In June, I spent a couple days at cub scout day camp. A couple hundred boys were assigned into seven groups that rotated among the various activities: BB guns, archery, scout skills, Egyptology, nature, etc. The five cubs from my pack were part of a group of thirty which included eight from another pack and twenty-two from a third pack. The packs were responsible for supplying “den walkers”, one adult for every five boys who keeps them organized and attends to any needs that should arise. So, I was one of six adults serving our group, and most of them were parents of the boys in the large pack I mentioned.
Since it was a scout activity, and since I am den leader, I wore my scout uniform on the days I was there. This wasn’t necessary. Most of the den walkers were not scout leaders and didn’t own uniforms; the boys were wearing a t-shirt prepared for the day camp; camp staff were all wearing purple t-shirts that made them identifiable. Mine was one of only a handful of scout uniforms to be seen. A few such are a nice visual detail, though, that add to a scout gathering.
The most interesting thing about my scout uniform was the way it drew the boys in our group to me. For them I wasn’t just one more friendly adult; I was a scout leader. (Call me Akela!) The boys in those other packs saw me as someone to help them in preference to the parents of their den mates, someone who should know what’s going on. I worked to live up to their expectations. I really am a cub scout leader, so it’s fine if those boys expect me to be one. Dress can be a helpful visual cue to let others know that we are there to serve them.