A Patrol is a group of Boy Scouts who belong to the same troop and who are probably similar in age, development, and interests. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success.
Each scout belongs to a Patrol which is a group of 5 to 10 youth, led by a Patrol Leader, one of their own that they elect. The patrol leader is responsible for organizing, motivating, and managing the patrol. The patrol leader represents the interests of the patrol mates when planning activities with other patrols and relays information to the patrol as needed.
The patrol leader appoints an Assistant Patrol Leader to help with the patrol leadership duties. The APL fills in for the PL when needed and is second in command. Some patrols choose to elect an APL at each election and then have that scout move up to PL at the next election.
Patrols belong to a Boy Scout Troop which is led by the Senior Patrol Leader, a scout elected by the troop. This scout has ultimate responsibility for all the scouts in all the patrols in the troop. The SPL runs all troop meetings, delegates responsibilities, and interacts with adult leadership. The SPL should be at least a First Class rank scout and must earn the respect and cooperation of the troop to be successful.
The senior patrol leader chooses another scout that he can work with and that he respects to fill the role of Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. The ASPL fills in for the SPL as needed and helps with running and managing the troop on outings and at meetings.
Each troop has an adult leader, the Scoutmaster, who is a volunteer registered with the Boy Scouts of America and trained. The Scoutmaster is responsible for helping the scouts with their planning of the year's program so the scouts are given adequate Opportunity to advance in rank and complete merit badges.
A troop will be successful if there are also Assistant Scoutmasters to support the Scoutmaster. The adult leaders should only do those things that the scouts can not do themselves - driving, for example. The scouts should be allowed to lead their own troop with only minimal guidance as needed, depending on the maturity and abilities of the scout leaders.
The Troop is supported by a Troop Committee, all volunteers. There is a Troop Committee Chairman and other troop committee members. Most troop committees consist of family members and members of the troop's chartered organization. The chartered organization is granted a charter by the Boy Scouts of America to use the Scouting program. This chartered organization can be a school, service club, religious group, or other group interested in youth. The chartered organization approves the leadership of the troop, provides a meeting place, and operates the troop within the guidelines and policies of that organization and the BSA.