Scouting Jargon

I was perusing my feed reader the other day and I came across a post by ScoutmasterCG on Scouting Jargon.

Jargon is an Old French word meaning “the chatter of birds”.

At it’s best Scouting jargon encapsulates a complex idea or definition for easy reference. At it’s worst jargon can become unintelligible, pretentious, convoluted vocabulary of the initiated.

Scouting has a lot of acronyms and initialization: ’ We talked about EDGE at the PLC and encouraged them to use MaSeR during their SSC and SMART exercises.’

via Scouting Jargon –

The extract above is just the tip of the iceberg and I would recommend reading the full article to get his views. However it made me think no matter what country in the world we are in we do use a lot of jargon in Scouting.

I mean do you know your ACC’s from your AAC or your DESC from your DESA. we have NAN’s and TA’s. then you have billies, dixies, the 4U2P, woggles, dollies and some people still don’t know the meaning of dyb and dob.

So how much of the Jargon to you know or understand?

Did you know all of those ones above, In case you did not the answers so to speak are below.

  • ACC – Assistant County Commissioner
  • AAC – Assistant Area Commissioner
  • DESC – District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • DESA – District Explorer Scout Administrator
  • NAN – Nights Away Notification
  • TA – Training Adviser
  • Billy – is a small nesting cook pot usually up to 1l
  • Dixie – is a big cooking pot normally 1.5l or above (or at least that is how I know them)
  • woggles – is a device for holding your neckie together
  • dolly – is the wooden bit you put on top of a tent pole that usually holds the guyline
  • the 4U2P – was a traffic cone with the end cut off that was use to make the urinal on ever scout camp I went on as a young scout. no-one really wanted to pick it up
  • DYB – stands for Do Your Best
  • DOB – Stands for Do Our Best (part of the chant that cubs use to use during the grand howl)

In his article Clarke (ScoutmasterCG) explores the possibility that all this jargon and lingo can entice people to want to become a leader as they want to understand it all and be in the club that are in the know.

It is my experience in the UK that it is often the jargon and the insiders clubness that often puts people off and can make people think if I don know my NEWS or what you do with grannys glasses, or whether the rabbit chases the fox or the fox chases the rabbit then you feel like you can’t do the job.

I would strongly recommend that when you get a new leader or a new helper you consider the language that you use and ensure that you make them feel like they are part of the club and not an outsider.

Were you ever in the position? Was there scouting jargon you were unsure of? Do you make sure that when talking to new people you check the language your using? Let me know your stories in the comments below?

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  1. Ben
    8 October, 2012

    I can think of a number of acronyms for people that I store in my head. I found in the past that those that always use them especially in regards to themselves are the very people who shouldn’t be given an acronym.
    GSL – Great Scouting Leader (obviously)

    1. Kiff
      8 October, 2012

      Well I am glad you kept them in your head, this is a family website after all.

      ACC – Attitude Can Change

  2. Nick Wood
    9 October, 2012

    Scouting is acronym & jargon tastic, but then so are most organisations / businesses.
    When I worked in retail we always said to new members of staff that if we started saying things like “go and merch the stock on that comp, then check the SELs and POS and finally zap the waste with the gun(!)” they should stop us and ask us to speak ‘proper’!
    This is why within Scouting (and to a degree work – we use tricky phrases like ‘on switch’ and ‘start button’!) I am always careful not to slip into the lingo when talking to new members and especially parents so as not to put them off! but then with some of our Leaders, who’ve been in Scouting longer than me, it’s easier to go into full jargon.

    YIS (there’s another one…)

    1. Kiff
      10 October, 2012

      I think it is part of every day live, If I think of my job there is all sorts of Jargon like
      36″ Pigs that go down pipes, Oli inspection CDM-c, HAZOPS, HAZIDS, 360’s, D6’s Moxies and so on.

      As you say Nick in Scouting so as not to scare people off we should KISS (and there is a final one)


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