Common Scouting Abbreviations

By: Posted On: 2020-09-14

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Several of our readers have mentioned that they wished that someone would post a list of the abbreviations and acronyms that are regularly used in Scouting… So we got to thinking that this would be an excellent place to do just that. Also, it may be that as your kids who gotten involved in Scouting, you have already discovered that Scouting is full of abbreviations. If you like abbreviations, they can make getting information across a bit easier; for those who are forgetful, they can make life a little harder. To make the first group happy and help the latter, here is a compilation of some important abbreviations (and terms) to know as you get more and more involved in Scouting.  So glance it over for now and remember it is here for you later... 


According to, here is a common list of the abbreviations that are currently in use by most Scouts.

AAMES – Association of African Methodist Episcopal Scouters

ABS – Association of Baptists for Scouting

ACM – Assistant Cubmaster

AD – activities director

ADL – assistant den leader

AGC – Annual Giving Campaign

APL – assistant patrol leader

APO – Alpha Phi Omega

ASE – assistant Scout executive

ASM – Assistant Scoutmaster

ASPL – assistant senior patrol leader

B-P – Baden-Powell

BM – business manager

BSA – Boy Scouts of America

BSE – borough Scout executive

CD – camping director

COPE – Project COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience)

COR – chartered organization representative

CPD – Center for Professional Development

CSE – Chief Scout Executive

DCAD – distinguished citizen award dinner

DCS – director of camping service

DE – district executive

DEm/p – district executive-multiple-person; district executive (multiple person); district executive, multiple/person (obsolete)

DFS – director of field service

DFiS – director of finance service

DL – den leader

DSS – director of support services

DiD – district director

EnD – endowment director

FD – field director

FOS – Friends of Scouting

FiD – finance director

G.O.L.D. – Growth Opportunities in Leadership Development (obsolete)

JASM – junior assistant Scoutmaster

JOTA – Jamboree-on-the-Air

KISMIF – Keep It Simple, Make It Fun

LNT – Leave No Trace

MCCS – Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting

NAES – National Association of Episcopals for Scouting

NAPS – National Association of Presbyterian Scouters

NAUMS – National Association of United Methodist Scouters

NCCS – National Catholic Committee on Scouting

NCS – National Camping School

NDC – National Distribution Center

NEI – National Executive Institute (obsolete)

NESA – National Eagle Scout Association

NJLIC – National Junior Leader Instructor Camp

NLAS – National Lutheran Association of Scouters

NLATS – National Lodge Adviser Training Seminar

NLTC – National Leadership Training Conference

NOAC – National Order of the Arrow Conference

NRRC – National Religious Relationships Committee

NTS – National Training School (obsolete)

NYILT – National Youth Instructor Leadership Training

NYLT – National Youth Leadership Training

OA – Order of the Arrow

OFC – Operation First Class (obsolete)

P.R.A.Y. – Programs of Religious Activities With Youth

PD – program director

PD-L1 – Professional Development Level 1

PD-L2 – Professional Development Level 2

PD-L3 – Professional Development Level 3

PL – patrol leader

PLC – patrol leaders’ council

PRD – public relations director

PTC – Philmont Training Center

SDE – senior district executive

SE – Scout executive

SEA – Scout Executives’ Alliance

SME – Sustaining Membership Enrollment (obsolete)

SPL – senior patrol leader

TAY – total available youth

TD – training director

TRAIL – TRAIL (Teaching Resources And Individual Leadership) Boss

USFIS – United States Foundation for International Scouting

WDL – Webelos den leader

WOSM – World Organization of the Scout Movement

WSB – World Scout Bureau


Here is a different list of what another Scouting web site calls Scout speak. This list is from a web site called


Activity Uniform: The official term for what is usually referred to as the Class B uniform. The activity uniform is a more relaxed uniform intended for campouts, hikes, outings, and other activities.

Adult-in-Charge (AiC): The Adult who assists and guides the Scout-in-Charge in the planning of a campout or other activity.

Adult Patrol: Troop 808 has two adult patrols – The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters are part of the Coffee Mug Patrol, and the Committee Members are part of Stealth Patrol. We also have a Parent Patrol, which we encourage all our scout parents to participate in as requested actively.

APL (Assistant Patrol Leader): This is a Youth Leadership position. The APL assists the Patrol Leader (PL).

ASM (Assistant Scoutmaster): This is an Adult Leadership position. The ASM assists the Scoutmaster (SM).

