Scouting Terms and Style

Includes all terms starting with S.

Safe Boating
This course is designed for Sea Scout ships whose members may not be interested in following the advancement plan leading to Quartermaster, or as supplementary training for traditional ships. Those who complete the course earn the Small-Boat Handler bar. See "Advanced Seamanship."

safe haven
Do not use this term to describe or imply the atmosphere of a Scouting activity. Scouting strives to create an environment that is governed by the Scout Oath and Law where everyone should feel physically and emotionally secure.

Safe-Rides Venturing
A Safe-Rides Venturing crew provides a confidential ride home to any student who is not in a condition to drive. It also provides a ride home to those who wish to avoid being a passenger in such a situation. The safe-rides program can have a positive effect on young adults' attitudes about the dangers of using alcohol and drugs.

Safe Swim Defense plan
An eight-point plan of recommended procedures for conducting group swims. The eight points are (1) qualified supervision, (2) physical fitness, (3) safe area, (4) lifeguards on duty, (5) lookout, (6) ability groups, (7) buddy system, and (8) discipline.

Safety Afloat
Guidelines for safe unit activity afloat in craft less than 26 feet long: (1) qualified supervision, (2) physical fitness, (3) swimming ability, (4) personal flotation equipment, (5) buddy system, (6) skill proficiency, (7) planning, (8) equipment, and (9) discipline.

Abbreviate as "St." in the names of saints, cities, and other places. Exceptions: Saint John (city in New Brunswick), Sault Ste. Marie (city in Michigan/Ontario), and the names of Scouting awards and emblems (e.g., Saint George Award).

See "Cub Scout salute" and "Scout salute."

Salvation Army Scouter's Award
For Salvationists who give noteworthy service of exceptional character to the spiritual, moral, and physical development of youth through or in the Scouting program in The Salvation Army.

Salvation Army, The
Note the capitalization of "The" in the name of the group.

School Night for Scouting
A one-night event held in a neighborhood school, church, community center, etc., where boys and parents gather to hear how Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting operate and how they can join.

May be synonymous with the term "Boy Scout" or may be used to include Varsity Scouts and Boy Scouts (not Cub Scouts). Use on second reference or also in informal usage when the meaning is clearly understood. Capitalize "Scout" and all words beginning with "Scout" (such as "Scouting" and "Scouter") unless the meaning is not related to the Scouting movement.

This is incorrect; see "Scoutorama."

Scout benediction
May the Great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with us until we meet again.

Scout executive
The chief executive officer of the council responsible for the administration, financing, marketing, motivation, recruiting, and staffing required for successful council operations. Capitalize only when the title precedes the name. Examples: "Scout Executive John Smiley," "John Smiley is the Scout executive."

Scout Executives' Alliance
A fellowship of professional and professional-technical Scouters that provides immediate funds to the family of a deceased member.

Scout handclasp
This unique greeting is given with the left hand, the thumb separated from the fingers.

Scout Law
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. (There are 12 points to the Scout Law.)

Scout motto
Be Prepared.

Scout Oath or Promise
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout reservation or camp
Land owned by or leased to the Boy Scouts of America to further the Scouting program. A Scout reservation usually has two or more camps.

Scout Sabbath
The Saturday after February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day.

Scout salute
A hand salute made by Scouts and Scouters with the fingers of the right hand held in position as for the Scout sign.

Scout shop
A BSA-owned store, operated by the Supply Division, that sells official Scouting merchandise. See "Scouting distributor."

Scout show
See "Scouting show."

Scout sign
A sign made by raising the right hand palm forward, upper arm straight, and out to the side. The arm is bent at the elbow, forming a right angle. The three middle fingers are held erect and the thumb covers the nail of the little finger.

Scout slogan
Do a Good Turn Daily.

Scout Sunday
The Sunday before February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day.

Use "outdoor skills" in most cases, "Scouting skills" in others.

A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.

Scouter's Award
The recognition for individuals who have not obtained the Scouter's Key but are trained and giving consistent service to Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, or Venturing or are serving on a roundtable/huddle staff. Scoutmasters also are required to earn the Scouter's Award as part of earning the Scoutmaster's Key.

