Leaders

A Scout Leader or Scouter generally refers to the trained adult leader of a Scout unit. The terms used vary from country to country, over time, and with the type of unit.

Robert Baden-Powell initially used the terms Scoutmaster and Cubmaster for adult leaders (coming from the English usage of the word as a synonym for “teacher”), and these terms are still used in some countries and units. As the word master picked up old-fashioned connotations, it was replaced by other terms such as Scout Leader or Scouter in many Commonwealth countries.

There are many different roles a leader can fulfill depending on the type of unit. Positions are usually voluntary and are often divided between ‘uniform’ and ‘lay’ roles. For many, this volunteerism is an avocation.

Uniformed Scout Leaders are primarily responsible for organizing the activities of the group, and training the youth members through the Scout programme. Other roles include liaison with parents, or other parties such as the unit’s sponsoring (chartered) organization.

Lay supporters are not always termed Scout Leaders; although they may assist with activities and trainings, they do not always hold a formal position and may not have received trainings. Beyond the Scout programme, lay supporters may take responsibility for administrative tasks such as budgets, managing properties, recruitment, equipment, transport, and many other roles.

The roles of leaders in senior unit like Rover section tend to be consultative, with much of the administration and activity planning in the hand of older Scouts, while in junior units like Cub Scout and Scout sections, the adult leaders need to take a more central role.

Beyond the group are further uniformed positions (sometimes called Commissioners) at levels such as county, council, depending on the structure of the national scout organisation. They also work along with lay teams and professionals. Training teams and other related functions are often formed at these levels. Some countries appoint a Chief Commissioner as the most senior uniformed member.