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Update text of "Committee Chairman" position to "Committee Chair"

“Committee Chairman”

“Committee Chair”

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This might be a regression. I am seeing an earlier bug report on this same issue that was automatically closed and does not allow new replies.

I got a note back from my.scouting support saying Chairman was right and they closed my ticket. I responded that they were wrong and the major majority of documentation says chair. No response.

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According to my extensive research…

Chair is what’s on the patch for Packs, Troops, Crews and Ships. But apparently “Chairman” is still in vogue for Districts. (I remember doing a double-take when I picked up the patch for my shirt.)


In naval tradition, terms like “legalman” and “side boy” are considered gender neutral. And in Star Fleet, Vulcan female officers were referred to as “Mister” such as “Mister Savikk”.

Somebody can make hay out of this someplace!

Well, funny thing is if you go back 5 years or more, the patches say Chairman. So, they changed the patches. Just not all of them, nor Scoutbook. To me it is the consistency more than anything.

The patch in Scoutbook says chair, but the text says chairman.

Would guess that Supply is still running through some older inventory.

Changing to “Committee Chair” will also make it consistent with the naming convention used in Scoutbook for other troop positions:

  • Unit Advancement Chair
  • Unit FOS Chair
  • Unit Fund-Raising Chair
  • Unit Outdoors/Activities Chair
  • Unit Public Relations Chair
  • Unit Training Chair

Alternatively, changing all of those other positions to “Chairman” would be consistent with the BSA key-three position as well.

But, in the current BSA Registration Guidebook, page 36, the title for CC is “Committee Chairman” while the title for unit functional positions is “chair”.

Until we start having dogs, cats, lizards, bots, etc … fill these roles, “Chairman” is an acceptable title for both male and female (and I suppose other non-binary) Homo sapeien presiding officers.

The patch, though, is already chair.

Of course! Clearly somebody didn’t get the memo. Or, they counted the cost of making changes in official records and decided to stop at the patch and a few media-facing publications.

In this warped context, it makes perfect sense for ScoutBook to display the icon of a patch that says “chair” and to match the plain-text title to whatever is spelled out in the Registration Guidebook and several other current forms. Updating the text might break some link somewhere (either on paper or digitally) so SB is stuck reflecting BSA’s official language.

Who knows how long it will take official text to catch up the patch? Or, maybe, acquiring old committee chairman patches will be all the rage and we’ll soon have scouters wanting their avatar adjusted to the old patch! The use of the term “chair” for a committee’s presiding officer may stick, or it could be a blip in the history of language – which turns out to be quite fickle. So, hold on to those patches. They might tell an interesting story someday. :grin:

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Alpha Phi Omega

It took years and several attempts to get the APO national convention to change “Men of” in the APO national toast song. Members are traditionally addressed as “Brother” - I do not expect that tradition to change.

Training material being made gender-neutral

I assumed this started for the Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs when girls were added.

The Training Times, Fall 2018, extract

Updated syllabi:

  • Troop Committee Challenge
  • Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

To date, both syllabi have been updated with gender-neutral materials and have been posted to scouting.org/training/adult.

Coming soon:

  • Fall 2018: Updated, gender-neutral Scouts BSA modules

Related discussion and requests

Ed D.
I have added this to the request list. I have no idea when it will be scheduled for work.

Christy R.

Picking up where Garrett left off… have a few requests for the Leadership Roles:

  • Committee Chairman >> change to Committee Chair or Chairperson (many females leading the committees these days!)
  • Committee Communications Chair
  • Committee Recruiting Chair
  • Committee Fundraising Chair
    I’ll support the request for Pack Webmaster as well although we’ve rolled this into our Communications Chair position. Thanks so much for your work and dev hours!
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No, the change to chair vs chairman goes back. The couldn’t find exactly when, but my guess on pictures etc is 5 years.

Thank you to everyone who has replied and helped to keep this Scoutbook feature request open and seen by the development team.

The “official” name in the BSA Rules and Regulations is still “chairman.”


The development team does not follow these forums. They are monitored by volunteers.

As others have indicated, the official title is still Committee Chairman. Scoutbook will not be updated until after the BSA changes the official title. This would include a change in Organization Security Manager in my.scouting.org.

When I noticed the discrepancy and contacted support, the professional sounding instructions I got back were to post the observation here so that it would be viewed by the development team:

We are always looking for ways to improve Scoutbook for our users. If you would like to see a name change for any position ending in the word “man”, you can post in the New Feature Request Forum. These posts are viewed by our Admin and Development teams who are able to determine the viability of each feature in Scoutbook.


Member Care is incorrect. I can assure you the the BSA does not monitor nor read these forums. The members of the Scoutbook User Advisory Council, you can identify us by the SUAC logo on our avatars, monitor the forums and add requests to the backlog. This is one the developers will not implement until such time as the official position title is changed. If you would like to get the title changed, I suggest sending an e-mail to myscouting@scouting.org (different group than scoutbook.support@scouting.org) and making the suggestion to have the BSA Rules and Regulations and my.scouting.org updated. After those changes are made, the Scoutbook team can make the corresponding change.

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@EricJarvi The only thing I’d add to Ed’s comment is to continue posting your Scoutbook requests here. While the exact technical details you got from member care were incorrect, this is the correct path for feature requests. This particular request just gets challenging because it is partially out of the Scoutbook rhelm. When there is other BSA policy on something, Scoutbook will not implement something in conflict with that.

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@EricJarvi good luck swatting at windmills … Scoutbook is not your problem here. In addition to the link I posted earlier, BSA’s current by-laws use the term “Chairman” in reference to special members of its executive board while using “Chair” in reference to the annually elected president of its own board. Clearly, they sense no pressing need to make things consistent any time soon.

I expressed my point earlier as to why, linguistically, “chairman” is the more valid term. I also think changing an existing position from “chairman” to anything else because a woman may hold the post could be seen as demeaning to women.It might imply that they couldn’t do the task when “man” was in the label. And it may do nothing for any executive ceiling. The real proof is in the pudding: if as many women as men are welcomed and revered in a position, it may as well be called “chairhypermasculansuperheman”(necessary font shrinkage notwithstanding).

Opinions one way or another, however, are moot. I suspect the main reason for BSA’s ambivalence in settling on a term is that correcting legacy documentation is more tedious than we appreciate, and keeping the long-established term on record for longstanding positions minimizes error.