We have all heard of the “Uniform Police” in our Scouting circles. I am not a member of the Police Force charged with making a scene about uniform violations and forcing a Council wide investigation on this patch or that.. tongue in cheek, but we all know “That guy”.
Here is my position on the uniform. Wear it and when you do wear it correctly.
The Uniform of the Boy Scouts of America is part of the methods that get us to accomplishing our goals. It is a mark of membership on the team. It is an identifier of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
It is NOT required, but if worn it should be worn correctly.
There are plenty of resources out there that tell us how to wear the uniform. There are guides and PDF’s that show us what we can and can not wear. There is a chart that shows proper placement of patches and how to wear a sash.
So we don’t need a police force, we have the BSA. We do not need to make members feel bad about volunteering their time, spending their money, and giving hours and hours to serve our youth.
When I wear the uniform, and boy do I wear it a lot…I wear it completely and properly. I wear the shirt, pants, socks, and all of my patches are authorized and in the right place. I don’t do this to avoid the uniform police, I do it because I am a leader. I set the example of what right looks like. I model what I expect.
My Troop is a fully uniformed Troop. We do it because it is a part of Scouting. We do it because we are team and teams wear uniforms. We all wear the full uniform. It is NOT a money issue. There are ways to get around the cost of a uniform. We encourage “experienced” uniforms to be handed down. We provide a uniform closet for our Scouts. We wear the uniform like we want the Scouts to wear it.
When we started our uniform closet, I went to the local Good Will. I purchased as much Scout uniform stuff as I could find. I bought something like 4 shirts, 3 pair of pants, shorts, and even two of the red Jack shirts. I think I spent a total of $40. That was enough to seed the closet and get things started. We now have enough uniform items to outfit a patrol.
The point is.. as a leader we should not make excuses.. we should find solutions. It is about the methods Scouting that move us to the Aims of our Organization. That is your charge as a Scout leader. Not to be the uniform police, but to encourage proper uniform wear.
I would rather have a Scout that has patches all screwed up wearing the uniform than not wearing it. I never make an issue of how they sew on their patches. I praise them for being in a full uniform. A subtle hand out once in a while of the Uniform Inspection sheet may be enough to move the patches to the right spot on the shirt.
Don’t be that guy.. encourage your Leaders and your Scouts to wear the uniform and wear it right. It’s important for your unit and Scouting. Says Scouting!
“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country”. Robert Baden-Powell
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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