Scouter's Key
Recognizes Scoutmasters, Coaches, Advisors, Skippers, commissioners, and district committee members who have taken the recommended training for these positions and have achieved a high standard of performance over three years.

Scouter's Training Award
See "Boy Scout Leader's Training Award."

Scouters' Reserve
A registration status for adults who want to remain identified with Scouting without a specific assignment. They may be called upon to help with short-term projects.

Scouting Anniversary Day
February 8, 1910, was the day William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. Also called "Uniform Day."

Scouting Anniversary Week
This is the week, beginning on Sunday, that includes February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day. During the week, units are encouraged to conduct rededication ceremonies and to demonstrate Scouting's purposeful activities.

Scouting coordinator
Former term for chartered organization representative. (See "chartered organization representative.")

Scouting distributor
A firm licensed by the Supply Division to stock and sell official Scouting merchandise. See "Scout shop."

Scouting Energy Day
A focus on energy education and conservation; held on the first Saturday of October, with activities continuing throughout the month.

Scouting Environment Day
This day highlights conservation awareness, the cleanup of litter, tree planting, and other conservation projects. Held annually on the fourth Saturday in April.

Scouting family
See "whole Scouting family" and "BSA Family program."

Scouting for Food National Good Turn
First conducted in November 1988, this nationwide food collection effort is BSA's response to the "unacceptable" of hunger in our society. See "unacceptables."

Scouting Heritage Society
Local council recognition program for those who have made a current or deferred gift to the council's endowment trust fund.

Scouting magazine
The official magazine for all Scouters. It aims to interpret the program, stimulate action, and strengthen a desire to serve. The title is typeset in italics and underlined in typewritten copy. The word "magazine" may or may not be used and is not capitalized.

Scouting movement
An idea started in England by Baden-Powell, based on the conviction that boys can live up to a code of conduct and can develop themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually in association with other boys through a program of appealing activities and advancement challenges under the leadership of adults.

Scouting program
Historically, "Scouting" has been the generic term for the organization and activities of the Boy Scouts of America. It refers also to Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and troop and team activities. The program of the Boy Scouts of America is designed to fulfill its chartered purpose to achieve objectives in character development, citizenship training, and fitness adapted to the age groups: Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers. The program is carried out in units run by local organizations chartered by the Boy Scouts of America. Do not refer to Cub Scouting, Tiger Cubs BSA, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing as separate programs.

Scouting show
Not "Scout show" unless only Boy Scouts and no Cub Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers are involved. See also "arena show" and "booth show."

A volunteer Scouter, 21 or older, appointed by the chartered organization to lead a Boy Scout troop.

Scoutmaster Award of Merit
See "National President's Scoutmaster Award of Merit."

Scoutmaster conference
A distinctive feature of the troop advancement plan in which a Scoutmaster helps a Scout accept the responsibility for his own growth toward each rank.

Scoutmaster's Key
A recognition given to a Scoutmaster for completing training, tenure, and performance requirements.

Scoutmaster's Minute
A part of the closing ceremony of a troop meeting or campfire in which the Scoutmaster encourages Scoutlike conduct by telling a story.

Scoutmastership Fundamentals
Obsolete. See "leader-specific training."

A wide area network that electronically connects all local councils, regional offices, the National Distribution Center, the Center for Professional Development, and the national office.

A show or demonstration of Scouting activities.

Scoutreach Division
Formed from the merger of the Urban Emphasis and Rural Emphasis programs in 1998, the division gives special leadership and emphasis to urban and rural Scouting. Scoutreach represents the BSA's commitment to making sure that all young people have an opportunity to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background.

Scouts with disabilities/Scouts with special needs
A program element of the Boy Scouts of America that emphasizes the involvement of youth who have visual, hearing, or other physical disabilities, or are emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded. An alternative advancement program is available for these youth members. They can be mainstreamed into regular Scouting units or placed in a special unit organized to meet their special needs. See "Torch of Gold Award," and "Woods Services Award."

