There’s a new Patrol Leader Handbook and Senior Patrol Leader Handbook

The leadership lessons learned in Scouting aren’t taught in schools, but you can find them in a book.

That is, provided that book is the Patrol Leader Handbook or Senior Patrol Leader Handbook.

These essential guides for Boy Scout leaders have been updated for 2017. They include ready-to-use tips to help Boy Scouts become effective leaders at troop meetings and on the trail.

Pick up a copy at your local Scout Shop or at

Judge these books by their covers, and you’ll see designs that’ve been freshened to match the 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbookreleased in 2016.

But what’s inside really counts.

Top: The newest versions, released in 2017. Bottom: The previous versions, released in 2002.

What’s better about these books?

It’s more than just a fresh design.

In 2016, a task force of volunteers led by Bob Elliott gathered to review the Senior Patrol Leader Handbook and the Patrol Leader Handbook. 

Among their findings:

  • The handbooks needed more information to help new leaders learn how to lead.
  • Not every Scout can participate in the BSA’s youth leadership training programs, including the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) and National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), so concepts from those courses should be included in the new handbooks.

The new editions help patrol leaders and senior patrol leaders lead more skillfully. That means better leadership and more fun.

What’s new in the latest editions:

  • Key concepts from ILST and NYLT are included.
  • Various styles of leadership are defined and contrasted. This includes controlling, doing it all yourself, intimidation, wanting everyone to like you and servant leadership. The handbooks give examples of when and how those styles may (or may not) work in the Scouting environment.
  • A focus on servant leadership as the preferred method of leadership in Scouting. Servant leadership, put simply, is a choice to give more than the leader receives.
  • A discussion of the stages of team development: forming, storming, norming and performing
  • A discussion on the Leading EDGE and how a youth leader’s approach must be adjusted as their troop or patrol progresses (or regresses) from one stage to the next.
  • An expanded section on commonly encountered scenarios that challenge the leadership of senior patrol leaders and patrol leaders.
  • The inclusion of the new Scout Planning Worksheet, a resource to teach all Scouts essential planning skills.

Where can I buy them?

The books are $11.99, and you can buy them at your Scout Shop or at

Where can I find high-res images of the covers?

Use these in promoting these new handbooks in your troop, district or council.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.