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ASM59

Cost to be a District Trainer

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ASM59,

 

Greetings!

 

 

I don't have my manuals in front of me right now. But, I believe in some of the literature (which is agreed upon by a few national training committees) is that BSA does not want to place the cost of the staff onto the participant. So the cost for staff development weekends (which ever course), Train the Trainer and Trainer Development Conferences are routinely place upon the staffers (as well as those hosting the course).

 

So yes.. In my dealing with quiet a few councils, and attending and staffing TDC a few times, it is normal to be requested a small amount to become a staffer.

 

However, on some occasion, scholarships are authorized by the local council executive committee. Such as, I have attended National Camping School for three courses; each time it was on the council expenditure, but I obligated two weeks of summer camp staffing per course.

 

I've always enjoyed this quote, since it is true. Shortridge nearly stated correctly. I don't know who originally stated it. But it has been posted on the MacScouter webpage for years.

 

 

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional.

If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer.

If you pay to do Scouting, you are called... ... A Scouter.

 

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Good comments by many other posters.

 

It is standard procedure now to charge for training events. Some councils are endowed sufficiently well that they don't need to charge for training. Most are not.

 

There's another factor. When making fund raising presentations to United Way, foundations, etc. One of the questions they ask is how much the users and participants are paying to support the organization. This is a BIG factor in their decisions and one in which Scouts can suffer relative to other organizations since money raised and spent by units doesn't cross the books of the council.

 

The recent Wood Badge staff I was on had a staff fee of about half the participant fee.

 

One important consideration is that no one should ever be denied training or staff service because of cost. There should always be funds in the budget to cover scholarships of "stafferships" when necessary. But for most people, there really isn't a need.

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ScoutNut says, "Consider that, as a District Trainer, you will be asked to donate much more than $5. You will be asked to donate your effort, your enthusisim, your time, and your families time. No one is forcing you. If it is to much of a commitment, then simply do not take the course."

 

I am well aware of the fact that it will take time to be a trainer as well as enthusiasm. I am also aware that no one is forcing me to do it. I am willing to make the commitment, but I do not agree that it is correct to have to pay cash out of my pocket in addition.

 

I am passionate about the Scouting program and only considered being a trainer because my son has aged out and I wanted to be able to help other units understand how the program should be run. I have so much experience and could teach from that experience.

 

Many seem to miss my point in my original post. I am not talking about position specific training. I am talking about training that directly benefits the District & Council. The District & Council should pay.

 

The view that not paying the fee means someone doesnt have enough commitment, just goes to prove my point that even though the fee is called a donation, it is really expected. It also means that most other people would never say that they could not afford it or that they dont agree with paying the fee.

 

If this is the prevailing view, that I dont have enough commitment to hold the position just because I prefer not to pay the fee, then the decision is that I will simply stay out of District level or Council level positions.

 

Thanks for all your posts,

 

ASM59

 

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Does being a better trainer directly benefit your District and Council? I would say no.

 

Indirectly, I suppose you could say it might benefit the Council. By having well trained leaders, who are giving their boys a good program, more boys might actually choose Scouts over Sports. So, I suppose there is the possibility that numbers of members could improve, and that would benefit the Council.

 

However it DOES DIRECTLY benefit YOU.

 

You will utilize the information you get in this training every time you get up in front of a group, any group, and make a presentation. When you train the boys in your Troop. When you explain a procedure to someone at work. And, yes, when you train new leaders.

 

It DIRECTLY benefits those new leaders who want to be trained so they can give the boys in their care the best possible program.

 

You seem to have a real issue with your Council charging for this particular training, and have decided that $5 is where you are going to draw the line in the sand. That is your decision. You asked if charging was "normal". I think you can tell from the posts that it is. You also asked for feedback.

 

Personally, I decided that taking the TDC training was worth the cost. Heck, even if they did not charge anything, I would still have at least chipped in for the lunch. I figure the folks that trained me took that, or a similar training, so if that is what it takes to enable me to give back in kind, and to help make sure as many volunteers as possible get trained, so be it, I have no problem with it.

 

 

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"Many seem to miss my point in my original post. I am not talking about position specific training. I am talking about training that directly benefits the District & Council. The District & Council should pay.

