scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: Scout uniforms not allowed on Airplanes?
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Sun Jun 04 2000 - 19:48:32 CDT
You wrote a comment which has been the bane of lots of professionals,
leading all the way up to the office of the past Chief Scout Executive.
This goes back and forth, but your comment is sound:
>I don't know about the rationale for this decision, but I have noticed
when visiting >my council center that the professionals in the Otetiana
Council (Rochester, NY)
>no longer seem to wear their scout uniforms during business. Rather, they
now >seem to wear white shirts, ties, and business slacks. I wonder whether
the same >thing is going on elsewhere, and if so, is this the beginning of
a move to abolish, or >at least discourage, uniforms. It would be helpful
to hear from someone with >National connections regarding the rationale for
I *don't have official* National connections, but I can explain the
rationale for what your staff does and in other Councils.
First, it VARIES BY COUNCIL and by FUNCTION of the professional in that
Some Councils feel that their Council's office operations are similar in
scope to a "corporate operations" center, and therefore the professionals
working "at the flag pole" (at the Council office, or at satellite field
offices) wear professional attire (shirts, ties, sometime polo shirts,
pants, jackets....). Those working "in the field" wear the field uniform or
suit and tie/skirt, slacks and appropriate tops, depending on the visit
location and mission scope.
Other Councils outrightly stated that ALL of their professional staff WILL
wear the official field uniform for ALL occassions except those which
interact with the chartering partner organizations; in those case, civilian
dress attire is best worn there.
Still other Councils, taking a page from former Chief Scout Executive Ben
Love's dictum to ALL professionals during his tenure, will insist on ALL
professionals wearing their uniforms at ALL TIMES, even when
visiting/wining and dining charter partner organizations and their leaders.
"You can't get into too much trouble when wearing the BSA's uniform," was
Love's thought in making that mandate in his Council and later thoughout
It is unknown what Mr. Williams' attitude will be once he occupies the seat
upstairs in the Chief Scout Executive's suite. Every time I've seen him,
he's been in field uniform, and he seems to be very confortable wearing it
it. So, we may go back to everyone wearing the field uniform aka Love.
Professionals HATE wearing the field uniform for the most part, because of
the same reasons we volunteers dislike wearing it; there's some additional
reasons why as well. The biggest is that professionals frequently do have
to "wine and dine" key leaders at the Council or District level, and taking
them to a bar/resturant is disarming when you show up in the BSA's "dress
uniform" and they are ready to have a few drinks before dinner. That
attitude is changing, but it's a slow change.
Travelling in the Council's territory wearing the field uniform is hit or
miss. There has been cases whereby professional Scouters were mistaken as
law enforcement officers, and there has been a couple instances in the past
whereby professional Scouters were actually asked to "take the shirt off"
before entering some locations because of the attitude of some
organizations toward the BSA.
Finally, most field professionals "don't have anything on their shirts to
wear" when visiting units. Love "fixed this" by encourging professionals
to participate and earn training awards and to allow those with previous
volunteer experience to wear the awards in which they were entitled to wear
if they were not professionals. The Professional Training Award was
another step...there existed such a monster before his time, but under his
direction, the award was formalized and universally made available to all
field professionals and those who supervise field professionals.
We'll see what the new CSE will ask the professional staff to do when he
takes office. My *personal hope* is that he will bring back to the
professionl a sense that they too -- even the ones working "at the flag
pole" -- are a uniformed organization, and that the uniform is a unifying
element of the relationship between professional and volunteer within the
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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