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I Wish I Had (book, form, card) . . .

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I would like an actual pocket-sized Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook, like the older styles that you could stick in your back pants pocket or jacket pocket and carry with you.




As far as Poultry Keeping goes - check out alibris.com and abebooks.com. Several copies available there for under $10.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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I, too, would like to see a return to the smaller size handbooks. I also very much like the abbreviated merit badge information that was included in the back pages for handy reference (eliminating the need for carrying around 10 extra m.b. booklets), and the small book ads describing related BSA publications that indicated additional available information was available in the scout shops.


I'm speaking of handbooks like the 4th & 5th editions that came out for use in the 30's through early 50's. They would take up a lot less space and be much easier for the boys to handle and stash in a pocket or backpack. The newer water resistant materials that now being used in bindings and covers would make this size format absolutely ideal for the kids. If BSA went back to that size, a larger format version could also be produced and made available for the leader contingent that would be more of a table model - a bit more older-adult-user friendly, and produced for some of the gray foxes who might need a book with slightly larger print.


Frankly, I must also admit that I have always enjoyed looking at the advertising that was interspersed through the index pages for things that would appeal to boys of scout age. The ads were similar to wish-book ads in the old Sears catalogs, showing the item and pricing, but without the hard sell associtiated with today's advertising trends. I have always preferred looking at the older handbooks, even after the newer ones without advertising came out. The ads were for useful items related to scout activities, like first aid kits, dress & outdoor footwear & outer wear, skis, fishing gear, bicycles & tires, camp axes & knives, B-B guns, small inexpensive boat motors, brass band instruments, food mixes, and other such items.


If the older customized style of line-drawn, monochromiatic (or even full color) advertising were still authorized and included today in the handbooks, it would help immensely in lowering the cost of BSA scout uniform articles, handbooks, and other items used in the scouting program. The BSA must have made a veritable fortune from US Rubber Co. for giving them the exclusive rights to have advertising space on the back covers of all the handbooks. The elimination of the advertising and the merit badge requirements from the handbooks seems to have occurred about the time the 6th edition handbooks came out. It definately coincides with the period when BSA started increasing their pricing of scouting-related merchandise.


Hey, don'tcha know, advertising companies that sell bicycles, single-shot .22 rifles, archery gear, camp knives, and first aid kits, and stores such as Bass Pro, Cabella, and REI where one can see a variety of brands & styles of camping & fishing gear, outdoor wear, and related items, could show what they have that is appropriate to the 12 to 18 age range and might appeal to young Boy Scout campers and hikers. It would be good competition for the Scout Stuff catalog camping gear. The Scout Stuff catalog could then be downsized to show just the BSA-logo merchandise such as uniforms & insignia, the Eagle gift set items, the Pinewood Derby & other things specific to the operation of the scouting programs.


The income from such advertising would be staggering in today's markets, providing BSA with much-needed operating money for their programs and publishing costs. If ads were once again allowed or included in the handbook publications, that might lead to a really significant reduction in the sales prices of uniform items and handbooks, which would serve to attract the interest and attention of lower-income families who just don't do scouting with their boys because it costs too darn much to buy the uniforms so they can participate in the programs.


And, while we're on the subject of returning to the older, possibly better, books of a smaller size format, I wish we could all put the full-court press on BSA and insist upon a return to the policy of selling only American-made products for the American Boy Scouts, such as uniform items, insignia, handbooks, etc. I would rather pay a little more at the scout shop for an American-made shirt or pair of trousers or other item with a BSA logo on it, and know that the job of a fellow American citizen was secure, than to own anything that was made overseas priced at the same or less sales value while knowing that some American's job was sacrificed by sending his work overseas.

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