earn the respect that is
needed if you expect to be an effective adult leader. They will simply
say 'Why should I listen to him...even he can't follow the rules'
A leader would be able to give a better reason for uniform than 'you gotta
because it is BSA policy'. Kids question everything and your answer has to
have substance and reason. Answers that come across sounding like 'I am the
adult and you are the kid' will never work.
By your example, dedication, caring, concern, and commitment to everyone of
them you have to become the kind of person they want to emulate. If you set
the example, they will follow. That is the kind of leadership I am talking
In sports the kids will listen to the coach who works as hard as they do
and they will strive to be like him. Remember, scouting is a voluntary
organization. You cannot force compliance but you can lead to compliance.
You cannot push a string.
The kids rarely care about how many knots you have on your shirt or if
you 'used to be a wombat'. They laugh at you behind your back about
your hair in a pony tail and the beads you wear around your neck as you
look like 'indian joe'.(hmmm..all that stuff isnt in the uniform guide
either) They will care if you have time for them. They will follow if you
walk beside them as they walk down that very scary road of growing up.
They will care for that pat on the back and your smile of pride in their
accomplishments. Honestly doing all those things you will begin to grow
as a real 'adult' leader and in turn the young men will follow your lead
in applying all the elements of scouting including uniforming.
On my journey through life I have met many a man (woman) who could cite
me chapter and verse on laws and regulations but didn't have the common
sense to come in out of the rain. Read me or the boys the regs and we
will both tune you out. Get down and camp in the mud with me and show
me how to start a fire in the rain and I will begin to think about following
you. Just shut your mouth for a second and show me, by example, where
you want to go. That is the kind of adult leadership we need.
It is really too bad that so much of our adult leadership forgot about
what it was like to grow up.
Steve in Newark.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City