ASPL (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader): This is a Youth Leadership position. The ASPL assists the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL).

Baden-Powell: Lord Baden-Powell was the founder of the scouting movement.

Be Prepared: The motto of Boy Scouting.

Blue Card: These are the record of Merit Badge's progress. In order to work with a Merit Badge Counselor, the Scout must first obtain a Blue Card from the Advancement Chair, have it signed by the Scoutmaster, and present it to the Merit Badge Counselor he is working with for them to initial their progress and finally sign off when all the requirements have been met. The Scout will then take the card back to his Scoutmaster for a completion signature and then present it to the Advancement Chair for recording. The Scout should keep his copy of every Blue Card until after he has reached the rank of Eagle. Plastic baseball trading cardholders work well for storing Blue Cards.

Board of Review (BOR): As a requirement of each rank advancement, a Scout must appear individually before a group of three to six adults (usual members of the Troop Committee) to ensure that the Scout has met the requirements for that rank. By policy, the Scoutmaster (SM) and Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) cannot sit on a Board of Review (BOR). A Board of Review (BOR) takes place after a Scoutmaster Conference (SMC) for Rank Advancement, when a Scout requests it or if the Troop Committee feels the Scout needs it. Eagle Boards of Review are conducted in a slightly different manner and will include someone from the District level.

Bridging: A ceremony where Webelo Cub Scouts cross a ceremonial bridge to signify their transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

BSA: Initials that stand for the Boy Scouts of America.

BSA Lifeguard: A 3-year certification awarded to Scouts or Scouters who meet prescribed requirements in aquatics skills.

Buddy System: Whenever 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.

Camporee: Campout attended by several troops within the District.

Chaplain: An Adult Leader position, who guides Scouts related to the observance of the 12th point of the Scout Law – A Scout is Reverent. Is a mentor to the Chaplain’s Aide.

Chaplain’s Aide: A Youth Leadership position. The Troops’ religious leader.

Chartered Organization: The organization that is officially chartered by the BSA to carry out the scouting program. For Troop 808, our Chartered Organization is Atonement Lutheran Church.

Chartered Organization Representative (COR): The main liaison between the chartered organization and the troop, as assigned by the chartering organization.

Class A Uniform: This is another term for the Field Uniform, which is the complete, formal uniform worn for most regular meetings, Courts of Honor (COH), travel to and from camps, special occasions, and other times as requested by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) or Scoutmaster (SM).

Class B Uniform: This is another term for the Activity Uniform, which is the more relaxed uniform intended for campouts, hikes, outings, and other activities.

Commissioner: Adult volunteers working at the District or Council level, who are assigned to units and are a resource to unit leaders.

Committee Chair: A registered Adult appointed by the Charter Organization to chair the Troop Committee. This person presides at the Troop Committee meetings and works closely with the Chartered Organization Representative (COR) and the Scoutmaster (SM) to ensure the scouting program meets BSA guidelines.

COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience): BSA activity involving heights, trust, and team building.

Council: A group of Districts makes up a Council. Troop 808 is in the Denver Area Council.

Court of Honor: An awards ceremony held quarterly where Scouts are recognized for their rank advancements, merit badges earned, and other accomplishments. Family members are encouraged to attend. Refreshments are generally served after the ceremony.

Cracker Barrel: A term for a social gathering with refreshments, generally held at the end of day on campouts.

Cub Scout Mode: The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are both excellent programs. However, they are very different. Cub Scouts progress together, led by adults. Boy Scouts progress at their own rate and are led by other youth/scouts. It can take some time for those that were in Cub Scouts to understand the different ways things are done at the Boy Scout level. Until such time as an adult and/or youthfully grasp the concepts of a Scout Led Troop, they may be said to be “In Cub Scout Mode.” (Please realize, this is NOT meant as an insult. It is more of a short-hand reminder.)  

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

District: A subdivision of a Council. Troop 808 is in the Timberline District.

Dutch Oven: A large cast-iron covered pot used to bake and cook in over a wood or charcoal fire.

Fast Start Training: Online training is a quick orientation for new leaders.

Field Uniform: This is the official term for what is commonly referred to as the Class A Uniform. The Field Uniform is the complete, formal uniform worn for most regular meetings, Courts of Honor (COH), travel to and from camps, special occasions, and other times as requested by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) or Scoutmaster (SM).

Firem’n Chit: A certification given to Scouts who have been instructed in and understand fire safety rules.

