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Patrol Leader's Handbook

FIRST EDITION – 1929-1967 – It took almost twenty years for the first edition of the “Handbook For Patrol Leaders” to come to print. The author was William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt. This edition had two different covers. The first printings showed a patrol leader sitting at a campfire dreaming of adventures in the west, the desert and the artic. The revised printing in 1950 showed a patrol leader holding a patrol flag and waving to his fellow Scouts. There were 34 printings amounting to 1,522,000 copies. Even though it was revised in 1950, it is still considered as one edition. 

SECOND EDITION – 1967-1972 – The second edition was titled “Patrol Leader’s Handbook”. This edition was not written by Hillcourt and was not as thick with less content than the first. The author was unknown. The cover showed a patrol leader leading his patrol on a hike. It had 4 printings amounting to 415,000 copies.


PATROL AND TROOP LEADERSHIP HANDBOOK – 1972-1980 – During this time period there was no handbook strictly for patrol leaders. This book was for general troop leadership with limited information on how to run a patrol. The cover is the standard two-tone green of the period. It had 7 printings amounting to 420,000 copies. The author is unknown.

THIRD EDITION – 1980-1990 – The actual third edition was titled “The Official Patrol Leader Handbook”. The author was unknown but William Hillcourt and Keith Monroe were credited with being contributors. The cover contained Joseph Csatari’s “Eagle Scout Project” of a patrol leader leading a Cub Scout, Boy Scouts and a dog toward his Eagle service project.

JUNIOR LEADER HANDBOOK – 1990-2002 – This is a return to the generalized junior leader handbook. The author is Thomas M. Dwyer who is a former senior editor of Boy’s Life magazine. The cover pictures a patrol leader and a younger Scout, along with photos of junior leader badges of office. The book contains many photographs instead of  line drawings. 

FOURTH EDITION – 2002-present – Title is “The Patrol Leader Handbook”. Author is Robert Birkby. Cover shows patrol leaders with a patrol flag and patrol leader emblem. It is filled with full-color photographs and artwork. It is coil bound to lay flat. 

THE SENIOR PATROL LEADER HANDBOOK – 2002-present – This is a “FIRST EDITION” of this book. It is the first time the Boy Scouts of America has ever had a specific book for the senior patrol leader. It is filled with full-color photographs and artwork and is also coil bound to lay flat.

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