I read this post with interest, and read many intriguing ideas.
My council is requiring all new adult applications that are submitted must not only have the YPT certificte with it, but also the training completed for the position the adult is applying for. So, if you have someone who wants to be an ASM, they must have taken and completed IOLS and Fast Start before they even turn the paperwork in. I find it very interesting that these must be complete even before the adult leader is allowed to join, and not have that adult come in, see if they want to do it, before spending the money and time for training. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-training, but I think this mandatory requirement before even being allowed to join is impacting our numbers here.
Speaking about long tenured adults, one of the committee members sat down at lst week's meeting and opened the conversaion up by saying, "Do you realize it as been 15 years since you became Scoutmaster?" I thought for a minute, and realized, that, yes, it has been 15 years; 15 years that have flown by. By the way, the committee member that told me this was the man that was Scoutmaster before I took the position, and he had been SM for 25 years! There are some of us that feel the obligation to stay around, and teach the scouts the skills necessary to be outdoors and a good citizen.
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- Mar 2003
Hello Joe Bob,
Personally, I think the knife, axe and saw introduction at IOLS provides a useful introduction to those skills that can be supplemented with practice.
Fire starting is relatively straight forward to learn.
But most of the rest require extensive practice and/or training to become competent as a leader, in my opinion.
Completing a Merit Badge honestly provides Scouts with the ability to do the basics in many of these areas, but a lot more experience is needed to be a competent leader.
And this thread appears to be about being a leader.
Your ITOLS training covered felling (in the direction you choose), bucking, splitting, hand axe, double bladed axe, folding saw, bow saw, crosscut saw (without pinching and losing the saw), pocket knife, folding knife, sheath knife, and the care of each? Outstanding! In my ITOLS class, as mentioned earlier in the thread, we touched a hatchet once to pass it around the circle of chairs.
I could teach you for four hours, send you home to practice what you learned, and bring you back for another four hours to fine tune your skills with competition. Then I'd teach you how to teach your wood tools skills to boys, and send you back to your troop without worrying about you endangering anyone.
Paul Bunyan is no longer taught by BSA. Leave no trace probably killed it. But the next time a tornado blocks your way to the hospital with multiple trees, you'll wish you had some well trained energetic scouts who knew how to swing an axe!
Fire starting is straight forward? Is that with flint and steel, a commercial striker, a bow, or matches? Are you using dryer lint, squaw wood, birch bark, wax fire starters, pine lighter or gasoline? Is it blowing, raining, or extremely dry? What precautions apply to each?
Is the fire for heat, cooking, or ceremonial light? The way you build a fire depends on its use. How about a charcoal chimney for your dutch oven?
Combine in depth fire techniques with campsite basics and cooking, and you could have an interesting eight hours of instruction and practice.
While it's true that the boys can pick up hiking, backpacking, land navigation, nature, first aid, canoeing, rowing, pioneering, ropes and knots from an MBC; the MBC is seldom there when the boys are in the woods. The SM and ASMs are the leaders present who can correct an error and improve technique; IF THEY KNOW the material.
We were talking about training for leaders, right?
- Oct 2008
My IOLS training consisted of knots, what to put in a first aid kit, LNT, compass navigation (enough to do an orienteering course), what to pack in a backpack, dutch oven warming, and a demonstration (not hands on) of saw, axe, knife sharpening. I knew all of the above (well learned a little about backpacking, got one or two ideas about packing a first aid kit), and actually got irritated by the dutch oven warming. First, they didn't actually cook anything. All they did was heat up already cooked ground beef, and melt velveeta type cheese. In addition, they used charcoal chimneys, but put matchlite in them, which confused me. Why do both? Charcoal chimneys are so simple and efficient, that there is no need for matchlite. I'd already been an active BSA parent for a year and WDL for 2, so I knew my knots, and the rest of it (the LNT trainer was the SM of our troop, so I had already heard that in detail).
Oh, Joebob, the Paul Bunyan Woodsman award is still available. A few of our now aged-out scouts had earned it a few years ago.
- Oct 2002
Thanks for some very good thoughts and ideas.
Having served as a Council Training Chair, I know first hand about the problem of finding people who are good at presenting training material.
Trying to bring new people on board so it doesn't become an old codgers group sometimes makes this really hard.
I've experienced having people that I thought would do a good job, fail big time and leave me feeling that we have failed the participants big time.
The local council could hire professional contract instructors to teach a set BSA syllabus, with the cost divided among the participants"
I have never taken or presented the Powder Horn training, but I thought that this was set up along these lines?
