More background on "Woodbadge uniforming?"
Branden Morris (morris@NET1PLUS.COM)
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 12:39:02 -0400
I've received about 30 personal e-mails on my post from yesterday on
Woodbadge uniforming. I get the list digested, so I'm not sure of the
public postings at this time. It seems to be a hot topic, both on the pros
and cons :)
(A refresher -- in my woodbadge course, we have been told that we need to
have long pants. Long or short sleeve shirts, any Scout belt, and no need
for Scout socks -- but no shorts, must be long pants.)
A number of similar points and questions came up, so I thought I'd clarify
them here. Please forgive me for not replying to all the e-mail personally.
1) It was refreshing to see that many people noted that the long pants may
be because the course has a number of Latter-day Saint scouters in it (LDS
scouters may have received a church rite called the endowment, which has an
associated undergarment that extends to the knees, and doesn't work with
shorts). I'm glad that many people are aware of that. However, ironic as it
is, I am the only LDS scouter on the course, staff or participant. And,
funnier still, because I haven't yet received my endowment, and won't until
the course is over, I have no need to wear long pants. Lastly, even if I
did need the long pants, all I would want is to have the option made
available to me (which, according to the manual, it is) -- I wouldn't want
everyone to have to conform to my personal concerns.
2) The course is held in three weekends in September and early October.
Fall in New England can be a little chilly. However, we are all adults and
should reasonably be expected to care for our own warmth. They didn't
specify long sleeved shirts, thermals, hats and mittens, Gore-tex parkas,
etc. In fact, the uniform and equipment sheet sent with the staff
confirmation mentioned that you needed two sets of either Scout long pants
or Scout shorts and Scouts socks, with a note mentioning that people may
want to have a pair of pants in case it got cold. Again, the option should
exist. Personally, I wear shorts even in winter -- call me crazy. I also
enjoy cooler temperatures, so wearing shorts in September is nothing new.
3) Someone mentioned briars, environmental hazzards, etc. The camp we're
using is extremely developed, and trails are clear and well-maintained, and
campsites are free of any kind of hazzard. Keep in mind that they run a
summer camp here, where most staffers and scouts wear shorts and socks.
4) The staff were all wearing shorts and socks at the pre-course meeting :)
A large majority of participants were, too. Not only was the staff setting
an incorrect example, then, but their was a strong preference of shorts.
4) Perhaps the most disturbing part was the fact that, after this
announcement, about 30 hands went up. Everyone either wanted to have the SM
reconsider and offer the option, as the sheet said, or at least put it to
the troop as a vote. The course director wouldn't hear of it. If we are
running a model troop, living fully by Scouting's ideals, methods, and
aims, and practicing the safe haven concept (all ideas expressed in the
first hour of the meeting), should this happen this way? If the Scouts in
your unit wanted to have an option of shorts or long pants, would you deny
them, or let them lead in their way?
Some may think that the uniforming bit is inconsequential. And you're
mostly right. In the end, I and others will wear what we're asked to, even
if it is two pairs of long pants I need to hem (argh! more sewing) and
won't wear again, and grin and bear it. A Scout is Obedient; he seeks to
have laws changed in a fair way, but doesn't disobey. I am trying, though,
to have what I consider an unfair (and in many ways inconsistent) rule
changed the proper way.
What is even more worrying, though, is the fact that the staff seemingly
isn't following their own manuals, and isn't setting the ideal example
which we've been told they would. I can't imagine this kind of attitude
working in a unit of boys.
I will be much happier when I'm in a patrol with 6-7 other Scouters, and
camping and working and learning. However, if this is just the start of
what I can expect from the staff, I'm honestly not looking forward to
Thanks for letting me vent :)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City