New Boy Scout Handbook, other Boy Scout program tweaks due in 2016

boy-scout-logoThe saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could be used to describe some tweaks coming to the Boy Scouts program in 2016.

The merit badge program has been getting stronger with the release of each new merit badge, and the trail to Eagle Scout continues to produce terrific young men. Neither will change.

We are getting a new Boy Scout Handbook, but the 13th edition, due out in January 2016, will keep most of its content from the 12th edition (released in 2010). The design and images inside will be updated, but much of the text will be unchanged.

I already previewed changes to Cub Scouting coming in 2015 and Venturing coming this year. Compared to the makeovers for those two programs, what’s happening in Boy Scouting is more of a slight modification than a complete overhaul.

Find out what’s changing (and what isn’t) and when after the jump.

What isn’t changing
  • Current ranks and approach (Tenderfoot to First Class earned concurrently; Star to Eagle Scout earned sequentially)
  • Use of merit badge program
What is changing
  • Scout will become a rank
  • Additions:
    • Service at all ranks (conservation-related at Life)
    • Healthy eating/habits requirements
    • Some reordering in Tenderfoot to First Class
    • Physical fitness at each rank, Tenderfoot to First Class
    • Outdoor ethics — Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly
    • Weather safety, risk assessment and mitigation
    • Duty to God incorporated in requirement to show Scout Spirit.
Transition details

Boy Scout 2016 transition

Many more details to come as I get them. Thanks to Bob Scott for sharing the news with me (and you) as soon as he could.

92 thoughts on “New Boy Scout Handbook, other Boy Scout program tweaks due in 2016

  1. I think the BSA uses these revisions and updates as a profit center. They figured out that every time they change a book, everybody has to go out and buy new ones. It is the same as with the merit badge books. They make an “update” that is, most of the time, a slight change in wording. Then the book you already paid for is obsolete and you have to buy a new one. Previously, books remained unchanged for 10 years or more. Why are they squeezing this one out after just six? As far as the MB books go, isn’t it about time they make these into PDF files that you can just download from the web? Especially if they are going to change them so frequently. If they did that, maybe they would only cost $1 or $2 instead of $5.

    • Actually I think the current BSHB leaves out too much information, and a new handbook, with a lot of the information that was left out back in the book, is needed.

      Kinda sad when you teach Intro to Outdoor Leader Skills, and you have to create your own pamphlet using info from older handbooks and other sources becasue the new handbook doesn’t have it.

      • This has been the case for a long time. Back when I was a Scout, the “New” Handbook (6th Edition) was believed inferior to the “Old” book (5th Edition) which we believed had more “good stuff” in it, as well as sized to fit in a boy’s pocket. Big fancy pictures don’t make up for a lack of solid “how-to-do-it” information!

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