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 a Boy Scout troop, there are 16 eligible positions of responsibility for Star and Life. For Eagle, there are 15 options within the troop.
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
A Scout at least 16 years of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills may be appointed by the senior patrol leader, with the consent of the Scoutmaster, to serve as a junior assistant Scoutmaster. A junior assistant Scoutmaster follows the guidance of the Scoutmaster in providing support and supervision to the troop’s other boy leaders. He can be a valuable resource for teaching Scouting skills to younger Scouts and in providing leadership to the troop. Upon turning 18, a junior assistant Scoutmaster is eligible to become an assistant Scoutmaster. A troop may have more than one junior assistant Scoutmaster.
Senior Patrol Leader (SPL)
The senior patrol leader (SPL) is responsible for the troop 99's overall operation. With guidance from the Scoutmaster, they takes charge of troop meetings, of the patrol leaders’ council (PLC), and of all troop activities, and does everything they can to help each patrol be successful. The SPL is responsible for annual program planning conferences and assists the Scoutmaster in conducting the troop leadership training. The SPL presides over the patrol leaders’ council and works closely with each patrol leader to plan troop meetings and make arrangements for troop activities.
Assistant Patrol Leader (ASPL)
The SPL appoints the assistant senior patrol leader (ASPL) with the approval of the Scoutmaster. Among the assistant senior patrol leader’s specific duties are providing training and guidance for the troop’s quartermaster, scribe, Order of the Arrow representative, historian, librarian, and instructors. The ASPL serves in place of the SPL at meetings and events when the SPL must be absent. The ASPL is not a member of a patrol but may take part in the activities of a Venture patrol. Large troops may have more than one ASPL.
The scribe is the troop’s secretary. He keeps the minutes of the patrol leaders’ council meetings but is not a voting member of the council. The scribe may also keep attendance records of other troop activities, such as campouts and service projects. During troop meetings, he works with patrol scribes to ensure the accurate recording of attendance and payment of dues, and to keep advancement records up-to-date. The scribe may also be responsible for maintaining a troop Web site with information that is current and correct. An adult who is a member of the troop committee may be assigned to help the troop scribe carry out his responsibilities.
The patrol leader plans and leads patrol meetings and activities. They represents their patrol at all patrol leaders' council meetings and at the annual program planning conference. They know the needs and capabilities of their patrol members and works to make them successful.
The bugler plays the bugle (or similar interest) to mark key moments during the day on troop outings, such as reveille and lights out. He must know the required bugle calls and ideally should have earned the Bugling merit badge. This position while acceptable for the Star and Life ranks, is not an approved position of responsibility for the Eagle Scout rank.
Chaplain aides assist the troop chaplain (usually an adult from the troop committee or the chartered organization) in serving the religious needs of the troop. They lead the troop in opening or closing prayer and mealtime blessings. Chaplain aides ensure that religious holidays are considered during the troop’s program planning process and promotes the BSA’s religious emblems program.
The Troop 99 Historian will collect, assemble, and preserve Troop 99 photographs, news stories, trophies, flags, scrapbooks, awards, and other memorabilia, and make materials available for Scouting activities, courts of honor, the media, and troop history projects. The Historian is to submit a monthly troop update to the Troop Committee for review and posting to the Troop website. The update should show, from the Scout's point of view, things that Troop is doing, Troop meeting happenings, trip recaps, photos, how its having fun, how it's helping out the community, or if a Scout has made Eagle Scout. The Historian is to remember that these updates will be posted on a public website and will be what the community knows/sees about Troop 99.
Each instructor is an older troop member proficient in a Scouting skill who must also have the ability to teach that skill to others. An instructor typically teaches subjects that Scouts are eager to learn—especially those such as first aid, camping, and backpacking—that are required for outdoor activities and rank advancement. A troop can have more than one instructor.
Troop librarians oversee the care and use of troop books, pamphlets, magazines, audiovisuals, and merit badge counselor lists. They check out these materials to Scouts and leaders and maintain records to ensure that everything is returned. They may also suggest the acquisition of new literature and report the need to repair or replace any current holdings.
Outdoor ethics guides
Outdoor ethics guides help troops plan and conduct an outdoor program that emphasizes effectively practicing the Outdoor Code, the Leave No Trace principles, and the Tread Lightly! principles. Guides work to help Scouts improve their outdoor ethics decision-making skills to help minimize impacts as they hike, camp, and participate in other outdoor activities. In particular, they should support Scouts who are working to complete the relevant requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks.
Each new-Scout patrol in a troop should have its own troop guide. A troop guide is an older Scout who holds the rank of First Class or higher, has strong teaching skills, and possesses the patience to work with new Scouts. As a mentor to the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol, he provides direction for the patrol leader and helps him with his patrol leader responsibilities. The troop guide accompanies the new-Scout patrol on troop campouts and makes himself available to assist the new Scouts as they learn fundamental Scouting skills. He usually is not a member of another patrol, but he may participate in the high-adventure activities of a Venture patrol. Along with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol, he is a member of the patrol leaders’ council.
Troop Order of the Arrow Representative
An Order of the Arrow representative can be appointed by the senior patrol leader to be a link between the troop and the local Order of the Arrow lodge. By enhancing the image of the Order as a service arm to the troop, the representative promotes the OA, urges troop members to take part in resident camping, and encourages older Scouts to seek out opportunities for high adventure. The OA representative assists with leadership skills training in the troop and supports fellow Arrowmen undertaking unit leadership roles. He reports to the assistant senior patrol leader
The quartermaster is the troop’s supply boss. He keeps an inventory of troop equipment and sees that the gear is in good condition. He works with patrol quartermasters as they check out equipment and return it, and at meetings of the patrol leaders’ council reports on the status of equipment in need of replacement or repair. In carrying out his responsibilities, he may have the guidance of a member of the troop committee.