UACANSV (Using Acronyms Can Alienate New Scout Volunteers)

Here’s a quick test of acronyms and initialisms for you. How many of these 10 can you name?

  1. BALOO
  2. PLC
  3. NAYLE
  4. ASPL
  5. COPE
  6. NYLT
  7. JOTA
  8. FOS
  9. NESA
  10. YIS

Scroll to check your work…








  1. Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation: Training for Cub Scout leaders
  2. Patrol Leaders’ Council: A group of Scouts who meet monthly
  3. National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience: High-level leadership training for Scouts
  4. Assistant Senior Patrol Leader: Second in command in a Boy Scout troop
  5. Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience: Team-building games for Scouts
  6. National Youth Leadership Training: Council-level leadership training for Scouts
  7. Jamboree on the Air: A worldwide event for communicating with others via radio
  8. Friends of Scouting: Council-level fundraising event.
  9. National Eagle Scout Association: A group of this country’s most impressive men
  10. Yours in Scouting: A common way for Scouters to end a letter or e-mail to one another

If you didn’t get all 10 right, you’ve proven my point. Being a new adult volunteer can, at times, be a little intimidating. And a barrage of capital letters can make new leaders feel confused from the start.

So what should you do? Well, for each meeting you run or handout you distribute, make sure to give the spelled-out version of each acronym or initialism. This helps everyone — even the veteran leaders — remember just what those letters mean. After that, feel free to save time or space by using the shortened version.

Chime In: Does your pack, troop or crew avoid using confusing acronyms? I’d love to hear some tips on how your unit handles this issue.


  1. Missed 3: two I had heard of and kind of had an idea what they were but no idea about the acronyms; the third I had never seen before. Maybe after only 20 years I’m still too new at this :p

  2. We have LLD (Lodge Leadership Development) coming up, and I always do a between session trivia/pop quiz with patches /flaps as prizes. This year it is a OA Acronym test; and here they are: LEC, NOAC, LLD, OBV, NLATS,NLS and DSA. Will be fun to see how the youth do!

  3. Good advice for any situation. The government agency I worked for actually had a web page that was a directory to all the acronym pages within the agency. Is there a BSA acronym directory?

  4. I got them all but acquired them one by one over several years. We always translate for new scouts, parents and leaders. We want them to stay around.

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