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Scouting
Terms, Acronyms and Abbreviations
A to C


Choose a Letter Range From These:
A to C D to L M to S T to Z


Ad Altare Dei - A religious medal earned by Catholic Boy Scouts of America.

Advisor - A non-paid adult volunteer leader (21 years old or older, man or woman), who is appointed to lead a BSA Explorer Post, Venturing Crew or Order of the Arrow Lodge.

Air Scouts - An old old Scouting aviation oriented program with units that in the old days were part of the BSA Air Explorer Post program. They now come under the Learning for Life Program in the BSA.

Akela - The name of respect for a good adult leader in Cub Scouting, such as Cubmaster, Den Leader, Den Chief, school teacher, or a parent/guardian. Also a character in The Jungle Book, written by Rudyard Kipling, which was used to create the Cub Scout Program by Baden-Powell and a wolf cartoon character that represents Akela in BSA Cub Scout handbooks and literature.

Alpha Phi Omega (APO) - A college age organization made up primarily of former and current members of BSA.

Arrow of Light (AOL) - The highest Cub Scout (BSA) youth award. It is a blue rectangular patch with a yellow arrow that has seven rays of light above it. It's the only Cub Scout award thata boy can wear on his Boy Scout uniform shirt. A Boy Scout (youth) can wear it under the left uniform pocket if he was awarded it while he was a Cub Scout. There is also an adult Scout leader's square knot that can be worn above the right pocket to signify that the adult earned the AOL when he was a Cub Scout.

Arrow Points - A BSA Cub Scout award for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts. They are small arrow shaped patches (badges) worn under the rankbadge. The gold arrow is given to a Cub Scout for their first ten completed electives, and the silver arrow for every subsequentten completed electives. A Cub Scout can earn strings of thesefor each rank badge if they are high achievers.

Assistant Cubmaster - A BSA volunteer Scout Leader (21 year old or older, man or woman) who assists the Cubmaster in running a Cub Scout Pack. They help and backup the Cubmaster in beingthe master-of-ceremonies at a Pack Meeting.

Assistant Denner - A Cub Scout youth leader who helps the Denner, the Den Chief and the Den Leader with Den and Pack meetings. This is generally a rotating position so each Cub Scout may serve and learn a little about helping and leadership.

Assistant Denner Shoulder Cord - A BSA Cub Scout Denner award in the form of a gold (yellow) single-strand shoulder cord and yellow tab which is worn on the left shoulder with the cord suspended under the arm of the uniform shirt. It is only worn only during a term of office and removed when the term is completed.

Assistant Den Leader - A BSA volunteer Scout Leader (21 year old or older, man or woman) who assists the Den Leader in planning and conducting Wolf and Bear Cub Scout Den meetings and the advancementprogram.

Assistant Scoutmaster - A BSA volunteer Scout Leader, (21 year old or older, man or woman) who assists the Scoutmaster in a Boy Scout Troop.

ASM - A BSA abreviation for Assistant Scoutmaster that has been replaced by with SA (Scoutmaster Assistant).

Assistant Webelos Den Leader - A BSA adult Scout leader (21 year old or older, man or woman) who assists the Webelos Den Leader in running a Cub Scout Webelos Den meetings and the advancement program. A Webelos Den is for boys in the 4th and 5th school grade.

B-P - Short for Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (born February 22, 1857, died January 8, 1941, he was 83 years of age when he died). He was the founder of the world-wide Scout Movement. As a British Army Colonel, who was sent to South Africa to command and defend the city of Mafeking in 1899 during the Boer War. To instruct his poorly prepared and organized troops he wrote a military training manual called "Aids To Scouting for N.C.O.'s and Men" in 1899. It taught his troops how to scout, to track, stalk, spy and how to survive in the field. When he returned to England in 1903 he found that boys were using his military scouting manual for fun and games. In 1908 he rewrote his military scouting manual and called it "Scouting For Boys", which originally was issued in six booklets which were used to form the Boy Scouts. Girls became interested in the program too, so B-P started the Girl Guides and wrote a book for them in 1912 called the "Handbook For Girl Guides". B-P's sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, ran the girl program in the beginning. Juliette Gordon Low (the founder of GSUSA) met B-P in 1911 and brought his program to the USA to form the Girl Scouts. In 1912, Olave St Claire Soames married Robert Baden-Powell and took over the management of the Girl Guides and became The World Chief Guide. Olave Baden-Powell built the Girl Guides into the largest organization for girls and women ever seen. So you could saythat B-P started all Scouting for boys and girls as we know it.

