Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Supplemental Training

Church leaders have made many statements over the years regarding the importance of Scout leaders receiving training as soon as possible for their positions. Charles Dahlquist likened not getting training to having a pair of expensive running shoes, then deciding to run a marathon in flip-flops: "To even think that someone would compete in such an event or in an Olympic event in flip-flops is unthinkable. Yet sometimes I think that in the Aaronic Priesthood it is as if we have purchased a $200 pair of running shoes that we then place on a shelf and then try running the marathon in flip-flops. Wouldn't it make more sense to use the wonderful, tried, and tested program in the way it was intended? I challenge each of us in these next six months to get with the program. Get those $200 running shoes down from the shelf, get trained, and then apply the program in the right way." (source)

The first training you need to get is Youth Protection. The Church has said that every Scout leader should be registered with the BSA before working with the youth. It is now mandatory for Scout leaders to take Youth Protection before registering. It is an easy online training that will give you the basic guidelines of the BSA that help protect the youth as well as limiting liability for leaders and chartering organizations. To take the training, you need to create an account on MyScouting.org, then go to the E-learning section. After you take the training, you need to print out the certificate and attach it (or a copy of it) to your registration. Your ward leaders should be able to provide you with a registration form, and they will probably be the ones to submit the form to the council for you.

All Cub Scout basic leader training is now available online. This is nice, because it give everyone an opportunity to receive training for their positions right away. I encourage all Cub Scout leaders to take full advantage of this.

However, there is something you miss out on by not receiving the training in person. President Dahlquist said, "For me, my Woodbadge experience was life changing and has affected each calling I have had since. With few exceptions, where leaders are well trained and Scouting is strong, so is the Aaronic Priesthood and Duty to God. Your training will also give you an ideal opportunity to rub shoulders with members of other faiths who are devoted youth leaders." (source) There are intangible benefits to attending District training and "rubbing shoulders" with other Scouters.

That is why I recommend, after taking the online training, taking advantage of available supplemental trainings. They may seem unnecessary in the beginning, but I think in the end you will find yourself glad you took the time to attend.

My personal favorite supplemental training opportunity is University of Scouting. You should have one in your area at least once a year. It probably seems like a lot to ask to take an entire Saturday just to attend classes about Scouting, but I have never talked to anyone who was sorry they went. University of Scouting is a great way to charge your enthusiasm for the program, meet lots of Scouters and glean a lot of tips to improve your program that you would have missed otherwise.

Some areas also hold an annual Pow Wow. This is University of Scouting geared specifically toward Cub Scout leaders. Some Councils aim the classes at University of Scouting specifically toward Boy Scout stuff because the Pow Wow covers Cub Scout topics. You should be able to find out what is available in your area on your Council's website and when classes are held.

Another great opportunity are monthly roundtables. These are evening time meetings each District holds which give you an opportunity to learn from other Scout leaders. Leaders share tips with each other, things they have learned, what has worked for them, and ideas for upcoming themes. This can be an especially good opportunity if you are feeling discouraged or burned out to receive some support and help.

Wood Badge is part of the required training for Boy Scout leaders and optional for Cub Scout leaders. At Wood Badge, leaders learn about the patrol method through firsthand participation. It is such a powerful leadership training tool that many businesses take advantage of it and use it as leadership training for their employees.

Wood Badge is a six day training that takes place either over the course of a week or two consecutive three-day weekends. Often the weekend training is on Friday-Sunday, but if you live in or near Utah, the Councils there (Great Salt Lake, Utah National Parks and Trapper Trails) hold their weekend Wood Badges on Thursday-Saturday.

As a mother of small children, I know that leaving family for that many days can be a challenge, often impossible. The Trapper Trails Council (and possibly others I don't know about) offer a solution with a special Family Wood Badge. This is a little bit more expensive option, of course, but you can think of it as combining Wood Badge with a family vacation, turning it into yet another way to strengthen your family and share the Scout experience with each other. There are activities available for different age groups, and youth have the opportunity to take NYLT, an invaluable leadership opportunity for them. You can find out more about Trapper Trails Wood Badge opportunities here.

There are even more training opportunities available, but these are a good place to start. One of these best things our family has done is get involved in Scouting on the District level. It is a growing opportunity, which is something we all need. Like President Dahlquist, you may even find it to be life changing.


Anonymous said...

Could not agree more. Wood Badge even changed the way I deal with own children. One ticket and three months to go.

Varsity Huddle has also turned my District's Roundtable better because Coaches were looking for more training help!

I love the University of Scouting. We soon will be teaching more Varsity specific classes for Coaches out there. It is worth the $20!

Chad, Varsity Coach

Jack said...

I am so glad I found this blog! It addresses the very things I am trying to get our current crop of Scout leaders to do. For background, I was the Scoutmaster in this ward for nearly 5 yrs, released to be the YM President. I had to leave that calling due to work conflicts, but was able to become a Unit Commissioner. A few years later, I am now an Asst. Dist Commissioner, and do you think the ward leaders will listen to anything I say? they don't think they need to go to training or take any counsel as to how to improve the units. They maintain that they are called and set apart, that is sufficient. Needless to say, it is failing. Our stake doesn't send out very many missionaries, have very many Eagle Scouts or have a decent Scouting program, and they wonder why. OA is considered by some a "secret combination", so very few boys are elected. The Elections Advisor is also in our ward, he and I do many elections in the district, but hardly any in the stake. Needless to say, I am so frustrated! They think they can do what they want and call it Scouting, when in fact it barely resembles Scouting. Uniforms? nah. Patrol method, nope. Boy run? are you kidding? If this unit were non-LDS sponsored, it would be a high-priority, circling the toilet unit to the Commissioner staff. Since it re-charters, it isn't on the radar. Didn't the Brethren adopt Scouting in its entirety, not just parts? Help!!!!

Evenspor said...

I know exactly how you feel. It is very sad to see people not accept this part of the Church. It is especially frustrating when you can see a plain correlation between lack of missionaries and lack of a good Scouting program, but they won't see it at all.

The best we have found to do is share information whenever you can (Trails to Testimony, messages from Charles Dahlquist, etc) and pray. Our stake is slowly improving thanks to a great Stake Primary representative and others doing what they can where they can. She (the Primary rep) is trying to start an yearly meeting sort of like a roundtable geared toward LDS needs for our Stake where leaders can get together, listen to a few inspiring talks, then hold break-out groups where they can discuss problems and answer questions. I hope it takes off.

It can still be frustrating, though, especially watching certain individual wards that continue to resist the program when you know it really wouldn't take much for them to have a good, or even great, program. Just a little training. Just a little change of heart.

judykigin said...

The original post states "Wood Badge is part of the required training for Boy Scout leaders." This is certainly news to me. I've always been under the impression that WB is HIGHLY recommended but is REQUIRED neither by the BSA nor the Church. Could the author of the original post please cite the source of this statement. Thanks. Judy in Virginia

Evenspor said...

You are correct. That was misinformation. Boy Scout Leaders are required to take Oudoors Training, not necessarily Wood Badge.