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Issue 350 – April 1, 2013


The BSA has just announced that Scoutmasters are eligible to appoint themselves Senior Patrol Leader, thus acknowledging the superior leadership that comes with age and experience. Concurrent with this acknowledgement, the Scoutmaster-as-Senior Patrol leader position can be held for life, instead of merely six or twelve months.

Finally, men and women who are quite obviously the best leaders of youth can hold the position of permanent superiority over all Scouts, and—resulting from their superior wisdom and Scouting skill set—may either appoint all Patrol Leaders or eliminate these annoying sub-positions altogether.

All Scoutmasters already functioning as the BSA’s oldest youth leaders will be “grandfathered” for life! They also are cleared by the BSA to be de facto Merit Badge counselors for all merit badges they choose—from Camping and Hiking and Citizenship all the way to Woodworking—thereby making them the effective “Blue Card” gatekeepers for all Boy Scout advancement.

Consider the advantages: Scoutmaster-SPLs can now continue to run all troop meetings from start to finish; select and plan all troop outings; assign all “duty roster” responsibilities, and generally rule all Scouts at all times. Scout skills? SM-SPLs will teach everything; no more hit-or-miss by having Scouts teach Scouts. Leadership requirements? SM-SPLs can appoint any Scout who needs leadership to advance at will, streamlining the entire process by eliminating the need for pesky elections! Patrol composition? No further need to Scouts to decide who they want to enjoy Scouting with—their SM-SPL will tell them which patrols they’ll be in, for how long. Eagle projects? Not a problem—each Life Scout will be assigned his task by the SM-SPL. New-Scout patrols? Similarly, not a problem—The SM-SPL will be their automatic ex officio Patrol Leader as well, thus eliminating the need for Troop Guides to coach new Patrol Leaders (we all know how incompetent brand-new Patrol Leaders can be!).

“Ahh, the simplicity of it all!” says the BSA. “Scoutmasters do this anyway, and we know the stuff in the SCOUMASTER HANDBOOK” is only for “guideline” purposes, so the SM-SPL position is the natural outgrowth of random variations from troop-to-troop. After all, why bother with mere guidelines anyway when so many have paid them no mind for so long, as it is,” BSA officials have gone on to say.

The only possible hiccup—not fully resolved yet—is delivery of the “Scoutmaster’s Minute.” The BSA’s on the cusp of deciding that this should be done by a Scout, instead, under the guidance of the SM-SPL, who will tell the kid exactly what to say, and when to say it.

“Simplicity, efficiency, and elimination of the silly ‘Scouts lead Scouts’ notion we’ve been bandying about for decades,” says National. “Now, we’ll give these boys what they’ve really wanted—have been crying for, in fact—for decades: Adults in charge of everything!”

Troops can put this into operation as quickly as they would like, along with one more change authorized by the BSA: The name, “Boy Scouting” will be dropped entirely, to be replaced with the more accurate designation: WEBELOS III.

Happy Scouting!


Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)

[No. 350 – 4/1/2013 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2013]


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

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