Scouts BSA Handbook

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Scouts BSA Handbook

Front covers of the Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys (l)
and Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls (r)
First edition:1910
Latest edition:2019, 14th Edition, 488 pages
Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys (ETA: Summer 2019)
Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls
BSA Supply Number:... Boys, SKU: TBD, Doc. No. 34662
... Girls, SKU: 648768, Doc. No. 39006

The Scouts BSA Handbook (formerly known as The Boy Scout Handbook and, beginning in 2019, published as two versions: Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys and Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls) is the official handbook of Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouting). It is a descendant of Robert Baden-Powell's original handbook, Scouting for Boys, which has been the basis for Scout handbooks in many countries.

The handbook is not just a guide to the outdoors - but a guide for life that addresses issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, respecting others, and using the Internet appropriately.

The Scouts BSA Handbook contains the requirements and great resources for each rank from a new Scout earning the Scout rank through the Eagle Scout rank to Eagle Palms.

The rank requirements in this book originally became official on Jan. 1, 2016. Scouts who joined the Boy Scouts of America on or after Jan. 1, 2016, MUST follow the rank requirements as printed in this handbook and as modified in the current year's Boy Scout Requirements book.

Scouts who joined the BSA prior to Jan. 1, 2016:

  • Who were working on the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks could have continued to follow the old (pre-2016) requirements, but had to convert to the current requirements upon attaining First Class or beginning on Jan. 1, 2017 (whichever came first).
  • Who had completed the First Class rank prior to 2016, had the option to complete the rank they are currently working on using the old (pre-2016) requirements, but had to convert to the current requirements for subsequent ranks or beginning on Jan. 1, 2017 (whichever came first).

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, all Scouts had to switch to use the current requirements regardless of rank and regardless of when they joined BSA.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, girls were eligible to join Scouts BSA. The Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls is the handbook produced specifically for girls to use for the program. Similarly, the Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys (to be published) is for boys to use. The program and advancement requirements are the same in the girls' and boys' editions. The differences between the two editions is the use of gender-neutral language, photographs of girls in the Girls version and of boys in the Boys version, and replacement throughout of Boy Scouts and Boy Scouting with Scouts BSA (but where Boy Scouts of America is used, that remains as the name of the corporation has not changed).

The most recent requirements for merit badges and other awards are in the current year's Boy Scout Requirements book.

The requirements listed in this Boy Scout Requirements book for rank advancement, Eagle Palms, and merit badges are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America and are effective Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018. However, the requirements on the following pages might not match those in the Boy Scout Handbook and the merit badge pamphlets, because this publication is updated only on an annual basis.
Boy Scout Requirements (2018), inside front cover

Previous editions

Edition Title Published Author or editor
Loose-leaf and
various bindings
Official HandbookJuly 1910–March 1911Ernest Thompson Seton

The Official Handbook for Boys
First official publishing
Available online
June 1911–1914BSA Editorial Board

The Official Handbook for Boys 1914–1927BSA Editorial Board

Revised Handbook for Boys 1927–1940H. W. Hurt, editor

Revised Handbook for Boys 1940–1948H. W. Hurt, editor

Handbook for Boys 1948–1959Ted Pettit, editor

Boy Scout Handbook 1959–1965William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

Boy Scout Handbook 1965–1972William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

Scout Handbook 1972–1979Frederick L. Hines

Official Boy Scout Handbook 1979–1990William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

The Boy Scout Handbook
The Trail To Eagle
1990–1998Robert Birkby

The Boy Scout Handbook 1998–2009Robert Birkby

The Boy Scout Handbook
A Guide to Adventure, A Guide to Life

El Manual Boy Scouts
Una Guía Para La Aventura, Una Guía Para Toda La Vida
2010–2016 Robert Birkby

The Boy Scout Handbook

El Manual Boy Scouts
2016–2019 Mark Ray

Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys
Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls
2019– Mark Ray

See also

External links

14th Edition
13th Edition
12th Edition
  • El Manual Boy Scout, SKU: 34718 (Spanish) (Perfect-Bound Edition) —
  • The Boy Scout Handbook, SKU: 34624 (Library Edition) —
    "This 12th Edition Boy Scout Handbook, Hardcover in imitation leather, honors the historical value and promising future of the Scouting movement. Comes with Handbook Anniversary Timeline and protective slip-case."
1st Edition

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