Scouting Language

Scouting practically has its own language. Here are most of the terms you’re likely to hear during your involvement with Scouting. Now, when your son tells you, “I’m meeting my patrol on the Thursday before the camporee to work on my Second Class”, you’ll understand.

Cub Scouts

activity badge – One of 20 specialized recognitions earned by Webelos Scouts. Capitalize the name of the badge only. Example: “Earn the Aquanaut and Sportsman activity badges.”

Akela – (Pronounced Ah-KAY-la.) A title of respect used in Cub Scouting-any good leader is Akela.

Arrow of Light Award – The highest rank in Cub Scouting and the only Cub Scout badge that may be worn on the Boy Scout uniform. A boy who has earned the Arrow of Light Award is eligible to become a Boy Scout.

Arrow Point – An award for earning 10 elective credits as a Wolf or Bear Cub Scout: The first 10 electives earned in either rank are represented by a Gold Arrow Point; subsequent groups of 10 earn Silver Arrow Points.

assistant Cubmaster – A volunteer Scouter, 18 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to help the Cubmaster.

assistant den leader – A volunteer Scouter, 18 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to help the Cub Scout den leader.

Bear – The rank designed for a Cub Scout in the third grade (or 9 years old). Combinations: “Bear achievements,” “Bear badge,” “Bear Cub Scout,” “Bear electives,” “Bear trail.”

blue and gold banquet – A birthday dinner for Scouting held by Cub Scout packs in February to celebrate the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910 and of Cub Scouting in 1930. May be called “blue and gold dinner.” Capitalize only when part of a full title: “Pack 214 Blue and Gold Banquet.”

Bobcat – The rank earned after Tiger Cub and the first rank earned by boys in Wolf, Bear, and Webelos dens in Cub Scouting.

crossover – When Webelos Scouts become Boy Scouts: “Webelos crossover.”

Cubmaster – A commissioned volunteer Scouter, 21 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to lead a Cub Scout pack.

den – A neighborhood group of four to eight Cub Scouts or Webelos Scouts that meets periodically, usually once a week, and is part of a Cub Scout pack.

den chief – A Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer who helps direct the activities of a Cub Scout den. Appointed by the senior patrol leader with the Scoutmaster’s advice and consent.

den leader – A commissioned volunteer leader, 21 or older, appointed by the pack committee to plan and direct the den’s activities

In-School Scouting – In-School Scouting activities are Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting taking place during school hours or as part of school curricula.

National Summertime Pack Award – A Cub Scout pack can earn this award by planning and conducting three pack activities-one each in June, July, and August. Cub Scouts who participate in all three activities may wear the National Summertime Pack Award pin.

pack – A group made up of several Tiger Cub, Cub Scout, and Webelos Scout dens. The pack includes not only the boys in the dens but also their families and leaders.

pinewood derby – A pack activity that involves making and racing model cars on a track.

raingutter regatta – A pack activity that involves making and racing model boats. ”

School Night for Scouting – A one-night event held in a neighborhood school, church, community center, etc., where boys and parents gather to hear how Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting operate and how they can join.

space derby – A pack activity that involves making and racing model spaceships.

Tiger Cub – A boy who is in the first grade (or is 7 years old) and registered, with his adult partner, as a member of a Tiger Cub den.

Tiger Cub den – A den of five to eight Tiger Cubs and their adult partners. Part of a Cub Scout pack.

Webelos badge – The fifth rank in Cub Scouting; earned by Webelos Scouts in a Webelos den.

Webelos den – A group of Webelos Scouts who meet weekly under the supervision of a Webelos den leader.

Webelos den chief – A Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer who has been appointed to help direct the activities of a Webelos den.

Webelos den leader – A registered volunteer member, age 21 or older, appointed by the pack committee to plan and direct the den’s activities.

Webelos Scout – (Pronounced WEE-buh-los.) A Cub Scout who has completed the third grade or is age 10 but has not yet completed fifth grade or reached age 11 1/2, and is a member of a Webelos den. The word “Webelos” means WE’ll BE LOyal Scouts.

