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Training new folks

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OK, so Im not new to scouting but this post deals with training new folks andthis category seemed lonely.


This post is going to be a little long so please bear with me and accept my apology in advance. My oldest son and I joined our current troop about 3 years ago. He was finishing 2nd year Webelos and I was wood badge trained (Eagle SR-152). The Scoutmaster had been with the troop for 30+ years. The troop consisted of mostly 12-13 year olds as they had not been actively recruiting. My son was the only new boy that year and the next new boy was my other son last year. I was assigned to Korea in between so I couldnt get on the recruiting issue. This year we were able to pull in 8 new boys. Unfortunately one of them only came to one meeting and his mother decided it was too much trouble. So here we are. Our Scoutmaster has taken a smaller and smaller role in the troop (while I was in Korea he indicated his desire to step out of that job). I have become the defacto SM. I have 2-3 dads of the older scouts who are willing to help some but are neither trained nor active unless asked. I have one of the older dads that is trying to help and doing quite a bit but his son seems to be fading a bit so I dont know how long I will have him. I have a few moms but other than my wife, who is functioning as treasurer, none is particularly active (wife used to be an owl-SR-105). I have four new dads and one new grandad (none trained).


Hes what Ive done so far. I went over to the council office and acquired a copy of fast start. Everyone is too busy to sit down and watch it together so I have started the copy around the leaders. Ive asked that each adult take the tape for a week and then pass it on to the next. Id like to see it move faster but dont see anyway to make that happen short of hand carrying it from one to the next myself. Im hoping that once they have seen the video they will get the bug and be anxious for more training. I want to get a functioning committee (we havent really had one yet) and I want to turn more and more of the operations over to the older boys. In a lot of ways they are still being treated as Webelos and I while I want to move the running of the troop to them, I dont want to just drop it on them. One of my next steps is to develop a camping trip preparation template and train the older scouts how to use it.


Heres my question. I want this troop running the BSA way. So, where do I go from here? Our unit commissioner program is not really much of an option and the council offers little if any help. I figure Ill be lucky to get 4-5 adults willing to do the committee functions (none who have been trained). I believe Ill have 2-3 good ASMs willing to learn and run the program properly. Weve got great potential but I need to know what training to push for and in what orderI dont want to kill these new guys but I want to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. Our older scouts had JLT about 2-3 years ago but were never really put in a position to use what they learned. So we will probably need to give them some youth specific training along with the training we are giving the adults. The parents of the older scouts figure they have done their share at this point and their kids are going to get eagle and move on. They dont think they should have to get any training. I disagree and need to find a way to incorporate training so they get it just because they are present.


Bottom Line: What training packages/in what order/over what period of time/with what goals for changing the way we are currently running the troop?






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Hi Weekender,


I almost envy you. i know it seems like you are up to your neck in alligators but you are in a rather enviable position. You can make a difference. You want to do it right, you have a few key members who are willing to help, and you believe in training in the scouting methods. You could be doing a lot worse.


Just understand that things won't change overnight. Don't let that change your goal, but don't let it frustrate you either.


My recommendation is make a plan;

* get the adults trained

* get the junior Leaders trained

* plan a full scouting program for the scouts

* Share leadership with others


* Get the Adults trained- I would turn this over to an Asst. Scoutmaster as a job for them to focus on. Ask Your District Advancement Coordinator for a New Leader Essentials Syllabus and CD. Have your ASM learn the 90 to 120 minute program and give it to whoeverever he can whenever he can.

Then have the ASM contact the Training team and arrange for a presentation of The Troop Commiittee Challenge. It is a three-hour course to build and aim a troop committee in the right direction. If the District won't come do it get the syllabus, game pieces< video and CD and do it yourself.


Insist that a SM/ASM Leader Specific Training be hald every quarter and get you and your assistants to it. I know you have your beads but a refresher never hurt and it sets a good example for your assistants.


* Get your junior leaders trained. As the SM that is your primary job. Get your hands on the new patrol Leaders Handbook. Read it. Then review the Junior leader Training Workshop syllabus and video. I would follow the Patrol Leaders Handbook as a syllabus, using the leadership games from the Workshop. There is not much of the video that is meaningful to today's scouts. A new version is being developed but it will be a year or more before it is ready.


* Plan a good scouting program. Units with good programs recruit, retain and advance scouts better than other units. Units with a plan get more parental support. (people stand around and watch train wrecks, they don't climb on board.) It's not that parents don't want to help their children, they just don't want to waste time not accomplishing anything. Don't worry tat they don't help unless they are asked, that's human nature. The thing to do is ask, BUT, don't ask for them to "help" ask for them to do a specific task toward a specific goal.


* Share Leadership with others. As you probably remember from Wood Badge the Scoutmaster is not the focal point of scouting. i am troubled by so many posters concernered more about their "authority" being preserved and their control over the troop. The scoutmasters job is to train junior leaders, to understand the needs and characteristics of each individual scout, and to help guide a program that uses the methods of scouting to achieve the aims of scouting.


Let the Committee Chair run the committee, let the boys lead the boys, let ASM have specific reponsibilities and give them room to do them.


Your are a key piece to the puzzle, but your not the only piece and you are not the purpose for having the puzzle.


Best of Luck,

Bob White

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By looking at your profile it tells me that you aren't the Scoutmaster but an ASM. (And a hard working one at that)


Before you do any of the above quit being the de-facto Scoutmaster and become the Scoutmaster and do all of the above.


If you already doing the job (and frankly it sounds like you are) take the job and run like stink. An invogorated leader by his/her very presence invigorates a unit.


I was the de-facto Scoutmaster three years ago. The best decision I ever made (other than the one to propose to my wife) was the one to get off the bubble and take the position of Scoutmaster.


You already have the will and the heart, now go get the patch.

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