Beth asked this question on the Scouter Mom page on Facebook:
I am wondering if other Scout Moms have had a similar experience…I took my older son to a Court of Honor this weekend; a wonderful and meaningful ceremony. My son proudly wore his Class A uniform which includes his Life Scout insignia, Jamboree achievement patches, ASPL patch, and Order of the Arrow pocket flap. He was also one of the few young men in the room with a NYLT Staff neckerchief. On the way home, we stopped for smoothies and as we were pulling into the parking lot, he asked, are we going through the drive through…I realized once again that, as proud as he is to wear the uniform at a Scout function, he still feels uncomfortable wearing it “in public.” I have seen this with many other boys as well. Has anyone else noticed this trend, and what can be done? These guys are the future of our country and doing great things everyday, and yet the “cool factor” is just not there. Any thoughts???
This is a complicated question. It is important though, because one of the methods for Scouts BSA is The Uniform. I’d love to hear other Scouter’s thoughts, so please feel free to comment below.
I think it is all about how they want to be perceived by their peers and what they think their peers will think when they see the uniform. And it is the Scout uniform, not just any uniform. Boys don’t have any problem running around in their soccer jerseys.
But consider how Scouting and sports are depicted differently in the media. And let’s face it, media has a big impact on how youth view the world around them. Sports are cool. You can spend a whole afternoon watching sports on TV. Our sports celebrities are well paid and honored. On the other hand, I don’t know how many times I’ve watched a movie or something on TV where somebody does something and another character will say something like, “Why are you being such a Boy Scout?”, meaning why are they following the rules to the letter. At an age level where kids like to rebel a little and push the limits, being seen as a goody two shoes might not appeal.
So what can we do? Well, I think one of the most important things to do is to get the word out that Scouting is more than just helping little old ladies across the street. While the character aspect is important, what the young men come for is the adventure and independence. Get some information in the church bulletin or the school website about that upcoming rock climbing or rifle shooting outing.
In the end though, until the blockbuster movie comes out which portrays Scouting as cool, we might just have to be content that our Scouts will wear their uniforms to the meetings and be thankful they enjoy the program.