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The ascent of the handbook as part of the uniform

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Well, although I want my daughter carrying her (currently Webelos) handbook with her to events where she might need it, I don't want her carrying it around everywhere. It's already falling apart. The back cover is ripped halfway off and there's at least one page in the middle that's missing entirely. 

I am buying her a book cover that's designed/marketed as a Bible cover. She picked something in purple, but there's a really nice one on Amazon that looks like a pair of boy scout pants - has pockets in front and even a compass attached to it. Almost all the reviews on it are from people who are successfully using it as Scouts BSA handbook covers. 

I'm sore about the going to only spiral bound books. :( I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that in the next year before my daughter crosses over that they'll bring back the hardback as an option. 

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I've always suggested to scouts/parents that they photocopy or scan their scout handbook whenever things are checked off etc. Simply because those blasted things fall apart so easily. And you never know when something happens and everything is suddenly ruined. Far easier to have your copy than to trust it has been kept up electronically by the troop. Learned these lessons the hard way. 


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We should hope that a Scout wears their handbook out from usage- but all the carrying them around and throwing on the floor when its game time, etc. takes its toll.  The cover of my handbook as a Scout was more duct tape than paper by the time I was 14, and I'm sure I had half-missing pages from disintegration of stuffing it in my backpack, handling it with half-dried hands after KP duty and the like.  I made a pamphlet version using Word of just the rank requirement grids so that we could print those and give them to the Scouts to transfer info from their handbook if necessary, so that they had a version they could use to track where they were on requirements to hopefully salvage the handbook for as long as possible.

I'm also fighting the instinct of the SM corp that Scoutbook is the "true source".  If we could get the Scouts to consistently use it, I might concur with their theory, but I'd say less than 5% of our youth are actually ever accessing SB- let alone using it to track sign-off requests.  It's also a headache for me to do a BoR and I have to have both SB and the handbook in front of me to see the full advancement for the kid.  I feel I am wasting their time in the BoR flipping back and forth.   

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26 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

If we could get the Scouts to consistently use it, I might concur with their theory,

We tell the scouts their book is the record. When they tell us it's in the computer we tell them to ask one of the many adults that have access to the database to help the scout update their book. It doesn't take more than a few minutes. Often, someone in the BOR can do it right there.

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On 2/15/2020 at 7:06 AM, qwazse said:

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.

I had my Webelos Scouts bring their books to all of the above - and more! I was, and am, constantly amazed by how many opportunities arise where we can suddenly pass off a requirement unexpectedly, so yes, even on hikes and special trips I made sure they brought their books! Of course, I also had a special cart for them to put the them in during our meetings (with wheels for outdoor adventures!), and using/collecting/signing/retrieving them was so ingrained into our regular routine that I rarely had issues with lost books or forgotten signatures or the like. I honestly valued the book more than the uniform - and if you know how I feel about uniforms, you know how significant that statement is. 😄

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