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Personally, I think this type of option does a disservice to those scouters who gave up a weekend to attend the scheduled course, as well as those who are on the training committee, who generously give of their time to staff the IOLS training.

Our district just completed two consecutive weekends of IOLS, to accomodate nearly 100 scouters who "needed" the training to register as SM's and SA's for the upcoming recharter. Now, I would venture to guess that about 75% of those in attendance these past two weekends, have enough experience to "opt out", if they so desired. My guess is that there will be some disgruntled, newly trained SM's when and if this option is exercised by our council. I can envision the statements of 'If I had known I could test out, I wouldn't have bothered with the weekend course!'

Also, with the number of scouters who need the training, and who didn't bother to register for the IOLS training on the scheduled dates, how do they expect to "test out" of IOLS without inconveniencing the training chair, or members of the training committee. These folks have lives outside of scouting, just like they do.

Also, is the criteria for testing out going to be consistant from council to council? This just seems to me to be very subjective.

I don't know, I just see this as creating additional hassles for our professionals and volunteers who are on the training staff.

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I'm the only district chair in my council willing to do the test-out option at this point.


I'm writing the test now, and it will be done for November 30th's Council Coordinated Meeting.


I hope others get off their duffs to do it.

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WOW, I wish I had 1/4 of the new scouters in your dsitrict. Last time IOLS was offered in my district, which was August, about 8 showed up fro IOLS. But we are a small, rural district, and only had 2 trainers doing that course.


The test out option is that they must demonstrate the skills taught at IOLS to a IOLS trainer, so that is the criteria, just like IOLS. So this could be done at RTs, district camporees, summer camp, etc. With so much going on in folks' lives, I think it will help.


While you may consider it a disservice to those who attended, I know that when I went through the old SM Fundamentals, which did not allow a test out for outdoor skills, that entire weekend was a waste of time for me as I did have the KSAs already. I didn't learn anything new, and in fact all I did was help my patrol as I was the PL that weekend. I was fortunate in that I was a college student, and had some free time on my hands.


But I know of folks who don't have that luxury. In fact I know one guy who never did IOLS until he taught it at summer camp, despite being a 3 beader, b/c he was so invloved with a troop, crew, and district. You got folks who work shift and weekends.


And then you got folks who records are so screwed up, they are listed as untrained. Do get me started on that one. I had a guy attend an IOLS I did 4 or 5 years ago complain to high heaven that the records did not show him completing IOLS, despite being an ASM for over 12 years.



Again don't think the test out option is a disservice, rather a tool that can be used when the situation calls for it. It can be viewed as a "self-study" or "coaching" type of training, which the BSA did encourage a few years back. I know I did Exploring Leader trainign that way before the split into Venturing.

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Thanks, Eagle92.


We're definitely keeping these links (with backup copies!) tucked away to pull out in the new future. Council just had our annual IOLS this past weekend, but I haven't had a chance to hear how it went.


ASM162, you may consider it a disservice to those who worked on preparing IOLS; we can sort of sympathize. They did, and have, worked quite hard. Some of them have even worked skillfully.


But, our obligation is first of all to OUR boys, and OUR new leaders. If our local IOLS actually fielded trainers who genuinely possessed -- and could teach -- Scoutcraft skills, we would have sent 3 or 4 folk this past weekend. Unfortunately, that's not the case.


And we're not willing to sacrifice new and enthusiastic leaders on the altar of "supporting the Council". We believe that our actions are consistent with the original goals of Scouting, and with the Scout Law. Fortunately, this offers, to those who can do so, the option to do better.


TN Scout Troop


(And since someone is almost certain to suggest that, if we can train those skills, why don't we help the Council do a better job? The answer to that is simple: we would if we could, but we can't so we won't. In our Council, IOLS trainers are Wood Badge only. We're not and won't be, so we can't. End of story.)

