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How to Speak Scout

A Guide to Terms and Acronyms


So, the PLC is planning the Code Red scenario and the SPL told your Scout if he attends TTFC then all he needs to advance at the CoH  is a BoR?  Say Whaaat?  


Oh yes, we do love our lingo and our acronyms. Here is your guide tScout terms thrown around on a regular basis. After this, you’ll be Speaking Scout in no time. Let us know if we’ve left any out.


BoR: Board Of Review

When a Scout meets the necessary requirements for his next rank, he is ready to advance. First, he requests a Scoutmaster conference ("SMC".) Then he is ready for his BoR. The BoR is attended in full uniform and is a panel interview with three adults from the Troop, usually other parents. For the new Scout, it is a terrifying but wonderful way to experience an interview with three adults he may not know well, or at all. The questions range from easy through challenging and, of course, the higher the rank, the longer the interview and the more challenging the questions. By the time, a Scout reaches Life rank, he handles his BoR (indeed, any interview) with poise and confidence.


For a parent, sitting on BoRs is an easy and highly satisfying way to get involved with the Troop. If you are looking for a way to ease into Scouting life, here it is. There is minimal time commitment and there is nothing more gratifying than helping a young Scout get through his Tenderfoot BoR unless it is sitting on a BoR for an Eagle Palm when you remember the accomplished young man in front of you inches shorter with a much higher voice doing his Tenderfoot one. If you want to meet the kind of Scouts you hope your son will mature into, join a BoR.


Code Red

This is not the computer virus. Or the emergency alert. Code Red is Marin Council’s annual First Aid challenge. Troops from all over Marin gather to enact emergency scenarios (featuring gruesomely realistic make up) whilst other Scouts “treat” their injuries and compete for First Aid honors. Each Troop is also responsible for staging a scenario and we can all be glad that life does not involve as many dire circumstances as Code Red.


CoH: Court of Honor

The Court of Honor is an important Troop activity where rank advancements, merit badges earned and recent accomplishments are recognized. It’s important for Troop families to come together and recognize each other’s achievements and for a Scout’s family to be present to see his efforts being awarded. Troop 59 holds three CoH a year with the late Winter one also serving as the Troop dinner.  The Winter and Fall CoH mark the twice yearly change of Scout leadership with elections for new SPL and PLs held by the Troop.



Explain Demonstrate Guide And Enable, a tool used to teach scouts new skills.



A Scout convention. Jamborees are held every four years and are an  amazing experience. In 2013, the BSA’s National Jamboree was held in its new permanent home, the  Summit campgrounds in West Virginia with 50,000 Scouts from USA and around the world attending including a large contingent from Troop 59.   The next National Jamboree will be held July 19-28, 2023 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.


LNT: Leave No Trace

This is a code of outdoor ethics that encourages Scouts to leave minimum impact - ideally, no trace - of their presence in nature.  The principals of Leave no Trace reminds us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations. Appreciation for our natural environment and a knowledge of the interrelationships of nature bolster our respect and reverence toward the environment and nature.


Marin Sierra

Camp Marin Sierra. This is the summer camp Troop 59 attends for one week. Definitely worth taking the dates into consideration when planning your summer. There are merit badges and rank advancements, loads of activities, Scout hang time and waaay too much money spent on ice cream and soda at the Trading Post. Also, try your best to persuade your Scout he does not need the pocket knife sold at camp.  There are much better pocket knives out there. Truly. A bad investment. At least bite back the “told you so” when he comes home with one and it doesn’t last longer than summer camp.


Whilst we’re at it, you may hear Emerald Bay mentioned. This is another summer camp the Troop attends. It’s on Catalina Island and is as gorgeous as it sounds. If your Scout gets the opportunity, go. They will need to be 12 to attend camp and over 14 for the Rugged (high adventure) programs. 


One more: Philmont in New Mexico is one of the BSA’s High Adventure scout properties offering outstanding backpacking treks. Troop 59 has attended in the past and will do so again in August, 2016. Scouts need to be 14 or older to attend Philmont.



