> updated 22/10/09
Please don't try to "game the offer" gang... While the Supply Group will gladly
exchange worn-out or defective uniform items, they are NOT in the business of losing
money! If you have a servicable uniform -- old, "legacy" or current -- that uniform
IS official for wear as long as you have both the matching shirt and pants. Many
communities have "uniform banks" which carry older uniforms worn in the 50s, 60s
and 70s and ALL of those uniforms are not only "official" but many Scouters and Scouts
reported that they even "wear better" than the current ones!
As long as you have an complete official BSA uniform -- the fact that it is not the
"current one" is secondary to the fact that you have "a shirt to place the BSA's various
insignia" (regardless of uniform shirt, the insignia placement is the same).
Can't Find that RIGHT sized Uniform?
(Updated to include additional links to the BSA's official Supply Group website)
Several Scouts, their parents, and lots of Scouters have asked me the
following series of questions that I've answered many times over via
Scouting discussion lists or personally:
I read or heard someplace that the BSA will exchange worn uniforms for new ones if you
wrote them and provided the worn ones. Is that an "urban legend" or is that true? Who at
National do I need to write to and what are the "exceptions" or "buts" to the exchange?
I have heard that the BSA will make a uniform for a guy/gal like me, large (or small), with
(certain dimensions and measurements). Is that true or did I misread something...I want to
wear the uniform but I also want to be comfortable, and every time I go to the Scout office,
they have the same uniforms which start in small and end in 2X. I don't want to be laughed
at either, so if this is a "patch up job", I'm not interested. The uniform may be important
to people like you, but if I can't get into it and wear it with comfort, I don't need it and
any ridicule that would come with it!
The Boy Scouts of America's Supply Division (now called the Supply Group) since its inception,
operated under a policy whereby they "guaranteed their uniforms for the life of the owner."
This policy later expanded to anything they sold or has the BSA's official seal attached to it.
(People have asked me "Really"? Read what the
Supply Group Director states -- )
The BSA really means that they will support you in your efforts to be great role models for our youth!
Basically, they allow you to exchange worn out or defective uniform parts (shirts, pants,
belts only) for newer versions with them. In order for you to do this, you must wash and clean
the uniform item, and send it to the BSA's Supply Group at the National Office explaining what is
wrong with the item. If your item is too old and the Supply Group no longer carries that item, they
will inform you and bill you or you can provide them credit card information in which they can
receive payment. But in most cases, they are happy to provide you with a larger, wider, or
smaller (!) uniform item, charging you only for the cost of postage and shipping the item to your
local Council office.
(This issue has recently (2008/2009) come up with regard to the rollout of the current BSA uniform,
called the "Centennial Scout Uniform". Some of the seams come apart quicker than normal; the "Boy
Scouts of America" strip loses some of the lettering; and there has been reported some tears with
with some of the pants; the BSA will replace those items upon request and exchange through their
retail Scout Shops(tm) or directly to the BSA Supply Group.)
There IS a limit as to how many times you can do this; the Supply Group is NOT in the
business of losing money but they will support you and other Scouters and Scouts.
You MUST include a letter with the item providing your full name, mailing address, unit number
and city/state, and Council name or number. Without that information, they will NOT exchange your
items. Expect two to four weeks for a response and BE PATIENT.
In 1998 (and revised in 2006) the BSA Supply Group instituted a new service whereby they will 'custom fit'
your field uniform for you if you provide them with a series of measurements (you can have your spouse
or family members to measure you or you can go to any tailor shop and allow them to measure you).
This was not a "new service" as I thought; in reading the old BSA Equipment catalogs, such "special tailoring
services" for a slight increase in the cost of the materials, was offered as far back as 1946!
The uniforms are the same quality as the regular ones, except you pay a 20 percent increase to account for the
special tailoring. This service was previously only provided to professional executives; it is now available
to everyone in the program. This is NOT a "patch-up job"...your uniform is complete, looks and wears
the same, and IS the same uniform that all other volunteers and professionals wear. So whether your waist
size is 60 or 22; your chest size is 63 or 17; or you need a 50 or 25 inch belt - you CAN get it from the
BSA and you DO NOT NEED to "go out and make your own Scout uniform" to be in uniform! They will also make
special shirts with the cut so that large-breasted women can wear the uniform comfortably without fear that
"because I'm so big, everything will stick out!"
You can download the special form to complete,
return to them and wait by your mailbox for your custom uniform (or send an email to
the BSA's Supply Group
Customer Support team.
Additionally, many local Councils as well the BSA Supply Group will *sew* commonly-used insignia onto either the
"Centennial" or the older "legecy" Scout short for a charge. Check with your local Council to see if that service
is available; as of the spring of 2009, I have not seen an official notice but check back with
http://www.scoutstuff.org for more information on this service.
The aim of the Supply Group, then as now, is to have EVERY REGISTERED SCOUT, VENTURER, AND SCOUTER
wearing the complete, current uniform, with all of the badges and insignia they are entitled to. They are
determined to do this even if this means that they suffer a small price in the way of exchanging uniforms
for newer ones. You can send your items to:
BSA Supply Group
Attention: Customer Service
2109 Westinghouse Blvd.
Charlotte, NC USA 28273
(Finally, someone asked me: "Do you WORK at the Supply Group?" I would LOVE to...but no, I do not. I will gladly however take any
and all suggestions and ideas you provide me and forward them to the Supply Group -- but you can do the same by leaving a note at
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(Scout Shops ™ are the Boy Scouts of America's trademarked retail stores located in many of America's larger cities, as well as
overseas in Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Phillipines.)
Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton
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