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 conformably, I don't need it and any ridicule that would come with it!
The Boy Scouts of America's Supply Division, 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. Basically, they allow you to exchange worn 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 Division at the National Office explaining what is wrong with the item. If your item is old and the Supply Division 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.
There IS a limit as to how many times you can do this; the Supply Division 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.
Last year (1998) the BSA instituted a new service whereby they will 'custom fit' your 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). 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 go to the BSA's official website and download the special form to complete, return to them and wait by your mailbox for your custom uniform!
The aim of the Supply Division is to have EVERY REGISTERED SCOUT, VENTURER, AND SOCUTER 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 the Director, Supply Division, S 111, National Office, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, Texas USA 75015-2079.
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