We were asked to review Beginning Boy Scouts by Jeremy C. Reed and Heather R. Reed. We both read it so that you could have the viewpoints of someone who has experience as a Boy Scout and Boy Scout leader and a parent of boys who has no experience in the Boy Scouting program.
I found this book to be an excellent introduction to Boy Scouting. It includes most of the basic “need to know” items and includes references to more in depth material. I would highly recommend this book, even for experienced scouters. Novices will find it to be a good introduction of what is expected of them, as parents, leaders or as a new Boy Scout. I particularly appreciated the sections on the Patrol Method and Adult Leadership. (The individual Boy Scout could easily use this to help improve his troop, because it will tell him what he and his leaders should be doing). This book is a relatively easy read and the format facilitates rapidly looking up a specific points of interest.
I thought this was a really good overview of the program. I think many parents would find this a useful resource to understand the program and help them know how they can best help their boys. I think it would also be useful as a continual reference as their boys progress through the ranks. I found the section in the back about the Eagle Scout project to be especially useful. I am really glad we will have this on our shelf as our boys go through Boy Scouts.
I can also see this being useful to leaders, although definitely not a replacement for training. In fact, I felt there could have been more emphasis on training (as you know, I think that is a pretty important part of Scout leadership). It not only gives a good overall picture of how the program is supposed to work, it is full of little tips to help you find that balance between helping the boys and letting them lead.
A few notes about this book: This only covers Boy Scouting, not Cub Scouts, Varsity or Venturing. According to the authors, there will probably be a Cub Scouting book in the future, but Varsity and Venturing books seem unlikely. I inquired about digital versions, and they said there is a possibility of digital format in the future, but right now it is not a guarantee. One disappointment for me was that I felt it could use more editing, but I do not think that would ruin most people's reading experience.
Disclosure: We were provided a copy of the book in exchange for review. We received no other compensation and all opinions are our own.