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Extended training for scoutmasters

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Frankly, I disagree with the idea that more elaborate training for Scoutmasters is required.


It's not that tough a job in terms of basic concepts. The Scoutmaster Handbook does an excellent job of laying out the program.


Making the program work --- that is often difficult. But the difficulties spring from an enormous variety of directions and places. It takes experience, good judgment and perhaps the kind of coaching often found on these threads to help decide how to handle various issues that come along.


But usually those issues are resolved by applying the basic principles of Scouting to those difficult situations.


If Wood Badge has gotten away from the idea of putting Scout leaders in the position of being Boy Scouts in a Patrol who have to work out the issues of problem solving and working together, the program is missing out on one of the main things it should be doing.

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WB still does what you described (patrol method), but it doesn't and wasn't designed to go into the specific problems that MattR was looking for. I agree with you that it does take experience, judgement, and coaching, but the question is how to get the new SMs those things other than letting them learn it the hard way.

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I fully agree that unit leaders need further training but I don't think it is formal structured training. New unit leaders need to be mentored. Existing leaders need on-going fresh set of ideas and examples.


IMHO, the unit commissioner program is supposed to address this. BUT, again IMHO, the unit commissioner program is fundamentally structurally flawed. Maybe some districts have a functioning commissioner program. But I've yet to see it. Heck, we have not had a unit commissioner visit in the last twelve years in any of my three units.


Again IMHO, the solution is to put a program in place where unit leaders visit another unit(s) once or twice a year to learn, to mentor and to get fresh ideas. The units should be rotating so that the same people don't visit the same unit each year. Not only is it a learning opportunity, it's also a great way to build a scouting community.


Perhaps that's something that each district committee member should do also. Visit a unit at their meeting place at least once a year.

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