The 411 on Scouting Terminology



Overheard at roundtable: “If you’re going to serve on the NYLT staff, you should take the Trainer’s EDGE conference at PTC. You should also encourage your SPL and ASPL to complete NAYLE. Your DE can give you more information about both courses.”

Okay, I made up the previous sentences—but only because I’ve expunged the memory of the many jargon-laden pronouncements I’ve heard at BSA training courses, roundtables, and PTC—sorry, Philmont Training Center—conferences. The fact is, statements like those are made all the time in Scouting—to the bewilderment of many Scout leaders.

If you’re one of those Scouters who doesn’t know the difference between PLC and PTC, NCS and NCCS, and field director and director of field service, a great resource is the “Language of Scouting” section of the BSA website: Here you’ll find a fairly comprehensive glossary of Scouting terms, local council positions, and acronyms and abbreviations. You’ll even find references to obsolete terms, which can be helpful since many Scouters hang onto these terms decades after they go out of fashion. (See, for example, the entry on Cubbing.)


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