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The Official Chain of Command?

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Well, I tried searching but I can't find a chain of command anywhere.


I want it to include all leaders, adult and youth.




I'm assuming it works kinda like that, but wasn't sure about JASM, and the SPL who is leading who in that part? And does the JASM even lead anyone?

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This is Scouting, not the US Armed Forces.


A Scout is a member of a Patrol. The Patrol elects its leader. This is representative democracy in action.


The Patrol Leaders come together and form the Patrol Leaders Council. The PLC is both the legislative body and the Executive Departments of a Troop.


The Scouts of a Troop, in body politic, elect the Senior Patrol Leader. He is the chair of the PLC, and the overall leader of elected and warranted youth holding PORs. He, along with the PLC (and for that matter all the Scouts of a Troop) is mentored by the Scoutmaster.


The Scoutmaster is the principal program officer of a Troop. He is selected by the Chartered Organization Representative. Ideally, the COR follows procedures Scouting establishes to choose adult Scouters for direct contact adult positions.


Parallel to the Scoutmaster is the Committee Chair. He/she owns all matters support within the troop. The CC is also selected by the COR.


The check/balances between program and support are:


Scoutmaster reports to the Committee on happenings of the program side.


Committee holds Boards of Review with youth, in part to evaluate the effectiveness of the delivered program.


I understand you wanted a KISS answer, but there are more relationships than a simple line of authority would show.


BTW a JASM is an older youth, approaching adulthood, who can be entrusted with some adult tasks of program delivery.






(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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Yah, MichaelOA, John-in-KC has the right of it. I believe you are thinking of this wrong. The reason why you can't find a chain of command anywhere is because there isn't one. You can find some examples of troop organizational charts, but I find those pretty problematic since they misconstrue the Patrol Method.


Often when I hear youth or adults talk about "chain of command" they're referring to something like "who can order somebody else around" or "who reports to whom." That doesn't make a lot of sense outside da military, eh? Congress does not "report to" the president, nor vice versa. Representatives don't report to the Speaker of the House, nor can she give them orders.


A better way to think of things is to talk about who serves whom.


In scouting, a Patrol Leader serves his patrol - the boys who elected him. They evaluate, give him feedback, "hire and fire." He represents their interest to the other PL's at the PLC. He might delegate tasks to individual boys in his patrol, or lead in other ways, but it ain't a "chain of command." The SPL serves the PL's, by providing coordination between patrols and leading the PLC, and (with the ASPL) supervising support services for the patrols like the QM and Scribe.


On the adult side, the Committee and SM/ASMs all serve the Chartered Organization. The committee has a "legislative / support" role and the SM/ASMs are the "executive". The CC serves the CO by leading committee meetings and coordinating the "legislature's" agenda and committee members' assistance to the SM. Like the Speaker of the House (or Board Chair in GW's example), the CC has no personal authority in chain-of-command style. Da SM does not "report to" the CC, he/she reports on the state of the unit to the Committee.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Actually If you wish to be accurate with the business comparison and with the contents of the BSA's Troop Committee Guide the Charter organization representative is the CEO of Scouting for the charter organization. (The Scoutmaster is more like a division manager).



John in KC is correct in stating that the chain of command as suggested by MichaelOA is not accurate, and for the most part is truly not a part of the official program as it is designed. Scouting is designed like a government with specific roles that work together for a common cause. Sone of these position hold checks and balances over others in specific circumstances.


Yes, there are some positions that have specific authorities over others, but a chain of command model does not apply itself well when explaining relationships of positions in Scouting.


Michael you are not finding a chain of command anywhere because scouting is not designed to be administrated in that fashion.


What specifically led you to seek a "chain of command"?

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One piece is missing ... the COR




Direction of service as Beavah pointed out.







Wouldn't the

COR be the same as the Chairman of the Board

CC be the CEO

SM be the President

SPL be the Director

ASPL be the Assistant Directors

PLs are the Managers


... but then again I could be wrong ...(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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I saw a presentation at an University of Scouting once and it stuck with me. The topic was the Organization of the BSA. The speaker walked in and drew, with audience help, an organizational chart, on a huge writing pad, much as has been discussed. The Institutional Head, the COR, the Committe Chair et al. This ended with the scouts at the bottom. Then he got this big smile and said the chart as drawn was wrong, he flipped over the page and there on the second page was his take. At the top was the scouts, and then the Patrol leader, SPL, Scoutmaster and worked its way back to National HQ at the bottom. The speaker had been a NYLT/JLTC scoutmaster for many a year.


Boys come together to form patrols, patrols come together to form Troops, Troops form Districts, Councils etc. Any other way is not how its supposed to be done


Anyone not recognizing that the boy member is the most important person in scouting should try to run a program that doesnt interest the target demographic, you fail rather quickly.(This message has been edited by OldGreyeagle)

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"Anyone not recognizing that the boy member is the most important person in scouting should try to run a program that doesnt interest the target demographic, you fail rather quickly."


