Re: UK Cub Scouter / Commissioner / Trainer Training
Susan Ganther (susan@GIBBS.OIT.UNC.EDU)
Mon, 22 Aug 1994 09:51:56 -0400
On Sat, 20 Aug 1994, Ian Ford wrote:
> International readers , especially in USA, might be interested in the Cub
> Scout Leader training here in UK.
> A MINIMUM HUNDRED HOURS is the level on would reasonably expect to produce a
> trained Cub Scout Leader. However , we don't have a " trained " patch
> because we take the view that none of us is ever " trained " ... we always
> have something to learn. The symbol of a trained Leader is the Wood Badge.
Ian, this is a long post and most of my comments are in response to
remarks made by others, so I will apologize in advance for both the
length and the intensity of my reply.
One of the things European Scouters need to remember about American
Scouters is that we do not have as much vacation time available to us.
Some of us need to to be at our current place of employment for a full
year before we get any time off at all, and after that it is often only
one week per year for the next five years then it becomes two weeks per
year. Given the current business climate in the USA there are a large
percentage of us who do not stay with a single employer for five years.
Unless Scouting is our only interest outside of our employment, there is
little chance that we will be willing to devote much more than the one
weekend per month for Scout outings and 2 weeknights per week for other
meetings. As I have said before, with the folks I have been working with,
every additional weekend you require them to spend in training is one
less weekend they will have available for spending with the Scouts. It
would be squandering a valuable resource (adult time for the kids) to
have people attending training that is not strictly needed.
The trained patch which BSA Scouters wear indicates only the introductory
level of training for us. It is the required minimum for running a
"quality unit". It is by no means all that we are offered or encouraged to
take. I have seen units with advanced training and plenty of it wearing
quality unit patches and in my book they were anything but quality units,
that is because the leaders chosen to run the program were jerks to put
it mildly. And as someone once said on the net, what you get when you
train a jerk is a trained jerk. There are some people out there that are
never going to be able to run a worthwhile program, regardless of how
many hours of training they get. There are likewise many people who are
capable of giving children a good experience in Scouting with a minimal
introduction to policy and where to find more information at their leisure.
The real opportunity to make the difference in what kind of program it
will be comes when you are choosing whom to ask to lead the group.
I had 10 years as a Scouter before being asked to take the Cubmaster
position, and after 10 years in the field, there are few things I need to
go to camping school to learn. I don't pretend that there is nothing new
under the sun for me to learn that I can share with my Cubs, but there
are other ways to come by that learning than by required training courses.
Camporees come to mind, we have the opportunity to visit other units and
see what they are doing, we also have the ideal opportunity to supplement
training for adults at summer camp while the Boy Scouts are in their merit
badge classes. We have already made the time committment to be there, we
are essentially a captive audience, offer a more comprehensive training
program for the adults then, and even if you are covering material they
already know, at least you are not taking their time away from something
else that they could be doing with the Scouts.
There are a lot of ways to get the job done. There seem to be a lot of
people on the net who think the sky is falling because we are going to
try a new approach. Most of those people seem to be looking at it from
the perspective of trainers who will have to implement the changes.
Looking at it from my perspective it looks like National has responded to
people like myself who are in a position to have to try to find people to
help run units and convice them that they do have the time. Lets face it,
running a Cub program is an enormous time committment for anyone to take
on. There are plenty of people who would like to be able to do it and
simply cannot for lack of time. I have several people right at this
moment who want to lead dens but are sitting on the fence because of the
time issue. A full weekend of training before being allowed to lead
would get them off the fence for sure, but it would not get them into the
program, and where does that leave the Cubs?
Is no program at all better than one led by people who are having to
learn as they go? Not to the Cubs it isn't, just ask them. It matters
little to them that their leaders are wearing patches or knots, and they
really don't give a hoot if it took someone 8 hours to earn their patch and
someone else came along and got the same patch for only 4 hours. Give a
kid a uniform and a wolf book and an adult who is willing to spend a few
hours a week with them and you have a Cub Scout. Whether you have great
leaders or a great program of not, you still have a Cub Scout. To the
Cub, just getting that chance is a worth something.
All of us would prefer to have trained leaders. The more training, the
better. But I for one would rather have had a troop that continued to
meet and allowed my youth Scouting experience to run it's course until I
aged out, than to have had a troop that folded for lack of adult leaders.
Even poorly trained adult leaders running a boring program and teaching
few skills would have at least kept the connection to the council
programs open to me. Summer camp would have done a lot to make up for
what was lacking in my unit. Instead I had to stop being a Scout in 8th
grade and not take it up again until my own child entered a Pack. Whether
the council trainers felt good about having top notch units with mine closed
down makes little difference to me.
The whole idea that it is better to close down units than to have poorly
trained ones is inexplicable to me.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City