National Youth Leadership Training, a week long resident camp in the summer for Scouts aged 14-17 and First Class rank or higher.  NYLT is a much lauded youth program designed to challenge scouts and teach leadership skills. If your Scout gets a chance, send him. It’s often remembered as a highlight of a Scout’s experience.


OA: Order of the Arrow

The national honor society of the BSA. Scout candidates are selected every year by their peers as best exemplifying the ideals of Scouting. The OA meets separately from the Troop and runs its own activities and camps.


PL: Patrol Leader

The Scout in charge of the base unit of Scouting. The Troop is run on the “patrol system”  which means the Scouts organize, operate, advance and meet in a small group of 8-10 Scouts. The Patrol Leader leads the patrol.


APL: Assistant Patrol Leader

Assists the above in running the patrol.


PLC: Patrol Leaders Council

The meeting of the SPL, PLs and other Troop leadership, the PLC meets once a month with the Scoutmaster. The PLC is responsible for determining the Scout program, setting the calendar and determining activities.  The PLC also meets to discuss Scout and patrol management.


SM: Scoutmaster

The Scoutmaster is the adult responsible for working directly with the Scouts to help them create the program for the troop. The Scoutmaster trains boy leaders to run the troop by providing direction, coaching, and support.  The Troop is deeply indebted to Scoutmasters for the time they put in, the training they undergo and the patience they demonstrate on endless occasions. Scoutmasters are Scouting Saints and without them, there would be no Troop.


ASM: Assistant Scoutmaster

Assistant Scoutmasters are adult leaders who assist the Scoutmaster in delivering the Troop program. Assistant Scoutmasters often have specific duties or work with specific patrols within the Troop. All Adult leaders assist the Scoutmaster comply with the rules of two-deep leadership.


SPL: Senior Patrol Leader

If this was an English boarding school, he would be Head Boy. If he were a ring, he would be one to rule them all.  In other words, the Scout in charge for a Scout led troop.


ASPL: Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders

Assist the above with the running to the Troop. Senior scouts who take over when the SPL is unavailable.


SSC: Start, Stop, Continue

Used as a way to receive feedback, normally at a PLC. The Leadership all give a Start, something they think the troop should start doing, a Stop, something they think the troop should stop doing, and a Continue, something that they think the troop is doing well.


Totin Chip

No, it’s not the latest Pixar movie. The Totin Chip means that your Scout is now qualified to carry and use wood tools. Scouts can lose Totin rights after violations of responsibility.  Make sure he puts the Totin Chip card somewhere safe as he may need to show it when handling wood tools until he reaches First Class.


TTFC: Trail to First Class

The pathway from new Scout to more experienced one. The journey from the new bridged Scout to Tenderfoot, then Second Class to First Class. Scouts take an average of a year to eighteen months to reach First Class. Scouting is not a one size fits all organization and every Scout’s journey is a personal one. Some Scouts advance rapidly, others take their time and do it in bursts. Either way, it should be Scout driven and  your Scout will advance as best suits them. There is a lot to experience in the Scouting program so let them explore as they will.


Two-Deep Leadership

Two registered adult leaders, or one registered leader and a parent of a participating Scout or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips and outings


50 miler

Scouts wearing 50 miler patches have completed a multi-day high adventure trek by land or sea of 50 miles or more. Troop 59 has multiple Scouts with 50 miler patches and several Scouts who have completed multiple 50 milers. The troop schedules a high adventure outing every year and Scouts also have the opportunity to complete 50 milers at Philmont (with backpacks) and Emerald Bay (in canoes).


YPT: Youth Protection Training

The Youth Protection program is a set of standards, guidelines and training developed by the BSA to eliminate opportunities for the abuse of youth members. All adult members of the Troop are required to undergo a criminal background check (SSN is need on the BSA Adult application form) and to complete a Youth Protection Program training before being registered as BSA members.  YPT must be re-certified every 2 years. The Troop holds regular YPT Training evenings. It can also be taken online at Completing online takes approximately  20 minutes and the completion certificate can be sent to Marin Council.


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