Webelos Woods – An activity designed to introduce Webelos Scouts, each with an adult family member, to the many outdoor adventures of Boy Scouting.

Wolf – The rank designed for a second-grade or 8-year-old Cub Scout.

Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts

assistant patrol leader – A Boy Scout who is appointed by the patrol leader to help him and to take his place in his absence.

assistant Scoutmaster – A volunteer Scouter, 18 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to help the Scoutmaster by working with a new-Scout patrol, Varsity Scout team, or Venture patrol.

assistant senior patrol leader – A troop youth leader, usually in larger troops, who helps the senior patrol leader. Appointed by the senior patrol leader with the Scoutmaster’s advice and consent.

Baden-Powell, Robert Stephenson Smyth – Founder of the worldwide Scouting movement. Born February 22, 1857, in London. Made a baron in 1929. He is referred to as Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Chief Scout of the World. Died January 8, 1941. Abbreviate to B-P (without periods).

board of review – A review held to determine if a Boy Scout has satisfactorily completed rank requirements. A review may be held also to encourage Boy Scouts who are not advancing. For the first five ranks, the board of review is conducted by the troop committee. For the Eagle Scout rank, the Council decides whether the unit committee or the district or Council committee responsible for advancement conducts the board of review. At least one district or Council advancement representative shall be a member of the unit board of review.

camp director – The Scouter in charge of the administration of a Boy Scout resident camp or a Cub Scout day camp or resident camp.

camp ranger – A ranger’s responsibilities may include keeping camp facilities functioning properly, performing camp improvements and maintenance, issuing supplies and equipment related to maintenance, directing the maintenance staff, and managing the off-season program. Usually the ranger reports to the camp director or business manager.

camping director – A professional Scouter who is responsible for development of the year-round camping program of the local Council. This person supervises the long-term camping program and may or may not serve as the resident camp director.

camporee – Derived from two words: camp and jamboree. A camporee is a district or Council troop activity that demonstrates the techniques of living in camp. Involves a one- or two-night camping experience and may include Scoutcraft competition.

Chaplain – (1) Spiritual leader for units appointed by the church, synagogue, or community organization chartered to use the Scouting program. (2) One who gives spiritual leadership to a camp or jamboree community; conducts religious services according to his or her faith and arranges for other religious observance as needed; provides help in dealing with morale; and visits those who are ill and provides counseling in case of bereavement.

chaplain aide – A youth leader who works with the troop chaplain to ensure all members have appropriate religious observance during outings and helps other Scouts in the religious emblems program. Appointed by the senior patrol leader with the Scoutmaster’s advice and consent.

charter – In the BSA, charters authorize (1) an organization to operate BSA Scouting units (see “chartered organization”); (2) a local Council to incorporate as a BSA local Council; (3) operation of an Order of the Arrow lodge; or (4) the Boy Scouts of America to incorporate. See “Charter of the Boy Scouts of America” and “Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America.” When used as a verb, use “to obtain a charter” and “to renew a charter” rather than “to charter” or “to recharter.”

chartered organization – A religious, civic, fraternal, educational, or other community-based organization that has applied for and received a charter to operate a BSA Scouting unit.

chartered organization representative – A manager of Scouting in a chartered organization who also represents this organization in the local Council and district.

commissioner – A commissioned Scouter who works with packs, troops, teams, and Venturing crews to help the units succeed. In addition to the Council commissioner, there are district commissioners, assistant district commissioners, roundtable commissioners, huddle commissioners, and unit commissioners. Also see “international commissioner.”

Council – An administrative body chartered to be responsible for Scouting in a designated geographic territory. The Capitol Area Council is responsible for Scouting in 15 Central Texas counties.

Council president – The elected volunteer Scouter who heads the Council and chairs its executive board.

court of honor – A recognition ceremony for those who have met the requirements of any one of the Boy Scout ranks, merit badges, or other awards

district – A geographical area of the Council determined by the Council executive board to help ensure the growth and success of Scouting units within the district’s territory.

district committee – Consisting of chartered organization representatives and elected district members at large, the district committee coordinates the functions of the district to carry out the policies and objectives of the Council. The executive office of the district committee is the district chairperson.

district executive – A professional Scouter who works under the direction of the local Council Scout executive and acts as an adviser to the volunteer leaders in the district.

