Youth Leadership Positions
Youth Leadership Positions or Positions of Responsibility are leadership roles that Scouts perform. The Scouts that hold these position are responsible for leading the Troop, they make decisions, plan outings and run meetings, hence the phrase "Scout-led". Although the word “leadership” doesn’t appear in the Scout Oath, Scout Law or the BSA mission statement, developing leaders is an important aspect of Scouting. In the Boy Scout advancement program, showing leadership is a key requirement for the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle.
Senior Patrol Leader
Just as the patrol leader is the leader of patrol members, the senior patrol leader is the leader of the troop. The senior patrol leader is responsible for the troop’s overall operation. With guidance from the Scoutmaster, he takes charge of troop meetings, of the patrol leaders’ council, and of all troop activities, and he does everything he can to help each patrol be successful. He is responsible for annual program planning conferences and assists the Scoutmaster in conducting the troop leadership training. The senior patrol leader presides over the patrol leaders’ council and works closely with each patrol leader to plan troop meetings and make arrangements for troop activities. All members of a troop vote by secret ballot to choose their senior patrol leader. Rank and age requirements to be a senior patrol leader are determined by each troop, as is the schedule of elections. During a Scout’s time as senior patrol leader, he is not a member of any patrol but may participate with a Venture patrol in high-adventure activities. The relationship of the senior patrol leader and the Scoutmaster should be one of mutual friendship and admiration. You’ll see this displayed before every meeting of the troop as the senior patrol leader and the Scoutmaster review the agenda. You can expect to see them together again at the conclusion of the meeting, discussing how everything went and what adjustments or assignments should be made before the troop’s next activity.
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
The senior patrol leader appoints the assistant senior patrol leader with the approval of the Scoutmaster. Among the assistant senior patrol leader’s specific duties are providing training and guidance for the troop’s quartermaster, scribe, Order of the Arrow representative, historian, librarian, and instructors. He serves in place of the senior patrol leader at meetings and events when the senior patrol leader must be absent. The assistant senior patrol leader is not a member of a patrol but may take part in the activities of a Venture patrol. Large troops may have more than one assistant senior patrol leader.
The patrol leader plans and leads patrol meetings and activities. He represents his patrol at all patrol leaders' council meetings and at the annual program planning conference. He knows the needs and capabilities of his patrol members and works to make them successful.
The bugler plays the bugle (or similar interest) to mark key moments during the day on troop outings, such as reveille and lights out. He must know the required bugle calls and ideally should have earned the Bugling merit badge.
Each new-Scout patrol in a troop should have its own troop guide. A troop guide is an older Scout who holds the rank of First Class or higher, has strong teaching skills, and possesses the patience to work with new Scouts. As a mentor to the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol, he provides direction for the patrol leader and helps him with his patrol leader responsibilities. The troop guide accompanies the new-Scout patrol on troop campouts and makes himself available to assist the new Scouts as they learn fundamental Scouting skills. He usually is not a member of another patrol, but he may participate in the high-adventure activities of a Venture patrol. Along with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol, he is a member of the patrol leaders’ council.
The quartermaster is the troop’s supply boss. He keeps an inventory of troop equipment and sees that the gear is in good condition. He works with patrol quartermasters as they check out equipment and return it, and at meetings of the patrol leaders’ council reports on the status of equipment in need of replacement or repair. In carrying out his responsibilities, he may have the guidance of a member of the troop committee.
The scribe is the troop’s secretary. He keeps the minutes of the patrol leaders’ council meetings but is not a voting member of the council. The scribe may also keep attendance records of other troop activities, such as campouts and service projects. During troop meetings, he works with patrol scribes to ensure the accurate recording of attendance and payment of dues, and to keep advancement records up-to-date. The scribe may also be responsible for maintaining a troop Web site with information that is current and correct. An adult who is a member of the troop committee may be assigned to help the troop scribe carry out his responsibilities.
Troop Order of the Arrow Representative
An Order of the Arrow representative can be appointed by the senior patrol leader to be a link between the troop and the local Order of the Arrow lodge. By enhancing the image of the Order as a service arm to the troop, the representative promotes the OA, urges troop members to take part in resident camping, and encourages older Scouts to seek out opportunities for high adventure. The OA representative assists with leadership skills training in the troop and supports fellow Arrowmen undertaking unit leadership roles. He reports to the assistant senior patrol leader.
The troop historian collects and preserves troop photographs, news stories, trophies, flags, scrapbooks, awards, and other memorabilia. He may also gather and organize information about the troop’s former members and leaders, and make those materials available for Scouting activities, media contacts, and troop history projects. Troop displays prepared by the historian can be used during courts of honor, troop open houses, and other special Scouting occasions.
The troop librarian oversees the care and use of troop books, merit badge pamphlets, magazines, and lists of merit badge counselors. He checks out these materials to Scouts and leaders and maintains records to ensure that all items are returned. He may also suggest the purchase of new literature and report the need to repair or replace any current items.
Each instructor is an older troop member who is proficient in Scouting skills and has the ability to teach those skills to others. The subjects that instructors may wish to teach include any of the areas that Scouts want to master, especially those such as first aid, camping, backpacking, orienteering, and others required for outdoor activities and rank advancement. A troop may have more than one instructor.
The chaplain aide assists the troop chaplain (an adult from the troop committee or the chartered organization) in conducting the troop’s religious observances. He sees that religious holidays are considered during program planning, and he promotes the religious emblems program.
A den chief works with a den of Cub Scouts and with their adult leader. He assists with den meetings, encourages Cub Scout advancement, and serves as a role model for younger boys. Being a den chief can be a great first leadership experience for a Scout. Depending on the number of dens in the Cub Scout packs of its community, a troop may have several members serving as den chiefs. Den chiefs can be a great asset to den leaders and are deeply appreciated and admired by Cub Scouts and Cub Scout leaders alike.
The troop webmaster is responsible for maintaining the troop’s website. He should make sure that information posted on the website is correct and up-to-date, and that members’ and leaders’ privacy is protected. A member of the troop committee may assist him with his work.
Outdoor Ethics Guide
The outdoor ethics guide helps the troop plan and conduct an outdoor program that emphasizes effectively practicing the Outdoor Code, the Leave No Trace principles, and the Tread Lightly! principles. The guide works to help Scouts improve their outdoor ethics decision-making skills to help minimize impacts as they hike, camp, and participate in other outdoor activities. In particular, he should support Scouts who are working to complete the relevant requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks.
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
A Scout at least 16 years of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills may be appointed by the senior patrol leader, with the consent of the Scoutmaster, to serve as a junior assistant Scoutmaster. A junior assistant Scoutmaster follows the guidance of the Scoutmaster in providing support and supervision to the troop’s other boy leaders. He can be a valuable resource for teaching Scouting skills to younger Scouts and in providing leadership to the troop. Upon turning 18, a junior assistant Scoutmaster is eligible to become an assistant Scoutmaster. A troop may have more than one junior assistant Scoutmaster.