Wood Badge ... Uniforming et al
Wendie Howland (WAHowland@AOL.COM)
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 20:40:33 EDT
Hi... a Scouter asks,
Can a Wood Badge staff decide to force everyone to all wear long pants?
At the 30-day precourse meeting of a local course, participants were told
that they could use either long-sleeve or short-sleeve shirts, any kind of
Scout belt (web or leather), but they must wear long pants. Socks could be
Scout or non-Scout.
Funny, that. In our course, we were required to all wear SHORTS and Scout
socks. Our course was in Sept-Oct, and mostly was warm during the midday, but
it was manifestly un-prepared behavior to wear shorts at night or in the am's,
when temps were often in the 40's-50's. (On our outpost we woke up to frost-
covered sites and temps of 20's.) Some people got around it by wearing long
underwear/polypro leggings under their shorts. I didn't own any and was damned
if I was gonna buy any then. I wore my (only) (bright red) lined windpants
over my shorts when the temperature warranted, removing them when and if the
day warmed up and putting them back on when it got cold again.
When they cranked at me I would say, "Hypothermia is stupid," and thought to
myself that if they thought about it for a moment they might come to the
conclusion that all the shorts-worshippers were, um, acting hypothermic....
At the big dinner I was again chided for this when our patrol got up to sing
our "Getting Outta Gilwell" parody. The leader said I could wear leggings
UNDER my shorts. The patrol said, "Hypothermia is stupid," and I promptly
pushed them down to my mid-thighs, under my shorts, and commenced singing.
I'm not sure this is an answer to your question. But it does bring up my
thoughts on one of the primary "methods" of WB training: the theory that by
making the learners into a troop of patrols, like the boys, and having them
experience all the things that a boy troop experiences, that it teaches the
However, for every rule there is often at least one unintended consequence. We
were not boys, but well-formed (OK, so some of us are TOO well-formed) adults.
In our case we also learned to seriously resent *adult* authority, adherence
to "process" at the expense of common sense and even health and safety, and
leader meddling in patrol affairs.... the consequence of which was that I went
home to try to seriously strengthen our patrol method and boy-led troop-
ness...**in a way we as a WB patrol were never allowed to do by our
I'm not saying that it was a bad experience, because overall it wasn't. I'd do
it again, and I'd encourage any committed (or if not already committed, than
at least certifiable <G>) leader to take it. But let's not have any illusions
about recreating an actual Troop experience. Despite what it says on the
stationery, it was not my experience that WB is where men (sic) become boys so
they can help boys become men.
Decide *as a patrol* to do the right thing: wear your shorts, if it's hot.
Wear Scout socks with 'em if you do, though. Put on yer long pants when it's
cool. Encourage the entire troop to do the same, although you may have to put
some effort into communicating with the other patrols (there is an element of
divide and conquer at work.... caveat emptor). You're grownups here for
training, not kids to be punished for giggling in class. Stand tall and proud
and sing out. What are they gonna do, dock yer pay? <G>
Ooops... sorry.... just a personal soapbox... (and yes, I only have one thing
left on my ticket, just waiting for winter for another winter campout)
SA T44 Pocasset MA
Cape Cod & Islands Council
Abake MiSaNaKi Lodge #393
NSJ 1997 Nat'l Health & Safety
I useta be an Eagle...
'The staff is old and feeble, and we can sing no more,
So we're getting out of Gilwell while we can!'
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City