The Handbook’s Fifth Edition Brings “Good Turns, Daily” to Scouting

The Handbook’s Fifth Edition Brings “Good Turns, Daily” to Scouting

A Good Turn can be as simple as holding the door for someone, or as grandiose as a national project. Scouts of the 1950s learned to make helping others a daily habit, thanks to the fifth edition of the Boy Scout Handbook.

30001_508_LThis version of the handbook charged members to “Do a Good Turn Daily.” Scouts learned to be on the lookout for ways to help others, no matter how big or small the good deed may be.

In 1954, Scouts participated in the nationwide Conservation Good Turn event, where they planted trees, built nest boxes, and taught their communities about conservation. Four years later, the “Good Turn” movement grew to include outdoor safety. In 1958, Scouts distributed about 40 million National Safety Good Turn handbooks and posters to the public.

The fifth edition of the handbook also established a new joining age of 11, covered new advancement requirements, and introduced new content such as the taut line hitch, lashings, the Conservation Pledge (the precursor to today’s Outdoor Code), and edible wild plants.

At a Glance: Fifth Edition, Boy Scouts of America Handbook for Boys

  • In Publication: 1948-1959
  • Cover artwork: Don Ross (both covers)
  • Author:  Multiple experts; edited by Ted Pettit
  • Copies: 6,405,000
  • Cost: 65 cents
  • Trivia:  The fifth edition was the last version of the handbook to be printed in black and white only (except for the cover).

Follow BSA’s official Instagram feed each week to discover past editions of the Boy Scout Handbook as we work our way up to the 13th edition! We’ll also feature awesome Scouting gear of the past, courtesy of the National Scouting Museum. If you missed last week’s Scouting history lesson, you can catch up here.

For more information on the history of the Boy Scout Handbook, check out the outstanding work done by Troop 97 in Fort Collins, CO, which is a member of the Longs Peak Council.

Do you know any Scouts who demonstrate a Good Turn Daily? Share your story with us in the comments!

Rochelle Randles

Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at communications@scouting.org.

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The Handbook’s Fifth Edition Brings “Good Turns, Daily” to Scouting
The Handbook’s Fifth Edition Brings “Good Turns, Daily” to Scouting
The Handbook’s Fifth Edition Brings “Good Turns, Daily” to Scouting