Re: What would you do (was Re: Quality award questions)
Stoddard, Thomas C. (stoddatc@WESTINGHOUSE.COM)
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 10:13:48 -0500
sorry, but I just gotta speak up on this one because it is current for
Lou Ann Walker, in Oklahoma, posed a good question about an exceptional
uniform condition and how to handle it. Alicia seconded the question
expecting a DE or someone to say something. Responses by Paul Brown,
John Conley and Peter Murphy were all on the money, I feel. Best just
not to say anything, roll with the punches, not offend, the fear of
being referred to as the Uniform Police, etc.
But, we are not powerless on this point, there are some things we can
do. And, regarding uniforming, like about everything else in scouting, I
feel the solution is training. Don Izard, I commend, had some good ideas
with his adult uniform inspection at Roundtable. Just last week, I also
enjoyed some success along this line.
Knowing from this list about the issuance of the new Insignia Guide, and
it being on my mind recently, I contacted the rountable commissioner,
told him I'd volunteer for a slot on the roundtable program (how many
roundtable commissioners would not accept voluntary help!!!)
I showed up with a pre-opener, a 25 question true-false "quiz" that I
invited each to take, to test their "uniforming savvy". The title read
simply, "UNIFORMING- A Method of Scouting", and, after the quiz
questions, had some quotes from the Insignia Guide on the purpose and
outcomes from uniforming.
Then, when my slot came up on the program, I outright said, "I'm not
here as a member of any Uniform Police, not my intention at all, but as
you see these objectives from uniforming, I wonder if any of these would
help in your unit, to get this sense of unity, to have the scouts feel
self-esteem in standing up for values and ideals we share. I gotta
believe if your troop looks snappy, your scouts may feel snappy, and
then their performance might be a little more snappy. That's my
intention. Even uniforms less then perfect, worn and displayed with
pride will have a greater effect than just ignoring these outcomes which
the uniform can provide."
We then went over the quiz, had some great discussion. I had
purposefully posed questions which I saw in violation throughout my
district over the last couple years, so this was an inoffensive way to
get the word out of what the "right" way was without calling any
individual down in any way. It was most fruitful. I found scouters knew
about a lot of these provisions, even though the very uniforms they were
wearing did not always comply, and they freely acknowledged such. So,
hey, at least we raised the sensitivity. We had some fun at the end.
"Hey, we're not perfect," I said, "but in the striving we can make
progress and accomplish some good purposes. So, as a close to this
segment, I have two candy bars for the person(s) who can identify two
errors that are on my uniform I'm wearing right now." One error was
pretty obvious, there were some more misconceptions resolved with other
guesses, and finally a fellow found the second error.
Great response afterwards. Very favorable coments from participants and
an expressed resolve on the part of a few units to re-emphasize adult
uniforming, so the scouts will follow along. Even heard one fellow
express gratitude because he'd had some trouble with some uniform
questions in his troop, and now knew of the resource where he could
look. Had some fun, did some teaching, didn't come down on anybody. So,
I respectfully offer this as a suggestion. There are good places where
comments along these lines can be made. Look for those moments and
handle them as guided by the Scout Law.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City