The boys are the customers. Always an important person in any organization.

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It is good to see that there are those out there that see the dynamics of a boy-led, patrol-method program out there. Yes! Take MichaelOA's diagram and turn it around the other way.


I always state that the highest ranking officers of my troop are my PL's. They are responsible for and take care of 7 other boys. Any boy wishing to hold a "troop level" position are under the PL's in a service role, yet more responsible position of supporting the patrols (servant leadership). They are the service/support group for the patrols. The QM makes sure the equipment needs of the patrols are met; The Scribe makes sure the paperwork of the patrols are met; the Troop Guide makes sure the scouts, especially the new ones are properly adjusting to the troop and advancing; the Instructor makes sure the proper lessons are being taught correctly in all the patrols; and the SPL makes sure all the troop officers are a smooth running support group so that the patrols can focus on what's necessary for the welfare of their assigned members. Occasionally he'll gather his staff and invite the PL's to come and give feedback on how well their needs are being met/not met and coordinate any communications between patrols that may need to be addressed. If the SPL's staff becomes more than 7 boys, he takes on an ASPL to really assist him in his duties. He'll "train" him by assigning him 2-3 patrols to watch over directly and free himself to focus more on the troop staff. If the number of patrols grows too large, just take on another ASPL. No one should be responsible to more than 6-7 people.


Of course the adults are responsible for the support (more servant leadership) of the SPL and his immediate staff.


And the most important part of this whole dynamic is the definition of the responsible. Are the people able to respond (i.e. response-able) to the needs of those they are given charge to take care of, or do they direct, coerce, delegate, and/or interfere in the responsibilities of what THEY are supposed to be responding to/assiting?


The #1 question on the minds of every officer in this setup is: "What must I do to help those who I am to take care of?" No matter how big the troop may get, no one ever has more than 7 people to take care of and watch over. There is no boy that can't handle taking care of 6-7 people. There is no adult, let alone a boy that can handle a "troop" method unit where the SPL is supposed to be "in charge of" 150 boys. Troop method units will always be small. But out of 150 boys, if each PL is caring for 7 boys in 20 patrols, and 3 ASPL's are taking care of 7 PL's each, 1 ASPL is assisting half the troop staff and 1 ASPL the other half of the staff and the SPL is caring for the 6 ASPL's, then no one will ever be overwhelmed by a system that is designed other than boy-led, patrol-method.


It is no surprise to those who understand servant leadership and how it is the only workable basis for a boy-led, patrol-method program.


If one needs to understand how this translates in the business world, look at the processes of Ford/GM and compare it to Volvo. Then check Consumer Reports and see who does a better job at building cars.





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perhaps the best model to represent how scouting works is the structure of the United Nations. Independent entities with a wide variety of history, politics and culture working together for a common good, some countries with a little more say than others.


Of course the difference is that in scouting we actually get things done.



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So, in other words if I understand correctly, no one is in charge of someone, there are different groups.




PL, APL, Scouts


No group necessarily is "in charge" of another group, but they keep each other in check? Each group working to help improve the other group. If I am missing something feel free to correct me, if I gathered the information correctly from an average it's basically this?

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Yah, hmmm....


Well, that's better anyway. :)


Perhaps it would help if yeh told us a bit more why you were lookin' for information like this? Are yeh tryin' to address an issue? Or just tryin' to understand things more generally?


I find specific examples help a lot more than organizational charts or command chains.




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Well, two reasons.


1. Our SM gave me a chart of the "chain of command" but it's basically what I stated in the beginning, and after talking to some people in other troops they had different but similar versions, I wanted to know if there was an official version, and if so what.


2. After being the SPL for 3 long years, I decided at this upcoming election probably next week, that I'm not going to run, and cast my vote for my ASPL. Instead I wanted to run for the position of JASM. (At this point, I'm still unsure if that is an election by troop, committee, or scoutmaster.) I WAS wondering who was in charge of who. But now I'm going to try and present this new group method to my scoutmaster possibly at the next committee meeting.


P.s. What is the requirement if any for JASM, I have heard many different ones from different people I tried searching on the forum with little luck, different threads with different answers. So is there even a requirement or what?

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But now I'm going to try and present this new group method to my scoutmaster possibly at the next committee meeting.


Good for you, eh? A good SM is always learnin', especially from the boys. Do it respectfully, of course! Show it to him in advance... don't blindside him at a committee meeting.


And good call on steppin' aside and voting for your ASPL. 3 years is plenty as SPL. Yeh should be applauded for your service, and for recognizin' when it's time to pass the baton.


Requirements for JASM are set by your unit. JASM is often a position taken by former SPLs. In most units, JASM is a position appointed by the SM.




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