The Boy Scouts of America may be approaching 100 years old, but the national service organization is still working to get hip and stay relevant. All the evidence is in its new handbook, unveiled last week, according to this piece in Sci-Tech Today. The press release says that the new guide is environmentally friendly and “prepares the 21st century Scout for new technology while celebrating the organization’s rich heritage.”
Indeed. The 476-page book can be accessed online and the printed version is on recycled paper. The guide will also have its own iPhone application, allowing owners of the smartphone to tap into an archive of information that scouts need to “be prepared” for anything.
“The Handbook—like our organization—adopts new and modern methods while maintaining the message of preparedness, responsibility and self-reliance,” Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca said in a statement. “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.”
To equip scouts for success in the 21st century, the guide combines old and new topics with instructions on knot-tying and neckties, compasses and GPS systems, as well as first aid and Internet safety.
The Sci-Tech Today piece points to other new initiatives “to modernize scouting that include podcasts, an online scouting community, a YouTube channel and a presence on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.”
The organization, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in February, is trying to keep more boys and young men engaged in scouting, the article states, after losing a good chunk of its members over the last decade. Like most traditional and long-running programs, the Boy Scouts of American is turning to technology to reach more people and better serve its constituency.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.