Troop Leadership Positions & BSA Requirements

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Every boy-led Troop knows just how important the leadership positions are. The Senior Patrol Leader gets all the glory, but in a medium or large Troop every role is important--right down to the Bugler. Finding a Scout to adequately fill a position can be difficult, especially if the Scout or Scoutmaster aren't exactly sure what criteria mean they've done the job well.

The Problem

BSA's requirements for many of these positions are somewhat open-ended. For example, BSA's requirements for a Patrol Leader:

  • Appoints the Assistant Patrol Leader
  • Represents the patrol on the Patrol Leader's Council
  • Plans and steers patrol meetings
  • Helps Scouts advance
  • Acts as the chief recruiter of new Scouts
  • Keeps patrol members informed
  • Knows what his patrol members and other leaders can do

Those seem like fairly specific requirements, but when the end of his term comes and you're asked to sign off his book, you must ask yourself: has he actually met the requirements? Has he earned your signature? In each Troop I've been in, the real measure of a Patrol Leader's success has been based primarily on whether or not he's kept patrol members informed about upcoming meetings and activities. Beyond that, can you define "help Scouts advance?" How far do they have to advance--or do they even have to advance?

Another example is the Bugler position: I'm struggling to find any written definition of the Bugler's duties (though to be honest I can't find my Scoutmaster's Handbook). Several Troops define them differently, however, including such vague descriptions as "from time-to-time the Troop may have a Troop Bugler" and "plays bugle as requested by Troop leadership." When the Scout's term has ended, has he met this requirement?

One of the positions I have struggled with a few times is the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. In my opinion, this position should be held in higher regard than the SPL, however it's often given to an older Scout who is left to fall into obscurity. To some degree, I blame the requirements for this: the main one is "performs duties as assigned by the Scoutmaster." This is so vague that it allows the Scout to sit by, unused. Or, at best, he's requested at the last minute to help with some activity that really doesn't put his skills to work.

The Solution

Many Troops will modify the requirements of Troop leadership positions to fit the size of their Troop and other individual Troop needs, and Troop 29 is no different! With the above problems in mind, we decided to expand the requirements in a way that more clearly spells out what a Scout has to do during his tenure of the position, in order for the Scoutmaster to happily sign off the "Troop position" requirement in his book.

We started with the basic BSA requirements, of course, and added some merit badges and other tasks to the Troop leadership position requirements. Notice that some of the positions have more complex requirements than others, to reflect the expectations that position should create. (Side note: Troop 810 has done the same thing--check out their position requirements PDF.) Our requirements are below.

Troop Guide Requirements

Position description: The Troop Guide works with new Scouts. He helps them feel comfortable in the Troop and earn their Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks.

Reports to: The Assistant Scoutmaster for the new-Scout patrol in the Troop

Troop guide duties:

  • Introduces new Scouts to Troop operations
  • Guides new Scouts from harassment by older Scouts
  • Helps new Scouts earn First Class rank
  • Teaches basic Scout skills
  • Coaches the Patrol Leader of the new-Scout patrol on his duties
  • Works with the Patrol Leader at Patrol Leaders' Council meetings
  • Attends Patrol Leaders' Council meetings with the Patrol Leader of the new-Scout patrol
  • Assists the assistant Scoutmaster with training
  • Counsels individuals Scouts on Scouting challenges
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • A Troop Guide should be proficient in the types of skills he will need to lead younger Scouts through: he must earn Camping OR Emergency Preparedness OR First Aid and Cooking OR Nature OR Wilderness Survival merit badges during tenure (two merit badges total). The Scout must earn two merit badges; previously-earned merit badges do not count towards this requirement.
  • A Troop Guide must provide a monthly recommendation of what Troop-wide demos or instruction would be most valuable to the Scouts he's working with, based on what requirements or experience they need. The Troop Guide should review all demo and instruction plans (prior to execution), to provide feedback and suggestions--especially as they relate to the Scouts he works with. He should also be available to assist if necessary.

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Requirements

Position description: The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster serves in the capacity of an Assistant Scoutmaster except where legal age and maturity are required. He must be at least 16 years old and not yet 18. He is appointed by the Scoutmaster because of his leadership ability.

