As in any organization, acronyms and unfamiliar terms are often used that can be confusing. Does your son return from a scouting activity and seem to be speaking a foreign language? Do you note some strange words on a flyer or calendar? This page is an effort to help define some of the more frequently used terms. If someone uses a term you are not familiar with simply ask them to explain it (we too all had to learn it some where), or sneak a glance at this glossary if your bashful about asking.

In addition the National BSA site has an extensive list of terms, abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in Scouting at

Acorn Training

This was the basic Adult Leader Training. It has been replaced by “Boy Scout Leader Basic Training“.

Adult Patrol

When the troop goes camping, all of the adults form their own patrol for meal planning, shopping, cooking, eating, and sleeping. The adults try and set a good example of how a patrol should operate.

Alpha Phi Omega

This is a coeducational college fraternity based on the principles of Scouting. It accepts both men and women. Chapters are found at over 360 college campuses.

Annual Planning Meeting

The PLC meets to plan the next years activities with the guidance of the Scoutmaster. This plan is then presented to the Troop Committee for approval to make sure the plan meets BSA guidelines and that necessary resources can be provided. This normally occurs in the spring to plan the next school years activities.

APL – Asst. Patrol Leader

The elected leader for the patrol. He appoints an Asst. Patrol Leader (APL) to help in running the patrol.

ASM – Asst. Scoutmaster

Adult leader who trains and guides the youth leaders in carrying out the scouting program. One or more Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) help the Scoutmaster and are often assigned specific roles and duties.

ASPL – Asst. Senior Patrol Leader

See Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). Troop 103 has two ASPLs. One for Baden Powell to look after the new scouts and another for High Adventure.

Axe Yard

An area that is roped off in which an axe, hatch or other chopping tool is used.


Lord Baden-Powell was the founder of the scouting movement. The Baden-Powell training program is designed to get new scouts the basic scout skills and help them to advance to First Class. This can be achieved within the first year if the scout is active.

Be Prepared

The motto of Boy Scouting. Be prepared for what?

Blizzard Meal

At winter camp outs we ask everyone to have one extra freeze dried meal in their backpack that they do not plan to eat during that outing. In the event of an emergency everyone will have an extra meal.

Blood Zone

A safety zone around someone using a pocket knife, hatchet, ax, or other sharp tool. Basically it is an arms length plus the length of the tool in all directions. No one should be in another persons Blood Zone when a sharp tool is in use.

Blue Card

In order to work with a Merit Badge Counselor the scout must first obtain a Blue Card from the Scoutmaster. Blue Cards are the record of Merit Badge progress and are turned in to receive the Merit Badge after all the requirements have been met and the counselor has signed off the card. The scout should keep his copy of the the blue card until after he has reached the Rank of Eagle. The plastic baseball trading card holders work well for storing completed Blue Cards.

Board of Review – BOR

As a requirement for each rank advancement a scout must appear individually before a group of three to six adults (members of Troop Committee) to ensure that the scout has met the requirements for that rank. By policy the Scoutmaster (SM) and Asst. Scoutmasters (ASMs) can not set on a BOR. A Board of Review takes place after a Scoutmaster Conference for Rank Advancement, or when a Scout requests it or if the Troop Committee feels the Scout needs it. Eagle boards are conducted at the district level.

Boy Scout Leader Basic Training

The three-part plan for building knowledge and skill as a Boy Scout leader, consisting of “New Leader Essentials”, Leader Specific Training and “Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills”. Formerly called Acorn Training.


A ceremony where Webelos Cub Scouts cross a ceremonial bridge to signify their transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. This is normally done at a Cub Scout Pack Meeting with Boy Scouts from the Webelos’ new troop participating. This is NOT a graduation ceremony from Cub Scouts, it is rather an induction ceremony into Boy Scouts.

Brownsea – National Youth Leader Training (NYLT)

Brownsea is a week long training program for youth leaders held in the spring. This is an advanced Youth Leader Training program for the more senior youth. You must be First Class or above, 13 years old, and have Scoutmaster approval to attend. Troop 103 offers scholarships to attend this training.

BSA Lifeguard

A 3 year certification awarded to scouts or scouters who meet prescribed requirements in aquatic skills.

