Learning the Language of Scouting

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As a writer, I love words and enjoying learning more about them. One of the few books I kept after journalism school was my well-thumbed copy of the Associated Press Stylebook (which has since been supplanted by an even more useful website).

Given my interest in words–and considering all the writing I do for the BSA–I often refer to the Language of Scouting, which is “the Boy Scouts of America’s definitive resource on terms and style specific to Scouting and this organization.” Even if you don’t write about Scouting, you’ll probably find it helpful as well.

In the Language of Scouting, you’ll learn all sort of fun facts like these:

  • The word “advisor” is capitalized when you’re referring to a Venturing Advisor but not to an Order of the Arrow lodge advisor.
  • The Advisory Council consists of “nonvoting members of the National Council who, because of experience, have a particular expertise that would benefit the national movement.”
  • Akela (pronounced “ah-KAY-la”) refers to a leader in Cub Scouting and comes from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

And those are just a few entries for the letter A.

The next time you come across an unfamiliar Scouting term–Okpik, anyone?–you can probably find a definition in the Language of Scouting.

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2 thoughts on “Learning the Language of Scouting

  1. stewstryker

    Thanks! As an Okpik trainer in Vermont, I had always capitalized all the letters but now I know that I was wrong!

    BTW, who maintains this lexicon? I’m think it’d be nice if they mentioned Okpik is presented in more places than just at Northern Tier. We’ve been delivering it in Vermont for the past 5 years, after a long lapse.

    • Good question on who maintains the lexicon. I’m afraid it’s something of an orphan project. I know it’s not 100% up to date; for example, it lists the old names of the basic courses for professional Scouters.

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