Re: Uniforms on Board of Review members?
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 12:58:56 -0500
> From: Steven G. Tyler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Wednesday, December 03, 1997 12:20 PM
> Bruce E. Cobern wrote, in part:
> > I don't have all my references handy, nor could I guarantee that I
> > find it, but somewhere I remember a definition of "uniformed
> > It included the leaders and assistant leaders. It did not include the
> > committee since their function, as defined by the BSA structure, is to
> > provide the logistical support necessary for the program to function.
> I'd be interested in the source if you're able to locate it, Bruce.
I'll defer, I think, to John Severino, who seemed to at least KNOW WHERE
he could find the reference which, according to him was based on
"commissioned" leaders vs. others (which includes the committee).
> ...just like the SM only needs to be at Troop meetings for the 60
> seconds of the SM's Minute, right? ;-) Perhaps there is theoretically no
> "need" for the MC to be in front of the Troop, but it happens all the
> time. As you yourself said...
Actually, the SM needs to be at the entire meeting, even if he is only
"out front" for those 60 seconds. MC's actually need never set foot at at
> "Weakness?" Not at all! Organization charts and job descriptions are
> great tools for coordinating efforts, but should not become a
> Procrustean bed upon which the occupants are stretched (or shortened) to
> fit. More on that later...
I stand my ground. The same way that BSA does not WANT people wearing too
many hats, and thus prohibits holding multiple positions in one unit, or
holding the KEY position, supposedly, in multiple units, because they
don't want people to be stretched too thin, and also wants to encourage or
force the recruitment of more people so that each person can do less, the
TROOP, instead of relying on the same people to do multiple jobs SHOULD be
recruiting hard, both within and outside the parent base, to find enough
support so that the LEADERSHIP can be in front of the unit and the SUPPORT
STAFF can be in the background, where no uniform would ever be required.
That, sometimes, forces us to make choices on which hat we want to wear,
which none of us really likes to do, but can be in the long term best
interests of all concerned.
> Isn't this rather tortured logic, Bruce? BSA officially permits MC's to
> wear the uniform, but the patch is only allowed because some MC's
> actually opt to do so? If BSA's goal or policy is to NOT have MC's in
> uniform, BSA could have just said so.
No, actually I think my reference was really to the patch AND the uniform.
Clearly by permitting the wearing of the uniform having the patch makes
sense, but they could just as easily have restricted wearing the uniform
to "commissioned" leaders, but I think not doing so might have been a nod
to the reality of cross-functioning, rather than a statement that it is
preferable for ALL registered adults to wear it.
> In fact, I'd suggest that you turn your interpretation on its head: ALL
> Scouters are "uniformed leadership," but committee members have the
> option NOT to be uniformed if their functioning does not place them in
> regular proximity to the Scouts.
No, I think John might be able to provide the references that say
otherwise. John, are you out there? Help! :-)
> There's a couple of points here. First, I agree that, if a Scouter is
> PRIMARILY working directly with the Scouts and program implementation,
> s/he should be SM or ASM. Conversely, if the Scouter is PRIMARILY doing
> support activities, s/he should be registered as a MC. Therefore, I
> agree that a MC should not function as an ASM without officially
> "switching hats." However, few units (none in my experience) function
> with a hermetic seal between the committee and the SM corps roles, and
> there are many times MC's work with the Scouts. Moreover, I have never
> seen a Scout "confused" by the functional overlap or the presence of
> uniformed MC's. I think the greater "confusion" would be created by
> having the (uniformless) committee blend into the crop of parents just
> hanging around to pick up their sons.
Too many units rely on too few people to do too many jobs. Witness all
the furor periodically over not allowing SA's to sit on BOR's (one of the
primary reasons for my registration status, btw). "We don't have any
committee other than the SA's." Well go out and recruit them. Sometimes
people have to be forced to do what's ultimately in their own best
I agree that after a while the Scouts know who the adult leaders are and
who the committee is (although I don't know why they would need to know
that) and who the parents are. In the realm of being asked questions by
the youth, BTW, I'm not sure there is a difference between the committee
and the parents just "hanging around." The Scouts should not routinely be
going to either with questions. Those questions not appropriate for the
junior leaders should be addressed to the SM and his staff, so whether you
are a MC or a parent should be irrelevant.
> I'm glad you clarified -- I think! While I maintain that it is
> preferable that the BOR members be properly uniformed, I agree that
> there should not be a flat-out requirement. However, you seem to be
> saying (my words, not yours) that a "good" MC should NOT wear a uniform,
> and that doing so is more a matter of personal privilege and vanity on
> the part of the MC than a positive aspect of the program. With THAT I
> strongly disagree.
Well, I'm glad they are your words, because I never said that.
> The items in the first part of my list were, in fact, virtually all
> "pure" committee type work. However, I am frequently before the Troop
> during announcements, participating in skills demonstrations, etc.
> During outings, I am often much more than purely background logistical
> support and am directly involved in activities and supervision, and on
> several I was the primary organizer and implementor -- an ASM without
> portfolio, if you will. To which you, anticipating my rejoinder, respond
> > If you are
> > functioning in a more active capacity then maybe you should be an SA,
> > NOT a MC, since BSA says you can't register as both. (BTW: You
> > essentially described by function. I am registered as a MC but really
> > function as an SA. There were specific reasons for this, but I
> > the dichotomy.)
> I understand it as well, which is why I'm registered as an MC and serve
> as advancement chair, since the bulk of my activities are in fact
> committee type work. However, as in your situation, it is more
> important, IMHO, that the jobs get done and available talents used to
> their full potential, without regard to the patch on the shoulder of the
Actually, I think that if you routinely do a significant amount of SA
work, in addition to your MC work, you probably ought to choose one or the
other and then recruit someone else to do the jobs you choose to forego.
That way the troop has the benefit of TWO adults instead of one and you
can share the joy and fun with someone else.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City