Buddy System

When ever a scout needs to go somewhere at camp, hiking, Merit Badge Class, etc. it is always done in groups of at least two. A scout always takes a “buddy” scout with him. Also used as part of the “Safe Swim Defense” program.

Boy Scout Ranks

(in order of increasing rank)

Boy Scout
Second Class
First Class
Eagle Palms: Bronze
Eagle Palms: Gold
Eagle Palms: Silver


Camp out attended by several troops within the district. Usually there are various competitions between the patrols attending. These are generally held twice a year. The Spring Camporee is put on by the OA and Fall Camporee is currently put on by the district staff and volunteers.


Adult member of the Troop Committee who provides guidance to scouts related to observance of the 12th point of the Scout Law – A Scout is Reverent. This adult works with the Chaplain Aide, a youth leader.

Charter Organization

The organization that is officially chartered by the Boy Scouts of America to carry out the scouting program. The main liaison between the charter organization and the troop is the Charter Organization Rep. (COR). Our charter organization is the Rotary Club of Warm Springs.

Class A/B/C/F Uniform

Different types of activities require different uniforms. Class A is a complete uniform, Class B is a red T-shirt with Scout Hat, Class C is causal or street clothes, Class F is formal. A complete description with insignia placement help is provided here.


Adult volunteers working at district or council level. Unit commissioners are assigned to units and should be a friendly resource to the unit leaders.

Committee Chairperson (CC)

A registered adult appointed by the Charter Organization to chair theTroop Committee. Presides at Troop Committee meetings. Works closely with the Charter Organization Rep (COR) and Scoutmaster(SM) to ensure the scouting program meets BSA guidelines.


Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. (Boy Scout activity involving heights, trust and team building).
More information:   at USSP.


Charter Organization Representative – A person assigned by thechartering organization to be the liaison between the troop and the charter organization. Our charter organization is the Rotary Club of Warm Springs.


A group of Districts make up a Council. Troop 103 is in the Mission Peak District of the San Francisco Bay Area Council.

Council Office

See Youth Leadership Training Center.

Court of Honor – COH

An awards ceremony held quarterly at which scouts are recognized for their rank advancements, merit badges earned, and other awards.

Cracker Barrel

A scout term for a social gathering with refreshments after a meeting or activity. Often an evening activity at camp before taps.

Den Chief

A Boy Scout who helps a Den Leader direct the activities of a Cub Scout den.


A subdivision of a council. The San Francisco Bay Area Council (SFBAC) has 5 districts a Venturing Division and a Learning For Life Division. The districts are Golden Gate, Peralta, Tres Rancho, Twin Valley, and Mission Peak. Troop 103 is in the Mission Peak District which includes S. Hayward, Union City, Fremont and Newark.

Dutch Oven

A large cast iron covered pot used to bake and cook in.

Fast Start

A video training tape for new Boy Scout Leaders. This is a good introduction to Boy Scouts for all new parents. Can also be taken On-Line.

Firem’n Chit

A certification given to Scouts who know and understand fire safety rules.


Friends of Scouting – annual fund raiser for the council. The council does not get any share of your registration fee and is grateful for your donation.

Good Turn

“Do a Good Turn Daily” is the scout slogan. A good turn is something you do without being asked or expected to do it and for which you expect no reward.

Gilwell Training Center

An international Scout Training Center in England founded by Lord Baden-Powell. Woodbadge Training was started here, and where ever one is held world wide, it’s honorary called “Gilwell”.

Grub Master

The individual who is responsible for buying food for their patrol for a campout or other outing.

Guide to Safe Scouting

This booklet is the Bible when it comes to safety related issues in scouting. Those items in BOLD print are rules that MUST be followed. Everything else in the booklet are recommendations that should be followed. Troop leaders frequently consult this to see if planned activities are being done safely and within prescribed BSA policy.

High Adventure Base

One of three national activity areas designed to provide unique and challenging outdoor experiences. Planned and designed to meet the needs and desires of older Scouts. These facilities are Philmont Scout Ranch (New Mexico), Northern Tier National High Adventure Base(Minnesota & Canada), and Sea Base (Florida).

