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Combined Outdoor Training - Update

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It looks like the combined Outdoor training for Webelos, Boy Scouts, and Venturing, has been put on hold until BSA figures out what it really wants to do with it.


From the Spring 2011 Training Updates on the BSA National site -


Outdoor Skills Training


A new Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills was announced a couple of months ago. It was designed to be a course that covered outdoor program from Cub Scouting to Venturing.


We want to let you know we have backed off on the combined course, at least for now. We are now working with Outdoor Adventures to use their subject matter experts to study the issues and design a course (or courses) that best meets the needs of the leaders of the various programs.


We are reluctant to announce a time frame for anything new until we get a little further along. So for now, stick with existing training and watch for updates here.


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Boo.. Hiss.. Double ick.. (Does that sum up my feelings well??)


It is such a hassle to have the two when they are so identical.. Many of our districts (In fact I dont know any that do not combine them, but there are two different ways that they combine them.


One group combines it in a way to save the staff time and double duty, but not the volunteer leaders. They hold both on the same weekend, the groups are together except for two courses, Wood tools and Plants/animals identification for IOLS, where Webelos get whittling chit and Outdoor activity pins.. Then the participants leave with only one course signed off, and the OWLs group must return in two years to take the same course over for the two skills they missed out on.


The other groups give out the OWLS/IOLS course training at the same time. I am in this group. I dont know how others do it, but we do the IOLS course first (making sure the Webelos know that the axe is only taught to the boys at Boy Scout level.) Then we let anyone only wanting IOLS training leave early, and keep those wanting OWLs in order to teach them the skills of OWLs not covered in the IOLS training.


If National wants to keep the two as separate, they would have to make the two radically different (and I don't see how as both really need very similar skills). Right now, the differences between the two are so small, it only angers our volunteers to be put through what is essentially the same course twice.. A total waste of their valuable time..


I do know though that those in my council who teach the course the first way will be thrilled. I hear them at council meetings complain that it is ridiculous to combine them as they are so different. And the dangers of teaching the Webelos Leaders axe skills now.. Like they are untrustworthy to accept the information that the axe is not something you are allowed to teach Webelos, and work in those confines.) Like if they were going to be idiots and hand an axe to a Webelos after training, they would not be a similar idiot and hand an axe to a Webelos before training.


I think some of our District Trainers have a superiority complex or are training snobs.. I hope I never stop being totally respectful and in awe of the time that our volunteer leaders put into this program, and continue to always give them the respect that they deserve.


Sure I would like a good size class, but not at the expense of the time of our valuable Volunteers. So I don't see the need to force leaders to go through my training twice..(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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I know in my district, probably council too since there is a "cubs don't need to go camping attitude," OWL is not done and WDLs who do outdoor training usually do IOLS. Heck when I had a WDL as me if they should take BALOO or IOLS, I pointed them to IOLS.



We don't have enough trainers in my district to do both IOLS and OWL. Plus as mentioned, the 2 courses are nearly identical.

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Eagle92 - I did that last year, as I was a new District Training Chair, and half my staff when I came on board split due to being asked to do too much in the absence of a DTC for two years.. So I had no one who knew how to discuss the outdoor activity badges really my remaining trainers were all troop leaders and didn't know much of the cub scout stuff any more.. Since I then I have added to staff some cub scout trainers, and I found out that my district requires that WDL who what to go camping with their cubs need OWLS (although they don't have any method in place to enforce this except for Jamboree (which is this Fall)and telling Webelos den leaders their den can't stay if they do not have someone OWLS trained..


So I had to eat some crow, and inform our Pack leaders at round table that I was incorrect in having them only take IOLS last year as I did not know of the Council's policy. I have now incorporated both courses in, in a way that I don't feel short changes either course (except for the duplication of going through certain skills twice in order to receive both trainings.)


I do though disagree with the attitude that "cubs don't need camping", as it is a way to get the cubs to start transitioning over into Boy Scouts and not have them go into shock by a completely different program..


In fact I think it should be a combined course, but required (not just highly suggested), for the WDL to take the boys on Webloes camping..


BALOO I think is radically different, and not gotten though IOLS.. There is way too much in the IOLS that Pack Camping does not need to know.. There are very different and strict rules around Pack Camping such as only being allowed to camp on Council approved sites, and that it is not den style camping, and the Pack does not own the tents and equipment for all their families to go camping with, but they need to beg, borrow & (well no not the third one..) lets change the third one to rent.. Beg, borrow or rent...


Cooking & campfire presentation is about all that is the same..


I hate to say it but this weekend, we had a training that I couldn't attend as I had a woodbadge staff meeting on the same date.. I guess the meeting got shanhied by the participants, but I have to give credit to my staff for making it work..


It was a training day for two courses. A three hour pre-meeting for OWLS/IOLS in which we were doing the cooking & backpacking parts then letting the patrols meet to organize as they would be taking care of their own food (I don't have enough staff or ice chests for supplying all the food.) The other course was BALOO Training, which was the very first time our district was hosting it.


Well it just so happened all our OWLS/IOLS participants were OWLS or both (having sons in both pack & troop).. So when they came in and asked what BALOO was they decided they wanted both trainings.. Then the BALOO participants "thought" they needed the backpacking peice and insisted that they get it..


So the staff combined the two cooking presentations and added the Backpacking skill to the training.. After the backpacking piece, the BALOO only people said "No, we really didn't need that"..


One IOLS person I was told was upset because I guess he wanted to have both courses, but still get out at noon time as the IOLS course had stated it would. He did not get BALOO.. The others who decide they wanted BALOO with OWLS/IOLS understood that they had to stay for the entire BALOO course to be completed.

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Just a thought.



BSA is just too darn political........



Teach your leaders one way, the best know current techniques. Do it once. Require a refresher every 5 years if you must.


Just curious, who is Outdoor Adventures?????? I would like to know who owns them and what there "expertise" and experience is.

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"Just curious, who is Outdoor Adventures?????? I would like to know who owns them and what there "expertise" and experience is."


Outdoor Adventures is one of the main National divisions/committees. Others include Council Support, Training, Youth Development. The OA, Sea Scouts, Jamboree, and some other groups are under Outdoor Adventures.




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