Unit Leaders (ages 21+) are uniformed appointments (e.g. Cub Scout Leader, Asst Cub Scout Leaders, Scout Leader, Venture Scout Leader, etc.) and would usually require weekly. Leaders are responsible for planning programmes and activities for their sections, and are entrusted with the smooth running of their units with the support of the Group Scout Leader and Asst Group Scout Leader.
Aside from on-the-job training, The Singapore Scout Association provides all Leaders with Induction and Wood Badge (Advanced Unit Leader Training) courses at the national level to ensure that Leaders are equipped with the tools of the trade necessary to survive and thrive! It may sound like a tough job, but the knowledge that being a Unit Leader makes a direct positive impact on the lives of young people also makes it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable appointments an adult may hold.
Adult Leaders (formerly Auxiliary Leaders) are usually appointed when a member shows potential and/or the drive to take charge of a unit/group. Typically, the adult leader follows the appointed assistant leaders or leaders around to learn the ropes of the trade. He/she takes a non-office position until he/she is ready to take up a formal appointment in the unit/group.
This role may also be given to a person when the group is not in need of formal appointments such as assistant leaders and leaders, but would like to give a chance for the individual (typically an alumni member of sorts) to offer his help to the younger scouts.
The adult leaders wear the typical scout uniform and the land leader epaulette and sea leader epaulette for the land and sea sections respectively.
Assistant Cub Scout/Scout/Venture Scout/Rover Scout Leaders
Assistant Leaders are usually appointed to help mainly with the general operations of the unit. Assistant Scout/Venture Scout Leader appointments can be given to members of age 21 and above while Assistant Rover Scout Leaders are for members of age 25 and above.
The assistant leader supports the operation of the Scout Section; in particular, the planning and delivery of the youth to the Section, with the help of other Assistant Leaders, Troop Assistants,
Young Leaders and members of the Scout Fellowship.
Each assistant leader is responsible to the section leader. It is recommended that assistant leaders can be given different job scopes to tap on their individual talents and keep their focus. Typically, an average unit would have 2 assistant leaders to support the section leader, however, that number is not fixed and the group is free to appoint as much assistants as needed.
Cub Scout/Scout/Venture Scout/Rover Scout Leaders
Section(Scout, Venture, Rover) Leaders are typically senior and experienced leaders. They deal less with operations of the unit and more with forming strategies for the unit to grow and in turn enhance it’s training for the youth members.
Section Leaders are also tasked to train their assistant leaders to prepare take over the role as sectional leader when the time comes. In addition, the section leader is also tasked with coming up with agreeable job scope for his/her assistant.
Each section are only allowed to have one main section leader.
The section leader is responsible to the Group Scout Leader and/or Assistant Group Scout Leader(s). All section leaders with the exception of Rover Scout Leaders can be appointed at the age of 21 with the Rover Scout Leader being allowed at the age of 30.
Assistant Group Scout Leader
The Assistant Group Scout Leader and the Group Scout Leader’s role can be more accurately defined as section managers. The Assistant Group Scout Leader manages the section leaders and reports back to the Group Scout Leader.
Additional Assistant Group Scout Leaders can be appointed if the group is especially large in size and different roles are needed to be fulfilled. In such cases, Assistant Group Scout Leaders can be differentiated into Strategic and Operations purposes, with there being no limit of the amount of specific roles.
Assistant Group Scout Leaders are typically leaders who have had experience with most if not all sections within that group.
Group Scout Leader
The Group Scout Leader is the inspirational figure within the group. Usually, the Group Scout Leader is the most senior and experienced leader within the group and is able to offer his guidance to the rest of the leaders.
He/she is responsible for all Section Leaders and Assistant Group Scout Leaders in the Scout Group. The Group Scout Leader typically also has an overview of the other roles within the Scout Group and the Group Council.
The Group Scout Leader also ensures that the Scout Group has an adequate team of “fit and proper” adults working effectively together and with others to meet the Scouting needs of the youth members.
In essence, he is to issue job scopes to his team of leaders and ensure that they are carrying it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – I am a Scout leader and I am just enquiring what exactly the position of group leader in any troop is and what job parents and friends should do?
I would like to say that according to my experience the local Scout Group is very important. It is the only place in the Scout Movement where Scouting’s educational proposal can be made to children and young people of all ages. The full educational programme of Scouting is not limited to one age range: Cub Scouts, Scouts, or Venture Scouts. To be able to understand and evaluate it correctly, you need to consider its development from childhood (Cub Scouts) to Venture Scouts or Rovers (young adults) in a given community.
