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Joni4TA

How Do You Convince Adults To Get Trained?

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Months, even sometimes years go by... Adult Leaders, Committee Members and parents of Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts have had no training. They want to provide input and instruction to Packs and Troops but just don't get what's going on or how the Programs work. What to do? You can only suggest training and give them the details when District is giving the training so many times. Basically, our District does training almost every month with the exception of a couple. People have signed up, then backed out. There is nothing that makes BSA Training mandatory, I know this. But gosh.. you'd think they'd WANT to be "in the know."

 

Anyone else experience these kinds of issues in your units?

Any success stories?

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No success stories here. Every month I give a training update to all the Pack leaders. Where, when, what of upcoming training, and recap of the recent training I went to. Every month I am the only one who goes. Then DL quit because they don't know what to do. I am the Pack Trainer and it is very discouraging. The Cubmaster is no help either, and I've been told to quiet down or else. Arrgghhh!

 

Grumpy

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You could get your Council to mandate training or not get rechartered. They did it in mine, if the primary adult, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster or Crew Advisor was not trained, the unit did not get rechartered. This year they are going after Committee Chairs, if the Scoutmaster and Chair are not trained then in 2006 the unit will not recharter. Is it a success? Time will tell, they are working on a training requirment for ASM and committee members for 2007, nothing is decided yet

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To get anyone to do anything, you must make them want to do it. If they are not coming to training, its because they think they have something better to do.

 

1. Eliminate obstacles - reduce costs, units pay for training fees, ensure frequency and convenience of location, take the training to the unit, if appropriate.

 

2. Promote and clearly explain the benefits - doing this at Roundtable is preaching to the choir. Training Chairs should visit units on occasion to promote training - maybe tag along with the Friends of Scouting guy to a B&G or COH. When you explain it - focus on the good that comes from being trained and come up with a little hook that plants in someone's mind "hey, sounds like a fun and worthwhile thing."

 

3. Recognize the trained - Go way out of the way to recognize the trained at the district and unit level. Put their name in print in the local publication, congratulate them on the district-wide e-mail, offer special incentives only for the trained.

 

4. Make the Training Relevant and Worthwhile - eliminate the corny even though you think it is great 'modeling'.

 

5. When all else fails...make it mandatory.

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For YP training, I've just used the legal argument (we all need to understand the rules). Most are good with that, and will do the online training, with much coersion. (I've sent the links to it directly via e-mail, so they have no excuse).

 

For regular training (Troop Committee, SM/ASM, etc.) I've always had problems getting them to go to it. Our oouncil has gone to more of a train-the-trainer approach. I can now do training for anyone in my troop. So, we just set a time, and ask them to be there. We make it fun, and it's oriented to our unit and our particular needs. We've generally had a pretty good turnout. Last year, I did SM/ASM training at Summer Camp. I put the CD in my laptop and we did it in the campsite (without the video).

 

Finally, and this has worked to an extent - I use guilt. I often hear things like "we didn't understand that" or "we didn't realize that was our responsibility", etc. When that happens, we use it as an excuse to get them trained.

 

Also, if your council has a scouting university or pow wow, have the unit pay their tuition. It's well worth the investment!

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Makes sense.. all the advice

I can't say NO ONE is trained in the Troop. The SM is, one of the ASMs is, the Advancment Chr is, and I am... but we have almost 36 boys, and twice as many parents. We have a full Committee, and getting THEM trained, as well as the rest of the ASMs is like pulling teeth.

 

Same thing here, we get that deer in the headlights look about how no one knew who's job it is and all that, and I constantly stress training!!! Hell I never intend to go be a SM and I went and got SM training just so someone on the Committee could relate to the SM better!! LOL :)

 

I guess I will keep jumping up and down and screaming it like Chicken Little and the sky is falling. Our District Training Team is all over the place right now thanks to operations in Iraq, the Phillipines and the Tsunami damage areas. (Military Scout District on an island here!) So no one is really available to do an "in-house" training session. And these folks keep blowing off the District provided sessions once a month.

 

I would give the training session but I really feel like it would be better absorbed if it came from someone outside the Adult Troop Leadership. Why? Because I think I am starting to sound like a broken record to these people and I don't want to sound holier than thou on top of that since I HAVE been trained!

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Join4TA - We had the "internal/external" debate as well. I think some would prefer to be trained by someone from the outside. Some may believe that I'm trying to indoctrinate them w/"my view" of scouting. That's one reason that I try to use BSA materials almost to exclusivity in the training.

 

A possible approach may be to break committee training up over several months, carving 30-45 minutes out of each committee meeting. It's not as effective, but it's a start.