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My intent to providing this information is to bring attention to the fact that a test out option for those who qualify is available. Not trying to dissuade or abuse training staff, far from it trying to lighten loads esp. in small districts like my own, nor am I criticizing trainers, esp since I am one. Just presenting another training option, esp since mandatory is around the corner for everyone, here already for pilot councils, and there is a shortage of training staff. I know that in my district, we only offer IOLS and BALOO once a year, if that. Forget WeLOT, haven't doen that in the 6 years I've been back in the district.


I know how hectic some folks' lives can be. I know that folks want to spend time with family instead of going to a training that they may not learn anything new. Did that with BALOO last year, and SM Fundamentals outdoor portion back in the day.


As I stated, BSA did allow self study and coaching or mentoring as a form of training. I beleive it's still allowed, but don't have the training book anymore, gave that to my successor. it was effective, esp. when people had a strong background in the program and just needed to be tested to see if they really knew the program. Got through Exploring basic that way.

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How do you know what the quality of the IOLS training is if you don't go?




I think the test-out option may spread as councils and districts realize they're going to have a really hard time coping with the mandatory training system. (Assuming National has the guts to stick with it, even.)


I'm one of those who could test out of it in a heartbeat - not to brag or anything ... ;) Five years of teaching Scoutcraft on summer camp staff will burn that stuff into your brain! But I still plan to go when IOLS is offered again in the spring, just like I plan to go to GSUSA's camping training instead of getting a waiver, because refreshers are always good.

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With test out of IOLS, I may not get as many in a normal IOLS course, but I will still get some. The ones I get will be the ones needing the training and the test out will weed out those who do not. Just two weeks ago I had cub leaders who want to take the spring IOLS, I talked about that and mentioned the test out if they were able to.. They laughed nervously at the idea.. the test out will not eliminate those who need the IOLS, it probably will just eliminate those who never took it, would not take it now except it is now required, and resent being at the training.. I think moving them through the training in another fashion is doing the IOLS training and your trainers a service.. You don't have cranky negativity from these people at your course.


I too though fear bringing up this new training and the reaction of those who just went through our Fall training and could have tested out. I think I will get some anger from them for not mentioning the option sooner. But, over all this is a positive thing.


As for the one-on-one test out, if you think you have control enough to say "NO" to even offering the test-out option. Why don't you think you don't have the control enough to say "Yes" to it but on terms that are workable for our district.. Such as not doing it one-on-one, but instead doing it on an organized training day for most people. With allowance for rare occasions for people who just can not make a weekend training date.


Also learn to work with your volunteers in your district and offer them what will be most accomidating for them, within the bounds of what your staff can provide enough to loose the "us" vs "them mentality that is between unit & district/ council.. The more you work with them to help them get though the training rather then mandate to them they need training.. I believe the more offers you will get from people from the units to step up and be trainers.


I love these district or council rules that trainers must be from Woodbadge, or trainers must be EDGE trained.. You need EDGE training to be on Woodbadge staff or to be a Pack Trainer. EDGE is recommended in our Council for trainers..These type of ridgid rules continue that "us" vs "them" mentality..

There is no rule from National for trainers. I just am looking for well rounded knowledgable people with a positive attitude and can do a well organized presentation on a specific topic..


I see many many many canidates in my district who will make fine trainers, and I will take everyone that I can get... the more the merrier..

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Understand completely, which is why I did BALOO (which was really poorly done as it was all inside IMHO). Me personally I'd rather a person with the KSAs already testout and serve on staff, or is that serve on staff and test out ;)

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I too don't understand the WBers only mentality to training anymore, especially outdoor training since WB21C is not an outdoor skills course.


As for EDGE, I believe national is the one recommending that to trainers. But when you are desparate for folks with the KSAs to do a course, use them.

