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jjlash

Charge for basic training?

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14 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

A few do. Many don't. The boys don't pick camp based on how many free leaders we get. They pick them based on location, what they offer, travel costs to get there and cost of the camp. Maybe a last consideration are the free leaders.

Point being, volunteer leaders are already paying to go to summer camp (using vacation time from work), then they have to pay the camp cost, then the transportation cost, their annual dues, monthly fees for unit camping (and gas, etc.), do not get reimbursed for wear and tear on their vehicle, pay for uniform, patches, etc. Now someone wants to charge for training BSA requires in order to be a volunteer?

There is a bridge too far for some and this would be it. Thankfully this is not an issue for us now.

Interesting.

As a youth, we always consider free leaders. Why make them pay when they give so much? Most volunteers pay their own dues (45?), and all that when that’s expensive enough.

My Troop doesn’t reimburse for gas, but we really should. Our SM refuses to be reimbursed because he doesn’t mind paying.

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I don't think there is a problem with charging for the costs associated with a training. Materials, lunch, if those things are necessary.

The training events I put on for my council and district I do not charge, but materials are also very light, and I don't provide lunch. I'd rather build in time for folks to go buy lunch or eat a packed one. If my District or Council told me I had to make money on training I put on, I'd tell them they'd need to find somebody else. 

There's enough costs to being a volunteer, and cost can be a real difficulty in getting people to attend training. 

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23 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

I don't think there is a problem with charging for the costs associated with a training. Materials, lunch, if those things are necessary.

Agree, HOWEVER, I have found many times councils offer things at training that otherwise don't need to be there. For example, they charged for one event $40. The room was at council, so no charge. The hand outs could have easily been sent as pdfs. The lunch, such as it was, was the only real cost. 

I also notice a great many of other costs council incurs for the "special" volunteers and staff. These events and retreats, often for as many as 100 people, have no cost to the attendee associated with them. That's what rubs most of us the wrong way.

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I imagine a council building has utility and maintenance costs to recoup. Charging for training helps pay the bills.  No free lunch.  :)

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1 minute ago, RememberSchiff said:

I imagine a council building has utility and maintenance costs to recoup. Charging for training helps pay the bills.  No free lunch.  :)

Well it would be nice if they opened their books to see how that money is spent.

When the elite from council and districts get a shindig at the council HQ complete with dinner and a speaker (at no cost), but poor low-level volunteers have to pay $40 for a lousy BBQ lunch for an event, exactly how does that work? Rhetorical. I know the answer. It's just not kosher. Volunteers should not have to pay for training BSA or council deems mandatory.

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When I was District Training Chair about 15 years ago, the Council collected a registration fee for all training courses.  Scouters would register directly with the council, who would cash their checks and send me a list of names.  As I recall the fee was around 10 bucks.  When I asked what the fee was for, I was told, "Insurance(?), admin support (cashing the checks?), materials (I went to Kinkos and paid for copying myself)".  I never saw a penny of the fee.  Most courses were in the evenings, so we did not provide a meal.  I usually used the local elementary school library or cafeteria, since my wife was on the faculty there, and it was free to non-profit groups.  So, the answer is obvious...it is a revenue stream for the Council.

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3 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

Well it would be nice if they opened their books to see how that money is spent.

When the elite from council and districts get a shindig at the council HQ complete with dinner and a speaker (at no cost), but poor low-level volunteers have to pay $40 for a lousy BBQ lunch for an event, exactly how does that work? Rhetorical. I know the answer. It's just not kosher. Volunteers should not have to pay for training BSA or council deems mandatory.

 

1 hour ago, scoutldr said:

When I was District Training Chair about 15 years ago, the Council collected a registration fee for all training courses.  Scouters would register directly with the council, who would cash their checks and send me a list of names.  As I recall the fee was around 10 bucks.  When I asked what the fee was for, I was told, "Insurance(?), admin support (cashing the checks?), materials (I went to Kinkos and paid for copying myself)".  I never saw a penny of the fee.  Most courses were in the evenings, so we did not provide a meal.  I usually used the local elementary school library or cafeteria, since my wife was on the faculty there, and it was free to non-profit groups.  So, the answer is obvious...it is a revenue stream for the Council.

Yea, I'd have a problem with that too. As far as I know my council is pretty good about keeping fees for training low or not at all. 

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Huh. I have never been charged for training, except at our Council's yearly University of Scouting event. I am Council-approved to train new Den Leaders and Cubmasters, but I have never charged any kind of fee for doing so. Interesting.

Not that I am going to start charging now, lol.

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2 hours ago, jjlash said:

THis is exactly my concern.  On the one hand training needs to break even.  On the other hand training needs to get more leaders trained.  I anticipate folks to respond with "why would I pay for that when I can take it for free online".  My answer is "then why haven't you taken it online already?"

Oh, I totally agree that the free online content (all the basic stuff) should be taken right away after joining. I've said in other threads that my unit requires that of all ASM and TC members. That way everyone has the same level of training. All ASMs are required to have the same training as the SM too. Again, this allows for continuity of leadership.

