Home > Dictionary


Scouting is full of terminology and acronyms.  Hopefully these definitions will help you to decode some of them.



Adult Appointment [Form], the form to register new Leaders and Managers.

Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

Assistant County Commissioner (Beavers/International/Media, etc.)  ACCs are specific to a certain speciality which is after their title in brackets.

Assistant Cub Scout Leader

Assistant District Commissioner (Beavers/International/Media, etc.)  ADCs are specific to a certain speciality which is after their title in brackets.

Adviser for…
Usually a County role such as Adviser for Climbing.  Usually have external qualifications.  They may also be the County Assessor for their activity.

Assistant Explorer Scout Leader

Assistant Group Scout Leader

See CSL.

Assistant Patrol Leader, of a Patrol in the Scout Troop. See also PL.

Assistant Scout Leader

Assessor for…
Usually County level appointments, responsible for issuing permits for adventurous activities.  Often have external qualifications.


Badge Secretary
Responsible for ordering badges from Gilwell.  Most badges cannot usually be ordered by any other means.

Beaver [Scout]
A member of Scouting aged between 6 and 8 years.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Baden-Powellthe founder of Scouting.

Beaver Scout Leader, the Leader with overall responsibility for running a Beaver Scout Colony.


County Commissioner, the Manager responsible for a County consisting of several Districts.

A Group-based unit of Beaver Scouts.

Criminal Records Bureau, used as a term for the Government system of background checks undertaken on all persons in Scouting involved with Young People or their information.  Being replaced by DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service).

Chief Scout’s Award [Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum/Diamond].  The highest award available in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and intermediate awards in Explorers and Network.  See also QSA.

Cub Scout Leader, the Leader with overall responsibility for running a Cub Scout Pack.  Often known by the Pack name “Akela”.  See also Pack Names.

County Scout Network Commissioner, the Manager of Network at County level.

County Training Manager, the Manager of adult training for the County.

Cub [Scout]
A member of Scouting aged between 8 and 10½ years.


Disclosure & Barring Service, the new name for the Government system of background checks undertaken on all persons in Scouting involved with Young People or their information.

District Beaver Scout Leader

District Commissioner, the Manager responsible for a District consisting of several Groups.

Deputy County Commissioner

Deputy District Commissioner

District Explorer Scout Commissioner, the Manager responsible for coordinating Explorer Scouting in a District.  Similar to an ADC but unique to Explorer Scouting.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a staged award with a syllabus set externally by the DofE Charity.  The DofE forms the basis of the Explorer and Network Scouts’ Chief Scout’s Badges and the Queen’s Scout Award.


Explorer Scout Leader, the Leader with overall responsibility for overseeing an Explorer Scout Unit.  ESUs should be run by the Explorers.

Explorer Scout Unit.

Young Leaders’ Explorer Scout Unit.

Explorer [Scout]
A member of Scouting aged between 14 and 18 years.

A District run section of Scouting, designed to be flexible so that Explorers are members of all units in a District and can switch at will.


Form NAN
Nights Away Notification Form, the form used to notify the DC that you wish to run a Nights Away event.


Group Executive Committee (usually referred to as Group Exec).  Makes decisions and carries out administrative tasks to ensure that the best quality Scouting can be delivered to young people in the Group.

Girl Guiding [UK], our sister organisation.

Gilwell [Park]
The Scout Association Headquarters in Chingford, Essex and also a SAC.
Gilwell Park

Green field
A campsite with no facilities, literally just a green field. Also known as “proper camping”.

The local organisation for Scouting, combines together the different sections into a single body.  Can consist of any number of the sections.

Group Scout Leader, the leader with overall responsibility for running a Group and all of the sections within it.


Hike tent
A smaller tent usually for 1 – 3 people, that is light enough to carry on an overnight hike.

Home Contact
A person who does not attend a Scouting event that acts as a contact in case of an emergency.  See InTouch.

The Headquarters of the Scout Association, based at Gilwell Park.

I, J, K

Information Centre
The Scout Information Centre, can answer all of your Scouting queries and can be contacted for a District Commissioner’s contact details (for Form NAN) or to order resources.  Telephone 0845 300 1818.

The system used to manage communications at all Scout activities and events.  It is flexible to allow those organising events to implement a system best suited to their particular circumstances.  See also Purple Card.

International Service Team, volunteer Leaders who assist in the running of large events such as Jamborees.


A uniformed adult that has undertaken formal training and background checks.  May be a Network Scout at the same time (if aged 18 – 25).

Local Training Manager, Managers that have responsibility for training Leaders in their given area, usually a District.


Media Development Manager, responsible for getting Scouting noticed in the media.

Mess tent
A large tent or marquee designed to hold a number of people for eating and shelter.  Sizes vary considerably.


Nights Away, a term for any Scouting event involving an overnight stay.  A Nights Away Permit at the correct grade (Indoor, Campsite, Greenfield, Lightweight Expedition) is required.  See also Form NAN.

Nights Away Advisor, a training role for awarding Nights Away permits.

A County level run section of Scouting.

Network Scout
A member of Scouting aged between 18 and 25 years.  May be a Leader at the same time.


Occasional Helper [Form].  Occasional Helpers are adult volunteers who are required to complete a Disclosure Check (Criminal Records Bureau) but who are not taking on a formal appointment.

