scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Jr. Leadership Training
Mon Aug 07 2000 - 09:56:14 CDT
>Does anyone have a JLT program they have been successful with. I have
>used the BSA program and wanted a fresh approach.
>Rick Covington, SM
Our Troop has tried many different programs and the most important thing you
need to ask is what are you trying to accomplish. Do your scouts need to bond as
a group or do they just need to learn skills for their new positions. Do they
need to do six month planning or review the PLC performance. Some programs are
designed with lots of team building for bonding which is very important for new
Troops and large Troops where the scouts may not know each other that well.
Other programs start with six month planning and follow with leadership
training at the end. We found out that you can over do it.
We learned that Scouts only comprehend about 20% of what the program teaches. So
do expect experts and don't get to disappointed when the meetings don't go the
way they were trained. We try to hone down our training to the 20% and just get
them ready for their first week or month. Scouting is about building confidence
and JLT is no different. Train to get your Patrol Leaders to feel confident with
their first PLC meeting and Patrol Corners. Train the SPL to understand and use
the agenda. Teach the Quartermasters how to prepare the Patrol Quartermasters
for the next campout. Don't try and teach them to be experts.
Some one day JLTs can do as much as a full weekend depending on your Troop
needs. If your scouts have worked with each other a lot and they know each
others abilities, you don't need to spend two days of team building. If you have
basically the same PLC that you had before, you may want to spend one evening
working on training the scout for his new position. Identify the skills the
scouts need on their first day and spend time on those skills. Confidence on
that first day helps them go a long way.
Our last PLC was a pretty close group, so our last JLT was only four hours on an
evening. The first hour was spent describing the Troop jobs and the four
different types of PLC meetings they will have to attend. The next hour was
sending the scouts to their advisor and reviewing their specific job. An example
would be reviewing Patrol Corners agenda for the Patrol Leaders. The next hour
was a Troop PLC meeting. After the meeting, we talk about it's length and
agenda. We talk about control and how to stay on track. This was a great
training session for scouts who know each other well and have some idea about
the youth leadership program. It's terrible for brand new leaders because it
doesn't allow bonding or time to absorb what is going on.
Our Scouts are required to go to Patrol Leader Training before they can be on
the PLC. So we do a Patrol Leader Training type of JLT which is usually an
overnight program with more time spent on team building and basic definition of
the PLC. They spend time on the agendas of PLC meetings, Troop meetings and
campouts, how to prepare for them and who does what. The idea is to give them a
little glimpse of leadership and familiarization of troop leadership.
As our Troop grew and matured, we had to change the JLTs to meet their needs. We
learned to identify what these guys needed now before starting their leadership
and what they can learn along the way. Some things just can't be taught without
experience first. Things like discipline and building respect, probably the
Patrol Leaders to biggest complaints.
Personally I like the BSA JLT kit, but I also agree that it gets old and boring,
we have not used it in a couple of years, but I think it's a good one for team
building. To keep it fresh, I changed parts of it by finding some popular movies
like Star Wars and clip scenes that made the same point as the BSA program. This
generation of youth love to watch that stuff and get mad when you only let them
watch the five minute clip. I got some really good discussions from those clips.
Also, I replaced the lunch with banana splits. The idea of the lunch is the
scouts working together to make lunch as a team from a bag of groceries. Well
the ingredients for a banana split accomplishes the same goal, and tasty.
One last thing. Just like you found that you needed to change from the BSA
program, you might find that you will need to change all your future JLT
programs. Learn to use what works and dump what doesn't. Make sure it is simple,
fun and has substance. Our four hour training was pretty intense and packed with
so much substances in just a few hours that the Scouts didn't get bored. Still,
we brought pizza for the fun. Oh, and yes our older scouts plan and lead the
JLTs. They are great and fun to watch.
You asked a great question and I hope we see a lot of responses because our
Troop looks for new ideas all the time.