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Scouting Terms

Scouting has many of its own terms that are part of the Scouting Program. 
The goal of this page is to be a resource for finding the meaning of those terms. 
Many of the terms you will find below were taken from this Glossary created by the BSA.
Others were found across a variety of Scouting and Scouting related sites that can be found on our Links page.
And there are some terms that are only learned through years of Scouting experience.

  • Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) - A commissioned volunteer Scouter, 18 or older, who helps the Scoutmaster by working with the troop and with a new-Scout patrol, Varsity Scout team, or Venture patrol.
  • Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) - A troop youth leader, usually in larger troops, who helps the senior patrol leader with details of his role.
  • Baden-Powell, Robert Stephenson Smyth - Founder of the worldwide Scouting movement. Known as Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Chief Scout of the World, and B-P.
  • Board of Review - A review held to determine if a Boy Scout has satisfactorily completed rank requirements.
  • Boy Scouts of America (BSA) - A nationwide organization founded February 8, 1910, and chartered by the U.S. Congress June 15, 1916.
  • Boys’ Life magazine - The magazine for all boys, published by the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Buddy System - One part of the Safe Swim Defense plan. Swimmers of like ability are paired, check in and out of the water together, and stay within 10 feet of each other during a swim. The buddy system is also used in other Scouting activities for safety reasons.
  • Camporee - A district or council troop activity to demonstrate the techniques of living in camp. They usually include competitions between Patrols.
  • Charter - The Boy Scouts of America was granted a federal charter in 1916 to provide a program of character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness for all boys. The BSA issues charters annually to approved community organizations to operate Scouting units.
  • Council - An administrative body chartered to be responsible for Scouting in a designated geographic territory.
  • 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 geographic administrative unit within a council.
  • Firem’n Chit - A recognition given to Scouts who know and understand fire safety rules.
  • 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.
  • Order of the Arrow (OA) - Scouting’s national honor society, the members of which have been chosen by their peers for their Scouting spirit and camping ability.
  • Patrol - A group of five to eight boys who belong to a troop and work together in and out of troop meetings. There are usually several patrols in one troop.
  • Patrol Leader (PL) - The youth leader of the patrol, elected by its members.
  • Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) - Each patrol leader, representing his patrol, meets with the other patrol leaders and the senior patrol leader to plan their troop program. The Scoutmaster acts as an adviser.
  • Philmont Scout Ranch - National high-adventure base covering over 137,000 acres in northern New Mexico. Includes a center for volunteer training. Address is Cimarron, NM 87714.
  • Scouter - A registered adult member of the BSA who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.
  • Scoutmaster - The commissioned volunteer leader, 21 or older, of a Boy Scout troop; appointed by the chartered organization.
  • Scoutmaster conference - A distinctive feature of the troop advancement plan in which a Scoutmaster helps a Scout accept responsibility for his own growth toward each rank.
  • Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) - The elected boy leader who runs the troop meetings and the patrol leaders’ council meetings, with the guidance of the Scoutmaster.
  • 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 Committee - The committee appointed by the chartered organization to administer the affairs of the troop.