Question: What’s tough enough for the outdoors, special enough to stand out in a crowd, and worthy of a hundred years of respect?
Answer: The uniform of the Boy Scouts of America.
Uniforms have been an emblem of Scouting since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. The BSA has grown a great deal since then. The uniform has also evolved to provide Scouts with clothing ideal for its time.
The first Scout uniforms included brown jackets with metal buttons, large outside pockets, and high collars. They were worn with breeches-pants flared at the thighs and tight at the knees-and canvas leggings to shield the calves of hikers, or long socks turned down at the knee.
Early uniforms also featured a broad-brimmed campaign hat with a badge of rank pinned to the crown. Robert Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, had worn a similar hat in the field to protect himself from sun and rain. It was a natural choice for Boy Scouts, too.
In the 1940s Scouts were ready for khaki green uniform shirts, trousers, and shorts made of sturdy cotton. Campaign hats gave way to caps similar to those worn by many Americans serving in the military during World War II.
Today’s Centennial edition uniform is a versatile outfit made of high-tech fabrics just right for Scout meetings and community activities. With the pull of a zipper, BSA’s Switchback pants convert from trousers to shorts.
Uniforms have come a long way since the beginning of the BSA, but one item hasn’t changed much at all. Just as the Scout Law and Oath are still around after all these years, the campaign hat can be worn as it was a century ago. That’s a tribute to the success of Scouting and to the millions of members who have proudly pulled on the uniform of the Boy Scouts of America.
For more information on the history of the uniform and other developments in the Boy Scouts’ 100-year history, purchase the Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History
Author: Boy Scouts of America | Be Prepared for Adventure. For Life. Vol. 1 No. 8