Baden-Powell Patrol Award - A discontinued BSA award that was in the form of a small patch with a single star in the center of it. It was worn by all patrol members above their patrol emblem on the right uniform shirt sleeve. The Baden-Powell Patrol Star Award was a PATROL, not Scout, honor. To earn the award a Patrol must:
1) Spirit. Have a patrol flag and rally around it. Put your patrol design on all your equipment. Use your patrol yell or cheer and patrol call. Keep patrol records up to date for 3 months.
2) Patrol meetings. Hold two patrol meetings each month for three months.
3) Hikes, outdoor activities, and other events. Take part in one of these within three months.
4) Good Turns or service projects. Do two patrol leaders' council approved Good Turns or service projects within three months.
5) Advancement. Help two patrol members advance one rank during three months.
6) Uniform. Wear the uniform correctly (at least six scouts).
7) Patrol leaders' council. Represent the patrol during 3 patrol leaders' council meetings within three months.

Baloo - A bear cartoon character that represents the Bear Den Leader in BSA Cub Scout handbooks and literature. Also acharacter in The Jungle Book, written by Rudyard Kipling, which was used to create the Cub Scout Program by Baden-Powell.

Bear - The third rank badge and level in BSA Cub Scouting (for third grade boys). The award is a diamond shaped patch with a bear's head in the center of it. It is worn on the blue Cub Scout uniform shirt left pocket.

Bear Handbook - A BSA publication used by boys and their Bear Den Leaders to earn the Bear award.

Beard, Daniel Carter (1850-1914) - Author, artist, conservationist, and naturalist, and one of the first organizers of the BSA.He was the founder "The Sons Daniel Boone", a outdoor boy program.Which was merged into the BSA. He was also an illustrator forthe author Mark Twain.

Be Prepared - This is the Boy Scout Motto. When B-P was asked, "Be prepared for what?" He said, "Why, for any old thing!" One of the distinctive features of the scouting movement introduced by B-P.

To Be Square - This was part of the old Cub Scout promise from 1930 to 1970 when it was dropped because being square (not cool) became a derogatory remark of our modern times.

Board of Review - abreviated BoR, is one of the steps needed for BSA Boy Scout advancement, where a boy scout is questioned, but not re-examined, by a group of adult scout leaders.

Boatswain - The elected youth leader of a Sea Explorer ship, also a Navy (military) term.

Bobcat Badge - The first youth award of Cub Scouting that a new Cub earns by knowing the basic requirements of Cub Scouts (such as the Cub Scout Sign, Cub Scout Promise, Cub Scout Motto, Law of the Pack, Cub Scout Salute and Handshake, etc.) The award is a diamond shaped badge (patch) with a bobcat head embriodered on it. It the early days, it was a round pin-on brass badge worn on civilain clothes, and not worn on the uniform.

Boyce, William D. (1858-1929) - The man who brought Scouting to America, and the main organizer of the Boy Scouts of America. He knew how to work with boys by running weekly publications that employed over 20,000 sales boys. And when he was helped in a London fog, by an unknown Boy Scout who would not take pay for his service, Boyce was very impressed. He was so impressed that after talking with Baden-Powell, he brought the idea of Boy Scouting back to America. He also founded the "Lone Scouts" for boys that did not have a Pack or Troop to belong to in the geographic area, but wanted to be part of Boy Scouting.

Boy Scout - A registered male member of a nationally recognized Scouting Program. In the USA, they are paid members of theBSA. Members must be 10.5 years old and have earned the AOL or be 11 years of age without the AOL, but not older than 18 years old.

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) - The American national Scouting organization chartered by the United States Congress. Founded and incorporated on February 8, 1910.

Boys' Life Magazine - A monthly magazine for boys and Boy Scouts. The first issue of Boys' Life appeared in April 1911 and cost five cents. It was published by a Massachusetts company and not BSA. In 1912 Joseph Lane made it a part of a reading program for boys. BSA bought the rights to it and have been printing it ever since. NOTE: Adult BSA leaders have a magazine called "Scouting," the first issue was printed in New York, N.Y. on April 15, 1913.

Brownsea - An Island off the southern coast of England where Baden-Powell tested his theory of the Boy Scout program and the Patrol Method. B-P selected twenty-one boys from every economic levels to camp for one week on this Island in July, 1907. In this first scouting experiment B-P tried his ideas of scouting aims and methods. Now many BSA Councils offer youth training and a summer camp program for new Scouts called "Brownsea" in honor of the first Scout camp on Brownsea Island.

BSA - An abbreviation for the "Boy Scouts of America."

