Patrol Leader

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The Patrol Leader is elected to lead and represent his patrol on the Patrol Leaders' Council. He appoints an Assistant Patrol Leader and other patrol members to other patrol leadership positions.

The members of each patrol elect one of their own to serve as patrol leader. The troop determines the requirements for patrol leaders, such as rank and age. To give more youths the opportunity to lead, most troops elect patrol leaders twice a year. Some may have elections more often.
Serving as Patrol Leader can apply towards Positions of Responsibility requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle.
Patrol Leader
Selected by:Youth Patrol members
Reports to:Senior Patrol Leader
Typical Scouts BSA troop organization chart (click to zoom)
Typical Scouts BSA troop organization chart (click to zoom)


Reports to


When you accepted the position of patrol leader, you agreed to provide service and leadership to your patrol and troop. No doubt you will take this responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun and rewarding. As a patrol leader, you are expected to do the following:
  • Plan and lead patrol meetings and activities.
  • Keep patrol members informed.
  • Assign each patrol member a specific duty.
  • Represent his patrol at all patrol leaders' council meetings and the annual program planning conference.
  • Prepare the patrol to participate in all troop activities.
  • Work with other troop leaders to make the troop run well.
  • Know the abilities of each patrol member.
  • Set a good example.
  • Wear the Scout uniform correctly.
  • Live by the Scout Oath and Law.
  • Show and develop patrol spirit.

Ten Tips for Patrol Leaders

  1. Keep Your Word. Don't make promises you can't keep.
  2. Be Fair to All. A good leader shows no favorites. Don't allow friendships to keep you from being fair to all members of your patrol. Know who likes to do what, and assign duties to patrol members by what they like to do.
  3. Be a Good Communicator. You don't need a commanding voice to be a good leader, but you must be willing to step out front with an effective "Let's go." A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands what's going on.
  4. Be Flexible. Everything doesn't always go as planned. Be prepared to shift to "plan B" when "plan A" doesn't work.
  5. Be Organized. The time you spend planning will be repaid many times over. At patrol meetings, record who agrees to do each task, and fill out the duty roster before going camping.
  6. Delegate. Some leaders assume that the job will not get done unless they do it themselves. Most people like to be challenged with a task. Empower your patrol members to do things they have never tried.
  7. Set an Example. The most important thing you can do is lead by example. Whatever you do, your patrol members are likely to do the same. A cheerful attitude can keep everyone's spirits up.
  8. Be Consistent. Nothing is more confusing than a leader who is one way one moment and another way a short time later. If your patrol knows what to expect from you, they will more likely respond positively to your leadership.
  9. Give Praise. The best way to get credit is to give it away. Often a "Nice job" is all the praise necessary to make a Scout feel he is contributing to the efforts of the patrol.
  10. Ask for Help. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. You have many resources at your disposal. When confronted with a situation you don't know how to handle, ask someone with more experience for some advice and direction.
Ten Tips for Being a Good Patrol Leader

Patrol Leaders' Council

As a patrol leader, you are a member of the patrol leaders' council, and you serve as the voice of your patrol members. You should present the ideas and concerns of your patrol and in turn share the decisions of the patrol leaders' council with your patrol members.

The patrol leaders' council is made up of the senior patrol leader, who presides over the meetings; the assistant senior patrol leader, all patrol leaders, and the troop guide. The patrol leaders' council plans the yearly troop program at the annual troop program planning conference. It then meets monthly to fine-tune the plans for the upcoming month.

Other Patrol Leadership Positions

Leading a patrol involves sharing leadership responsibility. A Patrol Leader gives every patrol member a specific responsibility, make sure he understands the task, and provides him with the guidance and resources he needs. In assigning a patrol member to a specific responsibility, the Patrol Leader should match the right patrol member with the right position. Other patrol leadership positions include:

Training for Patrol Leaders

Scouting takes pride in giving youth members unique leadership opportunities and training. Patrol leaders may have the opportunity to participate in all or some of the following leadership training.

Introduction to Leadership

This is the first step of leadership training. It is usually conducted by the Scoutmaster within a few days after a troop election. It may last no more than an hour, but it should cover the responsibilities of a patrol leader and the needs for upcoming events within the troop.

Troop Junior Leader Training

This is a daylong training conference conducted by the Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader. Its purpose is to reinforce the patrol method and to allow members of the patrol leaders’ council to set goals for themselves, their patrols, and their troop.

Council Junior Leader Training

Many councils offer weeklong junior leader training conferences at their camps for key troop leaders. This course supplements troop training and introduces leadership skills in an outdoor environment.

National Leadership Seminars

These Order of the Arrow leadership seminars take place over a weekend and focus primarily on the skills and attributes of leadership. Youth participants should be at least 15 years of age or a lodge officer.

National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience

National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is an exciting program that enhances leadership skills and expands upon the team-building and ethical decision-making skills learned in National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). NAYLE emphasizes leadership, teamwork, and selfless service, using the core elements of NYLT to help youth strengthen these skills. The NAYLE course is available at all four national high-adventure bases. The material presented is basically the same at all four venues but is customized to the unique environment of each site.


The Patrol Leader is a sub-group youth leader in its unit. Other sub-group youth leaders are:

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Scouts BSA ranks requiring a Positions of Responsibility
  • Star rank #5 "While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your troop for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster approved leadership project to help the troop)"
  • Life rank #5 "While a Star Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in one or more of the positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster approved leadership project to help the troop)"
  • Eagle Scout rank #4 "While a Life Scout, serve actively in your troop for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility..."
  • See also: National Youth Leadership Training‎ (NYLT) - a fun, six-day outdoor learning course.


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