We all discover Scouting in different ways. Sometimes it’s a parent who proactively gets us involved. In other instances, it may be a friend inviting us to join. For me it was the Boy Scouts Handbook.
As a young boy I came across the Handbook when I was sent to the library to read after behaving badly in class. The memory of this day still is very clear to me. I recall reading, “Today, you are an American boy; tomorrow you will be an American man.” I wasn’t sure what that meant but after I read on it became clear: Scouting provides young people with exciting adventures, activities and pathways to becoming a good leader and person of good character.
This week we announced the new edition of the Boy Scouts Handbook. This is just the 13th edition since it was introduced back in 1910 — so it’s a rare occurrence that deserves recognition and celebration.
The Boy Scout Handbook is one of the important tools we have to help our Scouts — from our seasoned Eagle Scouts to our newest members — understand how Scouting’s values can guide them through life’s challenges, what new adventures await after learning some basic Scouting skills, and why service can make such a big difference in their lives.
Generations of Scouts have discovered the core values of Scouting in the Handbook and proven how important it is for Scouting to help kids be prepared for life. In the latest edition, we translate this into relevant, meaningful language and lessons shared across several chapters featuring these new topics:
- Expanded content on bullying and hazing, including cyberbullying and the new Cyber Chip Internet safety requirement for Scout ranks
- More content about science technology, engineering and math — great timing as our STEM Scouts program really takes off
- Broader coverage of conservation, sustainability and outdoor ethics issues
- Greater emphasis on healthy living, nutrition and exercise, and the importance of living an active life
- New, updated requirements for all ranks
And this is really cool …
We’re also bringing the handbook to life with a new social media campaign called Handbook Hacks, which you may have seen if you follow me on Twitter. Like other life hacks, the campaign aims to showcase the skills and tips found within the Handbook.
To launch the series, we begin with a video on Geocaching, a unique way to explore the world using GPS technology. I think you will agree that this video — and the others to come — convey exactly what we want about this 13th edition: This definitely is not your grandfather’s Handbook … but it still underscores the importance of the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law that are at the core of our movement.
As you explore the pages of new Handbook, I encourage you all to get involved and share your favorite Handbook Hacks on social media using the hashtag #HandbookHacks. Whether you simply share a tip from the Handbook or create a video of your own, we want to see the discoveries you make and how you can bring the Handbook content to life.
Watch for the new Handbook on the shelves of your local Scout Shop … and happy reading.
I look forward to seeing the #HandbookHacks you create.