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Case Studies: Is Training Really Working?

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Are We Training Our Adult Leaders Enough?

 

You seem to read more and more in the news of cases where adults and scouts -- in some cases Eagle scouts -- make some really poor choices and get in to trouble. The latest cases are here, here, herehere and here. These are prime examples of ill-prepared individual and groups heading out on activities for which they are not fully prepared. BSA has plenty of resources (Sweet 16, online training, advanced training, 10 Essentials, and much more) which they make available to leaders and adults, but none of it is required as a condition of holding your leadership position. Weather safety and many of the online courses only require one adult on the trek to have taken and passed the training; same with first aid, CPR/AED, etc. It would seem it is time to make these online training modules mandatory.

 

Question: What are the minimum required training courses YOU would suggested Boy Scout (Venturing) leaders have as a condition of keeping their leadership position?

For my money the basic required training would be:

  • IOLS
  • Leader Specific
  • Basic (Red Cross) First Aid/CPR/AED
  • Weather Safety, Trek Safely, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim, Climb Safely
  • Wilderness First Aid

I would add that the following courses be developed and made required:

  • Water Trek Planning/Safety (develop this course)
  • Back-country Trek Planning/Safety (develop this course)
     

What say you? Do YOU have any courses that leaders should take OR that should be developed?

Edited by Bad Wolf

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My guess is if you required all that training, your available pool of registered scout leaders would diminish to the vanishing point.  As to the incidents, sometimes you can't fix stupid.

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My guess is if you required all that training, your available pool of registered scout leaders would diminish to the vanishing point.  As to the incidents, sometimes you can't fix stupid.

 

IOLS/Leader-specific are required any way.

 

The online courses don't take that long. Frankly, you shouldn't be going on outdoor events without those as a minimum.

 

CPR/AED takes an hour if that, do that during a troop meeting.

 

Basic first aid is 8 hours. WRFA is 16 hours. 

 

If you are in charge of someone's life, these should be the price you pay. I'd hate to stare in to a parents' eyes knowing I was ill-prepared.

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Here's my thoughts.

 

1) Things happen despite the best planning. Best examples I have are two weeklong canoe trips. On the first one, while prepared for bad weather, it was worse than predicted. Had to make camp at an alternate site and catch up the next day. Second one, non-Scout realted, involved a coworker who got seriously sick and a medevac had to be used. So the unexpected can happen.

 

2) Water Treks are covered in Aquatics Supervision: Paddle Sports.

 

3) In regards to First Aid training, I'm old school. I think First Aid MB should once again be required for First Class Scout. Back when I took FAMB, it focused on using your resources, including what you would find in the outdoors. Don't know about ARC, but AHA's first aid program consists of mostly watching videos, with limited hands on. So I think First Aid should be covered.

 

4) Emphasis should be on planning, planning, planning. One of the nice things about out current SM, he's been around so long, he;s been to every camp withing about a 7 or 8 hour drive. I think as much prep work needs to be done prior to an event as possible.

 

5) Know when to call of your trip and/or modify it. Yep I hate doing that, but I've done it once as the primary leader, and recommended it about a month ago when after doing skills training, realized none of the Scouts attending were ready for one planned trip, We changed it to a different river trip to accomodate the level of expereince.

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Here's my thoughts.

 

1) Things happen despite the best planning. Best examples I have are two weeklong canoe trips. On the first one, while prepared for bad weather, it was worse than predicted. Had to make camp at an alternate site and catch up the next day. Second one, non-Scout realted, involved a coworker who got seriously sick and a medevac had to be used. So the unexpected can happen.

 

 

Agreed. But clearly your training and planning allowed things to work out. Much of what you see in many of these reports is based on poor planning and lack of education on the leaders' part.

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Who's to foot the bill on these training sessions.  I do know that the ARC First Aid is kinda pricey as is Wilderness FA.  The ARC First Aid needs to be updated every 2 years and CPR every year.  Over the course of 7 years of going through the program with son, that could get overwhelming if not a turn off for a lot of ify volunteers in the first place.

 

The idea is great, but the $$ hurdle will need to be addressed before it gets much traction.  Then one can add the WB $$'s and all of this before one even sets foot in the woods.???  

 

What are the options at this point for this issue?

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Are We Training Our Adult Leaders Enough?

 

You seem to read more and more in the news of cases where adults and scouts -- in some cases Eagle scouts -- make some really poor choices and get in to trouble. The latest cases are here, here, herehere and here. These are prime examples of ill-prepared individual and groups heading out on activities for which they are not fully prepared. BSA has plenty of resources (Sweet 16, online training, advanced training, 10 Essentials, and much more) which they make available to leaders and adults, but none of it is required as a condition of holding your leadership position. Weather safety and many of the online courses only require one adult on the trek to have taken and passed the training; same with first aid, CPR/AED, etc. It would seem it is time to make these online training modules mandatory.

 

Question: What are the minimum required training courses YOU would suggested Boy Scout (Venturing) leaders have as a condition of keeping their leadership position?

 

For my money the basic required training would be:

  • IOLS
  • Leader Specific
  • Basic (Red Cross) First Aid/CPR/AED
  • Weather Safety, Trek Safely, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim, Climb Safely
  • Wilderness First Aid

I would add that the following courses be developed and made required:

  • Water Trek Planning/Safety (develop this course)
  • Back-country Trek Planning/Safety (develop this course)

     

What say you? Do YOU have any courses that leaders should take OR that should be developed?

