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.