With full disclosure, these are my biggest problems with district/council training. This may just be a local issue, but these are recurring themes I hear from my peers:

  • Poor Timing:
    • They usually wait until the last minute to announce the events...talking a week or two notice. Why they cannot plan in the summer (June) and then get the word out to everyone during the summer is beyond me. Most units plan in the mid summer months and it would be good to know WELL ahead of time what the district/council plan to teach.
    • They don't check calendars. My PLC uses the school, religious and other local calendars to plan our unit activities, but it seems this concept escapes my district and council officials. All too often the double and triple book a weekend with OA or training activities. I get sometimes this is impossible to avoid, but when it happens too frequently it is more a matter of poor planning. Having Scouting for Food, for example, on the same weekend as a three-day weekend in February is ridiculous. Most units take advantage of that extra day to go camping.
    • IOLS and other required courses are only offered in the fall and only once a year. Miss it and you are out of luck. Oh, it is also usually scheduled for the most inconvenient weekend in the fall. Been that we since 2005.
       
  • Use of Resources:
    • As you noted, we can use a council service center for free. It is central to most and easy to get to. Yet for some reason they like to pick the most distant of our four council camps to hold an 8 hour one-day class. They do it because the training is usually required and therefore has a captive audience that need that training to be certified. 4 hours round trip, then 8 hours in a class is a bit much to ask of volunteers. Add to that the cost of the class and you've just poured salt in that wound.
    • Copying. Both district and council are horrid at wasting resources on copying things that have no business being copied. Nearly everyone has a smart phone, home computer (with printer) and is smart enough to figure out how to print out what they need. Why in God's name are we printing off stuff in 2018?!?!? Also on the copying issue, it appears they don't train DEs how to use the double-sided copier at HQ. The LNT people would have a field day with my council on that point alone.
       
  • Content:
    • Much of the material in a few of the modules is so dry and boring that it would put even the most devout Scouter in tears. It shouldn't be up to the volunteer delivering the module to pep up the training to make it interesting. BSA has money which could be spent on updating the modules AND making them engaging.
    • Also, the training is very top-down. By that I mean it is an ivory tower view of what unit leaders should do. It does not address the "in the trenches" viewpoint that SHOULD be addressed. 
    • Standardization is a problem too. Much of the BSA "train the trainer" materials are vague at best. I don't recall the module (might be ILST) but there was a section on "Leadership Styles". Then there's a three page explanation on how to delivery the content...but there's no content to delivery. It simply says "Now discuss the various leadership styles" without detailing the various leadership styles in the first place!!! No where in the book does it give any detail. It would be as if I told you teach networking, then said "Now discuss the different types of multiplexing"; but didn't give you any details on what multiplexing was or the different types.

Sorry, I look back and didn't mean to pontificate. It's just frustrating when you have a council of such vast resources and we cannot seem to find our backside with both hands and a flashlight when it comes to something so important as training. Thankfully, the council just to our west has a GREAT program, well-run, well-promoted and managed. Most people in my area go there for training. 

 

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When our Council does basic leader position training, they charge $5.  Itols and Welot were more, don't remember how much. They do a 1 day training blast which includes Cub Basic position training, ASM&SM training and commissioner training or Trainers Edge, usually has $5 cost and bring your own lunch.

When our district does the same position training its free.   BALOO had a $5 to cover the meal.

UoS was only $20 (lunch included)

As a Cub Scout Committee chair, we paid for anyone's first time training and UoS (reimbursement style).  Now that I am in the troop, it hasn't been brought up yet.  But 3 of us did our ASM/SM Training while at Summer camp, which was a free class.

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Great list @Col. Flagg - I thank you for taking the time.  Though they are "one mans opinion", Im happy to see that we are better than most of your points.

Traditionally we have printed lots of pages for some of the sessions.  We will be going to a PDF emailed in advance with only a few packets printed to accommodate walk-ins.  We have an awful time getting folks to pre-register and we dont want to turn anyone away.  

We do run 2 sessions of BALOO/OWL and IOLS each year (one in Oct/Nov and the other in Apr/May).  The big challenge with running more sessions and spreading them around geographically is staffing.  It takes a bunch of people to commit 1/2 day or more to pull them off.  Not impossible, just a challenge.

 

 

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Our Council/District always charged a fee .  I took my first adult training course 38 years ago - cost $10.  When I was a Scout, there was always a fee.  I'm just pleasantly surprised that fees haven't seemed to go up much in the ensuing years.

We've also found over the years that you get more participation if a small fee is charged.  People seem to be less likely to find something more interesting to do that morning/day if they've paid a fee in advance.  If you offer it free, you'll get a lot of people to sign up but you also get a lot of people who decide at the last minute that they'd rather go shopping or clean the garage and just not go - frustrating for someone who has planned activities and training for 15 people and only 5 show up.

Most people will understand if you have to include a few extra bucks for a facilities fee - especially when you explain that its to help pay for the utility and janitorial costs.

Edited by CalicoPenn
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