While I'm very much for people learning to do the "Big Stuff". My fear however is that if we go too big we run the risk of scaring people off. I do feel we need to ensure that everyone can walk and then allow those who want to run and take the next step the opportunity to do so.
The idea has a lot of merit and maybe if presented to the District and Council Training Chairs, might get legs?
As for cost?
We don't seem to have that big a problem getting people to pay for Wood Badge? In our area the course is running about $200.00
People seem willing to pay the cost and devote the time.
My main worry /concern would be finding a staff who have both the skills and the time.
Without wishing to blow my own horn. I think that I have the skills but just don't have or am unwilling to devote the time.
Sadly things have got so bad in the area where I live, when I look at the 100 or so Troops in the Council (Yes Council, not District.) I think that I could count on one hand the number of people that I'd call proficient with the skills.
Maybe something along the lines of 2 weekends one in the spring and one in the fall where the material is presented and then participants are assigned someone to work with that will ensure that they have really mastered the skills, kinda like a WB Counselor?
While changing the program to make it more outdoor oriented sounds great and many of us might agree that it is what's needed. The fact is if we don't have leaders (Adults) Who have the skills, we are just going to get more cheating and more people looking for loop holes and short cuts.
If having some kind of bead, knot or feather! Is going to help get more people improve their outdoor skills? I'll use that carrot every time!
Along them lines, I think that we need to pay more attention to Trainer's.
The time has come for every District to have a team of Trainer's who work together at improving the way training's are run and presented.
Training needs to be a line item on every Councils budget.
Maybe thinking long term we might see some Venturing Crews have the presentation of training as a theme? -They young people should be able to do presentations that the young leaders will see as not coming from the dark ages?
Some summer camps are offering skill training for leaders.
I don't think that it should be overly hard to look at who is in camp that week and see that Joe Blow is there. Joe is an expert in something.
So we ask Joe if he'd be willing to do four or five one hour sessions and invite the other adults to attend.
"Trying to bring new people on board so it doesn't become an old codgers group"
I know it's hard, and it's politically dangerous; but it sure does strengthen the program.
Hello Joe Bob,
The IOLS class is designed to be an INTRODUCTION to BOY SCOUT skills. I think it does that for knife, axe and firebuilding pretty well.
It was also a good example of how to teach those skills to a group, which was good.
So my comment stands. You are talking about different issues, in my view.
- Oct 2007
There are a lot of different levels of IOLS courses, unfortunately. i saw part of what I thought looked like a good course when I attended BALOO training. then I attended a great IOLS session to prep for Webelos. At summer camp, I sat in on IOLS to refresh as ASM and get new ideas. It was pathetic (mostly discussions... "tell me what you want to talk about". A course beyond IOLS would be awesome.
- Jun 2002
SP, no offense partner, but if Joe Bob's ITOLS experience seems alright by you, then low expectations for BSA training abound....(This message has been edited by desertrat77)
- Jan 2012
I just wish that I could get the 'required' training I need when I'm available to take it.
Our pack is short on BALOO trained leaders. I tried all summer to find a class to take, no luck. Then as I figured, fall rolls around and there starts to be a few offerings for classes in the council, but now I'm busy with pack trips, school stuff, etc.... and don't have time to attend.
I've been reasonably outdoorsy my whole life, so I'm confident that i know the basics, but as with everything, nobody ever really knows all that there is to know about a subject.... there's always a different angle, or a different idea to consider..... so I'm open to outdoor training. I actually thin taht some good outdoor training would be fun..... an adventure really. As previously mentioned some of that "go out in the woods with a pocketknife and a necker" stuff....
Say one of us wanted to teach a day of knife/ax/saw/fire building for adult scouters, or a day of wilderness survival training for scouters and MBCs, or a weekend of land nav, or how to do a rapelling station. If one wanted to provide some more advanced outdoorsy training through the BSA, how would one do it? Come up with a syllabus, approach your local council training chairman, go through your district first, or what? Any advice from someone who has done it? Any potential roadblocks, administrative or liability-wise? If you're teaching someone and he cuts into his foot with an axe, or the student doing an orienteering course falls in a ditch and tears his ACL, would you be covered by BSA insurance of its a sanctioned class?
Some of this kind of training could easily also be set up outside the BSA - if you want a little better grounding in local plants or animals to teach scouts who want to satisfy the "Identify 10" requirements for 2nd class and 1st class, you could probably get a group of interested adult leaders from your district and approach the local zoo and/or botanical garden and ask for a half day of instruction in identifying the most common local flora and fauna. If you approach them nicely, and emphasize the educational and youth service elements, they'd probably do it for you for free.
