scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Basic Training, amended
Clay Converse (ClayConver@AOL.COM
Sun Mar 19 2000 - 09:38:25 CST
Most Districts and Councils tailor their SMF courses to local conditions,
locations and schedules. Some take advantage of special local expertise to
add some elements of use to new troop level Scouters. Some need to cover
additional material because of local conditions, and special program
opportunities that the new Scouters need to be prepared for. In my opinion
these changes should be kept limited to within 1-3 hours of the National BSA
There has been a tendency in some areas to offer greatly expanded SMF
courses, usually with some other title. These courses are usually designed
by well meaning Woodbadgers or other similarly experienced Scouters who feel
that the National SMF outline is not sufficiently comprehensive. The
District I served as a DE in Connecticut offered a course in partnership with
a neighboring District that actually was longer than Woodbadge. Many of our
new Scouters were deterred from taking training due to the time required. We
ended up offering a standard SMF in addition to the expanded course to
accommodate those who could not give the time the other course required.
IMHO the National SMF outline was designed to give new Scouters working with
the Boy Scout program those items of knowledge they needed to get started
with their Troops, within an acceptable time commitment. Even with it's
designed length it is not a short training. To add extra elements that
greatly lengthen the time required, especially if it requires extra sessions,
discourages Scouters from attending any training.
Please don't get me wrong, I fully support Wood Badge as the advanced course
for Scoutmasters and other key Scouters working with the Boy Scout program.
My personal goal as a Commissioner or DE has always been to have as many
Troops with Woodbadge trained Scoutmasters and Assistants as possible. I
however feel that beginning Scouters need to start with the "Fundamentals"
that they need to become capable and comfortable with their new duties in an
acceptable amount of time. Later they can reinforce this with attendance at
Woodbadge and other advanced courses.
Asst. District Commissioner
Tioughnioga District, Baden Powell Council, NY