Scouting teaches responsibility. It teaches young people to take on a role in which they’re accountable to their fellow Scouts.
This role is known as a position of responsibility. As a young man advances toward becoming an Eagle Scout, he’s required to take on one of these roles.
By the time he becomes an Eagle Scout, a young man will have served at least 16 months in a position of responsibility. It’s kind of a dress rehearsal for life. Taking on added responsibilities in a safe setting, where failing is OK, prepares him for life.
In this episode of Scouting 101, we’ll look at the position of responsibility requirements for Star, Life and Eagle.
What are the position of responsibility requirements?
- Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class: No position of responsibility requirements
- Star requirement 5: While a First Class Scout, a young man must serve actively for four months in one or more of the acceptable positions of responsibility listed in the next section. (Or he may carry out a Scoutmaster-approved leadership project to help the troop.)
- Life requirement 5: While a Star Scout, a young man must serve actively for six months in one or more of the acceptable positions of responsibility listed in the next section. (Or he may carry out a Scoutmaster-approved leadership project to help the troop.)
- Eagle Scout requirement 4: While a Life Scout, a young man must serve actively for six months in one or more of the acceptable positions of responsibility listed in the next section. (The Scoutmaster-approved leadership project is not an option for Eagle.)
Which positions count toward the requirements?
In Scouting, as in life, “responsibility” can take on a number of different forms. Not every young man needs to be a senior patrol leader or patrol leader. He can still take on responsibilities that help him grow.
In a Boy Scout troop, there are 16 eligible positions of responsibility for Star and Life. There are even more if you count positions in a Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship. (See the next section for more on that.) For Eagle, there are 15 options within the troop and more in a crew or ship.
Having a number of eligible positions helps larger troops. In these troops, it would be impossible for each Scout to take a turn as senior patrol leader or assistant senior patrol leader. Multiple options also allows a Scout to find a role that interests him.
Here’s the list. Two things to note:
- You won’t see assistant patrol leader listed here. It is not an approved position of responsibility for rank advancement.
- Bugler, while acceptable for the Star and Life ranks, is not an approved position of responsibility for the Eagle Scout rank.
Boy Scout troop: Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler*, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster or outdoor ethics guide.
Varsity Scout team: Captain, co-captain, program manager, squad leader, team secretary, Order of the Arrow team representative, librarian, historian, quartermaster, chaplain aide, instructor, den chief, webmaster or outdoor ethics guide.
Venturing crew: President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, den chief, historian, guide, quartermaster, chaplain aide or outdoor ethics guide.
Sea Scout ship: Boatswain, boatswain’s mate, purser, yeoman, storekeeper, crew leader, media specialist, specialist, den chief or chaplain aide.
Lone Scout: Leadership responsibility in your school, religious organization, club or elsewhere in your community.
*Only counts toward Star and Life — not Eagle.
Note: Guide to Advancement, topic 220.127.116.11.1, states that service in positions of responsibilities in provisional units, such as a jamboree troop or Philmont trek crew, does not count toward this requirement.
How can these requirements be met in a Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship?
It’s a little-known fact that a young man who earned First Class as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may continue with Boy Scout advancement in Venturing or Sea Scouting until he turns 18.
If desired, he may maintain multiple (dual) registration in a troop or team, and also in a crew or ship. He can work on rank advancement in either unit.
See section 18.104.22.168 of the Guide to Advancement for more.
This rule allows an older Scout who might be less active with his troop to still meet the position of responsibility requirements by serving as, for example, crew president or ship yeoman.
Do Venturing and Sea Scouting awards have position of responsibility requirements?
Yep! Young men and young women get plenty of leadership experience as they work on Venturing and Sea Scouting awards and ranks.
In Venturing, leadership requirements are a big part of the Pathfinder Award and the Summit Award — the second-highest and highest Venturing awards, respectively. Each award requires a young man or young woman to serve six months in an elected position.
In Sea Scouting, the Able and Quartermaster ranks require a young man or young woman to serve as an elected officer. For the Ordinary rank, a young person must serve as an activity chair for a major ship event.