 

The view that not paying the fee means someone doesnt have enough commitment, just goes to prove my point that even though the fee is called a donation, it is really expected. It also means that most other people would never say that they could not afford it or that they dont agree with paying the fee.

 

If this is the prevailing view, that I dont have enough commitment to hold the position just because I prefer not to pay the fee, then the decision is that I will simply stay out of District level or Council level positions. "

 

Hello ASM59,

 

It's great that you and your daughter have been invited to take the conference to become trainers. It means that the District and Council have confidence in your skill and capability and knowledge of Scouting and want to pass it on to others.

 

The training in this case does not benefit the District and Council. It benefits YOUTH!!! Everything that the District and Council does benefits youth directly or indirectly. If an activity does not, in some way, benefit youth, why are we doing it? Your being a trainer helps youth and helps the adults who are serving youth.

 

As far as a fee, donation, whatever it is.

 

The fact is that there is some cost for meals, supplies, etc. Somebody has to pay it. It's not a big cost, but it is a cost. Perhaps in an ideal world, somebody else would raise the money to pay for these.

 

I know that in my council, I:

 

1) participate in courses like this conference, often staffing or even directing them

2) participate in deciding if there will be a fee and what it will be

3) pay the fee myself

4) help raise money for scholarships and for paying the fees for others

5) sometimes pay the fee myself for people who truly cannot afford it

 

I might ask. When you are a leader in your unit:

 

1) Do you pay for food, etc. for campouts or does the unit pay for those?

2) Do you pay for your uniforms, etc. or does the unit buy those for you?

3) If you go to an event or activity with a charge for participation, do you pay those charges or does the unit pay for it for you?

4) Do you pay for your registration for the year or does the unit pay for that for you?

5) When you buy equipment for camping, do you pay for it or does the unit buy or supply them for you?

 

Most units that I know have the leaders pay some of not all of these expenses. If you have been willing to pay these expenses for your unit, why is it OK with you to pay these expenses for a unit but not for a District or Council? If you look at the budget, the District and Council are really no better off than many units. I know of some rather small units in my council that have "war chests" of $10,000 or more which they never touch.

 

I certainly have heard the attitude "I am giving my time, why should I give my money too?" That has always troubled me as it suggests that money collected for the District and Council is somehow going to Osama bin Laden or some other evil purpose. It suggests that units are good and the District and Council are suspect or bad. Rather, every dollar that is paid for fees like this frees up those dollars for other good purposes in Scouting.

 

If you will give me the address of your council and the names to which the payment should be credited, I'll be happy to mail a check for $10 to your council to pay for the conference for you and your daughter. It's that important to me that Scouting have all the trainers that it needs. Money should never keep people from doing good Scouting and if this fee is that important to you, let's eliminate the problem. :)

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"The training in this case does not benefit the District and Council. It benefits YOUTH!!! Everything that the District and Council does benefits youth directly or indirectly. If an activity does not, in some way, benefit youth, why are we doing it? Your being a trainer helps youth and helps the adults who are serving youth."

 

Yes, ultimately the purpose of training is to benefit the youth involved in Scouting. I will not dispute this fact. However, the training that I am talking about does indeed benefit the District. They have goals for training, therefore, they must offer X number of training opportunities and in order to do this, they must have trainers. One cannot be a trainer until they partake of this Trainer Development Conference.

 

I plan to talk to our District Training Chair about this to get a local take on the whole thing. It is clear from the posts here that charging a fee for this type of training is not passed on to the participants in all councils. I have also received some private messages from people backing my take that there shouldn't be a fee to the participant.

 

Money is not the problem here. I give hundreds of dollars out of my pocket to support Scouting each year. The problem is that many local people that I know are looking at this like our Council or District really doesn't care about getting more Trainers or there wouldn't be a charge. So, there is another side to this.

 

I am not saying that I will never consider doing the training if there is a fee, but I do want to make sure that the people in charge, locally, do not have an issue if someone cannot pay. It could be that that's why they say it's a donation, and this is why I want to talk to our District Training Chair.

 

ASM59

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here.

