Uniforms: XII of C #100daysofscouting

In the Linkedin forums I posted a question about the knots for Seabadge and Woodbadge Knots.  While, I am not going to re-hash that topic here, I do want to  talk about Uniforms.  The post lead into a discussion on how Scouters should wear their uniform and what should be on it.

We all want to look respectable and have a clean uniform or outfit no matter where we go.  A Scout is Clean.  Except if your Mike Rowe, then a Scout is Dirty then Clean.  Usually you would wear a ClassB shirt for getting dirty.

The Boy Scouts of America has a Insignia Guideline document that helps in making sure that all uniforms are in proper order.  This includes…….PATCHES!

I completely understand that as just a parent of a Scout, it’s hard to know where to put a patch.  They can be put anywhere that has an open spot.

Now, because I use Badgemagic, it’s a bit easier for me to get patches on.  I am the one that puts the patches on my son’s uniform.  When he crosses over, it’s all him.  Currently my son is a Bear.  Our Council has a segment program that allows the District patch, in the temporary place to have the segments ringed around it.  The general rule of thumb is two to three rings, then the rest go on a Red Vest.  Which, the Red Vest is very nice, but at the Scout Shop, too expensive and put together badly.  I opted for a fleece vest for my son.  It wears better over coats when selling Popcorn, Scouting for Food and other Cold Weather activities.

It is generally the adults that mess-up the uniforms for the Cubscouts at this stage.  If the parent is not a Scouter, then I can understand.  The Scouters should know where to put patches and badges. Some just do not know.  Not even sure how this one Scouter even got those rank badges.

All kidding aside, photos like these really un-nerve me. It’s a total lack of respect to the uniform and the Boy Scouts of America. For me, if you are not in Scouts, you cannot wear the uniform.  If you’re not in the Military you cannot wear that uniform.  Granted if you’re an actor portraying someone in the military or Scouting then that is different.

Within the Military there are strict guidelines. If you do not abide by them, then your out of uniform and that’s not a good thing.
This is my father who was in the USMC in the early 60’s.  As a 1st LT, he needed to set the example for his men.  To this day, it’s not “Pants” it’s “Trousers”!  There are no former Marines.This culture of dress held over into his every day life.  It was also helpful that he grew up in the 50’s where good dress codes were adhered too.  Unlike in today’s world of let’s see how low your pants can get to the ground while not showing your all your boxers.  I call them “The Saggy Butt Brigade.”

Now, you have to dress the part for the area or type of weather you will be encountering during that outing.  Be Prepared is the Boyscout Motto!

As you can see as shown by my mom, a hat, hoodie and warm brown jacket is what is needed when walking the dog in the Olympic Peninsula are of Washington State.

However, when your sailing from Florida to New York in the Atlantic in the Spring, it’s a really good idea to have full Foul Weather Gear.

So, why is it important to look good?  As Baden-Powell said: Show me a poorly uniformed troop and I’ll show you a poorly uniformed leader.

Scout Leaders need to set the example.  It shows respect to others. Your in charge and you respect them.   Plus, when out in public on parade, selling popcorn, doing a good deed the public will be judging you.

As Adult Scouters we do tend to put a lot of extra things on our uniforms.  Which, I generally try not to do.  I will put awards/knots/badges that I have earned or awarded to me on the uniform.  I do have a Gilwell Beaver Patrol Patch on the right shoulder.  I can do that since I am in Cubscouts and the Cubmaster.  Generally Cubscouts do not wear a Patrol patch.  Webelos are the only Den allowed to do that.  The rest is dens.  They put the den 1, 2,3,4 patches on that side.

My overall point is when dressing yourself, be respectful. Keep yourself clean and limit the “Flair” or “Bling” that you put on.  I have seen people get all bent out of shape at Scout functions about what should or should not be on a uniform.  Granted, I will tell someone who the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Badge is on the wrong flap, but in a very corrective and supportive way.  I will also remind the Scout that it’s also were the Summertime Activity Award Pin goes too. That is just because a parent does not know.

So, as a Cubmaster, I need to make sure that my uniform is correct and also my son’s uniform.  Having both correct set’s the example.

(Updated @ 8pm PST 2/19/11: It was pointed out to me that my Son’s Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Patch IS on the WRONG FLAP.  Looking this way, it’s on the RIGHT FLAP.  DOH!  I will see if I can transfer it to the CORRECT RIGHT FLAP without destroying the flap.  If not, he will be going into Webelos I this June.  At that time I will be getting him the Tan shirt and replacing all the patches as I need to.  )

About Adam R. Cox

Current Skyloo District Commissioner Current Skyloo District & Council Trainer Current Council Member at Large (Cascade Pacific Council) Former Tiger DL & CM of P221 in Pioneer District Former Skyloo District CS Roundtable Commissioner. Former Ast Council Commissioner for Commissioner Tools and Communication Former Pioneer District Training Chair WE1-492-09 Beaver W1-492-11 Bobwhite TG ASM Logistic W1-492-17-2
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3 Responses to Uniforms: XII of C #100daysofscouting

  1. scouteradam says:

    Mike: Thanks for the great reply. Yes, I totally agree about the “Rings” There are only two. Which the last one is really not complete. I actually have STOPPED putting them on the shirt. It looks incredibly tacky if there were MORE. I have seen far too many RINGS that take up the ENTIRE SHIRT with these segments. I am not even sure when Elliot moves to Webelos I that I am going to put anymore on. I already have a blue fleece vest with the Cubscout logo on it and have put patches on there.

    I also have read that part of the BSA Insignia guide about size of what’s on the pocket. I did not think about segments. Which all leads me to a point a Mom/Membership Chair asked me about the other night. Uniforms and tucking them in. I think it’s time for another Uniform Inspection. I also think that the Leaders will be doing FLAG. It’s EDGEy….;)

    We have our Den Advancement/Crossover in June, so need to get them ready…. YIS

    PS: If you ever come by Portland and it’s a Monday, your always welcome to a Pack Meeting.


  2. Great posting, Adam!!
    One minor point about your son’s uniform shirt: the segments on the right side….they need to go onto the backside of a vest or jacket…there’s too many “rings”. The BSA says that whatever you place on the right pocket cannot exceed the dimensions of the pocket. That is why my various segments I have earned from Council and District events are all on the backside of a red flannel vest.

    You’re absolutely correct that uniforming is important to Scouts and Scouters. When Scouts see a Scouter correctly wearing the various badges and insignia in the right places, they too want their uniform to “look just right” too. It is correct:

    “The uniform of the Scouter is the uniform of the Scouts”.

    As a long time volunteer, former paraprofessional, and parent, I try my best to insure that first, members of Scouting units have a uniform. Not just the shirt, but the complete uniform — down to the neckerchief. When Scouts wear the complete uniform, they feel transformed. They want to be that Scout in the book, that Scout on the poster. Then it becomes our tasks as volunteers to make as many of those things happen.

    Great work there….keep going!!



  3. I totally agree. The Uniform is an important part of being a scout. It is really important for the leaders to wear their uniform correctly and setting a good example. This is especially true for the Cubmaster who is seen as the ‘face’ of the pack. We are a full uniform pack. But, there are quite a few scouts (and leaders) that do not follow this guideline. I am no drill sergeant and will not be going after them (the leaders) but go the more passive aggressive approach. The scouts, I just hope they are doing their best!


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