Ive been hanging about the forums for a long time, but never signed up or posted. I do have a question now that I need to get an outside perspective on and Im hoping that you all can give me that perspective. Sorry this is sooooo long
Im in my fifth year as an ASM in the Troop with my older son - younger son is second year Webelos in the Pack where I used to be older Sons Den Leader. I went through all the Youth Protection, Fast Start, New Leader Essentials, SM Leader Specific, and Outdoor training 5 years ago for my position as ASM. We have a couple of newer ASMs who are not trained, so this year I offered to go with anyone wanting to get the training. Having done this training before, I knew what to expect, the 2 others that went with me did not.
We went through the YPT & Fast Start with no problems. Then, 6 weeks ago on a Saturday, we were scheduled for 2 hours of New Leaders Essentials in the morning and 7-8 hours of SM Specific training from mid-morning to evening.
New Leaders Essentials:
Lead by our District Training Chairperson - She started by apologizing for not knowing the Boy Scout side of things and her entire talk was regarding Cub Scout specific things; she had no training materials other than how a Cub Pack was run. That was great for those who were there for the Cub Scout specific training, but gave no overview of any other program. We went from there into separate rooms for our respective Leader Specific training.
SM Specific Training:
The person doing our Training said that he had not done the training for about 4 years and just got called two nights before to see if he could cover as they did not yet have a trainer lined up. He showed us some pre-meeting games for the first half hour and then went into showing the training video. He went through 3 clip made some comments and dismissed us to go find some lunch; which he requested that we bring back to eat there. While eating, he showed the rest of the training video clips with a little disscussion and announced that we were basically done and dismissed us. We completed this training in about 2 hours; whereas the syllabus said it should be about 7 hours (last time I took it, it was 2 sessions at 3-4 hours per session).
Was this past weekend, I was told when we signed up that we would be called so wed know what to bring, what time to meet, and how much the cost would be. I called twice to make sure that they had my contact information correct and was assured that I was on the list and wed be contacted. When I had received no call by the Monday prior to the event, I called the Council office again. They were surprised that I had not been contacted and said that I should contact the Training Chairperson from another District. I contacted him and he told me to contact another person who was our Acting Scoutmaster for the training. When I finally got to talk to him on Tuesday, he basically told me the cost and that I should bring my personal gear. I asked him what personal gear would be necessary, and he said clothes, sleeping bag, and tent. I asked if cooking gear, rain flys (rain was in the forecast) lanterns, and such would be provided. He said that he was not sure what would be provided and that hed have to get back to me. I asked about meals (knowing that we are supposed to plan, buy and bring food), and he said, Yes, thats a good point. Why dont you act as patrol leader of you and these 4 others? Make sure that you contact them, tell them what to bring, the cost, and figure out a menu and who will buy and bring the food. Fortunately, he included the other two from my Troop, but the other two (that I didnt know) were difficult to contact and ended up not helping with anything. So, the other two from my Troop and I planned the meals and shared the duty of shopping. We purchased enough food for the 5 in our Patrol and waited for a call to let us know if there would be anything else needed. Thursday evening I called our Scoutmaster back to find out if he had learned what equipment would be provided and what we needed to provide. He called back Friday morning and said that there would be nothing provided, bring whatever you need. Since the forecast was for constant, steady rain, we figured that we needed some type of rain shelter. We would need stove(s), cooking gear, cleaning stations and such. We were further advised that no vehicles or trailers would be allowed in the campsite. One of the other guys and I took off work early to gather the remaining stuff. When we arrived at Council with my Van loaded with stuff we asked at the check-in building if we couldnt at least drive part way in (on the graveled part of the road). We were chastised and ridiculed in front of everyone in the building for not knowing how to pack for an outing and that hopefully wed learn something about how to do it. My response to this gentleman was that normally wed have our Troop trailer with us in the campsite and that we did not find out that there would be no provided equipment for this training until earlier that day. We just walked out of the building and began carrying our equipment back to the site. By 8:00 pm all 5 of my Patrol was present and had their tents set up. There were 5 others who only had been contacted with the time and cost of the event; they had no food or cook gear. In the morning 6 more people showed up who were called Friday night when they did not show up. Since they had not gotten a call previously, they thought the event had been cancelled either due to the weather or due to lack of participants. They showed up Saturday morning without any gear at all and did not plan to spend the night that night. Of the 10 people who were there Friday night, only the 3 of us from my Troop had planned to stay through Sunday Morning. So at Lunch, I told the Scoutmaster that only the three of us were planning to stay Saturday night. At 3:30pm, he asked the whole group of 16 people; "Who plans to stay out here tonight?". Only three hands went up, he became agitated, handed out the card indicating that we were trained, and told everyone to just pack up and go home now.
Now for my rant and questions:
Im fairly upset at having spent time and money on training that is so ill prepared and that ended up cut down to about a third of what its supposed to be. I know these people are volunteers, but my goodness I cannot understand this level of incompetence.
Am I wrong to expect better?
As a volunteer should I expect to be criticized/insulted when I show up for a Training event like this?
I am embarrassed at having asked my fellow ASMs from my Troop to attend this mess. I really hoped for better.
Thanks for your thoughts on this,