Scouts' Own
Discontinue the use this term for a worship service at camp. Instead, use "outdoor worship service" or "interfaith worship service."

A youth officer who checks attendance and keeps records. The troop scribe is appointed by the senior patrol leader with the Scoutmaster's advice and consent. The patrol scribe is appointed by the patrol leader.

Scuba BSA
A recognition given to Scouts and Venturers who demonstrate knowledge and skill in the sport of scuba diving.

Sea Scout
A registered youth member of a Sea Scout ship.

Sea Scout Leaders' Specialized Training
This special course provides an introduction to Sea Scouting for all Sea Scout leaders.

Sea Scouting
Sea Scouts specialize in traditional nautical activities, i.e., sailing, boating, and maritime careers.

Sea Scouting committee
A committee responsible to the council Venturing committee chair. This committee encourages intership activities, renews charters for ships, and encourages periodic meetings of ship officers. It also supports program and provides training.

Adult training recognition in Sea Scouting. The Seabadge conference is an advanced training conference for Sea Scout leaders conducted on a council or regional basis.

Lowercase "spring," "summer," "fall," and "winter" unless part of a formal name: "Summer Olympics," "St. Paul Winter Carnival."

Second Class
The rank above Tenderfoot in Boy Scout and Varsity Scout advancement. Combinations: "Second Class Scout," "Second Class rank."

A Varsity Scout or Venturer elected to this office in the team or crew.

Geographical and administrative grouping of Order of the Arrow lodges.

A one-day activity to recognize Scoutmasters and stimulate use of the Boy Scout Handbook. Provides public exposure for Boy Scouting and stimulates interest in members and nonmembers. Do not capitalize unless naming a specific see'n'do, as "Apache District See'n'Do."

Seeboomook Base
Formerly part of the Maine National High Adventure Area; no longer used on a national level.

Always hyphenate: "self-reliant," "self-esteem," "self-worth," "self-conscious."

Twice a year; a synonym for "biannual."

See "punctuation."

senior patrol leader
Each troop has one senior patrol leader, a Scout elected by the Scouts to help all the patrols succeed. He may be assisted by one or more assistant senior patrol leaders.

(1) Denotes tenure. Example: "He has two years' service as a Scouter." Expresses the function of an office. Example: "Commissioner service is to help units succeed." (2) Used to describe the Good Turn ideal. Example: "The Boy Scouts of America has performed outstanding service to the country." (3) An administrative branch of a National Council division. Examples: "Jamboree Service," "Audiovisual Service."

service center
The business office for a council or region. Combinations: "Longhorn Council Service Center," "local council or regional service center," "Western Region Service Center."

service patrol
The name given to a patrol that has accepted an extra work assignment for the good of the troop.

service star
An insignia worn over the left shirt pocket of the uniform to denote number of years of service.

Seton Memorial Library and Philmont Museum
Located at Philmont Scout Ranch, this facility contains exhibits related to the history and program of the ranch and the Southwest as well as a library of books, art, and artifacts of one of the BSA's founders, Ernest Thompson Seton.

The unit that conducts Sea Scouting for the chartered organization. Equivalent to a Venturing crew. Combinations: "Sea Scout ship," "Ship 38," "Sea Scout Ship 38."

ships and spacecraft
Italicize the names of ships (the Titanic) and spacecraft (the Discovery) unless you are referring to a spacecraft that is named after a part of the space program, such as Apollo 13. Lowercase "space shuttle." Do not italicize abbreviations that appear before the name of a ship, such as SS or HMS: SS United States.

short-term camping
A camping experience consisting of one to four days and at least one night outdoors.

See "weapons."

An outdoor event—"showing and doing"—that helps a leader blend leadership skills with outdoor and camping skills.

Silver Antelope Award
A recognition given by the National Court of Honor to a Scouter for distinguished service to youth within the region.

Silver Arrow Point
See "Arrow Point."

Silver Award
The Silver Award is available to all Venturers. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for personal development; encourage Venturers to learn, grow and serve; and recognize the high level of achievement of Venturers who acquire Venturing skills. Candidates must first achieve at least one Bronze Award and the Venturing Gold Award.