This is the very important function of the Scout Group: to deliver the Scout programme to a local community through the various age groups in a way which is adapted to the local needs. Therefore, the Group leader should form a real “educational team” with the leaders of the various units (Cub Pack, Scout troop and Venture Scout unit). This team has to evaluate the educational needs in the local community and provide a relevant response through Scouting. A good example of this kind of work can be found in an excellent document published by the Interamerican Scout Office : “The Group Plan”. You can order it from the Interamerican Scout Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
The problem is that sometimes the Group leader’s function is described or understood just as a purely administrative job e.g. to manage finance, equipment, meeting places, etc. This is very necessary but not sufficient. The Group leader should firstly be an educator, able to support the unit leaders in assessing the needs of children and young people and identifying relevant activities to meet these needs. When a local Group works in this way, there is no problem to involve the parents.
They discover that the Group is led by a real educational team with clear educational objectives and they are motivated to give support on practical matters (equipment, money, etc.). A good way to involve everybody is to set up a Group Committee comprising the unit leaders, the Group leader and parents’ representatives. This committee can meet every two months, for example, to discuss all the problems faced by the Group. However, a smaller educational team involving the unit leaders and the Group leader is necessary to examine educational problems more closely.
Q – Over the past years I have been associated with Scouts, I feel that as a leader, one is put under a great deal of pressure. With all the regulations, legislation, political correctness etc. It is no wonder that Leaders leave when they are continually on their guard and trying to do the right thing. One must remember that we are ordinary citizens, and in some cases family parents. We have enough to worry about just being parents without having extra problems thrusted upon us. During my training nothing was said about political correctness, or reporting child abuse etc. How far does a volunteer leader go in this regard? Talk about frustration
A -You are not asking a question, you are giving a testimony and I share your point of view. I think that Scout associations should not forget that the Unit leader’s position is the most important one in Scouting because it is the only one where you are dealing with children or young people directly.
What would an educational movement such as Scouting be without educators?
All the other positions in Scouting should support unit leaders and facilitate their role. Unfortunately, people think too naturally that to be a district commissioner or a trainer, or a member of the national board is more important than being a modest local leader, and sometimes they just forget them.
Scouting would not exist without unit leaders and the quality of a National Scout Organization depends upon the quality of the unit leaders it is able to recruit and keep.
This is why most of the efforts of district and national leaders should be aimed at valuing and facilitating the role of adult unit leaders in order to be able to attract and keep first class people (mature, committed, efficient, etc.) in this role.
Unfortunately, in some associations, practice is very different. Unit leaders receive weak support and have to solve a number of problems by themselves while being put under high pressure from more and more regulations. Furthermore, every time a leader is successful at the unit level, he is often proposed another position at district or county levels.
In many Scout associations, decision makers should be more aware of this situation. They should consider that the only way to increase the quality of the programme is to keep good leaders in their position for a longer time. That saves a lot of resources in terms of recruitment and training. By giving good and experienced leaders opportunities for sharing their experiences and their good practices, it will also be possible to improve the quality of the Scout programme.
Finally, Scout associations should do their best to make the Unit leader’s role recognised as a very valuable social role in the community. Adults, men and women, who commit themselves as Scout unit leaders should be recognised and praised by the community.
This is why I have decided to recommend to the World Scout Bureau to create on this website a special page for Unit Scout leaders in order for them to express their concerns, share their experience and receive more support.
Although I understand your frustration, I am sure that in giving your time for young people, helping them grow and making them happy, you have also enjoyed this fantastic and unique role of Unit Scout leader who is most often, for his/her Scouts both a friend and a hero.
Q – What happens if in our section (Rovers) there is only one leader. Is it possible to use the program correctly?
1) In Rovering, the teams should be autonomous. Therefore, the team leaders (Rovers) should be able to lead team activities and to help the unit leader in managing the unit.
2) The activities should not be selected and organised by the unit leader but by the unit council formed from the team leaders and the unit leader. Look at Leader’s Toolbox.
3) The Rovers could and should make efforts to find one or two adults able to help their Scout leader. They could discuss and write the profile of a young man or woman they would see in this role and then look for people corresponding to this profile among their relatives or neighbours. When 2 or 3 people are identified, the Rovers could invite them to a meeting, explain to them what they are doing and ask them whether they would agree to help them in developing their activities and projects. Those who accept should be introduced to the Group leader or the District Commissioner to be selected and appointed as Rover leaders.