New Boy Scout Handbook is 21st Century Guide for Life

t’s green-friendly, it’s online, and it will have its own iPhone application

2008_handbookDALLAS , August 10, 2009 – The Centennial Edition of theBoy Scout Handbook unveiled by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) prepares the 21st century Scout for new technology while celebrating the organization’s rich heritage. The 475-page paperback features nostalgic illustrations from the previous 11 editions alongside references to emerging technology and expanded online information.


Touted by some Scouts as the ultimate adventure manual, the 12th edition Handbook teaches preparedness and responsibility in both traditional and new ways: think compass and GPS devices, tying a knot as well as a necktie, and first aid and Internet safety. For the first time, the printed Handbook is accompanied by an online site,, which contains expanded content and illustrations on handbook topics and advancement requirements.

“The Handbook – like our organization – adopts new and modern methods while maintaining the message of preparedness, responsibility and self-reliance,” said Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca. “Earlier Scouts earned merit badges in bee farming, blacksmithing, and signaling, but now our Scouts work on 21st century subjects like composite materials, nuclear science, and oceanography.”

Other features of the 12th edition Boy Scout Handbook include:

  • A first-ever iPhone application of the iconic guide available in September
  • 100-percent recycled paper printed using environmentally friendly processes, creating the first-ever “green” edition
  • Tips on long-term personal financial management and budgeting
  • Expanded sections on nutrition and physical fitness
  • Updated information on bullying, hazing, physical violence, and avoiding Internet dangers
  • A nostalgic look of past handbooks with 21st century technology
  • A Spanish version will be available in December

The 12th edition Handbook was written by Robert Birkby, an Eagle Scout and former conservation director at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Birkby also authored the previous two editions and the BSA Fieldbook. A lifelong Scouting and outdoor enthusiast, Birkby has traveled the world on mountaineering expeditions and backpacking adventures. Birkby is a respected outdoor leader, writer, and expert in trail construction and maintenance. He is also the author of Lightly on the Land andMountain Madness.

In celebration of the BSA’s centennial, the new edition of the Handbook models the first edition in its three main categories:

  • Scoutcraft —Preparing for Scouting’s adventures and for life
  • Woodcraft —Understanding, appreciating, and caring for nature
  • Campcraft —Learning skills useful along the trail, in camp, and beyond

The 12th edition Boy Scout Handbook is available in Scout shops across the country and online at Since its first printing in 1910, the Boy Scout Handbook has sold more than 40 million copies. Additional information about theHandbook is available at

About the Boy Scouts of America

Serving more than 4.1 million youth between the ages of 7 and 20, with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting organization comprises 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation’s leading youth-serving organization. For more information on the BSA, please visit

More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at