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Leadership Term Durations


I have the following questions on Advancement:

  1. Since the Star Rank requires 4 months of Leadership while the Life and Eagle ranks require 6 months, how long should Leadership Terms be? If Terms are typically 6 months in most Troops, then what happens to a Scout who is in a Leadership position for his Star Rank? Does he still need to serve in that position for 6 months although Star requires only 4 months?

  2. When do Leaderships Terms typically start in a calendar year?

  3. When should elections happen for the SPL?

  4. Which positions are appointed by the Scoutmaster and which positions are appointed by the SPL?

  5. Which leadership positions require a 1 year term and would Scouts in those positions be able to use that 12 month leadership term for 2 ranks?


You are confusing rank requirements versus troop ones. Those for rank are established both in the Scout’s handbook and in the Guide to Advancement which are spelled out here: https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/mechanics-of-advancement/boy-and-varsity#4234

You should also explore this website: https://troopleader.scouting.org/ offered by BSA to help your youth leaders run an effective program.

I’d also get myself copies of both volume 1 and volume 2 of the Troop Leader Guidebook. Here’s volume 1: https://www.scoutshop.org/bs-troop-leader-guide-vol-1-647785.html

If you have not already, take Scoutmaster training on my.scouting; also speak with your unit Commissioner who should be able to give you good answers.

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Keep in mind that the position of responsibility requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle do no say to hold a single position for that duration. So, a scout could easily string together two or more positions to cover the rank requirement. They need not even be consecutive. Portions of a single position could also count for more than one rank, assuming you are following the letter of the requirements.


There is no BSA rule on the length of a youth leadership term. Most troops, that I know, have 6 month terms. Some have 1 year terms.

If the troop term is 6 months, the Scout would need to stay in office for the full term. 4 months could count for Star and if the Scout has the board of review right away, the remaining time would go towards Life.

It varies by troop, it is a troop decision when to hold elections.

The SPL and the PL are elected. The SPL appoints all troop positions, with consent and approval of the Scoutmaster. The PL appoints the asst. PL. see: Troop Positions | Troop Leader Resources

Again youth leadership terms are determined by the troop.
As others have pointed out, yes, the term can be used for more than one rank, if the Scout has a board of review during the term. The Scout cannot work on the leadership requirement for the next rank until they pass the Board of Review for the current rank.


Adding on to what others have posted:

Junior Assistant Scoutmasters are appointed by the Scoutmaster.

Den Chiefs are selected by the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster, and approved by the Cubmaster and the Pack Committee for recommendation to the Den Leader.

The troop decides which leadership positions (if any) have a 1 year (12 months) term. However, if a Scout wants to earn the Den Chief Service Award, then the Scout must serve the pack faithfully for one full year.

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You’ve already gotten very good advice regarding the duration of elected roles.

Also, keep in mind that SPL is the only position of responsibility that is specifically required to be elected by the troop/patrols. However, the SPL may appoint the other positions (or they may be elected directly). There is no requirement that other positions only be appointed or elected. (Reference: Sept. 2020 BSA Rules & Regulations, pg. 16) Some units elect all of the PLC, not just the SPL. Others have a hybrid of some elected and some appointed positions, with SPL always being among the elected. Most units also elect their patrol leaders, although I can’t find a written requirement that it be done this way. My experience has been less than stellar when PLs are selected other than by their own patrol, though.

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