Posts Tagged ‘literature’


 

jambonewsWith this year’s Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree now a part of history, it has made me think about the 2001 Jamboree which I attended as the scoutmaster of Central Minnesota Council Troop 1417, one of two troops we sent to Fort A.P. Hill that year. I brought back several things from that event that I just had to pull out of the closet after seeing all the pictures online from this year’s extravaganza.

As I was looking through my tote of Jamboree items, I came across some things that made me wonder if they are still printed for the current Jamboree. One highlight of each day was when the Jamboree Today newspaper arrived at the campsite. This daily paper, printed at the Jamboree, was quickly snatched up by the Boy Scouts and adult leaders. Each issue included color pictures of previous day’s activities, interviews with Scouts and leaders, and information about upcoming events and activities. We all quickly skimmed the photos to see if any of us had made it into the paper. Unfortunately, no one from my troop did, but it was still fun to read the newspaper. Many of the Boy Scouts keep their copy as a memento of the Jamboree.

Another daily bulletin delivered to each camp was the Leader’s Update. It was a short handout for the troop leaders and camp staff featuring all sorts of things important to us, but not necessarily interesting to the youth. If there was something I thought would be of interest to the Scouts I would bring it up to the youth leaders or talk to the troop when we had assembly. I still have nine of the editions, but unfortunately I am missing a couple of them.

So my question to those of you who attended the 2013 Jamboree, did they still print these two publications for the campers and troop leaders? Or were they found online? Or both? Did you keep your copies for a memento and add them to your Jamboree collection?

By the way, if you click or tap on the pictures you will be able to see a larger version of the photo.

jamboleadernews

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 http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/TheBuildingBlocksofScouting.aspx )

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?

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?

There has been a lot written about the Kindle vs. the iPad debate. My question is this, is either one useful for the wonderful world of Scouting? I do not own either one, but I do see possible uses for both gadgets.

Amazon’s Kindle, an e-book reader, would seem like a natural place for a Boy Scout leader to gather a lot of Scouting information in one place. Like a Boy Scout Handbook. Like a scoutmaster handbook. Like program helps and the Guide To Safe Scouting. I hear the Kindle is easy to read outdoors. Imagine having all this information on one devise at summer camp. And I could download novels to read while I relax in the campsite. No more paperback books to pack.

Unfortunately, the Kindle is a grayscale devise so there would not be any color photos. I have read that the Kindle is not very friendly with pdf files so that eliminates much of what is found on scouting.org. Worse of all though is that there is not much Scouting related material available on Amazon.com, other than the first Boy Scout handbook and a few books written by people about the program.

The iPad sounds more promising since it is closer to a netbook. There are already several Scouting themed programs available for the iPod Touch which I think would be easy to reformat to an iPad. The Boy Scout Handbook is available in the app store. I understand pdf files will work well on the iPad so the Guide To Safe Scouting and other files could be used on the gadget.

However, I am hearing about a few drawbacks. I could easily see myself using the device on camping trips, like summer camp, which means I would be using it outside. I have been reading that the iPad screen is hard to see in sunlight and reflections can be pretty bad. The ten hour battery life is not very long when you are away from a power source for three days or more. Game apps and movies could be very distracting, especially when the Scouts start wanting to play with it.

As it stand right now, I do not see a reason to get either device to assist me as a Boy Scout leader. I will admit the iPad has more potential than the Kindle, but there is not enough there yet to justify the purchase.

What you think about using either devise to help you with the Scouting program in mind? Leave your comment below.