Senior Patrol Leader (SPL)



The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) position is the most important leadership position in the troop.  This position is responsible for directing all troop activities.  This includes:

  • planning meetings and events,

  • carrying out the plan at meetings/activities,

  • setting up training for younger scouts,

  • running ceremonies,

  • reviewing the successes and failures of each meeting/activity.

What does it mean to be the highest-ranking scout?  It means that you have the sole responsibility to direct all troop activities (you are the leader of the troop).  All scouts in the troop are under your authority.  You lead through our Asst Senior Patrol Leaders (ASPLs).  Your charge is to:

  • let the senior staff know what is expected of them (tasks, timeframe, resources, etc.),

  • answer any questions

  • make sure that they carry it out.

This does not mean that you do any of the work or even assist.  This means that you direct, lead, command and/or delegate.  Demonstrating an activity or skill is also a way of leading by example as long as scouts/patrols have an opportunity to try it on their own.  Because of this leadership role, the success or failure of an activity rests with you (no one else).


It is expected that at this point in your pathway through scouting you already have the skills and knowledge to take care of yourself and a patrol.  Your focus now is on leading the entire troop.  This is a much larger role.  To do this you can use the following:

  1. Other leaders:

  1. Subordinate Leaders:  (ASPLs and other scouts in leadership positions.) Review their roles in the troop.  They are your keys to success.  If they do not perform then you must work with them to improve their performance.  The ASPLs should be the scouts you work with most often They must carry out your directions and report back to you.

  2. Scoutmaster & Assistant Scoutmasters: They are your sounding board for help and guidance.  They should only step in when there are issues of safety involved. 

  1. Troop meetings and activity plans developed by the scribe.  These are the monthly notes from PLC Meeting.  You cannot run a meeting without being prepared.  Things will fall apart quickly.  Meeting plans should be reviewed with an adult leader and will be your guide for each meeting.  You must insure that everything is in place for the meeting.  Check with whoever was assigned a meeting task to make sure they are ready.  Do not assume that anyone will be prepared!  You must constantly remind and get commitment.

  2. Backup activities listing and plans.  You should always have a list of activities that you can use, just in case things are not going well.  In some cases you might need to stop and re-direct the troop if an activity is not going well.

  3. Note cards for running ceremonies.  These will guide you through the commands youíll need to run a scout meeting or award ceremony.

The success of your tenure as Senior Patrol Leader will depend on your preparation and your leadership skills.


Other Duties:

  • Preside at all Troop meetings, events, activities, and the program planning conferences.

  • Chair the Patrol Leaderís Council.

  • Assist the Scoutmaster with the process of appointing leadership.

  • Assign duties and responsibilities to other junior leaders.

  • Work with the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters in training junior leaders.

  • If you cannot make a campout, assign an SPL and ASPLs for the events.


  • Set a good example.

  • Wear the uniform correctly.

  • Live by the Scout Oath and Law.

Finally, in Troop 880 leadership comes with its own rewards.  As the senior scout leader of the troop you are welcome to enjoy these additional privileges. They are: 

  • So that your focus can be on the scouts, food for all campouts and activities will be provided to you by the adult leadership.  When the adults eat together youíre welcome to join us if you like. 

  • You also have first selection of troop equipment. 

  • You have first pick among scouts for tent site or bunk selection.

  • You have authority to recommend scouts for skill signoff (Scout to First class).


This page last modified: February 10, 2008