Reports to: The Scoutmaster

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster duties:

  • Functions as an Assistant Scoutmaster.
  • Performs duties as assigned by the Scoutmaster.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • A JASM should be prepared to speak in front of Scouts: earn Communications OR Public Speaking merit badge. (If the Scouts has Communications he must earn Public Speaking; if the Scout has Public Speaking he must earn Communications. This requirement is waived if the Scout has both merit badges.)
  • A JASM should add to the knowledge base of the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters: earn two merit badges the Troop has no counselors for.
  • A JASM must assist in planning and leading one camp-out/hike/activity. Assistant Scoutmasters typically pair-up for these; the JASM must pair with an ASM to lead a trip. This must be a Troop event such as skills weekend, survival weekend or a backpacking trip (not a district event), where the JASM can help plan location, logistics, and activities. He must attend the event.
  • During tenure a JASM should encourage Webelos to cross over into Boy Scouts, and specifically Troop 29. As an experienced Scout, he can develop a closer connection to would-be Boy Scouts than an adult leader can. His enthusiasm should overflow onto the Webelos through demonstrations, stories, attitude and demeanor.

    A JASM must be present at 50%(? 75%? 100%?) of the activities that Webelos are invited to. He is expected to engage the Webelos and to encourage other Boy Scouts to engage the Webelos, to make them feel welcome and have an enjoyable time. A full uniform is expected at all of these events. The JASM should be prepared to entertain these young Scouts by having a Scouting game in mind, a rope to teach a knot, or a handful of patches to reminisce about past events, for example.

    The JASM should plan to lead one Webelos "welcome" event. He should prepare a time and location, as well as activities, food, and anything else he deems necessary. Adult leadership is at his disposal to help however he wants. Similarly, Scouts will be involved to meet whatever requirements he sets forth.

    Note: the JASM's responsibility is to the Webelos, not their parents. Other adult leadership will work with Webelos parents.

Patrol Leader Requirements

Position description: The Patrol Leader is the elected leader of his patrol. He represents his patrol on the Patrol Leaders' Council.

Reports to: Senior Patrol Leader

Patrol leader duties:

  • Represents the patrol on the Patrol Leaders' Council.
  • Plans and steers patrol meetings.
  • Helps Scouts advance.
  • Acts as the chief recruiter of new Scouts.
  • Keeps patrol members informed.
  • Knows what his patrol members and other leaders can do.
  • Sets the example, wears the uniform correctly, lives the Scout Oath and Law, and Shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • A PL should be prepared to speak in front of Scouts: earn Communications OR Public Speaking merit badge. (If the Scouts has Communications he must earn Public Speaking; if the Scout has Public Speaking he must earn Communications. This requirement is waived if the Scout has both merit badges.)
  • A PL should also look out for the general safety of his patrol and other Scouts in general. Earn one of the following merit badges that the Scout does not presently have: Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Fire Safety, Safety. If a Scout has all ready earned these an alternative merit badge can be substituted at the discretion of the Scoutmaster or his designee.
  • A PL shall distribute patrol calls to his patrol members via email or telephone. If email is used the SPL, ASPL, and SM should be included on the distribution list.

Assistant Patrol Leader Requirements

Position description: The Assistant Patrol Leader leads the patrol in his absence.

Reports to: Patrol Leader

Assistant Patrol Leader duties:

  • Helps the Patrol Leader plan and steer patrol meetings and activities.
  • Helps him keep patrol members informed.
  • Helps the patrol get ready for all Troop activities.
  • Represents his patrol at Patrol Leaders' Council meetings when the Patrol Leader cannot attend.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • An APL should be prepared to speak in front of Scouts: earn Communications OR Public Speaking merit badge. (If the Scouts has Communications he must earn Public Speaking; if the Scout has Public Speaking he must earn Communications. If a Scout has all ready earned these an alternative merit badge can be substituted at the discretion of the Scoutmaster or his designee.)
  • An APL shall distribute patrol calls to his patrol members via email or telephone. If email is used the SPL, ASPL, and SM should be included on the distribution list.

Order of the Arrow Representative Requirements

Position Description: The OA Rep serves as a liaison between the Troop and the local OA lodge or chapter.

Reports to: Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

OA Rep Duties:

  • Encourage year round and resident camping in the Troop, older Scout participation in high adventure programs, and participation in community service projects
  • Assist with leadership skills training
  • Encourage Arrowmen to fill leadership positions in Troop, and participate in OA activities
  • Sets the example, wears the uniform correctly, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • An OA Rep shall be an OA member.
  • The OA Rep shall arrange for an annual meeting where the Troop may vote for interested Scouts to be tapped out and become members of the local OA chapter.

Den Chief Requirements

Position description: The Den Chief works with the Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, and Den Leaders in the Cub Scout pack.

Reports to: The Den Leader in the Pack and the Assistant Scoutmaster for the new-Scout patrol in the Troop.