Orange Card
Card detailing The Scout Association’s “Young People First for Young Leaders” guidance.  This card covers safeguarding and is similar to the Yellow Card.  See also Yellow Card.


A Group-based unit of Cub Scouts.

Pack Names
Baden-Powell asked his friend Rudyard Kipling for the use of his Jungle Book history and universe as a motivational frame in Cub Scouting (who were then known as Wolf Cubs).  The names of characters from the book are used for members of the leadership team – Akela, Shere Khan, Bagheera and Hathi are some of the names that are most used.

A sub-division of the Scout Troop, usually of 6 Scouts and named after an animal.  See also PL and APL.

Patrol tent
A tent for 6 – 8 people (ie enough for a patrol of Scouts.)  Usually refers to a canvas tent of traditional appearance such as this.

Patrol Leader, the leader of a Patrol in the Scout Troop.  See also APL.

Programmes OnLine, website based programme planner.

Policy, Organisation and Rules, the governing document for the Scout Association.

A paraffin fuelled pressure stove, used by Amundsen on his expedition to the South Pole, and Mallory, Tenzing and Hillary on Everest. While many other companies also make portable stoves of a similar design to the Primus, this style is often generically referred to as a “Primus” stove, regardless of the manufacturer.
Primus poster

Proper camping
See Green field

A small shop at a campsite, which usually sells drinks, sweets and souvenirs. May also have some basic camping supplies.

Purple Card
The purple card provides support for safe Scouting and guidance in the procedures for dealing with an emergency.  See also InTouch.

Q, R

Quartermaster, responsible for maintaining all of the normal camping supplies in a Scout Group.  This may include camping supplies, tents, food and cooking supplies, stoves, camp fuel (propane, paraffin etc.), dining flysheets etc.

Queen’s Scout Award, the top award in Scouting.  Only available to Explorer and Network Scouts.


Scout Activity Centre, a Scout campsite that is run directly by HQ.

Scout Active Support, a group of leaders that either has a defined role, such as supporting a campsite, or assist a District in anyway they can, e.g. maternity cover for a Cub Pack.

A member of Scouting aged between 10½ and 14 years. Also a generic term for any member of the Movement.

General term for an adult member of Scouting.

The assistant leader of a Six in the Cub Pack.

An umbrella term for any of the five main age ranges in Scouts (namely Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Network.)

Section Assistant
Colony/Pack/Troop/Unit Assistant  A formal appointment in The Scout Association, Section Assistants are adult volunteers who assist the Section Leaders and Assistant Section Leaders in delivering the programme to young people in Scouting.  They may support one section, or different sections within a Group depending on where their help is needed.

Scouter In Charge, a Leader who takes responsibility for Group matters in the absence of a permanent GSL. Intended to be a temporary appointment until a GSL is found.

A sub-division of the Cub Pack, usually of 6 Cubs and named with a colour. See also Sixer and Seconder.

The leader of a Six in the Cub Pack.

Scout Leader, the Leader with overall responsibility for running a Scout Troop.

Senior Patrol Leader, usually a member of the Scout Troop who makes way for a new PL but is not yet old enough to move up to Explorers.

Student Scout and Guide Organisation, units based in higher education institutions (university or college) for anyone who is interested in the aims, objectives and methods of The Scout Association and GirlguidingUK.

Scouts Speak Up, events organised by HQ at which young people can debate current affairs and issues with national politicians (eg at party conferences.)


T0 (zero)
Terrain Zero (also T1 etc), methods of gauging the complexity of the land for the purposes of hillwalking permits. See POR rules 9.28 – 9.30.

Training Adviser, an adult responsible for the training and validation of modules for adult leaders and managers to help them achieve their Wood Badge.

Tilley storm lantern
A paraffin fuelled pressure lamp made by W H Tilley.  Not to be confused with Tilley Hats, which give off less light but hurt less when in contact with your head.

A Group-based unit of Scouts.

The Scout Association.

U, V

United Kingdom Chief Commissioner.

W, X

Wide Game
A game played outside over a wide area, usually for a couple of hours.

Wood Badge
Awarded on completion of adult training.  Permits you to wear wood beads, the Gilwell Scarf and Woggle. Confusingly there is no actual badge.

Wood beads
Awarded on completion of the Wood Badge.  Often people referring to Wood beads actually mean the Wood Badge.

World Organisation of the Scout Movement, international organisation that facilitates cooperation between national bodies and ensures that they are conforming to the principles of Scouting laid down by Baden-Powell.

World Scout Jamboree, an international gathering typically attended by several tens of thousands of Scouts from around the world, aged 14 to 17.  Held every 4 years.

Y, Z

Yellow Card
Card detailing “Young People First”, the Scout Association’s safeguarding policy for adults.

Yours in Scouting, a sign-off used on letters etc to fellow Scouts.

Young Leader, generally an Explorer Scout but can be from outside of Scouting or a member of GGUK.  Follows the Young Leader training scheme.

Young People First
The Scout Association’s safeguarding policy for adults.  See also Yellow Card.

Young Person (sometimes used for Young People).  Any person under the age of 18 within Scouting.

Young Spokesperson, a young person who has been trained to speak for Scouting to the media.