Homepage Forums Venturing, Exploring and Sea Scouting Scout Positions of Responsibility, Elected vs Selected

This topic contains 9 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Bill Berry 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #41224 Reply

    Committee Chair

    Our troop has a new Scoutmaster with a great deal of scouting experience and a dynamic personality…he’s reenergizing our scouting program and we’re very grateful to have him. However, a question has come up over the selection of scouts who fill the scout positions of responsibility other than SPL and PLs. (No issue over the election of the SPL or PLS, or the appointment by those scout leaders of their assistants). We’re talking about the Quartermaster, Scribe, Chaplain Aide, Historian, etc. The SM is of the strong opinion that all those positions should be elected by the troop at-large, not appointed by the SPL. However, the BSA reference materials I’ve reviewed (SM Handbook, SPL Handbook) indicate that the SPL has the responsibility to “select” scouts to serve in those positions. I don’t have the scouting experience of our SM, and don’t even know if this is a significant enough issue to challenge, but as the committee chair I would prefer our troop practices comply with what seems to be clear guidance in all the BSA reference materials I’ve seen. Additionally, I can see the value of the real value of the SPL having the responsibility to put together his support team. The SM Handbook says the SPL should “make his decisions on the basis of candidates’ overall qualifications rather than merely on friendships.” That’s a valuable lesson.
    Any thoughts or advice on the right way for us to go with this? Should those scouts be elected by the troop or selected by the SPL, and does it matter?

  • #41247 Reply


    SPL should appoint in conference with the SM, but …

    This is not a hill to die on. If your QM, Scribe, Historian, Bugler, etc … are leading the troop as they should, leave well enough alone. As a committee chair, you may want to see if you all want to raise funds to underwrite training for SPL’s and PL’s (e.g. NYLT) so that they can learn about troop operations from other units.

    P.S. – You may have accidentally posted in venturing, but this may also apply to crews and the election of officers and appointing of activity chairs. We aren’t always “by the book”, but your officers should at least know what the book says!

  • #47161 Reply

    John – JASM

    In my troop we elect the SPL, PL’s(of course), and the QM, sometimes some other positions but that is all.

  • #48093 Reply


    We only elect the SPL and PLs. We view the other positions as “cabinet” members, and the SPL has the right to choose them (with the advice and consent of the SM).

    The handbook says that besides SPL and PL, the SPL is to appoint them.

  • #54204 Reply


    BSA documentation for the SM and youth spell all this out.

    The following positions are APPOINTED BY THE SPL (hey, they experienced a democratic process to ELECT a LEADER, now let him lead!)

    Chaplain Aid
    OA representative

    The following positions are appointed by the SM and/or serve at his pleasure:
    Troop Guide
    Den Chief
    Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
    Leave No Trace Trainer

  • #60256 Reply

    Tom Linton

    Paul, can you direct me to where these distinction between appointed by SPL vs. appointed Sm appear in BSA literature or a BSA website? Thank you.

  • #60433 Reply

    Alex Duvall

    In our Troop, the SPL is elected, however, PLs, as well as all PORs are chosen by the SPL and approved by the Scoutmaster. The reason we do this is because our SM firmly believes that PLs should be at least a Star Scout Rank. In our Troop, Life/Eagle Scouts serve as SPL, ASPL, Troop Guides, and JASMs. Star Scouts serve as Patrol Leaders, Instructors, and the head Quartermaster (we are a larger troop and need more than 1 quartermaster). First Class Scouts fill all other Positions of Responsibility.

  • #61051 Reply

    Bill Berry

    As stated above they should be selected by the SPL in consultation with the SM. The SM can guide him in making the selections pointing out his responsibility to try and select youth that can successfully fill the positions but also youth that may need a position to complete a rank requirement or need a position to continue their development as a leader. This is one of the most important consultations the SM can have with the SPL as he shows the new SPL all the factors that need to be considered in selecting a team.

  • #74740 Reply

    Keith Whiteside

    So what is the minimum rank requirement to run for SPL? We have always said minimum of First Class, but we are getting some kickback from a parent that wants her Scout to run for office.

  • #187714 Reply

    Ed Samsen

    My feeling on this is as follows. As a scout in the late 60s through mid-70s PL and SPL/ASPL were elected SPL/ASPL top two votes from the entire troop holding 1st Class or better. SPL then appointed his staff Scribe QM, etc. with advice and consent of the Scoutmaster. PL elected by patrol his assistant was appointed 2nd Class or better.

    As Scoutmaster I followed similar guidelines for the Troop An elected leader needs to have staff he can work with….they need leadership/ positions of responsibility to advance as well. I did have a Weblos den join the troop en masse, they asked to join as a patrol, I agreed with the stipulation that a member of the Leadership Corps be assigned as their initial Patrol Leader for 6 months to get them up and running then they could elect a leader from their own.


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