Then on your next campout, grab another adult leader and a senior scout and take a group of scouts on a short hike around the area, point out 10 or more distinctive plants or signs of animal activity, tell them some interesting facts that will stick in their heads about each, then lead them back around and show them the same plants (or the same species, elsewhere) and have them write down on a piece of paper (so everyone had a chance to identify it instead of doing it in a group), and ask them to show their answers at once. The other adult leader and the senior scout gets a chance to watch and learn and they will be able to teach it in the future.
I'd start by looking at what BSA and your council already has as program.
For example, there is the "Climb On Safely" program that provides a basic introduction to a few climbing skills that would provide a guide to some of what you discuss:
My council has one or more of these training programs per year. You might consider getting certified in the skill and helping with the program.
Your council probably has districts that do IOLS training, which includes a segment on knife and axe use and fire building. Being a student there and then offering to be an instructor might be worth considering.
For a number of years my council had a day of training in Dutch Oven Cooking designed to train adults in the skill. It was a popular program, with a couple of dozen troops having teams of leaders perform as instructors.
These might be examples of how you might structure programs of the kind you describe.
Your district might be a good place to float a training program. Attend a district Committee meeting and talk with the district leaders about your ideas and see what you can work out.
- Dec 2011
I'm coming into this discussion late so excuse me if I rehash points already made. Here's my thoughts:
- At our first meeting, we asked the new parents how many had previous scouting experience...Zero out of 20. Not good on passing on scouting culture/skills, etc.
- Most parents here are totally into sports (baseball/football/soccer). Many of the boys have started micro T-ball at age 4 and/or soccer at age 3. Parents have already been trained to bring kids to practice and immediately pull out there smart phone and do something else. Hard to get them to volunteer to become a registered leader.
- I've notice two basic types of leaders (yes, I'm generalizing). There's the gung-ho, motivated leaders who are great and the ones who end up staying the SM for 30 years. The eager ones will willing take on all the training opportunities offered and more. The challenge there is that after a while the BSA offered courses become boring and repetitative. If you're an avid outdoors person, what will IOLS/OWLS really be able to teach you? Yes, they may become as one poster called the good ole boys who complain about how the newbies don't know anything. But at the same time, they are the continuity and a wealth of knowledge.
Then there are the ones that volunteer because they were asked to be a den leader/ASM/committee member. They are the ones that couldn't say no or come up with a good excuse. They aren't comfortable in the outdoors for whatever reason. It's hard to get them to do the training, because some of them are really busy with other kids, work, life, etc. On-line YPT and fast start maybe the only training they can do. It's hard to attend WB when you're a single parent with multiple kids. Yet, some of these leaders are the only thing keeping a pack/troop going. Without these leaders, that one motivated leader is going to burn out quickly. The key is to get those leaders the right training to so aren't dangerous and have the skills and knowlege to deliver a program that will keep the scouts interested in scouting. If we're lucky we can get them to do more than the minimun training and maybe get them to become the other type of leader.
Bottom line, training needs to address both types of leaders which is extremely difficult (just ask a public school teacher with a class that includes kids that can't read as well as really smart kids).
- Sep 2008
I personally HATE the SM/ASM training that I was forced to take.
For 1 thing the only thing I really learned was how NOT to teach anyone anything. You can't just stand their and talk. Use a powerpoint or hold up ropes and have people watch. My patrol had quite a few that were very experienced - it was a waste or our time. We had a few that were clueless. Yes it was those of us that were very experienced that took what we already knew and sat down with the clueless until they had it learned. But even then, have they gone home and kept practicing until it became natural for them? can they now just do without looking it up? and can they now teach it? And really all they were out for was for us to learn it - it didn't make sure we had it down well enough to teach. And knowing and ablity to teach can be totally different. And being able to teach can still vary depending on who you are teaching. A typical boy, no learning disabilities, enjoys scouts and outdoors, listens, and wants to learn isn't very hard to teach much to. But change any of those factors and you have to change way you go about it.
and lets not even go into how trainers deal with leaders who themselves have special needs!!! Lets just say it was a miserable time for me, and am very thankful that a couple people from my patrol who did do their best to help out.
to me the training is too much like how they are negatively changing scouting in total - to much of the sit and "learn" - one and done style... and not the learn, do, teach to really learn