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The ones I get will be the ones needing the training


And since there will be fewer, you can deliver better training for them! I could probably have tested out (though I'm a bit rusty on some skills, so I didn't mind a "refresher" course), but as a parent, I'd be nervous trusting my son's backcountry safety to a leader who had nothing but the IOLS training as I experienced it. It is rudamentary. The actual outdoor skills were taught the way you might teach a new Scout just starting his Trail to First Class - i.e. with the expectation that more experienced people will be with him for the outings and can backstop any gaps or mis-remembered skills. Not sure that's really the best way to approach the adult leaders, unless you are just giving experienced outdoor people a refresher and a few pointers about having kids outdoors.


Personally, I would like to see IOLS repacked something like this:


-LNT as web-based training


-G2SS web-based training


-Basic First Aid (can be satisfied with non-BSA training as well)


-Outdoor Scouting for the Experienced Outdoorsman (or woman - half-day class that covers BSA specific outdoor stuff like the Patrol method. Test-out for outdoor skill is part of this since the participants will be expected to demonstrate basic outdoor skills during the class)


-Introduction to Outdoor Skills (one or two weekend basic instruction in outdoor skills - how to pick a campsite, how to cook outdoors, bear bags, how to deal with weather, etc.)


The classroom stuff goes on-line and can be done at leisure, FA get's a little more emphasis (as it probably should, ours got cut a bit short), and people who know how to pitch a tent and tie a bowline can demonstrate their skill while getting an overview of BSA specifics, and real adult Tenderfoots can get a little more practical instruction.


I too though fear bringing up this new training and the reaction of those who just went through our Fall training and could have tested out. I think I will get some anger from them for not mentioning the option sooner.


Maybe you could soften it a bit by mentioning test-outs might be a possibility and asking the recent trainees if they think it would be a good idea. They'll probably say "Yes! Wish I had the option..." then when you announce the test-out option, they'll maybe at least feel like their input helped.


If they say no, ummm... hopefully they won't say no.


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Nope.. Tonight at RT I am laying out the IOLS training, actually I mentioned it to a few "expierience" participants at the last IOLS, who would have liked to have known, but weren't too upset. I also mentioned it to one or two other people and it is already being whispered around and spreading like wildfire.. Last RT I had people who were not someone I mentioned it to offer their Troop meeting site for the place to do the test-out course.

So tonight I may introduce a few people who did not catch the whisperings.. And then lay out the rest of the plans, that I would like to have alot of new volunteers to be on staff to make this successful, and if they want this to become reality they need to either volunteer themselves or talk some people in their units.. Also that I want to make the other trainings more accessable and available for them to get the required training available. That I am hopeing to create more localized "Training Pods" made up of about 3 units each that all have some of their volunteers become part of the district training staff.. I don't want them training only within their units, training can not happen in a vacuum.. You don't learn of changes to rules, you can perpetuate mis-information for years, You can never get new ideas that are simpler or better then what you are currently doing if you train in a vacumm.. At the same time, I want to make this training more easier to come by. And give these people a feeling of some self-control over their training.. The 1 to 2 trainings a year using my current 7 district trainers who more then half wish to jump ship due to being at it too long, just will not continue to work for long.

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I am alwsys amused by folks that are surprised by the test out option. It shows a clear lack of knowledge of what is in current literature. I.E. current printing of the SMHB makes the test out option very clear.


I think training chairs and their staff need to keep in mind that the job of the district is UNIT SERVICE!

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Don't get me wrong as posted previously, I am planning on rolling it out and I excited about it.. But in defense of the other District Training Chairs..


UNIT SERVICE , can only be within reason of the staff you have for training.. #1 they are all volunteers also, not paid staff.. #2. many of us are running on a skeleton crew for a training staff.. Therefore, like those parents that expect they are entitled to professional service as if the unit was run by paid staff, those in the unit can not do the same.. Expect one on one speciallized service from their district, when they don't lift a finger to help be part of the volunteer district staff.


Now if the district staff, is putting up road blocks as to who can join their ranks, maybe they get what they deserve and you can ask them for the speciallized services, since they don't seem to want any extra volunteer help.

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