I agree with you in an ideal world, that has councils that offer these courses on a semi-yearly basis. 

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Who's to foot the bill on these training sessions.  I do know that the ARC First Aid is kinda pricey as is Wilderness FA.  The ARC First Aid needs to be updated every 2 years and CPR every year.  Over the course of 7 years of going through the program with son, that could get overwhelming if not a turn off for a lot of ify volunteers in the first place.

 

The idea is great, but the $$ hurdle will need to be addressed before it gets much traction.  Then one can add the WB $$'s and all of this before one even sets foot in the woods.???  

 

What are the options at this point for this issue?

 

Well, all good questions. Let me kick this along by asking the following:

  • If IOLS is a one-time training, why can't WRFA be?
  • Could training be good for 3 years? 5 years?
  • The costs for first aid training could be greatly reduced by council if a partner is found. Usually the costs for putting on the session are rent of a facility and the presenter?

I want to open this discussion to the "art of the possible". Let's throw out the current program and reconstruct it.

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It is expected the boys are able to explain, demonstrate etc... for their requirements. For adults they need to show up to be "trained". Many of the adult trainings I went to while they may have had good stuff in the curriculum, there was zero assessment let alone any follow-up to ensure understanding or putting theory into practice. Thus I would add some level of testing and/or accountability to the adult training.

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Whoa hoss!

 

I think you need to consider who you're asking to do the training.  The QUALITY of the training most everywhere is woefully inadequate.  So you're thinking about giving the same boobs a bigger role?

 

Come up with some mechanism to enforce the content transfer of the current training and you'll have come a long way.

 

Instead of lecturing from a Powerpoint about getting lost or running out of water, drop your ITOLs class in the woods with minimal water 2 miles from somewhere.  No phones or GPS.  Give them a topo map and a compass, so that they can learn the IMPORTANCE of knowing where you are, or how to find where you are, and having enough water. 

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Whoa hoss!

 

I think you need to consider who you're asking to do the training.  The QUALITY of the training most everywhere is woefully inadequate.  So you're thinking about giving the same boobs a bigger role?

 

Come up with some mechanism to enforce the content transfer of the current training and you'll have come a long way.

 

Instead of lecturing from a Powerpoint about getting lost or running out of water, drop your ITOLs class in the woods with minimal water 2 miles from somewhere.  No phones or GPS.  Give them a topo map and a compass, so that they can learn the IMPORTANCE of knowing where you are, or how to find where you are, and having enough water. 

 

I think this would be great hands on training.  However, if @@Stosh and @@jr56 think that the cost and amount of training initially proposed would drive the majority of the volunteers away, imagine how much further it would diminish if they were expected to survive in the woods like that!  :p

Edited by pargolf44067
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Good feedback so far. If I can summarize the advice to date:

  • Teach planning and execution of program activities.
  • Keep the costs low and reasonable.
  • Make initial training (i.e., first aid) rigorous but the "re-cert" training less so.
  • Use an evaluation criteria to test the people taking the training to see if they pass a minimum threshold.
  • Hands-on training, no PPTs. Use EDGE.
  • Follow-up mechanism to make sure training is being implemented within the unit.
  • Standardizing the curricula for the various training courses so that they can be implemented consistently. 
  • Make sure courses are well-developed and of professional quality.

EDIT: I would add that for weather training the course be upgraded to advanced storm spotter training and how to use the weather tools from the Storm Prediction Center and hydrology/tide tables. 

Edited by Bad Wolf
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I'm not sure that any of that training would help in any of those situations. Did they ever need wilderness first aid? They all knew enough to keep out of serious trouble - nobody got seriously hurt. Second, of all the boy scout trips that are going on right now (thousands?) this is the worst of it. Bad things do happen and these guys did okay.

 

What were the problems? Some got lost because they couldn't see the trail and they should have backed out. Someone got lost because they intentionally left the trail and didn't have a map (okay, that's stupid). Someone got surprised by a higher than normal river. Bad luck. The guys on the ice had no idea what they were getting into.

 

IOLS won't cover any of this. The idea of back country treking training is a good idea.

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I'm not sure that any of that training would help in any of those situations. Did they ever need wilderness first aid? They all knew enough to keep out of serious trouble - nobody got seriously hurt. Second, of all the boy scout trips that are going on right now (thousands?) this is the worst of it. Bad things do happen and these guys did okay.

 

What were the problems? Some got lost because they couldn't see the trail and they should have backed out. Someone got lost because they intentionally left the trail and didn't have a map (okay, that's stupid). Someone got surprised by a higher than normal river. Bad luck. The guys on the ice had no idea what they were getting into.

 

IOLS won't cover any of this. The idea of back country treking training is a good idea.

 

You made my argument: Many of these leaders lacked basic implementational knowledge to AVOID these situations. Not having enough water, not having a map, leaving the trail, running out of food, not notifying people of your travel plans, not looking at the hydrology tables PRIOR to setting out on a canoe trip, under-estimating the abilities of the people on your trek....these are ALL avoidable things had these leaders taken all the basic training above AND some of the additional training mentioned.

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