Silver Beaver Award
A recognition given by the National Court of Honor for distinguished service to youth within the council.

Silver Buffalo Award
A recognition given by the National Court of Honor for distinguished service to youth on the national level.

Silver Palm
See "Eagle Palms."

Silver World Award
Presented by the BSA to citizens of other countries and to U.S. citizens who are not BSA members, for distinguished service to youth on an international level.

The Sea Scouting equivalent of Advisor. Assisted by a "mate."

See "Scout slogan."

Small-Boat Handler
A Sea Scout who successfully completes the Safe Boating course earns this emblem.

Snorkeling BSA
A recognition given to Scouts and Venturers to encourage the development of aquatic skills that promote fitness and recreation and to lay a foundation for those who later participate in advanced underwater activities.

space derby
A pack activity that involves making and racing model spaceships. Combinations: "Pack 1 Space Derby," "the space derby."

See "ships and spacecraft."

Use figures. "The car slowed to 7 miles per hour," "the car slowed to 7 mph," "winds of 5 to 10 knots."

Spirit of the Eagle Award
A posthumous recognition for youth members who died as a result of accident or illness. Awarded by the National Court of Honor.

Use when some of the people involved may be men. For example: "Scouters and their spouses," not "Scouters and their wives."

A Varsity Scout team subdivision that consists of four to eight members; equivalent to a patrol in a Boy Scout troop.

squad leader
Elected by squad members, this Varsity Scout leads the squad and, with other team members, develops team meeting agendas.

square knot
Generally, embroidered square knots are representative of pin-on medals or around-the-neck awards and are designed for the greater convenience of the wearer. They are the only wearable insignia for the Award of Merit and Professional Training Award. Embroidered knots from other Scout associations may be worn on Scouters' uniforms.

standard time
Capitalize "Eastern Standard Time," "Pacific Standard Time," etc., but lowercase "standard time" standing alone. See also "times and time zones."

The rank above First Class and below Life in Scout advancement. Combinations: "Star Scout," "Star rank."

Lowercase in all "state of" constructions: "the state of Iowa," "the states of Maine and Vermont."

state names
Spell out the names of U.S. states unless space is a factor (such as in the Trailblazers section of ProSpeak or in tabular material), and then use the standard abbreviations shown in the "Abbreviations" section of this manual. Use the two-letter postal abbreviations in addresses with zip codes only. Punctuation: Place a comma between the city and state name, and another comma after the state name: "He traveled from Chicago, Illinois, to Dallas, Texas, en route to his home in Flagstaff, Arizona."

Strategic Plan, National
A three- to five-year plan that helps provide a focus for the growth and success of Scouting. Also see "critical issues." Capitalize when referring to the BSA's National Strategic Plan; council strategic plans should be lowercase.

Summertime Pack Award
See "National Summertime Pack Award."

Lowercase: "The sun is hot today."

A major annual activity, trip, or project of a Venturing crew requiring long-range planning and extensive preparation. Generally the highlight of the crew's program year.

supplemental training
A variety of courses given on a district, council, area, regional, or national basis designed to give additional information on specific areas of Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing. Other terms include "pow wow," "leadership update," "unit leadership enhancements," and "Webelos Leader Outdoor Training."

Supply Division
The arm of the Boy Scouts of America that supplies official uniforms, equipment, and literature to the field. Includes administrative offices located in the national office, a national distribution center, and Scout shops located nationwide.

Supreme Court of the United States
Capitalize "U.S. Supreme Court." Capitalize "the Supreme Court" when the context makes the "U.S." designation unnecessary.

sustaining member
Obsolete term; see "Friends of Scouting."

Sustaining Membership Enrollment
An obsolete term, SME was once used to describe a special type of membership for people who want to be identified with a local council for their financial support through the annual Friends of Scouting campaign. See "Friends of Scouting," which is the correct term.

swimmer test
The minimum level of swimming ability required for deep-water swimming. The test is as follows: Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth, swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.

The Language of Scouting