Excerpted from BSA Troop Committee Guidebook
Copyright 1990, Boy Scouts of America, ISBN 0-8395-6505-4
Let's take a look at how a troop functions.
In order to support the troop's operation, you will need to know
The Scoutmaster is the adult leader responsible for the image
and program of the troop. The Scoutmaster and his assistant
Scoutmasters work directly with the Scouts. The importance of the
Scoutmaster's job is reflected in the fact that the quality of
his guidance will affect every youth and adult involved in the
The Scoutmaster can be male or female, but must be at least 21
years old. The Scoutmaster is appointed by the head of the
The Scoutmaster's duties include:
- Train and guide boy leaders.
- Work with other responsible adults to bring Scouting to
- Use the methods of Scouting to achieve the aims of
- Meet regularly with the patrol leaders' council for
training and coordination in planning troop activities.
- Attend all troop meetings or, when necessary, arrange for
a qualified adult substitute.
- Attend troop committee meetings.
- Conduct periodic parents' sessions to share the program
and encourage parent participation and cooperation.
- Take part in annual membership inventory and uniform
inspection, charter review meeting, and charter
- Conduct Scoutmaster conferences for all rank
- Provide a systematic recruiting plan for new members and
see that they are promptly registered.
- Delegate responsibility to other adults and groups
(assistants, troop committee) so that they have a real
part in troop operations.
- Supervise troop elections for the Order of the Arrow.
To fulfill his obligation to the troop, the Scoutmaster, with
the assistance of the troop committee, recruits assistant
Scoutmasters to help operate the troop. Each assistant
Scoutmaster is assigned specific program duties and reports to
the Scoutmaster. They also provide the required two-deep
leadership standards set by the Boy Scouts of America (there must
be at least two adults present at any Boy Scout activity). An
assistant Scoutmaster may be 18 years old, but at least one in
each troop should be 21 or older, so he or she can serve in the
Types of assistant Scoutmasters include:
The Scout troop is made up of patrols. A patrol is a grouping
of six to eight boys who work together. Each patrol elects its
own boy leader, called a patrol leader.
The new Scout patrol is composed of new members who
have not entered the seventh grade.
The experienced Scout patrol is for those boys who are
age 12 and older.
Venture patrols are made up of boys who are age 13 and
older who want more challenging high-adventure experiences.
Varsity teams are made up of boys who are age 13 and
older who want team sport activities.
Both Varsity and Venture Scouting activities may include the
participation of girls, but the young women may not register as
crew or team members. When girls participate in Venture and
Varsity activities, a woman 21 years of age or older must be
present along with the adult male leader.
The Troop's Youth Leaders
The troop is actually run by its boy leaders. With the
guidance of the Scoutmaster and his assistants, they plan the
program, conduct troop meetings, and provide leadership among
Junior Leader Positions
- Senior patrol leader - top junior leader in the
troop. He leads the patrol leaders' council and, in
consultation with the Scoutmaster, appoints other junior
leaders and assigns specific responsibilities as needed.
- Assistant senior patrol leader - fills in for
senior patrol leader in his absence. He is also
responsible for training and giving direction to the
quartermaster, scribe, troop historian, librarian, and
- Troop Historian - collects and maintains troop
memorabilia and information on former troop members.
- Librarian - keeps troop books, pamphlets,
magazines, audiovisuals, and merit badge counselor list
available for use by troop members.
- Instructor - teaches one or more advancement
skills to troop members.
- Chaplain Aide - assists in troop religious
services and promotes religious emblems program.
- Junior assistant Scoutmaster - a Scout 16 or older
who supervises and supports other boy leaders as
- Patrol leader - gives leadership to members of his
patrol and represents them on the patrol leaders'
- Assistant patrol leader - fills in for the patrol
leader in his absence.
- Venture crew chief - leader of a troop's Venture
- Varsity team captain - leader of a troop's Varsity
- Troop guide - advisor and guide to the new Scout
- Den chief - works with a Cub Scout den as a guide.
- Quartermaster - responsible for troop supplies and
- Scribe - the troop secretary.
The Patrol Leaders' Council
The patrol leaders' council, not the adult leaders, is
responsible for planning and conducting the troop's activities.
The patrol leaders' council is composed of the following voting
members: senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader,
patrol leaders, troop guide, Venture crew chief, Varsity team
The troop's activities are selected and planned at the annual
program planning conference. The troop's yearly plan is then
submitted to the troop committee for approval. The troop
committee either approves the plan or makes alternative
suggestions for the patrol leaders' council to consider. At its
monthly meetings, the patrol leaders' council organizes and
assigns activity responsibilities for the weekly troop meetings.
The troop committee interacts with the patrol leaders' council
through the Scoutmaster.
Prepared by Jeff L. Glaze.
Additional Resources: Troop Example Organization Presentation (from
http://www.pembroketroop105.org/forms.aspx and used with permission
with thanks to David Skolnick, ASM, Troop 105, Pembroke, MA). Author
The presentation contains slides for an emergency response call tree, a troop organization chart, and a troop committee organization chart.
(The troop example organization presentation also is posted in the forms section of our troop website http://www.pembroketroop105.org/forms.aspx.)
The troop charts match the organizational layout presented in Scoutmaster I/II/III training.
The emergency response tree matches the recommendations that our troop has received from the Red Cross.
Take a look at the Boy Scout Oath, Law,
Motto and Slogan which set the standards for Boy Scouts. You
may also want to take a look at the History
of the Boy Scouts of America.