Den chief duties:

  • Knows the purposes of Cub Scouting.
  • Helps Cub Scouts advance through Cub Scout ranks.
  • Encourages Cub Scouts to join a Boy Scout Troop upon graduation.
  • Assists with activities in the Den Meetings.
  • Is a friend to the boys in the Den.
  • Helps out at weekly Den Meetings and monthly Pack meetings.
  • Meets with adult members of the Den, Pack, and Troop as necessary.
  • Sets the example, wears the uniform correctly, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • A DC shall maintain a log of his attendance at the Den Meetings and provide periodic verbal reports during Troop meetings regarding his experiences as a DC.
  • The DC is our Scout liason with the pack. The DC is expected to interface with the Cub Scouts at his Pack and encourage Webelos to join Boy Scouts.

Scribe Requirements

Position description: The Scribe keeps the Troop records. He records the activities of the Patrol Leaders' Council and keeps a record of dues, advancement, and Scout attendance at Troop meetings.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Scribe duties:

  • Attends and keeps a log of Patrol Leaders' Council meetings.
  • Records individual Scout attendance and dues payments.
  • Records individual Scout advancement progress.
  • Works with the Troop committee member responsible for records and finance.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • The SC shall provide a verbal overview of the content of each meeting and related Troop information during the opening portion of a Troop meeting.
  • The SC shall assist ASMs with creation of a centralized mail center in our meeting room.
  • The SC shall distribute and collect attendance/dues records from each patrol. When collected, the SC shall review the record for completeness and turn in to Ms. Golden.

Librarian Requirements

Position description: The Librarian oversees the care and use of Troop books, pamphlets, magazines, audiovisuals, and merit badge counselor lists.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Librarian duties:

  • Sets up and takes care of a Troop library.
  • Keeps records of books and pamphlets owned by the Troop.
  • Adds new or replacement items as needed.
  • Keeps books and pamphlets available for borrowing.
  • Keeps a system for checking books and pamphlets in and out, and follows up on late returns.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • The LI shall catalogue and organize the merit badge library. Merit badge books that are not current shall be removed to a separate archive and brought to the attention of the advancement chairperson so that they may be replaced.
  • The LI shall establish a sign out record and track the return of merit badge books in a timely manner (4-week sign out period).

Historian Requirements

Position description: The Troop Historian preserves Troop photographs, news stories, trophies, flags, scrapbooks, awards, and other memorabilia.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Historian duties:

  • Gathers pictures and facts about Troop activities and keeps them in a historical file or scrapbook.
  • Takes care of Troop trophies, ribbons, and souvenirs of Troop activities.
  • Keeps information about former members of the Troop.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and Shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • An HI should earn one of the following merit badges: Journalism, Photography, American Heritage, American Cultures. If a Scout has all ready earned at least one of these merit badges the requirement may be waived.
  • The HI shall maintain a photographic record of all of our outings. If unable to attend, the HI must designate another Scout(s) to document the event.
  • Using these photographs, the HI shall assemble a photo record or scrapbook that documents the Troop's activities. The record shall include titles for the events and a description of each of the photos.
  • The HI shall maintain the trophy display case in an orderly manner and rotate pertinent items on display to showcase season appropriate events.
  • The HI shall assist ASMs with maintaining appropriate displays related to Scouting within the Troop meeting room.

Quartermaster Requirements

Position description: The Quartermaster keeps track of Troop equipment and sees that it is in good working order.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Quartermaster duties:

  • Keeps records on patrol and Troop equipment.
  • Makes sure equipment is in good working condition.
  • Issues equipment and makes sure it is returned in good condition.
  • Makes suggestions for new or replacement items.
  • Works with the Troop committee member responsible for equipment.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • The QMs with assistance from ASMs shall create an equipment record that shall be used during every outing to track equipment that is used, the equipment tracking number, who used it, who was assigned to clean it prior to return, the condition it was returned in and the date it was returned.
  • The QM shall maintain the equipment tracking record under supervision of an ASM if needed.
  • The QMs shall load equipment into the trailer and unload equipment upon return. When loading the trailer, one QM shall be responsible for placing equipment into the trailer. Upon return from an outing, one QM shall be responsible for removing equipment from the trailer and at least one QM shall be responsible for placing equipment into the proper storage spot inside the meeting room. Other Scouts shall assist with the moving of the equipment from the trailer to the building or visa versa.

Bugler Requirements

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA: (are there any?)

