Posts Tagged ‘handbook’

bookstandI have been on the Melrose Area History Museum board of directors for a little over a year now. I have been finding it to be interesting. I have a feeling that if I am still on the board when I am old enough to retire from work I may spend quite a bit of time there helping out with various projects. Unfortunately, since I am working full time I do not get to spend very much time with the museum, other than going to board meetings.

Since Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting are such a big part of my life, I have been trying to do little things at the museum to improve the Scouting display and make it look better. I do mean little things. A year ago I built a little Scouting coffee mug stand for the display case and provided enough Scouting themed mugs to display on it. This past winter I printed and framed a photo of each of the troop’s Eagle Scouts (of the last thirty years) for the museum. Previous articles to this blog describe these projects in more detail.

My latest project is more of an experiment. The Scouting display has a few handbooks and other misc. books that people can only see the edge binding of because we really do not have good way to display them. I have decided to try making a book display using some odd jamb material found at the lumber yard I work at. The moulding gives the backboard a slight back tilt which should help display the books, but yet keep enough weight at the bottom of the rack to keep the display from tipping over.

The picture above shows the display before I painted it white this past weekend. I am thinking of looking through my Scouting collection to find doubles of Cub Scout handbooks since there is not very much Cub Scout related material in the display yet. If this display works well, I plan to make one or two more for the cases. After all, the museum display already has some books that need to be shown off better then they currently are displayed.

2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

Did you get your new handbook yet?

1947handbooksmThe Boy Scouts of America’s website states this about the the Aims of Scouting: The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America — incorporated on Feb. 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916 — is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

Character, citizenship, and personal fitness. Those are three outstanding goals to teach our young men. The site lists the methods, or building blocks of Scouting, as nine points: Advancement, Community Organizations and Scouting Councils, Personal Growth, Leadership, the Order of the Arrow, the Outdoors, the Patrol Method, Scouting Values, and Scouts with Special Needs. (See )

While the main goals of Scouting have stayed the same through the decades there have been changes in the way the B.S.A. has stated these aims and methods. I decided to pull down a couple versions of the Scoutmaster Handbook from my collection to read what they say about these subjects, and see what, if any, differences there are between then and now.

First, let’s look back to the 1990 version of The Scoutmaster Handbook.
The Aims of Scouting are listed on page 69. They are:
Aim 1 – To build character.
Aim 2 – To foster citizenship.
Aim 3 – To develop fitness.

The book goes on to explain character on page 70.
It’s a “complex of mental and ethical traits”, says one dictionary. It’s “moral or ethical quality” says another. It’s qualities of honesty, courage, and integrity”, says a third. To these perfectly good descriptions we add four “self” qualities that Scouting, over the years, has been especially successful in developing in boys, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect. When a boy begins to develop these, he begins to develop character.

This book says about citizenship: The wise Scoutmaster can guide his Scouts not only to love their country, but to understand it, know more about its heritage and history, encounter the democracy that knits together its many cultures into a nation that welcomes them all. And thus find joy in serving it.It is growth in your Scouts to that level of citizenship in which you, as Scoutmaster, will find your joy.

The book says about Aim 3, developing fitness – The third aim, developing fitness, covers a broader territory, for Scouting recognizes four areas of fitness: physical, mental, emotional, and moral. I sometimes see today’s Scout leaders emphasizing the physical fitness and forgetting about the other three, which is a shame.

That 1990 version of the handbook lists the eight (yes, eight) Methods of Scouting as: Ideals, Patrols, Outdoors, Advancement, Personal Growth, Adult Association, Leadership development, and Uniform. These were the methods I based my 30 years of scoutmastership upon. This list is a bit different then found on today’s website. I have a question for the national office. When was Adult Association dropped from the list? When did the Order of the Arrow make this list?

I also own a 1947 printing of the Handbook For Scoutmasters. Things are written a bit differently in that version. On page 10, right at the begining of the book, it states: THE AIM OF SCOUTING.
Scouting trains for citizenship by inculcating in the boy, from within instead of from without, the qualities of Character, Health and Strength, Handcraft and Skill, Service to Others.

