Yes, it’s true that Scouting uses a lot of abbreviations—not as many as the military, but still—especially for those who are new to Scouting it can be very confusing. Some of them you will only see in print but many of them are used in speech also. So, what’s a new leader to do? Well, you could go to the national website and visit their page of Abbreviations and Acronyms but most of those listed there are not relevant to most brand new Cub Scout leaders. Does a brand new den leader really need to know that DCAD stands for distinguished citizen award dinner or that PD-L1 is for “Professional Development Level 1”? No! They really don’t. In fact I am pretty sure that many of the items listed there you only need to know if you are a professional.
But there are definitely some abbreviations and acronyms that are used often enough that the average Cub Scout leader needs to understand what they stand for. Looking at the list from national and thinking about the LDS Scouting culture here in the Utah National Parks Council (UNPC) I deleted a bunch and added just a few to get what I think are the 20 most commonly used ones—listed alphabetically with a short explanation:
ACM – Assistant Cubmaster – This one is pretty self explanatory once you know what it stands for and to tell you the truth this is not one you will even see written as such very often.
ADC – Assistant District Commissioner – This is usually (but not always) the registered position for the Stake Presidency member over the youth and Scouting in each LDS Stake.
ADL – Assistant Den Leader – Again, fairly self explanatory once you know. Each den leader should have an assistant to help maintain the required “2-deep” adult leadership. And to help plan den meetings and everything else. No one should be doing it all alone.
B-P – Baden-Powell – The founder of the Scouting movement in Great Britain that then led to Scouting in the USA. A very fascinating individual to learn about.
BSA – Boy Scouts of America – Hopefully this one does not need explanation but just in case, this is the national organization. They provide the program and policy, then we put it into practice.
CM – Cubmaster – This is the person in charge of running your monthly pack meetings. Sometimes incorrectly called a “Packmaster”. My personal favorite position in Cub Scouting—so fun!
COR – Chartered Organization Representative – This is usually the member of the bishopric over the youth in an LDS ward. He is a voting member of the district and is ultimately the individual in charge of making sure Scouting, at all levels, functions properly in the ward.
DE – District Executive – this is an individual who is employed by the council to help you with anything you need. They are assigned to a specific district and have specific duties but if you have questions – ask! If you don’t know who yours is, go to roundtable, find out, and introduce yourself.
DL – Den Leader – Again, easy to understand once it is explained but possibly confusing the first time you see it in print. Den leaders plan and run the weekly Wolf or Bear Cub Scout den meetings. Den leaders are the heart of your Cub Scout program – this is “where the rubber meets the road”
EYO – Eleven Year Old Scouts – A patrol (Sometimes also called New Scout Patrol) of the Troop in an LDS ward. LDS Webelos move into EYO Scouts when they turn 11 and join Boy Scouting.
FIG – Faith in God – This is the primary award that a boy can earn before he turns 12. However there are 7 items marked with a small square knot symbol that will earn him his “religious emblem” as a Bear or a Webelos. You can find out more about how it works with the Cub Scout program here.
FOS – Friends of Scouting – The annual fundraising drive that provides each member of the ward the opportunity to donate and show their support for Scouting.
KISMIF – Keep It Simple, Make It Fun – A really good piece of advice. Don’t make things more complicated than you have to and always be sure you are having fun!
LNT – Leave No Trace – There are seven Leave No Trace principals to teach boys how to behave in the outdoors. Cub Scouts use the Leave No Trace principals for kids as part of outdoor ethics. You can find more information in the boys handbooks, in the den leader guides and online.
OA – Order of the Arrow – This is the “honor society” of the Boy Scouts. Why a Cub Scout leader needs to know them is they will often come and do Arrow of Light and/or Bridging Ceremonies at your pack meetings.
P.R.A.Y. – Programs of Religious Activities With Youth – When/If you have a boy in your pack that is not LDS you can go to this website to help him find the requirements to earn his religious emblem for his particular faith.
UC – Unit Commissioner – For Cub Scout leaders your Unit Commissioner is usually (but not always) a member of your Stake Primary presidency. Check out this article to find out what they do.
UNPC – Utah National Parks Council – If you live in Utah, anywhere between point of the mountain to the north and Mesquite Nevada to the south and all the way west or east this is YOUR council. The main council office, service center and Scout shop is located in Orem but we have 8 others around the Council. They provide more services than I could name (especially in an article about abbreviations) so check out the one nearest you. See a UNPC map here. And there is a great article about Council and Districts and what they do here.
WDL – Webelos den leader – Another one that is easy to understand once it has been explained to you. Webelos den leaders plan and run the weekly den meetings for the webelos den and coordinate with the EYO leader for “The Scouting Adventure“.
YPT – Youth Protection Training – It’s that very first, 20-30 minute, training that you should have taken online before you joined Cub Scouting. In fact the certificate of completion would have been attached with your registration when you turn it in. It’s the training that teaches us about 2-deep leadership and how to keep boys and leaders safe. It’s the training that we have been asked to be current with and re-take every year.
You will notice that I didn’t list any that are specific to Boy Scouts because that could be a whole ‘nother list and Cub Scout leaders don’t really need to know those unless they have a son involved. But there are a few things that we in LDS Scouting don’t often know, especially if we are new to Scouting. District is the smaller geographical boundaries within the council. They are in charge of monthly roundtables, and lot of other trainings and activities. (See the map linked to above under UNPC to find your district) Varsity Scouts is the Scouting program used by the 14-15 year olds (Teacher’s Quorum) and Venturing is used by the 16-17 year olds (Priest Quorum). Both of these are programs run by the BSA and use the same Scout Oath and Law and Cubs and Boy Scouts but each has differences in how and what they do for their activities and awards, each program is more suitable to their specific age groups.
So there you have it! What I think are the 20 most common abbreviations that a brand new Cub Scout leader may need to know. Hopefully this will help you make sense of those “random letters” and understand better the language of scouting. So…what is CSRT? Cub Scout Roundtable of course. Odds are I have forgotten a few really important ones (I purposely left out lots of not-so important ones), so feel free to list more in the comment section below. Think back, what did you find confusing when you were a brand new leader?
Of course I can’t end this not very abbreviated article without my current favorite abbreviation – AC – Akela’s Council – A great Cub Scout leader training, developed right here in the UNPC 4 CS leaders 2 DYB (for Cub Scout leaders who want to Do Your Best)!
Author: Annaleis Smith | Assistant Council Commissioner for Cub Scouting Utah National Parks Council, BSA