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Scouting UK training philosophy

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  • Scouting UK training philosophy

    I came across a column written by the outgoing Chief Executive of the Scouting Association of the UK. Interesting reading. One point in particular stood out to me:

    "For adult volunteers, instead of insisting on a one-size-fits-all training programme which took weekends to complete, we fitted training around the skills, competencies and experience they already had. Any gaps could be filled in the evening, in modules and even online."

    The article is here:

  • #2
    I don't understand why there isn't more training, instead of less, and why we can't test out of it. I'd like to see scout leaders required to be able to do everything T-2-1, whether they are cub leaders or whatever, but they should be able to attend a rally night or something like that where they can test out by demonstrating knowledge to avoid watching a presentation about "scouting fun".


    • #3
      Won't my 1st class patch from 30 years ago suffice?


      • #4
        " skills, competencies and experience"

        3 things that BSA really doesn't care for. BSA training for adults for the most part is just a attendance based training. I remember from my IOLS, fundamentals courses all you really needed to do was sit through the several days of lectures. No effort at any time was made to ensure anyone actually gained competence in anything. They were likely following the "not adding to requirements" philosophy some of us have in eliminating any true mastery of skill which i believe should always be the goal.

        As long as there is no real requirement that the adult leaders have the skills to actually do every single scout requirement perfectly themselves how can you expect the scouts to ever learn those skills. Without solid adult skills to teach the plc who will then be able to teach the younger scouts it just leads to a failure of the scouting program.

        Offering the test out option is certainly be an option I wish more councils would embrace. Many here would agree that it is an onerous requirement to have to give up one or 2 weekends, and travel hundreds of miles to sit though some adults telling you about various skills you likely did a better job with your own troop in the months before. But sadly many councils make this training and others a requirement no matter how many people say they learned absolutely nothing from it.

        Possibly if the BSA eliminated all those paid professionals who seem more concerned with raising money to afford there salaries, benefits, and offices we would be left with only the volunteers who seem to be actually valued in the UK. Then maybe the organizations decisions can be made solely in the interest in the scouts and scouters who want to put on the best program possible.


        • #5
          About ten years back, I very briefly looked over some of the training syllabuses used by the Scout Association. I wasn't that impressed.
          I did like how they managed to cut out a lot of the stuff which I seen as being unnecessary fluff. Of course that was just my own personal opinion.
          I met with the Director of Leader Training at Gilwell Park. He shared a great story how at one of the Gilwell Reunion Campfires the song "Back To Gilwell" was being sung. Some of the Japanese and American leaders had tears rolling down their cheeks, they were emotionally moved by the song, while at the same time the English Scouter's didn't know the words!
          This story of course made me smile. I have been a staff member on a lot of courses, presented a lot of beads. But for the life of me, I can never remember the pecking order in which the critters are supposed to go. I know that the Beavers go first and after that I just pray that the others will follow in the right order. That or I use a cheat sheet.
          While the song does help bring the group together and is at times fun. I just never thought of it as being that important and really never thought that I'd be condemned to Wood Badge Hell for getting the order wrong! I do however know that for some this song is very important. These people are the same group that on one development weekend wasted 90 minutes of my life discussing if the staff would wear long socks or short socks!
          I do and have done a lot of training presentations both for work and for Scouting.
          My approach has been "I know what I'm talking about and I'm not going to waste your time."
          When selecting others to be presenters, I have tried to find people who will follow that.
          Sadly, there have been times when I've been caught with my pants down! People who I felt sure would do a good job. Let me and the participants down.
          As a Council Training Chairman, I at times bored myself repeatedly telling people to follow the syllabus. Some people had a very hard time with this. Some felt that they were honor bound to add bits that they thought were important or skip bits that they didn't like or thought were not important.
          While I didn't always agree with parts of the syllabus, I needed to try and ensure that we had some sort of quality control and the easiest way to ensure this was by having people follow the syllabus.
          Councils and Council Executive Boards do need to actively support adult leader training and ensure that they make the needed resources and funds are available.
          I don't see any need or reason why professionals should be involved. Most times they just get in the way. Training should be about volunteers training other volunteers.
          While, as I posted I'm big on following syllabuses a lot of training happens when the presenter gets the chance to mingle with the participants during breaks. At this time he or she can pass on what works or what doesn't. This is one reason why I always pushed for training staff members to sit and eat with the participants.
          Experienced level headed volunteers know the lay of the land, and can relate to what's happening in the area and are a wonderful resource for people taking training's.
          Under the heading "I'm not going to waste your time"
          I do think that there is a place for on line training.
          I also think that while making training's available and as user friendly as possible we need to try and ensure that all training's do what they are supposed to do. Wasting time is wasting time no matter if it's wasted sitting in front of a screen or wasted by participating in a presentation where the presenter doesn't really know what he or she is talking about.
          Everyone seems to be busy.
          The goal of District and Council Training Chairs should be to get leaders trained, not just arrange and present courses.
          This can be very difficult. In the area where I live the most knowledgeable volunteers tend to also be leaders involved with strong units. They are busy people, taking them away from their units for one or two weekends a year? Is sometimes OK but asking them to do much more just isn't fair to them or the youth that they serve.
          Testing? Sounds like a wonderful idea, but find volunteers who have the time to work with new volunteers, test them and maybe have to start over from scratch at times? Might prove to be more difficult.
          I like the way that the UK was willing to look at what was wrong and took steps to fix things.
          I'm not sure if all the fixes might work in other places?
          So while I'd welcome the idea of someone, some group taking a long hard look at what's happening here in the USA. It's worth remembering that what works or what's happening there isn't the same as what might work here or what's happening here.


          • #6
            Eamonn: "I do and have done a lot of training presentations both for work and for Scouting.
            My approach has been "I know what I'm talking about and I'm not going to waste your time."

            If all presenters followed those rules (with a corollary of not going over ones allotted time), training would be seen by many in a quite different light.(This message has been edited by AZMike)