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qwazse

The ascent of the handbook as part of the uniform

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New this year, the latest uniform inspection sheet from national  accords 15 points to a handbook:

Quote

Scouts BSA Handbook The Scouts BSA handbook is considered part of a Scout’s uniform.

... without any further specification as to where it might be placed on the uniform. Perhaps it can hang from one's belt -- opposite the rack for the MB sash.:ph34r:

Suddenly, a patrol of scouts looking sharp for a parade or an honor guard at a memorial are only 85% uniformed if they each don't have a SBSAHB?

How on did this tome become part of uniforming?

A couple decades back, we had a UC turn scouts away from a BoR because they didn't have book in hand. That kinda makes sense. But, no that I think if it, we never went up (literally, my troop was housed the basement of a manse and our committee met in the parlor upstairs) for a BoR with BSHB in hand. Did any of you?

Edited by qwazse
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5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

How on did this tome become part of uniforming?

One theory: after 10 years of EDGE method -- without "reference" in the acronym -- reading the HB is no longer seen as an essential step in teaching a scout skill. Therefore, it's place in Personal Growth or Leadership Development is merely implicit. Well, there's still books to sell, so it's got to go somewhere!!!

Edited by qwazse

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My scout shop still doesn't have the Scouts BSA Handbook for boys yet, (still just the old edition of the Boy Scout Handbook) so I guess no one can go buy a full uniform now

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Seems a strategic measure for Publication group facing downsizing. :)

The inspection sheet is out of touch with economic reality. Our SPL developed their own uniform sheet and I see that as the future direction with a continuing decrease in Scout shop purchases. 

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Well, after a few years with Cub Scouts I've learned that uniforms inspections are as much a form of "daily checklist" as they are a method of Scouting. Boys have a hard time remembering to bring whatever they need to wherever they're going, so I think it's geared towards putting all the things they need to bring and wear into one simple list. My boys always know -they need their uniform, and they need their book. It's not part of the uniform per se, but it is an essential item that should be part of their Scout outfitting, if not the outfit itself

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In our troop back in the late 1960s when I was a Scout, required items for inspection at every meeting were: 

  • - Card (separate rank requirement card where you tracked your advancement)
  • - Pencil
  • - Paper 
  • - Comb (even if you had a crew cut)
  • - Rope (for knots practice)
  • - Handkerchief (for runny noses)

It wasn't so much a uniform inspection as a readiness inspection.

Edited by dkurtenbach
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Also a Scout since 1962.  I recall that the "Card" required was a current membership card.  Back in B-P's day, the Scout Stave was part of the "kit" that every Scout was expected to have with him.

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Back then, we were also required to have a dime in our pocket for emergency phone calls using a pay phone. No 911 back then, you  dropped a dime and dialed 0 for operator.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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20 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Well, after a few years with Cub Scouts ... My boys always know -they need their uniform, and they need their book. ...

But, do they? Are they to them bring their book to:

  • Pinewood derby?
  • Parades?
  • When they visit the fire house or police department?
  • The Pack campout?
  • The Blue and Gold banquet?
  • Crossover?

It makes perfect sense to have your handbook at a troop meeting or summer camp. Other occasions, it makes sense that the standard-issue cloth, plus your smile, are the only things needed to identify you as a uniformed scout.

Even the membership card, if I recall, counted for no more than 5 points.

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Down through the generations, many examples can be cited of adults creating their own requirements for advancement.  Indeed, they may have the power to enforce those requirements.  Such examples of extra requirements were the most common reason for appeals to Council when I sat on the Appeals Committee of the Council Advancement Committee.

 

8.0.0.2 Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met

A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When a Scout believes that all the requirements for a rank have been completed, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. Scoutmasters—or councils or districts in the case of the Eagle Scout rank— for example, do not have authority to expect a Scout to request or organize one, or to “defer” the Scout, or to ask the Scout to perform beyond the requirements in order to be granted one. Neither can a board of review be denied or postponed due to issues such as uniforming, payment of dues, participation in fundraising activities, etc.

 

8.0.0.4 Wearing the Uniform—or Neat in Appearance

It is preferred a Scout be in full field uniform for any board of review. As much of the uniform as the Scout owns should be worn, and it should be as correct as possible, with the badges worn properly. It may be the uniform as typically worn by the Scout’s troop, crew, or ship. If wearing all or part of the uniform is impractical for whatever reason, the candidate should be clean and neat in appearance and dressed appropriately, according to the Scout’s means, for the milestone marked by the occasion. Regardless of unit, district, or council expectations or rules, boards of review shall not reject candidates solely for reasons related to uniforming or attire, as long as they are dressed to the above description. Candidates shall not be required to purchase uniforming or clothing to participate in a board of review.

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Regarding the handbook, my council finally got the boy's version.They tried to sell me one, and I told them I needed it last year for the youngest. While there is some good information in the book, there is so much more current information available online. I mentioned how those "New" books are already outdated as there have been 2 sets of requirement changes since the girls' version came out. In all honesty, the BSHB is more for record keeping than anything else nowadays.

Which brings me to why I understood BORs requiring the BSHB: IT IS THE ORIGINAL OFFICIAL RECORD.  (emphasis added, not shouting). The Advancement Report, Troop computer  tracking system, Internet Advancement, council records, ad nauseum all must agree with the signatures in the Scout's book. If there is ever a discrepancy in any records, EVEYTHING NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED TO THE DATE SIGNED IN THE HANDBOOK. (again emphasis) Over the years, I have seen unit and council records messed up. Most of the time easily corrected and with no rush, but twice now I have personally seen the incorrect council dates delay a young man earning his Eagle. In both cases, the handbook was used to used to correct the council records.

So having the book at the BOR so that the Scout can be signed off that night does indeed make sense.

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Yeah, I don't recall getting signatures in my BSHB for SMCs and BORs. We did a lot on a handshake.

So, I looked at my handbook (9th edition, published bout three years into my scouting career), and I saw that I had back-dated my T2F requirements ... copying from my pocket-size requirements record. About halfway through 2nd class there were checks. No leader's signatures.

I remember at my Star SMC, my SM pulled out a shoebox with typewritten pages for each upper rank for each scout. I guess you could call that box our "troopmaster" software.

It's nice to have a scout's book at the BOR, it helps the conversation along. But lacking it, I wouldn't suspend the BOR. I'd just tell the scout to make sure to record the date in his book when he got home.

Edited by qwazse

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I believe that, with few exception (such as a National Jamboree, the Official Record of the passing of Merit Badge requirements is the "Blue Card" and no other record. BSA, Guide to Advancement (2019) at pp. 42-43.

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