  • A BU shall earn the bugler merit badge.
  • The BU shall learn and play taps, reveille or other appropriate tunes at a minimum of 2 outings and at special events such as the court of honor.

Chaplain's Aide Requirements

Position description: The Chaplain's Aide works with the Troop chaplain to meet the religious needs of Scouts in the Troop. He also works to promote the religious emblems program.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Chaplain aide duties:

  • Assists the Troop chaplain with religious services at Troop activities.
  • Tells Scouts about the religious emblem program for their faith.
  • Makes sure religious holidays are considered during the Troop program planning process.
  • Helps plan for religious observance in Troop activities.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • A CA should be prepared to speak in front of Scouts: earn Communications OR Public Speaking merit badge. If the Scouts has Communications he must earn Public Speaking; if the Scout has Public Speaking he must earn Communications. If a Scout has all ready earned these the requirement may be waived.
  • The CA shall provide grace, invocation, and benediction at the court of honors.
  • The CA shall arrange for Scout Sunday.

Instructor Requirements

Position description: The Instructor teaches Scouting skills.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Instructor duties:

  • Teaches basic Scouting skills in Troop and patrols.
  • Sets a good example, enthusiastically and correctly wears the Scout uniform, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

In addition to the requirements laid out by BSA:

  • An IN should be prepared to speak in front of Scouts: earn Communications OR Public Speaking merit badge. If the Scout has Communications he must earn Public Speaking; if the Scout has Public Speaking he must earn Communications. This requirement is waived if the Scout has both merit badges.
  • An IN shall be expected to train younger Scouts in related outdoor skills. To prepare for this the IN shall earn two of the following merit badges that he does not currently possess: Fire Safety, Safety, Pioneering, Wilderness Survival, Cooking, Nature, Backpacking, Hiking. If the Scout has all of the merit badges one additional merit bade may be substituted at the discretion of the SM or his designee.
  • An IN shall provide at least two demonstrations/training for the Troop. Prior to the demonstration, the IN shall assist and ASM prepare a demo/training plan, which shall outline the content of the demo. The IN shall review the plan and follow the plan content while providing the demo.

Weatherman Requirements

(This is a position we created specifically for the Troop, for a young Scout who deserves a responsibility, but doesn't yet need one for rank.)

  • A Weatherman shall earn the weather merit badge. If the Scout has this merit badge the requirement is waived.
  • The Weatherman shall provide a verbal weather report at the Troop meeting for the 2-week period preceding a Troop event.
  • The Weatherman shall also distribute the weather report via an email distribution list to the Scouts, ASMs, and SM for the same 2-week period.

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Older Comments (12)

Dan & Sherree & Patrick currently uses Facebook for comments. Older comments are still here for readers, though. Read old comments »

What process do troops follow in choosing special requirements that they'll apply to their boys' leadership positions? Might boys discuss it and vote among themselves? Do Scoutmasters tend to decide alone, or collaboratively with ASMs? Are members of the troop Committee involved by advising or voting?

we just coincidentally created a troop weatherman position for our troop. i'm looking for a troop weatherman leadership position patch. did you make one yourself?

Nice work you have done here! We are working on something similar and will use some of your ideas as an example. It is important to have some organization to make the experience a valuable one for the kids and to maintain some quality in the leadership skills they learn. I will book mark your site wo we can come back and give you some updates on what we aare doing. Thanks.

You'r doing a fine job! Scouting isn't just about advancing. I believe all the character values in a scout is honest... is what I want my sons to learn from scouting. Leadership positions are wonderful opportunities to use these values/skills.

is there a new position in boyscout committie to with art

You refer to the BSA website about position requirements, but where specifically did you find all this information on that site? I have tried to find where I can find "official" BSA national standards. Let me know. Thanks.

Thank you for this information. I am a newly appointed Scoutmaster and find it very difficult from the old scoutmaster that he did not have any guidelines in writing to refer the scout to for his position. I would like to use this as a guide to help our scouts with written guidelines and expectations. Thanks for your hard work!!!

This was interesting to read up on, im the aspl for my troop 129 ny, and no one really has/had and idea as to what the requirments and or the jobs for a Troop instructor poitional position. Thanks alot

I have grown to enough scouts to seperate into 2 patrols. What are the positions of the youths? Do we have 2 SPL or 1 for both. I would like to see a chain of positions on how this works.

Thanks
Larry

very good info but it was hard to find

One thing you may consider is the new OFFICIAL BSA position of The Leave No Trace Trainer. You may add some info about it, it on the BSA website.
YIS
Rudy M.

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