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.

Grubmaster: The Scout responsible for developing the food shopping list and securing the food needed by his patrol for an outing/campout. The Grubmaster isn’t necessarily the Cook for the meals but may participate in the food preparation.

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 is recommendations that should be followed. Troop leaders frequently consult this to see if planned activities are being done safely and within prescribed BSA policy.

Investment in Character (IIC): An annual fundraiser for the council.

Jamboree: Scout meeting or campout on a grand scale. There are district, regional, national, and international Jamborees.

Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI): Scouting and ham radio join forces to make many international contacts through the “air” waves (JOTA), and through the Internet (JOTI), traditionally the 3rd weekend in October.

Journey to Excellence (JTE): BSA’s performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our Troop, encouraging excellence in providing a quality program. Troop 808 has maintained a Gold rating and received recognition in 2015 for the highest Troop score within the Timberline District.

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM): A youth between 16 and 18, who has already held major leadership positions within the troop, appointed by the Scoutmaster (SM) to help in guiding the troop and youth leaders.

Junior Leader Training (JLT): A training class taught by the senior youth leaders for newly elected and appointed youth leaders.

Klondike Derby: A winter/snow oriented competition organized by the district with team building games and activities.

Leadership: 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 list 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.

Life to Eagle Advisor/Mentor: An adult leader who is an Eagle and is eager to assist Life Scouts with any questions they may have on their journey to the Eagle rank.

Merit Badge Sash: As Scouts earn Merit Badges, they are sewn on a Merit Badge sash, which is normally worn only for formal occasions such as a Court of Honor (COH).

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

New Leader Essentials (NLE): An introductory training session that highlights the values, aims, history, funding, and methods of Scouting.

NTE (Not a Troop Event): This designation will be placed on calendar listings that may be of interest to Scouts but are not scheduled to be attended as a Troop event.

Order of the Arrow (OA): A national brotherhood of Scout honor campers of the BSA. Their peers elect members after meeting basic requirements of camping knowledge and experience. Scouts and Scouters can be elected to the OA. The OA motto of “Cheerful Service” indicates their purpose. They are often found improving scout camps, running district and council events, and providing service to the scouting community.

OA Ordeal: The initiation ceremony experience for new Order of the Arrow members generally involving personal introspection, service to improve camp, and ceremonies based on Indian legend or lore.

Palms: After a Scout reaches the rank of Eagle, they can earn a Palm for every five additional Merit Badges they complete and three months of service they provide to their troop for each Palm.

Parent Patrol: The Scouts’ parents and guardians who are not volunteering in other leadership positions are part of the Parent Patrol, whose duties include assisting as needed and directed by the PLC with transportation, pot lucks, and other needs of the Troop.

Patrol: The Patrol is the basic unit within a troop. It’s 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 Patrol Leader (PL).

Patrol Boxes/Equipment: The Patrol Equipment consists of 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 and inventoried after each outing.

Patrol Leader (PL): The elected leader of the patrol. An Assistant Patrol Leader (APL) can be elected or appointed by the Patrol Leader (PL) to help in running the patrol.

Patrol Leaders Council (PLC): Made up of the youth leadership of the troop. The PLC meets once a month to plan meeting themes, campouts, and activities. The PLC also meets twice a year to work on the long-term planning of campouts and other activities.

Permission Slip: To go on any outing, the Scout must have a Permission Slip signed by his parent. The Permission Slip also provides details about departure time, cost, and special directives. It is the Scout's responsibility to make sure they have the appropriate Permission Slip signed and turned in by the due date for the outing.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Otherwise known as a life vest. Those used in scouting must be US Coast Guard approved. The Guide to Safe Scouting will be followed as to when a PFD will be required.

Philmont: A high adventure Boy Scout camp located in the northeast corner of New Mexico.

Quartermaster (QM): The Quartermaster is responsible for keeping an inventory of equipment and works to maintain the equipment’s good condition. There are three types of Quartermaster, Adult, Troop, and Patrol. The Patrol Quartermaster works with the Troop Quartermaster to ensure equipment is ready and in good working order for his patrol’s needs. The Troop Quartermaster works with the Adult Quartermaster and is responsible for ALL the troop equipment (including Patrol equipment).

Re-Charter: The 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.

Register or Regrets: To help with planning campouts and other activities, all Scouts need to log onto the Troop website regularly, and for every Event listed indicate if they will be attending (select Register, then Yes) or if they will not be able to attend (select Regrets, then-No) and Submit.

