From: David Upham [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: April 19, 2001 1:09 AM
To: Sam Elsworth
Subject: Uniforms, yet again
I received your response to my letter which contained some of my concerns
over the last article in the January Leader magazine. I must say that I was
not originally impressed. I felt that adults should be able to discuss
differences in a civil manner, and I was offended by the last paragraph in
which you attempted to shoot down my opinions by citing a quote of
Baden-Powell's. Having now received my April issue, I see that what I
received was essentially a form letter and not a direct insult.
However, I still felt that it was not a reasonable reply. Firstly, when BP
quoted himself as saying he "...didn't give a fig whether a Scout wears a
uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the
Scout Law." he was referring to times when he had to resolve situations
where, during the organization's infancy, during and immediately after World
War I, as boys were being denied membership because they could not afford a
uniform. When BP wrote "Aids to Scoutmastership", from which you quoted, he
was changing his position but you have chosen to take his comments out of
context. He continued with, "But..." and went on for six paragraphs
extolling the wearing of the uniform.
Furthermore, In "B.P.'s OUTLOOK Selections from the Founder's contributions
to The Scouter from 1909 to 1940"
(C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. 1941) there are at least three articles in which he
laments the lack of respect and regard for the uniform. One of the most
interesting is when he ventured to wade into a debate over whether Scouts
should wear shorts, or the more preferred (by the boys), knee pants.
Apparently they felt the shorts made them look like little kids. He made
many of the same arguements being made now for the preservation of a uniform
such as the boys knew they were expected to wear the shorts when they joined
and the real reason they were dropping out was "...lack of adventure."
i.e. - weak program delivery. He made the same analogies that are being
made to uniforms worn by other organizations that Scouters are doing now.
I would like to close by citing his closing line from June, 1917 which
reads, "However, in any case, we do not lose many boys over it and we lose
none that are true Scouts."