HAT – High Adventure Training

Training classes to prepare adults and older youth leaders to plan, lead, and supervise High Adventure Activities such as backpacking, white water, rappelling, canoeing, wilderness first aid, etc. These training classes are conducted by the council High Adventure Team.

HAT – High Adventure Team

Not to be confused with the Council High Adventure Team noted above. The troops Venture Patrol also uses the High Adventure Team moniker. Made up of scouts 13 years and older with a rank of First Class or above and who have been approved by the Scoutmaster. They plan and attend up to 3 special outings a year, doing things of a nature not quite appropriate for younger or less skilled scouts.


Scout meeting or camp out on a grand scale. There are national and international jamborees.

Jamboree On The Air (JOTA)

Scouting and ham radio join forces to make many international contacts through the “air” waves.  Traditionally the 3rd weekend in October.

JASM – Junior Asst. Scoutmaster

A youth between 16 and 18 who has already held major leadership positions within the troop. Appointed by the Scoutmaster to help in guiding the troop and youth leaders. In Troop 103 this position requires the individual be an Eagle Scout. See Junior Leader Job Descriptions for more details of duties.

JLT – Junior Leader Training

Name changed to TLT – Troop Leader Training. A training class taught by the senior youth leaders for newly elected and appointed youth leaders generally in the fall.

Kim’s Game

A game requiring a keen eye and memory. Played by first studying twenty or so articles on a table for a short period of time, then retiring to make a list of what items you have seen. From Rudyard Kipling’s story Kim.

Klondike Derby

A winter/snow oriented camporee. Overnight camping experience in the snow with team building games and activities.


Worn by adults to signify training or awards received. See list of knots.


What the Boy Scouts call an outdoor bathroom without plumbing.


To advance in the more senior ranks a scout must hold a leadership position for a set period of time. The rank requirements in the Boy Scout Handbook (as revised) lists the leadership positions that qualify.

Leave No Trace (LNT)

A set of guidelines that set standards for outdoor activities that are environmentally sound and considerate to others using the same area.

Merit Badge Expo

A Saturday morning event where scouts can be introduced to Merit Badges. Some adult training is also often offered at these events.

Merit Badge Sash

As scouts earn Merit Badges they are sewn on a Merit Badge Sash (available at the Scout Shop). The Merit Badge Sash is normally worn only for formal occasions such as a Court-of-Honor.

Mother’s Pin

See Parents Pin.

Mystery Trip

A camp out or outing where the majority of the troop does not know the destination or activity. Hints are offered prior to the event to provide clues to the outing.


National Eagle Scout Association. Open to membership to any youth or adult who attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Northern Tier National High Adventure Base

This immense, year round facility consists of the Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base near Ely, MN, the Bissett Base in Manitoba, Canada, and the Atikokan Canoe Base in Ontario. Each offers Explorers and older Scouts the world’s best canoeing, camping, and adventure, each with a different character and the promise of memories to last a lifetime.

Order of the Arrow – (OA)

A national brotherhood of scout honor campers of the Boy Scouts of America. Members are elected by their peers after meeting basic requirements of camping knowledge and experience. Also called OA. The OA motto of “Cheerful Service” indicates their purpose. They are often found improving scout camps, running council events, and providing service to the scouting community.

OA Ordeal

The initiation ceremony experience for new OA members generally involving personal introspection, service to improve camp or trail and ceremonies based on Indian legend or lore.

Palms, Eagle

After a scout reaches the rank of Eagle, they can earn a Palm for every 5 additional Merit Badges they complete. You may wear only the proper combination of Palms for the number of merit badges you earned beyond the 21 required for the rank of Eagle. The Bronze Palm represents five merit badges, the Gold Palm 10, and the Silver Palm 15. For example a scout with 20 additional Merit Badges would wear a Silver and a Bronze Palm.

Parent Pin

At each rank advancement the scout is given a small pin symbolizing that rank to present to their parent. A ribbon is worn around the neck that holds the pins from both Cub Scout and Boy Scout ranks.


The Patrol is the basic unit within a troop. Made up of 6-10 scouts who camp, cook and eat together. They work as a team at various activities and events. They elect their own leader.

