Debunking myths about wearing camouflage in Scouting

expertlogo1Scouting supports the men and women of our nation’s armed forces, but the BSA isn’t a military organization.

That’s why some adult volunteers object to Boy Scouts of America members wearing camouflage clothing.

If you search the Internet long enough, you’ll even find official-looking declarations on the subject of wearing camo in Scouting. Look at this one I saw recently: “The Boy Scouts of America does NOT approve of ANY camo clothing for wear by youth members nor adults at ANY TIME.”

Sounds official. But in reality, that’s only half true.

The truth is that wearing camo with the button-up shirt of the BSA field uniform is in violation of our rules. But there’s nothing that prohibits a Scout from wearing camouflage clothing in a nonuniform setting.

Read more of the official BSA answer after the jump.

The expert’s answer

This comes from Peter Self, team leader in Member Experience Innovation.

We often receive questions about whether wearing camouflage clothing in conjunction with Scouting activities is appropriate. Like most questions there is the simple answer, and then there are the grey areas, which take a bit more discernment and common sense.

According to Article X, Section 4 Clause 4(a) of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, alterations and/or additions to any of Scouting’s official uniforms is not permitted. Since none of our official Scouting uniforms contain any article which incorporates a camouflage pattern, wearing anything like this as a part of the uniform — such as camouflage pants with the official Boy Scout Field Shirt — would be in violation of our rules.

In addition, Article X, Section 4, Clause 4(b) states that, under our Congressional Charter, any Scouting uniform which imitates the uniforms of the U.S. Army, Navy or Marine Corps, is also prohibited.

OK, so wearing camouflage as a part of the official uniform is not in harmony with our rules and regulations, but what about when a Scout isn’t in uniform? Let’s face it: most of our Scouts don’t wear their field uniforms when camping. Would it be OK to wear camouflage then?

There is nothing which prohibits a Scout from wearing camouflage clothing in a nonuniform setting.

However, it might be prudent to ask yourself how doing so might look to the outside observer. Would they look at you as Scouts or as a group trying to imitate the military? Perhaps this would be a discussion to have around your next campfire. Who knows what great insights would be shared and gained?

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Photo from Flickr: All rights reserved by Boy Scouts of America

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.