I have been reading with interest the various letters from Sam Elsworth and others regarding the question of uniform.
I have been involved with Scouting for quite a long time, from starting as a Wolf Cub many years ago in the UK to progressing to a Leader here in Canada. Certainly there are some things about the Uniform that need consideration. A straw poll of Scouts and Venturers made some time ago indicated that most detest the sash and want to go back to wearing their badges on their shirts. We give Venturers the choice in the program, and most do not wear it even when it is provided free! The Scouts however do not get that choice, surely we should give it to them? We talk of the traditions of Scouting, but we seem to forget the main reason for wearing the Uniform. BP taught that wearing the uniform put everybody on a level playing field, ie we are all the same. Half of our Troop and Pack come from families with major budgetary restraints. They can be embaressed about the cost etc of the clothes they wear. Do we really want the situation where the Units are 'ruled' by those who can afford the $150 sneakers or the latest jeans, where we end up with the have, have not splits.
We have taken the trouble to teach our youth about Scouting, the traditions, heroism and fortitude shown by Scouts over the past 90 plus years. Our Youth are proud to wear their uniform because they understand why they wear it. Sometimes simple is best and I wonder just how you ask a question which 'assumes' that the questioned are educated in the subject.
Our Scout handbook gives very little instruction to Scouts on THEIR traditions other than to note that Jack Cornwell won the VC. Perhaps it should include portions of the Left Handshake. I have no faith in Pollsters, too often they do not ask the right question. Sam Elsworth is right, this is an emotive issue, but not one to be solved by an outside body which does not understand all the issues involved.
I do not beleive totally in 'Back to Basics' but I always remeber my fathers words, 'You cannot know where to go unless you know where you came from'
Skipper - 1st SNSS