Scouting Forums

Scout hierarchy

If our troop SPL and ASPL are both unable to attend an event (campout) is there a hierarchy that says who is next in charge? Or does the SPL need to appoint someone? Is this listed anywhere on an official scout document that I can reference?

The SPL needs to address it before the campout.

Thank you @SteveCagigas however this is not entirely helpful. The SPL was going to make the campout, just be late due to an athletic event that he was in, until he was injured in the event.

So, if he could have addressed the matter prior to the event, is there a specific order the leadership goes to, or is it up to him to appoint someone as the acting SPL for the event?

I know it’s not helpful in this situation, but no, there isn’t any kind of standard succession plan if the SPL and ASPL can’t make the event.

I’d bet that there’s at least one patrol leader at the event, even if the SPL and ASPL aren’t there… Or just let the scouts that are there work it out… that may be way more educational for them than you expect.

When it has happened to our troop, I asked the scouts who was acting SPL. My view is that the mechanics are really NOT my issue. If it is scout led, then they will figure out who is “in charge.” My only involvement in leader selection is that I will count votes as a third party. But if they ever fail to ask me to - well as long as there is no intimidation or strive it again is not my problem.

I think everyone has this happen at some point. Heck, this week our SPL and ASPL both had an event at their school that made them late by 45 minutes. My first indication of this was the pre-meeting PLC when another Scout said “SPL and ASPL are both going to be late. SPL asked me to run things until he gets here.”

I think Steve’s original point was that the SPL should really take care of it for the Troop if he knows he is not going to make it.



Now that is a great mark. My troop hasn’t reached that point yet. But we keep working on it.

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This is what I believe should have happened. If the SPL and ASPL are not present at an event. I believe the Patrol Leader with the most seniority that is present should be place as the Event SPL. Should be one of the Green Bars. Or the Scoutmaster may need to appoint a good candidate.
The PLC needs to work on a solution for this matter. Then take the solution to the Committe for acceptance or tweaking. Then make it policy for up coming events.

I do think the SPL or ASPL needs to take care of their troop if they know ahead of time that neith will attend a campout or other form of outdoor event. This is part of leadership. If that is not possible then the SM/ASM needs to make a decision. You want the event to run smoothly so I don’t think I would appointing a patrol leader of a new scout patrol if we have big numbers. I believe the Troop Guides should be among the people to lean on because their job is to get the news scouts up to first class within a year or so. They can serve as SPL and continue their job of coaching and teaching new patrols how to properly operate on a outdoor event. The other natural choice is to most senior scout the take charge and put his team together.

While a little chaos is a normal part of scouting, we don’t want disasters.

I would recommend a troop guide step up if you have more than one. These scouts should know how the troop is run…

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Our troop is really putting the role of the troop guide as one of the most important assets for our SPL/ASPL. We had a very large crossover of new scouts from our companion cub scout pack and went with 2 and may go to three. In a way, they are sort of “SPL’s” for new scouts and are extremely useful. It provides a really good leadership opportunity for the troop guides.

The SPL should designate a Scout to be in charge. If this does not happen, then this can be a learning point for the SPL.

Outside of that, most of the Scouts on the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) should be able to fill in. The PLC should have a pretty good idea with regard to what was planned. You could let the PLC figure out which Scout should be in charge, and this will be a good opportunity for them.

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