Eagle Scout – The highest rank for Scouts.

Fast Start training – Adult volunteer leadership training that immediately furnishes the information new leaders need to help them get started, help them understand what is expected of them, and assist in establishing effective meeting patterns. There are versions for Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders.

First Class – The rank above Second Class Scout and below Star Scout in Boy Scouting.

Friends of Scouting (FOS) – An annual opportunity for Scouters and interested people in the community to be identified with the local Council through their financial support and influence in the expansion of the Council program.

Gilwell Park – The training center of the British Scout Association and the original homesite of Wood Badge training. Located in Epping Forest, England; chosen by Baden-Powell as the territorial designation for his peerage, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell.

Good Turn – A distinctive feature of Boy Scouting is its emphasis on service to others. The Good Turn habit is one that all Scouts endeavor to acquire.

high adventure – Refers to high-adventure activities or to trek programs administered by local Councils for older Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers.

Jamboree – A term chosen by Baden-Powell to describe the first international gathering of Scouts camping together in London in 1920. The term is restricted to indicate a national or world jamboree. Not capitalized unless in the title of a specific jamboree, as: “1993 National Scout Jamboree” or “19th World Scout Jamboree.” The BSA has a national jamboree every four years.

junior assistant Scoutmaster – A troop may have any number of junior assistant Scoutmasters. They are 16- or 17-year-old Scouts who help the senior patrol leader; they are appointed by him, with the Scoutmaster’s advice and consent

Key 3 – (1) The Council Key 3: the Council president, Council commissioner, and Scout executive; (2) the district Key 3: the district chairman, district commissioner, and district executive

Leave No Trace – The BSA is committed to this nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethics awareness program to reduce impacts on the environment and other people. The seven principles should be followed at all times in the outdoors: Plan ahead and prepare; camp and travel on durable surfaces; pack it in, pack it out; leave what you find; minimize campfire use; respect wildlife; and respect others.

Life Scout – The rank below Eagle Scout and above Star Scout.

long-term camping – A camping experience consisting of five or more consecutive days and nights in the outdoors.

merit badge – A recognition given to a Boy Scout for completing the requirements for the badge. There are more than a hundred subjects in life skills, hobby, and career fields, with requirements and supporting pamphlets to help Scouts broaden their outlook.

merit badge counselor – A registered adult volunteer at least age 18 who is expert in a merit badge field and shares enthusiasm for that field with Scouts and who certifies that requirements have been met.

national office – The address of the administrative offices of the Boy Scouts of America is Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.

Order of the Arrow – Scouting’s national honor society. Youth members (Arrowmen) must hold First Class Scout rank; they are elected by all youth members of the troop, based on their Scouting spirit and camping ability. The aim of the OA is to promote the outdoor program and service to Scouting

patrol – A small group of Boy Scouts (usually five to eight) who belong to a troop and work together in and out of troop meetings. Normally, there are several patrols in one troop. Capitalize only when part of a title, such as “Fox Patrol.” Note: Webelos dens are not patrols.

patrol leader – Elected by the patrol members, this Boy Scout leads the patrol and represents it on the patrol leaders’ Council, which plans the troop program.

patrol leaders’ Council – Each patrol leader, representing his patrol, meets with other patrol leaders and the senior patrol leader to plan their troop program. The Scoutmaster acts as an adviser.

P.R.A.Y. – Abbreviation for Programs of Religious Activities With Youth. An organization outside the BSA that administers religious awards for youth-serving organizations, including the BSA, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire.

