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by chri s tucker NEED TO KNOW

Two’s Company

This summer, the Scoutmaster Handbook will reach retirement age after 14 years on the job. In use since 1998, the handbook will give way to a two-volume edition aimed at all Scout leaders, not just Scoutmasters. Titled The Troop Leader

Guidebook, the new version— more than two years in the making—began when Donald Shepard, youth development team leader, surveyed more than 125 Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters from across the country to deter- mine whether the current handbook was still relevant to today’s leaders. The resulting feedback made it clear that it was time for a change. Shepard says the first

volume will be aimed at new leaders just coming on board. “This will help them learn about the patrol concept, patrol leaders, the flow of the

how dens and patrols differ, how they’re organized and led. I’ve also got a long section on ages and stages, looking at kids from early to late adolescence.” Veteran author Bob Birkby,

year for troop programming, how to conduct troop meet- ings, how to relate to kids with disabilities, and more,” he says. The second volume is for more experienced leaders who understand basic troop operation but want in-depth information about high adven- ture, as well as advanced training for youth and adults.


Could this product give famed handy- man’s helper, duct tape, a run for its market share? SUGRU, a self-setting rubber that can be shaped by hand, bonds to almost anything and retains its form in extremely warm or cold condi- tions. Foil-wrapped packets of the super stuff (available in different colors) range from $10 to $20 depending on quantity. To order, check out

8 S COUTING ¿ MARCH•APRIL 2013 Mark Ray, a frequent con-

tributor to Scouting magazine, author of The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, and longtime Scouter, has been writing Volume 1. “The typical new troop leader probably just moved over from a Cub pack his or her son was in,” Ray says. “We talk about the programs’ similarities and differences,

who wrote the current hand- book, will handle the second volume. He notes that the title of the old book may have misled some people into think- ing it was for Scoutmasters only; the new edition, he says, will help assistant Scoutmasters and any adult leaders involved with a troop. “We want to invite them into a conversation about Scouting on a more advanced level,” Birkby says. “You’ve worked hard to learn the basics. You’ve had some success along the way. Now, here’s a volume that gives you veteran experience.” And how long will this new

guidebook remain relevant to Scouting’s leaders? “I was surprised that the 1998 edition had such a long shelf life,” says Birkby. “But the core approach to being a troop leader hasn’t changed that much in the last 103 years.”



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