Troop Seventeen derives much of its renowned esprit de corps from its distinctive uniform.
The classic silhouette as depicted in the famous Mackenzie scout statue (and also in many of the Norman Rockwell paintings) is the option and image that Seventeen wishes to portray.
Over the years, the Scout uniform has changed much and included many options (e.g. breeches, shorts, or long trousers; several hats; long socks, short socks; no neckerchief, neckerchief, necktie, bolo; neckerchief under the collar, over-the collar; collar tucked in) but the troop has been steadfast in maintaining the traditional or classic Scout look — broad-brimmed hat, neckerchief, shorts, & long socks.
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Seventeen takes the most traditional option because we want our Scouts to look like Scouts — not like an athletic team or just another youth group. We don’t want to mask or obscure the fact that we’re Scouts — we are Scouts and mighty proud of it.
- The distinctive Seventeen badge
A red badge with a white “17” and white border is the same patch that has been in use since 1917. (It can be seen on the sleeve of the Scouts in our 1917 formal picture.) In 1936 and for many years thereafter, in recognition of their twenty-five year status, qualifying troops (including Seventeen) were authorized by the National Council BSA to wear the white border. The practice has since been discontinued, but Seventeen has maintained its traditional sleeve numeral that has enjoyed such a rich heritage.
- Our troop neckerchief
has been in use since the early 1940s when Troop 31 was merged into Seventeen. At the time Troop 31 wore a neckerchief of azure blue and Seventeen wore a red neckerchief. Symbolizing the merger, the two colors were merged into new neckerchiefs (a blue stripe on red background for the Scouts and a red stripe on blue background for the leaders). The blue leader’s neckerchief continued in use until around 1950 when the BSA National Supply Service discontinued that particular color offering.
- Short pants
were not always a part of the official BSA uniform. They were not introduced until the 1920s (with considerable resistance, however) and were rare throughout the thirties except at camp. It was not until 1950 that large groups of Scouts would venture onto streets in them. The troop was among the first to embrace short pants in the 1930s and was readily recognized (and jeered and respected) as the “short pants troop” even into the late 40s and early 50s.
- The Broad-Brimmed Hat
Nothing captures the image of a Scout more than the broad-brimmed hat. Although many options have been tried over the years (such as the W.W.II overseas hat, the red beret and the baseball cap), the “Smokey-the-Bear” or “Campaign” hat is the only uniform item which has remained constant since Scouting came to the United States in the early 1900s. In addition to its obvious functionality, it is still the broad-brimmed hat which makes Seventeen stand out from other troops in camp or at a parade.