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I have decided in lieu of a formal external training at this time, I can at least show the two videos Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation and Youth Protection Guidelines, which are self-explanatory and really don't require trainer interaction at all. Of course they are fairly primitive and don't give much in-depth training either. But It's a start!

 

Thanks to Tsunami relief efforts, most of our District Training team is nowhere near us right now, but I have been in contact with one of them, and we're going to try and set something up the second week of Feb. Wish us luck!

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My council offers to come to the unit and run the training course there, if enough people attend. That should should work pretty well for Troop Committee Challenge training, after your trainers return. I found the course was a real eye-opener and highly recommend it to every troop committee member.

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I don't think you can convince someone to get trained. That you need training has to hit you like Peter being smitten on the road to Damascus. Personally, I've taken all the training I could ever get, in a blatant attempt to make up for my lack of experience. Regarding other leaders I've worked with, I've tried all the arguments, including the verbal equivalent of smacking someone with a rolled-up newspaper when they do something hare-brained, that they wouldn't even have suggested if they were trained. It doesn't work. And, simply going through a training class doesn't mean that behavior will change anyway. That's internal, not external.

 

Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of leaders who care and put a lot of time into their jobs, as they perceive them. I read other forum members' leader horror stories and consider myself blessed. Most, though, are unwilling or unable to make the commitment to get training beyond YP and Fast Start. For the most part, they're only churning themselves, because we have enough people who have been trained to keep things straight.

 

Let's face it, we have two things not in our favor. One, our leaders are adults who are mostly set in their ways. In a previous council, we paid to send two guys to National Camp School in hopes the summer camp program would be better. They came back as self-anointed "pros from Dover", and did exactly the same things at summer camp. Go figure. Two, most adults don't consider BSA training as providing sufficient benefit for the costs of attending. If it takes more time/effort than a youth sports coaches' or officials' clinic, it isn't worth it to them becuase many parents see sports/Scouts/band/drama as co-equal extracurriculars, except the others don't ask for such a time commitment.

 

Semper P. is right on time: I agree with everything he said, and how. Online options would be great for removing obstacles. Recognition is very important -- I've been trying to get my District to offer incentives for RT attendance; coupons at local businesses, Scout Shop discounts, etc. Haven't overcome that inertia yet, but I'm still hammering away. Leader award and recognition processes are haphazard. I don't want to take the focus off the boys, but the way we recognize leader training and skills is a bunch of band-aids. Why isn't there a single leader handbook, with the leader award progress records in the back, and sections for Tiger through Venture and chapters on uniform/insignia, advancement, training (outlines for every course, except WB of course!), YP, Safety, etc.? Right now, I gotta keep 25 different books/manuals of different size and vintage to keep all this nonsense straight. And good luck finding the leader award progress records. But, I vent.

 

Relevant is HUGE. In my opinion, NLE should be our flagship course -- best materials, absolute best instructors, and no chaff. If a leader thinks NLE was a waste, you'll never get them back for anything else. I've taught NLE, and the bridge is a distraction -- we're dealing with grownups here, not a kindergarden class -- they get it without the gimmick. There's no way you can stay on time if you actually have the discussions you're supposed to have -- 3 hours for NLE is like one hour a week; makes you feel like a snake-oil salesman. I've had other leaders tell me their NLE instructor was a last-minute shove who read them the lesson and didn't follow the slides...but he did make sure they sang 6 iterations of "The Grand Old Duke of York" before a bathroom break! Calgon, take me away! For the Troop Treasurer whose contribution is running Excel and writing checks, songs and skits at training will ensure you'll never see them at any training again.

 

Whew! I need to take a breath. Sorry to run on, but I like this topic...

 

KS

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KS, I hear ya... and I feel your pain. I agree, the bridge during NLE was a little corny (and I am being nice). I think the best part about me taking the NLE was that they gave me a really nice binder with a Leader handbook and a bunch of xerox additions and I got to meet some other folks involved with neighboring units in our District. I had already served as a Den Leader for 3 years, a Webelos Den Leader for 1 year, and a Pack Advancements Coordinator for 1 year before I ever took that training, so I basically got OTJ training before training. Does that even make sense? Oh well...

 

In any case, you're right about not being able to make people go to training. Painfully so, I am afraid. And I have heard it said, time is precious and no one wants to give any up (or any more up than they already do).

 

Fast Start feels like a "band-aid" as you call it, especially for folks who have had no training but have been involved in a unit for a while. The video explains just enough to recognize how things are ideally supposed to be, but not enough to make you want to go to NLE or Leader Specific.

 

And some people think they know it all and it doesn't matter who tells them differently, they still believe they are right. Don't they call that self-righteous? Well, maybe they do, maybe they don't but it's a sticky situation when dealing with volunteers anyhow.

 

Training is definitely one of those subjects that could go on and on...

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