The Change of Command Ceremony is the final event of the Birthday before the concluding award ceremony. During the ceremony, a symbolic exercise is performed in which that year's Senior Patrol Leader hands off his authority to his newly appointed successor. It is at this point that the Scout Year ends/starts.started in 2007. It was to commemorate the change in power from one SPL to another.
The Ceremony Edit
The Change of Commander Ceremony begins following the last event of the Birthday Competition (typically the Drill Competition). The five patrols are assembled on the Parade Field in four man fronts with the Patrol Leader at the front of his formation, a scout carrying the patrol colors at his side, and the APL at the rear of the formation. The Staff Patrol is formed behind the five patrols, and one of the [[ASPL|ASPLs] is at the front of the entire Troop.
Located off to the side of the field by the Bell Tower and Trek Cart Path is a ground of four individuals. First is typically a younger scout, often the recipient of the Recruit of the Year Award for that year. He leads the four and carries the SPL Guidon. This scout is then followed by the Scoutmaster and both the outgoing SPL and the incomming SPL for that new year.
The ceremony commences with narration by the Troop Scribe describing what the audience is witnessing. The four man detail will then march onto the field to the front of the Troop. Typically rim clicks will be played on a snare drum from the side of the field, the outgoing SPL with quietly give marching orders, and the incoming SPL will softly call cadence.
Upon reaching the center of the formation, the members of the detail will take their respective positions. The outgoing SPL will have a brief exchange with the ASPL at the head of the Troop. The SPL will then give a short speech to the scouts, typically one of thanks for such a great year and optimizism for future years. After he has finished his remarks, the SPL will turn back around and the ceremony will commence.
As the scribe continues to narrate and explain the significance of each event, the SPL guidon is passed throughtout the assembled four. First the guidon is passed from the young scout to the outgoing SPL. The SPL then passes the guidon to the Scoutmaster. This symbolizes the end of his command tour and the return of authority to the adult leadership of the Troop. The Scoutmaster will then turn and hand the guidon to the incoming SPL signifying the transition of authority for the next year. The incoming SPL will then return the guidon to the young scout.
Following the completion of this brief ceremony the guidon bearer, the Scoutmaster, and the outgoing SPL will quietly march to the other end of the parade field just as they marched in. The new SPL will remain behind at the head of the Troop. He will then have an opportunity to give a brief speach of his own before then dismissing the Troop as their new leader.
The Change of Commander has traditionally occurred at the Birthday for many years. All scouts go into the Birthday with the positions they held for the entire previous year. At the conclusion of the Birthday, all tours of duty are officially over. New positions are often not formalized until later in the month at Horseshoe, and many scouts (especially in the Staff Patrol) may continue in their roles until an official replacement is found (e.g. Quartermaster). However, most major command positions such as SPL and PL for the next year are known and scouts have traditionally taken charge of their patrols (or even the entire Troop) at the conclusion of the day's events. (A new patrol leader's first task is often to have his patrol return their trek cart to its off-season storage place.)
In 2007 the Troop created the Change of Commander Ceremony to formally recognize this silent transition, at least at the SPL level. The first outgoing SPL for a Change of Command Ceremony was Matt Kravitz and the first incoming SPL was Michael Kiniry. All former SPLs that have participated in the ceremony have received their own SPL pennant as a token of their year in command.