Quality awards – Recognition given each charter year to units and each calendar year to districts, Councils, areas, and regions that commit to and meet specified national standards pertaining to leader training, service, advancement, camping, and membership growth. Applies to packs, troops, teams, crews and ships.

region – One of four geographical administrative units of the BSA: Northeast Region, Southern Region, Central Region, and Western Region. There are regional service centers, regional directors, regional staffs, regional presidents, and regional committee members. The Jersey Shore Council is located in the Northeast Region.

roundtable – An event conducted by a roundtable commissioner and roundtable staff to help the unit leadership of a district plan and carry out their own unit programs.

Safe Swim Defense plan – An eight-point plan of recommended procedures for conducting group swims. The eight points are (1) qualified supervision, (2) physical fitness, (3) safe swimming area, (4) lifeguards on duty, (5) lookout, (6) ability groups, (7) buddy system, and (8) good discipline.

Safety Afloat – Guidelines for safe unit activity afloat in craft less than 26 feet long: (1) qualified supervision, (2) physical fitness, (3) swimming ability, (4) personal flotation equipment, (5) buddy system, (6) skill proficiency, (7) planning, (8) equipment, and (9) discipline.

Scout Executive – The chief executive officer of the Council responsible for the administration, financing, marketing, motivation, recruiting, and staffing required for successful Council operations. Craig H. Shelley is the Scout Executive of Jersey Shore Council.

Scout reservation or camp – Land owned by or leased to the Boy Scouts of America to further the Scouting program.  The Jersey Shore Council’s Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation is located in Barnegat, NJ.

Scout Sunday – The Sunday before February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day.

Scouter – A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.

Scouting Anniversary Day – February 8, 1910, was the day William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.

Scouting Anniversary Week – This is the week, beginning on Sunday, that includes February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day. During the week, units are encouraged to conduct rededication ceremonies and to demonstrate Scouting’s purposeful activities. The event involves a Scout parade through downtown Austin and a Report ceremony involving all of the Councils across Texas inside the chambers of the Texas House of Representatives.

Scoutmaster – A volunteer Scouter, 21 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to lead a Boy Scout troop.

Scoutmaster conference – A distinctive feature of the troop advancement plan in which a Scoutmaster helps a Scout accept the responsibility for his own growth toward each rank.

Scoutmaster’s Minute – A part of the closing ceremony of a troop meeting or campfire in which the Scoutmaster encourages Scoutlike conduct by telling a story.

Second Class – The rank above Tenderfoot in Boy Scout and Varsity Scout advancement.

senior patrol leader – Each troop has one senior patrol leader, a Scout elected by the Scouts to help all the patrols succeed. He may be assisted by one or more assistant senior patrol leaders.

Silver Beaver Award – A recognition given by the National Court of Honor for distinguished service to youth within the Council.

short-term camping – A camping experience consisting of one to four days and at least one night outdoors.

Squad – A Varsity Scout team subdivision that consists of four to eight members; equivalent to a patrol in a Boy Scout troop.

squad leader – Elected by squad members, this Varsity Scout leads the squad and, with other team members, develops team meeting agendas.

Star – The rank above First Class and below Life in Scout advancement.

Tenderfoot – The first rank in the Boy Scout advancement program. Always singular.

Totin’ Chip – A recognition given to Scouts who subscribe to the Outdoor Code and understand and can demonstrate the proper handling, care, and use of woods tools.

troop – The unit that conducts Boy Scouting for the chartered organization. Capitalize only when used with the troop number.

Unit – The entity that conducts Scouting for the chartered organization; it consists of registered youth members and registered adult volunteer members. A unit may be a pack, troop, team, crew, or ship.

Varsity Scout – A young man who is a registered youth member of a Varsity Scout team.

Varsity Scout team – A stand-alone unit that conducts Varsity Scouting for the chartered organization.

Varsity Scouting – A part of the program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men (Varsity Scouts) who are at least 14 but not yet 18 years old. The unit is a team; the unit leader is a Coach. Emphasis is on advancement, high adventure, personal development, service, and special programs and events.

Volunteer – Individual who donates service, time, or funds to support the program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Wood Badge – Training award granted upon completion of the Wood Badge for the 21st Century course. A leather thong with two wooden beads, a special neckerchief, and a slide (woggle) are worn by those who have completed the training.

