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Scout must be 1st Class before he can earn MB ???

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By 1972, I had graduated to Explorer Post 7, Reseda, CA, and had no more of such stupid bling. National took a perfectly fine Boy Scout handbook (it had worked for over a decade) and had this Good Idea ... NOT.


This is one of those times where Rick (Kudu) is right ... National really screwed up the program in the 70s.

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Given its almost 40 years ago now its the best I recollect. I left scouting in 1973 almost a Star scout with some merit badges and belt full of the loops.


The day I started High School I was given a million pounds of books, two hours of homework and a 1 hour bus ride each way. Two weeks later my mom said something had to stop.


She didn't like my suggestion of quitting school.

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In the 60s it was only Tenderfeet that could not earn Merit Badges. From my bookshelf I just pulled the sixth edition second printing 1960 of the Boy Scout Handbook (the edition I used as a Scout but alas not mine, where it went I do not know). It states in a footnote on page 359, where the merit badges and their groups are listed Merit badges may be earned by Second and First Class, but not by Tenderfoot Scouts. I remember my first scout camp I was so disappointed that I couldnt earn one, now I have seen first year campers earning 5 and more.


Here is something I thought I remembered but was not sure. Then you entered Boy Scouts as a Tenderfoot not as a Scout, no such rank then. There was Tenderfoot tests back then, from the sixth edition:


When you have passed the tests in Tenderfoot Scout teamwork, Scoutcraft, and Scout spirit before your Scoutmaster, he receives your application and registers you as a Boy Scout. You take the Scout Oath (or Promise) at a ceremony in front of your patrol and troop and are then entitled to wear the Tenderfoot badge and the official uniform of the Boy Scouts of America.


I remember, in the last six month before I turned 11, I moved into a Webolos den to earn my Arrow of Light which was basically learning all the Tenderfoot stuff. Mr. Lee, the den leader, was neat he was a police detective and carried a gun. He later on became my Scoutmaster.


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I don't think I still have my handbook, from when I joined in '71 (just before the Great Rewriting of Everything of 1972, along with adding Red Berets), but I recall things had changed by then ('71).


I joined in May and earned Tenderfoot as fast as I could (it was primarily joining requirements, much like the Scout badge is now). That summer I worked on Reading Merit Badge (my mom was a librarian, but I recall that one of the other librarians was my counselor). By summer camp in July, I was finishing Second Class, and by October I was working on First Class. I don't think I finished First Class until the following spring ('72), and I'm certain I was working on Star under the new requirements of '72, which would have been summer of '72.


So, I'm guessing that in the summer of '71, there was no restriction about me working on Reading merit badge. My next merit badges would have been earned at summer camp in '72, and the only one I recall that I earned was First Aid.



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I do remembering the change. I started Boy Scouts in 63 and stayed until I was 18 in 70. The handbook had changed in 65. In 67 they got rid of the Lion badge, added 15 activity badges and made a one year stand alone Webelos den for 10 year old. The badge we know as the Arrow of Light was added to Cubbing in 41 and called it Webolos, in 54 they started the Webelos Den for 10.5 year old Cubs. In 72 the cloth Bobcat badge we know today was added. From 67 to 71 only diamond shaped rank badges worn were Wolf and Bear. The Old Webelos badge name was changed to Arrow of Light in 72. The diamond shaped Webolos badge we know today was started in 77 or 78. If you find a diamond shaped yellow with a blue W, that was the Webelos Den patch, which still resides on the right sleeve of my Cub Scout uniform in my closet.


Below you will find a list of the editions of the Handbook, the infamous plain green cover edition of 72 is included though many old time Scouters wish it didnt exist and may refuse to recognize it.


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Yep, I have Lion on my Cub uniform.


One time a RT staffer asked the question: What does Webelos mean?


Me, being in s------- mode, gave the answer I learned: Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout! When she said "no", another old Scouter popped in and said: "Hey, that's how I learned it too..." and she lost her class ;)


The staffer was more than a little taken aback. Object lesson for the staffer: Know the other possible answers for any question you ask.


Actually, there was very little change, beyond the cover between the 1965 and the previous edition of BS Handbook.

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It didn't copy over.

Here is the list of handbooks:


Official Handbook/A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft (1911)

The Official Handbook for Boys (1911-1914)

Boy Scout Handbook/2nd Edition The Official Handbook for Boys (1914-27)

Boy Scout Handbook/3rd Edition Revised Handbook for Boys (1927-40)

Boy Scout Handbook/4th Edition Revised Handbook for Boys (1940-48)

Boy Scout Handbook/5th Edition Handbook for Boys (1948-59)

Boy Scout Handbook/6th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1959-65)

Boy Scout Handbook/7th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1965-72)

Boy Scout Handbook/8th Edition Scout Handbook (1972-79)

Boy Scout Handbook/9th Edition Official Boy Scout Handbook (1979-90)

Boy Scout Handbook/10th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1990-98)

Boy Scout Handbook/11th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1998-09)

Boy Scout Mini Handbook (#30511); an extract of the standard handbook for use as a temporary advancement record

Boy Scout Handbook/12th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (Aug. 1, 2009)[3]


My cub uniform has the Lion Badge. I once tried to start a Lion Club for FOS to join you had to have in some part of FOS contribution you had to have the last two digits of the year you earned you Lion, Like for me it would be $63, $163, $630, $6300 or any other combination. I didn't get any traction on it.

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NWScouter, lots of good history. Thanks. I took all the badges off and made a 'shadow' box display which I show sometimes when I Commish a Cub Pack or Troop.

Question: Like so much of the 'poor quality' stuff that BSA put out, have your old uniforms shrunk like mine did, hanging in the closet? (;>) ?

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John, which of the Twelve Points of the Scout Law covers showing up or stumping your instructor?


I also earned the Lion Badge, but it is an obsolete rank now; we both know what response your instructor was looking for and to answer otherwise is snarky and not being "helpful", "courteous" or "kind".

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