Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: SUMMARY: Re (REF:) Is a Scout Uniform Formal Attire?
SUMMARY: Re (REF:) Is a Scout Uniform Formal Attire?
Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:17:42 -0600
Thanks to those many Scouters whom posted with a followup to this question,
either personally off-list, or as part of the discussion online. There were
8 postings which followup this question and another 38 which were sent to me
off-list. Thanks again.
The question was:
>Would YOU consider a Scout uniform as "formal attire" and would you wear it
as >such given the opportunity to do so?
A short bit of history is in order:
The official Boy Scout uniform (what we call the "field uniform") is a
uniform which should lend itself to any occasion in which Scouting is being
conducted or in which Scouting is being publically honored. Over the years,
our professional cadre has felt unconfortable wearing this uniform and some
of our chartered organizations (and potential chartered organizations) felt
uneasy "conducting business" with a man or woman across the table or beside
them wearing this uniform. The BSA responded with a "corporate suit" (the
"dress uniform" many old-timers here and many professionals are familiar
with) consisting of a blazer or sport jacket, white shirt or top, pants or
skirt, and one-color or striped tie or colette. On the pocket of the jacket
went either the BSA's universal emblem or a emblem representing the phase of
Scouting the professional or volunteer was involved in.
The first dress blazers and jackets were khaki to match the uniform used
during that time. Later, olive green jackets were used again to cover up
the uniform; and most recently, a more "corporate" dark blue jacket and grey
slacks or skirts were used.
This later became the "dress uniform" for our youth leaders, particularily
those in our recently departed Exploring program.
When Chief Scout Executive Ben Love came into office, he brought with him a
tradition which spurred from his days as a Council Scout Executive: the idea
that our professionals should wear the field uniform ANYTIME they engage in
Scouting. To him, I heard during a professional training session, it makes
it too easy to do "inappopriate things" and to engage in "inappropriate
activities" if all you have to do is duck into a bathroom someplace and
remove the sole Scouting emblem from your jacket and return outside. He
"suggested" (more like a mandate) that professionals that engage in any sort
of Scouting activity do so in the field uniform to remind those he or she is
meeting with that the person represents the Organization and to remind the
professional that he is representing the Organization.
I thought that was the most gutsist move that he's made, and I'm not really
fond of the man personally! He did draw back and after some Scout
Executives complained, to "retire" the "zoot suit" in favor of professionals
wearing "conservative dress attire" when working with key volunteers, with
the preference continuing to be the official uniform of the BSA.
Oh yeah...it was Love that stated at a Council's annual dinner that "Most of
corporate America doesn't even know what the uniform of the Boy Scout is.
Their only memory of Scouting is the old Norman Rockwell portraits of the
Scoutmaster or a Scout, and we haven't worn those uniforms in well over 20
He's right about that. Most of our corporate leaders don't even know what
the Scout wears nowadays for a uniform.
So, while the tongue-in-cheek question was raised partly because of my
personal desire to "show off" a small bit at dinner one night, the
prevailing number of you have stated to me off-list as well as onlist that
"it's not an appropriate outfit for dinner" and sided with Jessica, my wife,
whom insisted that I wait for a better occasion (like this evening when I'm
meeting up with two Scouters at Grizzly's) to wear the field uniform to dinner.
Bill Sills had more of an explanation (and reminded me that I could have
worn my dress Sea Scouting uniform -- if I could FIT into the jacket (I
tried it on...its shrunk!)
>Unfortunately, the Boy Scout uniform LOST its blouse (coat) dress
>uniform when I was a small boy. Then, the field uniform was just
>that. I guess I still believe that a coat and tie are required for
>an outfit to be "dress".
>The BSA says that the blue blazer with BSA pewter or Sea Scout
>silver buttons, blazer patch, BSA generic or program specific tie,
>white shirt, BSA or Sea Scout dress belt, grey trousers, grey
>stockings and black shoes is the "official dress uniform" for all
>Scouters save Sea Scout officers and Quartermasters.
And even Scouters like Dave Loomis responded that it wouldn't be as formal
as a tux or more formal items would have been. Martin C. Davis asked me
"How come I didn't bring my military dress whites or blues with me to
wear..." I was talked out it, Martin....but I now know what to wear the
next time (if there's a next time!)
(I was talked out of it because according to Jessi, I look "like a Christmas
Tree in it too!")
Roman Smith summarized what (all) of you stated, however...:
>I save my uniform for BSA functions, or when I am somewhere where I am
>representing the Troop. If that would be a formal dinner, then the field
>uniform would be worn. If there is no real reason for being in BSA
>uniform, a suit will do for me.
I thank ALL of you for your comments, suggestions, and for posting your
greetings on our wedding anniversary occasion....and Cheryl, you can get
your mind outta that gutter any day now.... *laughter!*
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
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