“A leader is best when people barely know he exists; not so good when people obey and acclaim him; worst when they despise him. But a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say ‘we did it ourselves.’” —Chinese philosopher Sun-Tsu
Troop Positions of Responsibility – Troop Leadership Positions (in BSA format)
The following leadership positions count toward Boy Scout advancement. For more information, see:
- Senior Patrol Leader Handbook (#32501)
- Patrol Leader Handbook (#32502A).
The patrol leader is the top leader of a patrol. He represents the patrol at all patrol
leaders’ council meetings and the annual program planning conference and keeps
patrol members informed of decisions made. He plays a key role in planning, leading,
and evaluating patrol meetings and activities and prepares the patrol to participate in all
troop activities. The patrol leader learns about the abilities of other patrol members and
full involves them in patrol and troop activities by assigning them specific tasks and
responsibilities. He encourages patrol members to complete advancement requirements
and sets a good example by continuing to pursue his own advancement.
The senior patrol leader is the top leader of the troop. He 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 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 assistant senior patrol leader works closely with the senior patrol leader to help the
troop move forward and serves as acting senior patrol leader when the senior patrol
leader is absent. Among his specific duties, the assistant senior patrol leader trains and
provides direction to the troop quartermaster, scribe, historian, librarian, instructors, and
Order of the Arrow representative. During his tenure as assistant senior patrol leader he
is not a member of a patrol, but he may participate in the high-adventure activities of a
Venture patrol. Large troops may have more than one assistant senior patrol leader,
each appointed by the senior patrol leader.
The troop guide is both a leader and a mentor to the members of the new-Scout patrol.
He should be an older Scout who holds at least the First Class rank and can work well
with younger Scouts. He helps the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol in much the
same way that a Scoutmaster works with a senior patrol leader to provide direction,
coaching, and support. The troop guide is not a member of another patrol but may
participate in the high-adventure activities of a Venture patrol.
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 he
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. Though not a voting member, he attends meetings
of the patrol leaders’ council and keeps a record of the discussions. He cooperates with
the patrol scribes to record attendance and dues payments at troop meetings and to
maintain troop advancement records. A member of the troop committee may assist him
with his work.
The historian collects and preserves troop photographs, news stories, trophies, flags,
scrapbooks, awards, and other memorabilia and makes materials available for Scouting
activities, the media, and troop history projects.
The troop librarian oversees the care and use of troop books, pamphlets, magazines,
audiovisuals, and merit badge counselor lists. He checks out these materials to Scouts
and leaders and maintains records to ensure that everything is returned. He may also
suggest the acquisition of new literature and report the need to repair or replace any
Each instructor is an older troop member proficient in a Scouting skill. He must also
have the ability to teach that skill to others. An instructor typically teaches subjects that
Scouts are eager to learn—especially those such as first aid, camping, and
backpacking—that are required for outdoor activities and rank advancement. A troop
can have more than one instructor.
Outdoor Ethics Guide (former: Leave No Trace Trainer) (new in 2016)
The Leave No Trace Trainer specializes in teaching Leave No Trace principles and
ensuring that the troop follows these principles on outings. He can also help Scouts
earn the Leave No Trace award. He should have a thorough understanding of and
commitment to Leave No Trace. Ideally, he should have completed Leave No Trace
training and earned the Camping and Environmental Science merit badges.
The chaplain aide assists the troop chaplain (usually an adult from the troop committee
or the chartered organization) in serving the religious needs of the troop. He ensures
that religious holidays are considered during the troop’s program planning process and
promotes the BSA’s religious emblems program.
The bugler plays the bugle (or a 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 should ideally have earned the Bugling merit badge.
The den chief works with a den of Cub Scouts and with their adult leaders. He takes
part in den meetings, encourages Cub Scout advancement, and is a role model for
younger boys. Serving as den chief can be a great first leadership experience for a
Webelos Den Chief
A Webelos den chief can help plan and assist with the leadership of Webelos den
meetings and field activities. He can lead songs and stunts, and encourage Webelos
Scouts to progress into the Boy Scout troop.
The Order of the Arrow representative serves as a communication 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, he promotes the Order, encourages Scouts to take part in all
sorts of camping opportunities, and helps pave the way for older Scouts to become
involved in high-adventure programs. The OA troop representative assists with
leadership skills training. He reports to the assistant senior patrol leader.
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.
A Scout at least 16 years of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills may be
appointed by the senior patrol leader, with the advice and consent of the Scoutmaster,
to serve as a junior assistant Scoutmaster. These young men (a troop may have more
than one junior assistant Scoutmaster) follow the guidance of the Scoutmaster in
providing support and supervision to other boy leaders in the troop. Upon his 18th
birthday, a junior assistant Scoutmaster will be eligible to become an assistant Scoutmaster.
(Edited: Sept 2017 by Tr Bryan)