That is somewhat different than how the aims are listed today. Some of it still exists today using different language but I find it interesting that Handcraft and Skill has been dropped. I had to look up the word inculcating because I have never seen it used before. It means: Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.

Also on page 10 the 1947 handbook talks about the Methods of Scouting. Scouting is game played by boys in boy gangs under boy leaders chosen by the gang, guided by a man backed by other men of the community. Scouting provides the boy with an active outdoor life, grants him recognition for mastering various skills, and gives him a chance to wear an attractive uniform. It holds before him the ideals of a true Scout, and encourages him to “help other people at all times”.

The Scout Way – 1) A Game, not a Science.
Patrol Method – 2) The Scout Patrol, 3) Boy Leadership
Men In Scouting – 4) The Scoutmaster, 5) Troop committee and local Council Scouters
Activities – 6) Adventure in the out-of-doors, 7) Scout Advancement
Uniform – 8) The Scout Uniform
Ideals and Service – 9) The Scout Law, 10) The Scout Oath, or Promise – Service: Good Turns.

I love looking at the old literature and seeing how differently things were written back then. Of course, the biggest difference between Scouting in the 1940’s and today’s Scouting is that women can now serve as scoutmasters and other adult leadership positions. Back then they wrote “out-of-doors” instead of outdoors. Patrols are not called gangs in Scouting these days. I also like they way that Scouts have a chance to wear an attractive uniform. Have you seen the uniforms from the 1940’s?

This article is not meant as rant or a statement about Scouting as it is today. It is meant to show the differences in the way Scouting language has changed through the decades. I would challenge you to find some old handbooks and read them and see for yourself the way it has changed over its 100 year history. Or is it still the same?

The first thing you notice when you see the Boy Scout handbooks from the 1950’s is ghost of the American Indian as he rises above the campfire. This is the fifth edition of the Handbook for Boys. By the time the January 1957 version came out they had been a total of 15, 500,000 handbooks printed. They are still a small encyclopedia of outdoor knowledge. I own a few editions of this version.

This one, like the previous editions, includes advertising on the front and back inside covers, and ads within the index in the back of the book. One thing I like about the book is that it lists the merit badge requirements for all the awards. All the drawings in the book are black and white. There are no photographs. I do like the chapters on Scoutcraft and cooking. They include more information then the current handbooks.

Have you been lucky enough to add a 1950’s Handbook to your Scouting memorabilia collection?

100 Days of Scouting: Day 70.

It’s Monday! The start of another workweek. The day of blogging about Scouting Memorabilia. This time I go back to the 1940’s and the Boy Scout of America handbook. I have been lucky enough to add two of these to my book collection. Both were used by boys when they were a Scout so they do show some wear. To tell the truth, these books are in better shape than some of the current handbooks that boys in my troop use.

Most of this handbook is black and white, but the first dozen pages were done in color. There are several pages of advertising in the back of the book, along with the front and back cover. There are large sections devoted to trees, birds, and weather. There is even a list of United States of America presidents, up to F. D. Roosevelt. The books contains quite a few black and white drawings. It also seems to contain a lot more information than today’s handbook. (Maybe boys read more back then?)

Have you been lucky enough to find a 1940’s Handbook for your collection?

100 Days of Scouting: Day 35.

I collect Boy Scout handbooks. I started collecting them shortly after I became a scoutmaster. I would check out any used bookstores that I would come across to find any Scouting themed books; handbooks, history books about Scouting, fictional novels. I have a decent collection. I have noticed that books in the used bookstores have gone up in price, dramatically at times, so I would guess that more people have been collecting them also. The last few books I added to my shelves have come from eBay.

The oldest Boy Scout Handbooks in my collection are from 1932. I was lucky enough to find two of them over the years. Both are in pretty good condition. Both have writing in them from the boys who once used the books. It is fun to look through them and see how Scouting has changed over the years, especially the advancement program. It is also interesting to how the Scouting program has not changed. Outdoor program, character building, and values are still an important part of the program. The more things change, the more the stay the same.

Do you collect handbooks? What is the oldest one in your collection?