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APL not being a approved position

I just read in scout book that while working on star, life, eagle that holding a position of assistant Patrol leader is not an approved position. Who decides that? because all the other positions are approved position except that one, It does not make sense to me.

It says it clearly in the handbook that APL is not a Position of Responsibility for Star, Life or Eagle.

Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide.


It hasn’t been for at least 20 years. When I was in scouts in the early 00s we didn’t even bother with that position since no one could use it for rank.


It is in the Scout Handbook and the Scouts BSA Requirements book (note 6 for Star rank, note 9 for Life rank, and note 11 for Eagle Scout rank). Patrol Leader is the only patrol-level position that is approved as a POR for Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks.

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Assistant Patrol Leader doesn’t have the same scope of responsibility that either a PL or a troop position does. Bugler is not allowed for Eagle as well.


Green Bar Bill.
This particular stipulation for rank advancement has been around for a quite some time.


The APL position is not recognized as a leadership position , because your assisting not leading . i have been involved over 16 years and its been that way as far as i can remember . the higher ranks require the scout to step in to a higher level of responsibility . they need to apply what they have learned .

That’s stupid. Plenty of APLs and ASPLs who have done the senior position because the scout holding the POR is doing so in name only.

If the Scout holding the POR is not fulfilling the role, the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Skipper should have a conversation with the Scout. A coaching session with the unit leader may solve the problem. It could be the Scout does not understand the requirements, have issues outside of Scouts that prevent fulfilling the requirements, etc.

The BSA does not monitor these forums. If you want to see a change made in requirements, you need to provide feedback to the program team. This is not the platform to provide that feedback.


That never happens because of course scouts have conflicts and parents threaten lawsuits and council backs them up and waves them through because it could impact their trajectory towards Eagle.

I’m not trying to provide feedback. I am aware BSA does not read these forums.

Well, never is actually too strong a word. I’ve had those conversations with youth leaders I advise. It’s never pleasant, but has generally led to work by the youth to improve their performance. And most commonly an even more unpleasant conversation with a parent. The key is to have it early in the term while there’s time to recover, rather than at the end starting with “You’re not going to get credit for this leadership position because…”

I am not exaggerating. Where I am threats are drawn out like light sabers if you do anything that interferes with a scout’s path to Eagle and there is no point to escalating to council. Scouts often hold a POR in name only in order to qualify for Eagle. I am all in favor of flexibility that allows the good scout who actually does the work to get credit for it.

I could see that happening once, but it’s surprising that scouts would keep electing a PL who doesn’t do their job… unless you have a troop full of scouts like that.

I think it’s very important for the SM/ASM’s to discuss with a patrol or troop prior to any election that it’s very important for a Scouts decision to not based on popularity. They are reminded of the responsibilities and expectation from the Adult Leadership and what the Scouts they are leading should expect from them. Some thought needs to go into leadership selection.


APL’s don’t really deserve a leadership credit. They usually do nothing. Our troop does not have APLS.

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And that’s a pretty argumentative response.

APL is not a position of responsibility because most Patrols don’t really need an assistant to support the Patrol Leader.

Unlike the Assistant Patrol Leader, the ASPL IS a position of responsibility. If you look at the “ideal” organization for a Troop in the Patrol Leaders Handbook, the SPL is supposed to directly guide the Patrol Leader while the ASPL directly guides all of the other POR members – Quartermaster, Scribe, Webmaster, OEG, etc.

@RonaldHallock - i grabbed a copy of my scout handbook from the 1972 printing and the POR at that time were:

Patrol Leader
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Den Chief
Member of the leadership Corps
Senior Patrol Leader
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

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Not that I disagree with the designation of APL as non-qualifying for advancement purposes, but I’d be careful about treating stuff in the PL and SPL Handbooks as gospel. The last version of the PL Handbook I had stated that patrols could camp by themselves without adult supervision. That caused quite a tizzy when I pointed it out during an in-person SM/ASM and MC in-person training class.

Personally, I think that the key to getting good performance from your youth leaders is a combination of clear expectations and regular mentoring to ensure that the scouts know whether or not they are performing to expectations.

I encourage our APLs to attend PLC meetings so that they can both stand-in for the PL if he’s unable to attend (or carry information back to the patrol if the PL misses the next patrol meeting), and so that they are better prepared to participate when they take on positions of responsibility that have a voting role on the PLC. If the patrol is large enough, or if the PL practices delegation skills, there can be a lot for the APL to do, particularly if the patrol conducts their own activities aside from troop-planned activities (e.g. patrol hikes, rides, campouts, etc).

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I regret the stupid part. My apologies.

However, I have a strong opinion that who does the work should get the credit and if an APL happens to do the work, he/she should get leadership credit. There are a lot of PORs on that list that lend themselves to no show scouting or are positions where no work is done, such as librarian or scribe. To me those aren’t even leadership roles, they are just jobs. I’ve seen APLs do quite a bit of work especially with a no show PL. In my opinion it is something that should be addressed.