 

There is a perception that if you don't pay for something, it has no value. People will sign up for something and since they have nothing invested, they feel free just not showing up. So the planners were ready for 100 people and only 50 showed up.

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Gold Winger raises a great point.

 

When I arrange for scholarships, typically, I recommend a partial scholarship with the person kicking in some funds of their own for just that reason.

 

One of our communities has a fund from the days when they were a council. It supports, among other things, Wood Badge and gives full scholarships. However, the deal is that the participant pays the full cost of the training, then is fully reimbursed when they get their beads :)

 

I totally concur that if something is free, its value is often perceived as equal to that which is paid for it.

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I think the view causing the most problems here is that ASM59 sees being a trainer as "helping the district" and as such should not have a fee to attend since the district is who benefits from his work.

 

In reality as a trainer ASM59 serves the local units as is a benefit to them. Trainers are a servie of the district but they serve the unit volunteers not the district body itself.

 

It is an important difference.

 

(by the way this council charges $35 to attend Trainer Development/BSA 500)(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I'm a District Training Chair, and in the Council I serve in, the Trainer Development Course costs $25 includes lunch, snacks, materials, and a training card, it's also eight hours of training plus some Council specific info. The District Committee Workshop is the only training that I've attended for free, that's covered by the Council. Whenever I have helped with a course, there hasn't been a Staff Fee and any costs, primarily food, has been covered by the course budget. That's how I handle it when I run courses as well. I haven't staffed Wood Badge, but I did pay a fee that was half the participant fee when I staffed Powderhorn.

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When I attended the Trainer Development Conference at our council a few years back, I don't recall whether there was a fee or not. In any event I would gladly have paid $5.00.

 

As a trainer in our district programs and the council High Adventure Team I regularly incur costs for which I do not seek reimbursement. I do not pay any fee to participate in these programs, but I do pay for my own training materials that I use. I don't know how our Woodbadge course operates, but if the pattern holds staff likely would not pay to attend.

 

I am amused by the language of "donation." As far as your tax deductibility goes, whatever it is called, unreimbursed expenses can be claimed as deductions, so I don't really know why people call such things "donations." To me it raises more questions than it answers.

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As I see the problem, and ASM59, please correct me if I misunderstand, it is that ASM59 sees "helping the District" as different from helping youth or serving as a leader in a unit. It is an "us versus them" point of view that I certainly have seen before. The feeling that the District is "them" and not "us" and that we are not all on the same team together and that District and Council personnel and activities are somehow qualititatively different from and in some ways opposed to unit level activities.

 

I have seen this attitude expressed elsewhere as "the only place that real Scouting takes place is in a Troop." (note, not even a Pack or a Crew)

 

I know of some councils/districts and some situations where the attitude might, to some extent, be justified and where the training teams are rather cliquey. However, I personally find it as inappropriate to respond to a request to consider being a trainer and pay the nominal cost of learning how to be a trainer as it would be to respond to a request to help with a unit by saying "sure, I'll be happy to, but I expect my expenses to be covered."

 

If one is a Scouting volunteer at whatever level, one pretty much is expected to cover the costs of that volunteer service.

 

If one doesn't want to be a trainer and do what trainers do, so be it. If the Trainer Development Conference is weak, then that is another matter and it should be improved. But not wanting to pay for lunch and supplies because the conference is weak strikes me the same as not wanting to pay for camp because the food is poor or because the program could be better.

 

Since I have seen this point of view expressed before and haven't been able satisfactorily to address it, I need some help in understanding it. Why is being a trainer at the District level any less (or more) of being a Scout leader than is being an asst. Scoutmaster or Den Leader or whatever? What am I missing? Why is "helping the District" different from "helping the Troop" or "helping youth?"

 

One area where I totally concur with ASM59 relates to people unable to pay for the cost of such a training class. No one should be denied such an opportunity in Scouting because of funds and if the council/district have some other ideas, then some serious discussions are in order. I can concur that participation might be better if the food were provided. Maybe that reasoning should be used depending upon the financial condition of your council. But at a certain point, the argument can reasonably be, well if we don't have to pay for this, why should anyone have to pay for anything?(This message has been edited by NeilLup)

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