scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Re: UNIFORM SUPPORT
Kurtenbach, Daniel (DKurtenbach@FDIC.GOV
Thu Feb 03 2000 - 11:44:03 CST
As I see it, the question is what do the current official Boy Scout uniform
pants or shorts do for the Troop and the individual Scout who wears them?
The only answer I have been able to come up with is that they help the Troop
and the Scout look good--but only if they haven't been worn a lot on
campouts and activities or regularly laundered. I've worn the official
pants and shorts on many campouts and hikes and to summer camp--even caving!
And I got beat-up pants that no longer look sharp, and a rash. Never were
the official pants or shorts as comfortable or functional as my civilian
garb. So, would I ask my Scouts to wear the official pants or shorts on
outings and activities? Absolutely not. If they have a pair of official
pants, I'd advise them to keep them looking good for ceremonies. What if a
Scout or parent asks me whether they should buy a pair of official Scout
uniform pants for meetings and Courts of Honor? I'd say sure, if they want
to look their best as a Scout at meetings and ceremonies. But if their
funds are limited, I'd suggest they use the money for a warmer sleeping bag,
a better backpack, or a fleece pullover, because looking good is not at the
top of the list of what Scouting is all about. I think the greatest
benefits to boy and unit from uniforming come from the khaki shirt with its
insignia. Any contributions from official pants, shorts, socks, or hats are
marginal at best. Yet the one uniform item that, more than any other, marks
us as Scouts--the neckerchief--is now just an optional decorative accessory.
And BSA has conceded that the khaki uniform shirt is impractical for some
activities--the current "activity uniform" is supposed to be the official
Scout pants or shorts, belt, and socks with some kind of Scout t-shirt or
other Scout casual shirt in place of the khaki uniform shirt and
neckerchief. Why not make the same concession to practicality for pants and
shorts that BSA has made for shirts? If BSA comes out with uniform pants
and shorts designed for the outdoors rather than the indoors, I'd adopt them
with enthusiasm--they might be the only piece of real outdoor activity
clothing the boys would actually own.