Camporee - A campout of usually two nights and three days where multiple Boy Scout troops come together and hold Patrol contests that test Scout Skills. The boys earn awards patrol and troop awards (usually in the form of ribbons for their flag) and they usually receive a participants patch to wear on the right uniform shirt pocket for attending.

Canadian Boy Scouts Association - A boy scout program in Canada that operates under a Royal Charter granted by King Edward VII. It was a branch of the British Boy Scouts Association for many years.

Charter - A written permission (in a certificate form) given by a youth organization for a youth program to an sponsoring institution (called a charter organization in the BSA program) that allows them to form, organize and maintain a Scout unit.

Chartered Organization - An entity or organization that is chartered by a national scout organization to own and operate a unit in the Scouting movement.

Climb on Safely - A BSA program that teaches safe climbing and rappelling activities at all levels of the Scouting program (Tiger Cubs to Venturing). See BSA publication: Climb On Safely, No. 20-099.

Commissioner - A volunteer Scout Leader (Scouter) who is the quality control person for the program at the unit, district, or council level.

Commissioner's Arrowhead Award - An award presented by a BSA Boy Scout Council to a District Commisoner or Assistant District Commissioner (un-paid volunteer Scout Leaders) after they complete several requirements and projects. The award is a white arrowhead shaped patch (badge) worn on the left sleeve of the uniform shirt under the District Commisoner shoulder patch. To earn this award a District Commissioner have to perform a list of items such as:
1) Fill in and follow up on a Unit Commissioner Work Sheet (Pack BSA No.34125A, Troop BSA No.34126A, Crew BSA No.33660A and Post BSA No.33619A) for each unit assigned to them.
2) Complete an evaluation of all commissioner they supervise.
3) Based on evaluation, realign the staff to produce more effective unit service. (Not required for assistants.)
4) Conduct a membership and leadership inventory in each assigned unit.
5) Attend six district commissioner staff meetings and provide the training topic for one meeting.
6) Participate in charter renewal meeting resulting in on-time unit registration.
7) Participate in charter presentation.
8) Attend a council commissioner conference or actively participate in a major council event.
9) Provide personal coaching for the commissioners you supervise.
NOTE: Variations of this list are used by different local Boy Scout Councils.

COPE - an acronym for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, a Boy Scout program that offers a series of outdoor challenges, beginning with basic group initiative games and progressing to more complicated low-course and high-course activities.

Court of Honor - A public ceremony attended by Scouting members, family and friends where a Scout is awarded the rank or badges that he or she has earned.

Coach - A BSA volunteer Scout Leader, (21 year old or older, man or woman) who works in a BSA Varsity Scouting program.

Council - In the BSA it is an organization responsible for scout units within a designated geographic area. They organize leader training courses, offer and own Scout summer camps, have a Service Center (Council Office) and organize events using adult volunteers as needed. The Council is responsible for training, membership, advancement, and all records for its units and members. Each state has one or more Councils that provide support to units in their geographic area. There is one National Council that governs all local BSA Councils and their are BSA Councils in foreign countries that provide a Scouting program to US Military personnel and diplomatic agencies.

Cracker Barrel - A scout term for a get together or informal meeting, usually held at night after a days events where things are discussed over drinks and snacks (usually crackers, cheese and cold meats).

Crew - The term for a group, such as a Venture Crew or group of hikers at Philmont Scout Ranch, etc.

Csatari, Joseph - The current illustrator for BSA. Has worked for BSA since 1953. He studied with Norman Rockwell and has a similar artistic style, rending detailed and realistic paintings.

Cub Scout Leader Book - A BSA guide for all adult Cub Scout Leaders.

Cub Scout Leader Specific Training Book - A BSA guide for all adult Cub Scout Leaders.

Cubmaster - An adult Cub Scout leader (21 years old or older, man or woman) who runs a Cub Scout Pack. They are the master-of-ceremonies at a Pack Meeting. The Den Leaders report to the Cubmaster and the Cubmaster reports to a Pack Committee.

Cub Scout - A registered male youth member of the Boy Scouts of America who is six years old (1st school grade) to 10.5 years old (5th school grade) and belongs to a Pack. Baden-Powell wrote the first (English) Cub Scout handbook in 1916, it was called "The Wolf Cub's Handbook." Cub Scouting did not become a part of the BSA program until 1930. In Canada, the Untied Kingdom and many foreign countries Cub Scouts are for both male and female children.

Cub Scout Leader How-To Book - A BSA publication that helps Cub Scout Leaders with games, craft and activities.


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Last Revised 05-14-06
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