Roundtable (RT): Monthly meeting for adult leaders to exchange ideas, fellowship, and announcements that are run by the district. Timberline holds its Roundtable on the first Thursday of each month.

Safe Swim Defense: An eight-step plan for safely conducting swimming activities.

Safety Afloat: Guidelines for safe troop activities utilizing watercraft.

Safety Circle: A safety zone around someone using a pocket knife, hatchet, ax, or another sharp tool. Basically it is an arm’s length plus the length of the tool in all directions. No one should be in another person’s Safety Circle when a sharp tool is in use. The Safety Circle is euphemistically referred to as the Blood Circle by many scouts.

Scout-in-Charge (SiC): The Scout who takes the lead in planning a campout or activity for his Patrol or Troop.

Scout Led Troop: Unlike almost any other youth program, Boy Scouting is youth led and youth-run. Adults do not run a Boy Scout Troop. Instead, the adult leaders support and mentor the youth leaders. The key method of learning is doing. At Troop 808 our Scouts have the opportunity to learn leadership skills by practicing them. Youth leaders will make mistakes, and the adults are there to guide them, pat them on the back for every attempt, and encourage them to do their best.

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

Scout Sunday: The BSA designates the Sunday that falls before February 8th (Scouting Anniversary date) as the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to scouting. It is often observed by the Troop attending church services with the members of their Charter Organization and serving them brunch as a way to thank them.

Scoutbook: A web application designed for mobile devices to keep track of a scouts advancement, camping nights, hiking miles, service hours, and more. Provides real-time access to progress.

Scouter: Any registered Adult Leader.

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

Scoutmaster Conference (SMC): A formal meeting that takes place at a Troop meeting or activity between a Scout and the Scoutmaster (SM), or a person the Scoutmaster (SM) designates, to review a Scouts’ progress. A Scoutmaster Conference (SMC) takes place at advancement time prior to a Board of Review (BOR), when a Scout requests it or if the Scoutmaster (SM) feels the Scout needs it.

Scoutmaster Specific Training: The basic Adult Leader Training. Although this is sometimes called Scoutmaster Fundamentals, this is an excellent training program for any adult wanting to become more involved in the Boy Scouts program, or who just wants to learn more about how the program works.

Scouts Own: Non-denominational religious observance of reflection usually conducted on campouts. The Scouts Own allows each Scout the opportunity to obey the twelfth point of the Scout Law in his own way. Let your troop leaders know if you do not want your son to participate in this activity, as we wish to respect every family’s religious beliefs.

Sea Base: A high adventure Scout camp located in the Florida Keys.

Senior Patrol Leader (SPL): The senior-most elected youth leader of the troop. The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) is in charge of the troop at all functions and activities. There are one or more Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders (ASPL) to help him in running the troop.

Silver Beaver: A recognition given to Scouters by the National Court of Honor for distinguished service to youth within the council.

Totin’ Chip: A certification that enables the bearer to use knives, axes, and saws. The Scout must earn it through educational and hands-on safety sessions led by an adult leader or older Scout appointed by the Scoutmaster (SM). Any time a Scout is observed doing something unsafe with a sharp tool, the card may be taken away and must be re-earned.

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

Troop Committee: The registered adults that provide oversight, assistance, and guidance to the Scoutmaster (SM) in carrying out the scouting program within the troop. The Troop Committee is responsible for providing the necessary resources requested by the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) and Scoutmaster (SM) that are required to carry out the scouting program. Key members include the Committee Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Quartermaster, Life to Eagle Advisor, and Coordinators for: Outdoor/Activities, Advancement, Membership, Community Service, Training, and Records.

Two-Deep Leadership: A Boy Scout Policy mandating that 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.

VCE (Venture Crew Event): This designation will be placed on calendar listings of Venture Crew 808 (which are not a Troop event).

Wood Badge: Advanced training for Boy Scout Adult Leaders. Any adult who has taken Basic Leader Training can attend this advanced training course to expand their knowledge of the scouting program and be of more help to the troop.

Youth Protection Training (YPT): A 30-minute interactive video presentation and training program that is offered online. The program provides valuable information on how to recognize child abuse, how to set up safeguards, and how to report suspected abuse. All registered adults are required to take Youth Protection Training (YPT) every two years. It is also encouraged that ALL parents take YPT, so they better understand why adult leaders strictly adhere to these rules.







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