Patrol Equipment

The Patrol Equipment consists of tents, stoves, lanterns, and cooking equipment. The Patrol is responsible for the storage and upkeep of this equipment. This equipment is stored and transported in Patrol Boxes which need to be cleaned after each outing.

Patrol Leader (PL)

The elected leader for the patrol. He appoints an Asst. Patrol Leader (APL) to help in running the patrol.

Patrol Leaders Council (PLC)

Made up of the youth leadership of the troop. They meet once a month to plan the following months activities and annually to plan the upcoming year.

Permission Slip

In order to go on any outing the scout must have a Permission Slip signed by his parent. The Permission Slip also provides details about uniform, departure time, food, etc. Permission Slips are posted on the troop web site at least one week prior to the due date. It is the scouts responsibility to make sure they have the appropriate Permission Slip signed and turned in by 7:15 p.m. on the due date noted on the Permission Slip.


Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is a standardized file format to make documents and forms readily available on the Internet. You need the free PDF Reader to view these file types. Many forms and documents on this web site are in the PDF format.


Personal Floatation Device (PFD) otherwise known as a life vest. Those used in scouting must be U.S. Coast Guard approved.

Philmont Scout Ranch

A 137,000-acre national high adventure base and training center located at Cimarron, New Mexico. Philmont offers older Scouts and Explorers the experience of a lifetime in activities that include rock climbing, archaeological excavation, black powder riflery, fishing, panning for gold, and horseback adventures.


A Troop or Patrol member who looks after the troop or patrol equipment.


Annual process of re-registering the troop, scouts and scouters. Each unit designates leaders to collect the information and present updated paperwork to the council. Our charter year is January 1 to December 31. We start processing re-charter paperwork in October or November for the following years term.


Monthly meeting for leaders to exchange ideas, fellowship, and, a few announcements that is run by the district.   Roundtable for the Mission Peak District is the 2nd Thursday at the LDS Walnut Stake Center at the corner of Walnut Ave. and Gallaudet Dr., Fremont.

Safe Swim Defense

A eight step plan for conducting swimming activities in a safe manner. Can be taken on-line.

Safety Afloat

Guidelines for safe troop activities utilizing water craft. Can be taken on-line.

Scout House/Scout Hut

A building at Centerville Jr. High School, 37720 Fremont Blvd., used for district scout meetings and training.


Any registered youth.


Any registered adult leader.

Scoutmaster (SM)

Adult leader who trains and guides the youth leaders in carrying out the scouting program. One or more Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) help the Scoutmaster and are often assigned specific roles and duties.

Scoutmaster Conference

A formal meeting that takes place at a Troop meeting or activity between a Scout and the Scoutmaster, or a person he designates, to review a scout�s progress. A Scoutmaster Conference takes place at advancement time prior to a Board of Review, when a Scout requests it or if the Scoutmaster feels the Scout needs it.

Scouting for Food

National Good Turn: Every year, Scouts collect food for the fight against hunger. Bags for canned food are distributed on a Saturday in November and then collected the following Saturday. The food is turned over to local food banks for distribution to needy families.Scouting For Food is a national “Good Turn” of the Boy Scouts of America. Food distribution centers rely on this huge influx of food right before the Thanksgiving holidays.


Large scouting event. Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops display some of their favorite activities. The scouts help out their units and also get time to visit other units displays.

Scouts Own

Non-denominational religious observance of reflection usually conducted on camp outs. Allows each Scout the opportunity to obey the twelfth point of the Scout Law in his own way.

Scout Spirit

The way a scout tries to live up to the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and motto in his everyday life.

Sea Base

Strategically located in the Florida Keys, in Isla Morada, FL, this national high adventure base has a year-round program of sailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Service Star

A pin worn over the left shirt pocket of the uniform to denote the number of years of service.

Silver Beaver

A recognition given to adults by the National Court of Honor for distinguished service to youth within the council.

Spirit Patrol

Patrols earns this recognition by demonstrating good Scout Spirit. The Spirit Patrol conducts the opening and closing at troop meetings and holds the Spirit Stave until the next month when a new Spirit Patrol is selected by the troops senior youth leaders.