Venturing/Sea Scouting

Advisor – The top adult leader of a Venturing crew who is responsible for program, coordination, and the training of the elected youth officers of the crew or ship. The Advisor or Skipper is appointed by the crew or ship committee, approved by the chartered organization, and commissioned, upon approval of the registration, by the Boy Scouts of America. Advisors must be 21 years of age, be citizens or legal residents of the United States, accept the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle, and be of high moral character. All adult positions in Venturing are open to men and women.

associate Advisor, Venturing – Each Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship should have one or more adults, 21 years of age or older, who perform such duties as may be assigned by the Advisor. Associate Advisors often are assigned administrative and program functions. An associate Advisor in a Sea Scout ship is called a “mate.”

boatswain – (Pronounced BO sun.) The elected youth leader of a Sea Scout ship. The office is comparable to president of a Venturing crew.

boatswain’s mate – The Sea Scouting equivalent of vice president in a Venturing crew.

bridge of honor – An award presentation ceremony in Sea Scouting.

Bronze Award – Five Bronze awards are available to Venturers. Each Bronze Award relates to one of the five Venturing special-interest clusters: sports, arts and hobbies, youth ministries, outdoors, and Sea Scouting. Venturers may earn all five awards. Achievement of at least one Bronze Award is a requirement for the Gold Award.

crew, Sea Scout – A working group of Sea Scouts in a ship. There are usually several crews in a ship. This compares with the Cub Scout den, the Boy Scout patrol, and the Varsity Scout team.

crew, Venturing – Youth members and adult leaders who conduct the Venturing program within an organization chartered by the BSA. This is different from a Venture patrol.

crew leader, Sea Scout – The elected youth leader of a Sea Scout or high-adventure base crew.

Gold Award, Venturing – The Gold Award is available to all Venturers. It is designed to recognize significant accomplishment in a Venturer’s life as he or she has proven outstanding performance in a broad spectrum of activities. Achievement of the Gold Award is a requirement for the Silver Award.

petty officer – An elected youth officer in a Sea Scout ship. A petty officer in a Sea Scout ship is the equivalent of an officer in a Venturing crew. They are typically boatswain, boatswain’s mate, yeoman, purser, and storekeeper.

Project COPE – A Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience that may include problem-solving exercises, low-course activities (conducted from ground level to 6 feet above ground), and high-course events (several combined activities that require each participant to be belayed, conducted 30 feet or more above ground). The Jersey Shore Council’s Project COPE course is located at the Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation in Barnegat, NJ.

Quartermaster – The highest rank in Sea Scouting, conferred with the Quartermaster Award

Quest Award – The Quest Award is available to all Venturers. The goals of this sports and fitness award are to help Venturers have fun through experiencing a sport while properly trained, understand the role health and fitness play in sports, experience a variety of sports activities, and prepare to teach others.

Ranger Award – The Venturing Ranger Award is available to all Venturers. The purpose of the award is to encourage Venturers to achieve high levels of outdoor skills proficiency and to provide a pathway for outdoor/high-adventure skills training. Once earned, the Ranger Award will identify a Venturer as someone who is skilled at a variety of outdoor sports and interest, is trained in outdoor safety, and is ready to assist others in activities.

Safe Boating – This course is designed for Sea Scout ships whose members may not be interested in following the advancement plan leading to Quartermaster, or as supplementary training for traditional ships. Those who complete the course earn the Small-Boat Handler bar.

ship – The unit that conducts Sea Scouting for the chartered organization. Equivalent to a Venturing crew.

Silver Award – The Silver Award is available to all Venturers. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for personal development; encourage Venturers to learn, grow and serve; and recognize the high level of achievement of Venturers who acquire Venturing skills. Candidates must first achieve at least one Bronze Award and the Venturing Gold Award.

Skipper – The Sea Scouting equivalent of Advisor.

Venturer – A registered youth member of a Venturing crew. The word “Venturer” should be used only as a noun referring to a youth member. Use “Venturing” when a modifier is needed.