Scouts Canada modernizes uniforms

Scouts Canada is introducing a revamped uniform as part of its big push to revitalize the scouting movement.
Scouts Canada is modernizing its uniforms. The boy on the left is wearing an updated version. (Scouts Canada)

Scouts Canada is introducing a revamped uniform as part of its big push to revitalize the scouting movement.

Colours are spruced up and sashes for badges disappear for Cubs and Scouts, who will instead wear their symbols of achievement on their sleeves. Canadian flags are also featured in the new design.

The youth organization teamed with affordable apparel brand Joe Fresh Style to give the uniforms their first makeover in two decades.

"We've modernized our brand, we're modernizing our program, we're modernizing how we do business as an organization overall," Scouts Canada chief commissioner Steve Kent said in an interview from Mount Pearl, N.L.

"Having a uniform that's consistent with the kind of image we want to present to Canadian society is really important, and frankly, this uniform refresh is long overdue."

Kent said Joe Fresh was a "clear winner" of the uniform contract for a number of reasons, including leadership in designing clothes for young people and brand recognition by Canadian families.

Kent said creative director Joe Mimran took a personal interest in ensuring the project's success.

Mimran said in a statement that his company was honoured to be asked to help with the redesign.

"This organization has a rich history in Canada and we wanted to honour their heritage while at the same time updating the style and fabrication of the uniforms for today's youth."

The redesign was a collaborative process between Scouts Canada and the Joe Fresh team, in addition to consultations with thousands of Scouts members.The organization wanted uniforms that were practical and suitable for the demands of outdoor adventure and other activities.

Kent, who is also a member of the house assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador, said it was important that the uniforms be produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The garments needed to be affordable, modern, and convey an image consistent with the brand, appealing to youth and adult volunteers while respecting scouting traditions and values.

Kent said the new looks offer modern colours that are distinct for each program while still fitting into the broader clothing line.

  • Beaver Scouts (aged 5-7) will continue to wear a bucket hat and vest but in modernized shades of blue and brown. Instead of the stiff vests Beavers have been wearing since the '70s, they will have a modern zip-up vest made of terry fleece.
  • Cubs (aged 8-10) will shift back to past tradition with a grey uniform.
  • Scouts (aged 11-14) will wear a modern green.
  • Venturers (aged 14-17 ) will wear navy blue.
  • Rovers (aged 18-26), as well as adult volunteers and leaders will wear a "patriotic red" uniform.
  • Aside from the uniforms, there are also hoodies, polo shirts, hats, pants, jackets and vests, as well as yoga pants for females.

Kent said it's a more relaxed look overall and friendlier for a younger generation while remaining "extremely practical for scouting."

The clothing line will be introduced over the coming weeks and months to members and showcased at large scouting events. The line will be available in stores and online in September.

Joe Fresh won't carry the uniforms, but will sell summer camp T-shirts in stores with a portion of proceeds supporting local scouting programs.