San Francisco Bay Area Council covers the cities of San Francisco, Daly City, Oakland, Emeryville, San Leandro, Hayward, Fairview, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Ashland, San Lorenzo, Fremont, Newark, Union City, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol, and Dublin in San Francisco and Alameda counties. Other councils in the greater bay area include Alameda, Pacific Skyline, Santa Clara County, Mount Diablo Silvarado, Marin, Piedmont, Redwood Empire, and Monterey Bay Area. Councils are subdivided into districts.

Senior Patrol Leader (SPL)

The senior most elected youth leader of the troop. The SPL is in charge of the troop at all functions and activities. He appoints one or more assistants (ASPL) to help him in running the troop.

Swim Check – (BSA Swimmer Test)

Used to determine of the individual is a swimmer, beginner, or non-swimmer. Jump feet first into water over your head in depth, swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.

TLT – Troop Leader Training

A training class taught by the senior youth leaders for newly elected and appointed youth leaders generally in the fall. Formerly called JLT – Junior Leader Training.

Totin’ Chip

A certification that enables the bearer to use knives, axes, and saws. It must be earned by the Scout through educational and hands-on safety sessions led by an adult leader or older scout appointed by the scoutmaster. Any time a Scout is observed doing something unsafe with a sharp tool, a corner is cut off his Totin’ Chip card. When all four corners are gone, the card is taken away and must be re-earned.

Tour Permit

A document that must be filed with the council office before any official scouting activity can take place. Special permits are required for travel out-of-state, over 500 miles, or for flying activities.

Troop Committee

Adult committee of registered adults that provide oversight, assistance, and guidance to the Scoutmaster in carrying out the scouting program within the troop. The Troop Committee is responsible to provide the necessary resources requested by the PLC and Scoutmaster that are required to carry out the scouting program. The Troop Committee meets each month generally on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. All registered adults are part of the Troop Committee, key members include the Committee Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Outdoor/Activities Coordinator, Advancement Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Equipment Coordinator, and Fund Raising Coordinator.

Troop Guide

A senior scout who is assigned to work with new Scouts. He helps them feel comfortable and earn their First Class rank in their first year.


A software program used to track scout advancement. The Scout Handbooks are used to update this database. Reports from this software are used to order awards and other patches from the council office. It is important that a scout make sure his advancement progress is recorded in the database.

Two Deep

Two Deep Leadership is a Boy Scout Policy. A minimum of two adults must always be present with any youth. One of these adults must be 21 years old. This is part of the BSA Youth Protection Guidelines. Our troop also requires that tour leaders are Acorn (New Leader Essential/Scoutmaster Fundamentals) trained.

University of Scouting

All-day learning experience for adult leaders covering a wide variety of subjects with some hands-on experiences.

Venture Patrol

An optional older-boy patrol (ages 13 through 17) within a Scout troop. They plan and attend up to 3 special outings a year, doing things of a nature not quite appropriate for younger or less skilled scouts.

Winter Awareness Training

A class held on a Saturday in early December at which scouts, and adult leaders, learn about cold weather camping. This course is put on by the OA youth members. In Troop 103 if a scout wishes to attend any snow related camp out or activity he must attend this one-day training course.


Advanced Training for Boy Scout adult leaders. . Any adult who has taken Basic Leader Training (Acorn Training) can attend this advanced training course to expand their knowledge of the scouting program and be of more help to the troop.

Yearly Planning Meeting

See Annual Planning Meeting.

YIS – Yours In Scouting

Often used as a closing in an E-mail similar to how “Sincerely yours” might be used in a letter.

Youth Leadership Training Center

This is the location of the Council Office and Scout Shop. This is also the location of the Climbing Wall.

Youth Protection

Training courses about child abuse. Training is offered for different age groups of scouts and for adults. Each spring all scouts must attend this training prior to going to Summer Camp. At least one adult on every Scouting outing must be Youth Protection Trained. If an adult is not able to take the adult training in person, it is also available on-line at the council website.

Nothing in this glossary should be considered policy or method of operation. It is intended only as a short description of some of the more common terms used in scouting. Official BSA or troop policy should be consulted if there are any questions.