Re: Are we about to make TRAINED meaningless?
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Fri, 19 Aug 1994 23:51:17 -0400
Just over a month ago we had a posting on this subject from another
Scouts-L Subscriber (Sorry, I can't give you the name or posting data, I
printed the posting and passed it out and my copy disappeared with the
rest). The upshot was that National had announced the change in Cub Scout
Leader Basic Training from eight to four hours and had given some bullets
on what was to be covered in the new course. The announced changes
were repeated during the Cub Scout Roundtable Course at Philmont. Scouter
Magazine has also announced a shortened course. I think that its probably
safe to say that BSA is in the process of making the changes happen.
I talked with a member of the Cub Scout National Committee (I think that's
the proper name) about the changes. Many of our Districts, especially
smaller ones and those with wide geographic coverage have been hard
pressed to deliver training. An additional concern was that BSA wasn't
reaching a lot of new unit and den leaders because of competition for time
and many complaints about course length. For similar reasons much of the
training has been reduced to video to make it more transportable.
In my own District we have just over 20 people on our Cub Scout Leader
Training Team and usually run 40-60 people six times a year. We've not
experience the problems that other Districts have. Perhaps, like our
District, yours is one of the fortunate ones with a strong training
Unfortunately, this is not the case universally. My contacts from Wood
Badge in other Councils tell me that in their Districts they have had
great problems in getting training teams together, have had problems with
distance, and have had trouble getting people to sit through 8 hours. For
some of them the changes will mean training, where little or no training
took place before.
Now, while you certainly have a basis to be iritated and while I may
personally agree that less training is not an answer, it appears that for
the time being we are going to have to face the reality of shorter
training courses. As a Cub Scout Leader Trainer, I too have had a hard
time covering the basics in the short times allotted and many of our
leaders in their evaluations have wanted more. More of what?
What they wanted more of was the extras we threw in; e.g., cheers, songs,
stunts, walk-ons, games, q&a with experienced leaders, and practical stuff.
All of which weren't really on the Syllabus per se, but which we worked
in. That is to say they weren't looking for more detail on Syllabus
topics such as Scouting Rules and Regulations.
Then I've had to ask myself, how much of the details on many of the topics
could these new leaders have learned in the eight hour day? Most of them
were overwhelmed and took a lot in, but missed almost as much.
Maybe there's a way we could turn this to advantage?
Okay, so we can't require more than four hours after this year. What then?
What do our evaluations tell us? What do new leaders want and need?
Possible solution: We are considering the possibility of holding a round-
table on site immediately after training to go into detail on things that
the leaders want more information on immediately (discussion stage now).
Such a roundtable could focus on practical things like uniforms, more on
den meetings, stunts, cheers, songs, games, etc. Sure, there'll be a few
that leave, but for those who stay, we can plug the gap and at the same
time really introduce them to the value of Cub Scout Leaders' Roundtable.
During the year, Roundtable will have to augment its program a bit too.
As to the Outdoor Training for Webelos Leaders, my experience has been
that more of them have gotten hands on training OJT style by going with
their Dens on a Camporee sharing a site with a sponsoring Troop or by
having a campout with a Troop, than by going to the Outdoor Training.
Maybe we can strengthen this a bit and offer some specialized training at
Camporees show and do style.
Again, Chris, I share your disappointment in the change. However, before
throwing in the towel, I think there are some real possibilities that can
be pursued to take up the slack. I think that most of our community is
creative enought to find many solutions to the problems you envision. I'm
taking this approach, because I think that our responsibility to do our
best to see that these Scouts have the best program we can offer requires
it, albeit the changes aren't of our making or liking. If a lot of us go
marching off grumbling and take our trainers with us, then what kind of
legacy have we left behind. I think the Scouts deserve our best positive
effort. We on the other hand can let National know what we think and
offer positive suggestions on improvement.
Yours in Scouting, Michael F. Bowman, a/k/a Professor Beaver
Deputy District Commissioner Exploring, GW Dist., NCAC, BSA
Speaking only for myself, but with Scouting Spirit . . .
____ mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU ____
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City