Re: Mandatory training
Ernest R. Spradling, P.E. (Freemason@AOL.COM)
Sat, 8 Jul 1995 14:40:07 -0400
On Fri, 7 Jul 1995 14:59:30 -0400 Ira Wallenstein/Sheila Schlesinger
>While I think training is always a good thing, I feel that many people may
>frightened off by the word "mandatory" I myself have a limited amount of
>time to devote to scouting and while I would most likely learn something
>additional training, I resent the "mandatory" part. I am not a paid
>professional and don't like to take any time away from the scouts if I can
I submit a question to you: did you resent your mandatory training for your
vocation? Would you let your children be taught by an untrained teacher?
Wouldn't that teacher be less effective in presenting the program? Would
you prefer someone who went through a training program (college is a training
program, after all), or would you rather have someone who went through trial
and error in developing the teaching methods?
How many of you have to take continuing development to maintain licenses? I
have to take 15 professional development hours each year to maintain my stae
licenses to practice engineering. I don't like it, but I do it - because I
recognize that it does enhance my competence in my profession.
Same thing in Scouting - a trained leader can more effectively provide the
program to the boys (or girls, for that matter). We all have a limited
amount of time to devote to the boys in the units. We do try to sleep during
that "one hour a week." :) I also agree that we have to determine our own
time priorities. However, the amount of time spent in training sessions is
rather small compared to the time and effort spent with the boys on a unit
level. A leader who is trained in the basics of the program, followed with
additional training, greatly contributes to the success of the boys in that
Note that I am referring to the basics: a couple of hours on FastStart, two
Saturdays for Scout Leader Basic Training, a couple of hours a month for
Roundtable (where the Supplemental Units of Training are sometimes
presented). University of Scouting or Pow-Wow or Show-and-do (whatever you
call it) are usually one Saturday a year.
Although Wood badge is encouraged, and provides a valuable tool in time and
assignment management, it is not absolutely required. The bottom line is
that the time spent away from the boys is about 50 hours the first year, and
about 15-20 hours each year afterwards.
IMHBCO, being a paid professional or a volunteer is immaterial - one should
strive to be the best in whatever one sets out to do. Otherwise, the outcome
will always be less than satisfactory, for oneslf and those who are impacted.
The "I'm not paid to do this" is a cop-out, and should be beneath most
people, especially in Scouting, where we are supposed to be encouraging the
youth we work with to do one's best. How can we lead by example, when our
example is not the best?
If you don't want to volunteer to do something, whether from time constraints
or just unwillingness to perform, just remember those immortal words from
George Bush: "Read my lips - Just say NO." Most people would rather have a
firm "NO" than a definite "MAYBE", and your best effort rather than half
>I think a better idea would be more inhouse training in the form of videos
>and manuals which we could use at our convienience and not sometime when the
>Council decides it would be a good time for them.
There are a lot of materials out there in these formats. The Great Print
Shop in Irving has listened for several years to this request. However, it
is amazing how little these materials are used. They usually end up being
put on a shelf to collect dust, or distributed never to be seen again. The
only time that they are effectively used is in a group session at the unit
Several researches have been made into this very subject, and it has been
found that self-study is the least desirable of all training methods because
it does not provide the sharing of opinions, ideas and experiences that are
available during group training or personal coaching sessions. Self-study
does not provide a good follow-up to determine retention, either. It sould
be used only as a last resort, when it is a choice between this and no
Most of these sessions are planned several months in advance, and are on the
council planning calendars that are given out before the start of a new
Scouting year. Unless the unit leadership deliberately schedules conflicts
with those dates, there is no legitimate reason for the adults to miss any of
Remember who the Council is - YOU! Yes, YOU! And YOU, and YOU, and YOU
(cyberfinger pointing at those present :)! If you have a problem, then take
it up with your Distirct and Council Committees, especially those Advancement
and Training Committee members. Attend one of their meetings and air your
gripes - after all, they are supposed to be there to serve the units.
Randy Spradling, P.E.
Arrowhead District, Simon Kenton Council
(and a good ole Owl, too! SR-5)
What is a carp? A goldfish that complains a lot.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City