I have been involved with scouting since I was Cub, I am currently the Akela
with the 12th New Westminster Cub Pack (Fraser Valley Region, British
To wear the uniform is an honour: When I was a Cub and as a new Scout I did
not understand that, and that led to some discomfort in wearing it. Over
time, I came to feel honoured to wear the uniform. Wearing a neat, clean
uniform, bedecked with badges earned respect from those I respected.
Every time I put on the uniform, I am reminded that I have made a promise.
Wearing the uniform tells others that I have made a promise and that they
should expect me to conduct myself in light of that promise. It will be
assumed the as a Scout I have a belief in God, adhere to spiritual practices and
accept the attendant duties and responsibilities; That I believe in Duty to
others through service and respect of law; and That I have a duty to improve
and take care of my self.
Many organisations use symbols that are worn to either remind them their
promises or to show others what they are apart of - Crucifix, Star of David.
The uniform is a responsibility: When you wear the uniform of a member of
the Scouting movement you represent the scouting movement, whether you are a
first year Beaver or a National Commissioner. Your actions good or bad will
either polish or tarnish how the world perceives a Scout.
The uniform communicates: As a leader, I encounter many youth, from
different groups and sections. Their uniforms tell me a lot about who they
are, what they might be able to do and how much experience they have. When
travelling, and I have the responsibility to care for the group, the uniform
lets me sort my youth from others, be they standing, even when they are standing with their back turned to me. The uniform allows the youth find each other and their leaders.
The uniform vis-à-vis retention of membership: Most of the problems
associated with wearing the uniform stem from either not understanding what
Scouting represents and tries to achieve and pressure from peers who do not
respect what Scouting is about. Even as an adult, when somebody discovers
that I am a Cub leader they sometimes put their hands up by their ears and
go DYB DYB DYB. They look silly and I just think - DO YOUR BEST, and try to
do my best. When my son (who is now a Cub) goes off to play soccer or
softball or is off to school to take a test I'll call to him DYB, DYB, DYB,
encouraging him to remember to do his best. Its not about winning or losing
its about doing your best, learning and growing (whether you are 9 or 42).
It seems today that honour, integrity and responsibility are held in
contempt by a vociferous minority. And thus those who stand for these noble
principles are ridiculed and teased. Hiding and going underground will not
help. It is by providing good role models and building their confidence
that Scouts will overcome these challenges.
Sam Elsworth, National Commissioner has said: "Let's ensure that all our
adult volunteers understand that it's Scouting's programs, values and
activities , not the clothes they are wearing, that are vital to our youth
members and the fulfilment of our Mission." The uniform, reflects the
program that Scouts are participating in, the values they hold, the
activities they do and their many accomplishments. What applied when Lord
Baden Powell created scouting, I strongly believe applies today, the uniform
is integral to Scouting.
Yours In Scouting,
Akela, Group #12 Cubs
New Westminster, BC