Re: 1953 Handbook for PL
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 14:07:22 -0600
I want to piggyback onto Professor Beaver's great comments here and to offer
an office within the BSA where you can write and hopefully get a
Professor Beaver (Mike Bowman) wrote earlier:
>Some of the material that used to be in a single book is now available in
>other publications. At first Scouting started out with the idea that a
>single book ought to do the trick for everything. Get the boy to buy a
>handbook and that's all he'll need.
>However, the books grew in size and cost. At the same time more and >more
literature was being published. Eventually an effort was made to >weed out
material in handbooks that was available in another publication >to avoid
duplication and expense.
Additionally, during the life of our publications, the responsibility for
composing those publications shifted. In the pre-70s days of the BSA,
virtually all of the BSA's publications and pamphets were composed by the
Editorial or Training Support Divisions of the BSA (in which in Training
Support, Bill Hillcourt had a *personal interest in* as it's director),and
then sent to the Editorial Division for final proofing and printing. After
the BSA's first "slimdown" in the early 70s, the responsibility shifted to
the various program divisions, so that with the BSA Handbooks in the 70s,
they were put together by the Division. This
means that decisions about what should and shouldn't go into the various
youth books were tied up in "turf battles" between divisions. Camping and
Outdoor wanted to put something previous found in the Handbook into the
Fieldbook; Boy Scout Division wants to keep it where it is....that
kind of stuff.
Also, the BSA programs became more "urbanized" (remember, those of us around
during that period) and as a practical result, a lot of the "outdoorsy
stuff" was just cut and tossed in favor of more "practical" advice like how
to avoid ratbites and needles while hiking in a neighborhood, for instance.
When the BSA swung back to the "present", many of those staffers had little
or no clue as to what "Scouts" should be doing outdoors-wise (many of them
were hired during a period whereby the BSA didn't rely on their programming
experience and more on their fundraising and membership retention
abiilities, and those with superior records went to the National Office to
serve as Associate National Directors of various programs. This is why
"Green Bar Bill" had to step in and lead direction to the "Green Bar Boy
Scout Handbook" which brought us back to the present program-wise).
>The tough thing is that very few folks have a large grasp of all the
>material that has been in print vice what is now in print. And it is
>sometimes hard to pinpoint what isn't covered somewhere.
Extremely true, Mike!! Someone wrote me while I was in Europe and asked me
if the BSA had a concordance (like what ministers and pastors have to
cross-reference various topics found in the Bible along with other religious
documents of their faith). I had to write back and reply "no, the left hand
never knows what the right hand has wrote, and it has created a lot of
confusion out here in the field, especially when trying to come up with a
"final, clear-cut answer". On top of this, local Councils are encouraged
to come up with their own publications and items to support local Council
programming and their implementation of National's various programs.
>When I talked to National about publications a few years ago with the
>idea of introducing a new book, I got a long story about how hard it had
>been to get a consensus on what to put in the last edition of the
>handbook. Apparently the process of arriving at what to have in the
>handbook engendered such emotion and feeling that the volunteers and
>professionals involved in the process were nearly unable to finish the
>effort and were a few years behind when they had targeted.
Yep. And that's the reason why it has become increasingly hard for our
professionals and volunteers at the National level to meet deadlines for
publications of new books and new materials. The frustration level can be
easily solved by taking the composition of the various books and materials
out of the program group's hands and sending it back to the Administrative
group and letting Editorial do what they did in the past: put together the
materials and THEN have the division that has responsibility for the item
(the Boy Scout Division, for instance) to "chop off " on it.
I like the idea of a "Patrol Activities and Programs" booklet similar to the
existing (but not significantly updated) Troop Activities booklet. I would
caution, however, on asking for a "Senior Patrol Leader booklet" and a
"Patrol Leaders' Handbook". The general opinion is that we have too many
youth books and "if we create a book just for the Senior Patrol Leader, we
have to do one for each and every youth position within a Troop or Team".
Already, the Den Chief Handbook and the Conservation Guidebook has been
targeted for deletion and incorporation into other publications (the
Conservation booklet was done with a special grant to the BSA, and now that
the money has went just about dry, "why continue it??" I think it's one of
the best things that the BSA has done in the area of conservation....; the
Cub Scout Program Division wants the Den Chief booklet as a larger booklet
and incorporated into the Cub Scout Leader Guide three-ring binder)
>Mike Walton can probably tell you who to write to better than I can. My
>point in writing is to give a bit of background so that you will know
>what you are up against. I tend to think that it would be great to have
>more information in the handbooks all around. To get that information
>there will require some pretty persuasive proposals that demonstrate why
>the information is important, that the information is otherwise hard to
>find in other literature or non-existent, and reasoning that shows why
>including the information will further program aims and methods.
I wholeheartely agree with my fellow Beaver, and would also caution that the
Editioral Service is already being asked to *reduce* the overall number of
publications due to the increasing cost of paper, ink (even soy ink has
increased in costs) and distribution problems (we all thought that with a
reduction in the number of local Councils that we have to distribute to,
that getting materials out would become easier. It has become harder
because while the number of local Councils have been reduced, the number of
BSA distributors and places to place the booklets and items has increased
because "the local Council isn't in our backyard and therefore there's a
increase desire to put more materials out in the field in more locations".
So, make your request to the Director, Editorial Division, Boy Scouts of
America (and send a duplicate copy of the same to the Program Group
Director, National Office, Boy Scouts of America) and mail it to the BSA'
national office address in Irving.
I too, remember opening up the older Patrol Leader' Handbook and looking at
the great things that my Patrol members and myself can put together in
shop class or over at the Craft Shop for *our gang*. I remember trying the
recipes in the booklet over the stove at home...and a couple of them came
out really great!
While the program has went onward, those *old books and publications* still
give a lot of great, practical and hands-on advice that knows no "end date"!
Good luck, guys....and please include me in on the petition!!
Thanks, Mike, for allowing me to add to your great-as-usual posting!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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