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Does anyone have any advice or experience for running a combination of BALOO and IOLS? Looking around it seems like a fair number of councils/districts are doing it that way but I didn't know if there are any pitfalls with this.  My district has trouble getting enough people committed to a BALOO course for it to work and I was wondering about if combining would help us. It seems kinda silly to have two similar outdoor training courses that repeat almost everything.

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There are enough differences between the 2 courses that I would not combine them. I would however have the tw courses offered during the same weekend and combine some activities that could.

Webelos Leader Outdoor Training  and IOLS I have a combined,  but WeLOT is now part of BALOO.

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My district is attempting a combined course the first weekend of October. They asked me to come do a number of courses for BALOO but unfortunately I will be busy that weekend so I won't be able to see how it goes; otherwise I would give you more information about how they plan to integrate/separate the two.

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My district holds them on the same weekend at the same location, but the courses are run totally separately.

The advantage of this method is that we have a lot of specialized instructors (like our games guy, song guy, cooking guy, outdoor ethics guy, flag etiquette guy, etc.  We plan and stagger the two training schedules so that each trainer teaches the BALOO group and then immediately teaches the IOLS group.  That way each instructor only needs to show up for one weekend for a few hours rather than on two separate weekends.

Edited by Tatung42
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This came up as an aside in a thread a couple of months ago, here are the last couple of comments in that discussion:

On 5/19/2019 at 11:07 AM, jjlash said:

Though IOLS and BALOO cover many similar topics, if they are done properly they are not almost identical.  They are (should be) very different in the depth of the information and in the approach.  BALOO is training for Cub Scout adults to plan and carry out a pack/family campout.  While IOLS is about the Scout leaders being able to guide their Scouts in planning and carrying out a patrol campout. 

Part of the learning for Scout leaders should be for them to have an experience similar to what their new Scouts will have - being part of a patrol, with people you may or may not know, learning the new skills (and maybe struggling with them a bit), choosing their own campsite, setting up camp, planning and preparing their own meals, doing all this under the "supervision" of a Troop Guide.  AND - the level of camping skills and the camping rules are quite different between Cubs and Scouts.

In my council, we run IOLS and BALOO concurrently but the only thing we overlap is campfire program and cracker barrel.



On 5/20/2019 at 3:23 PM, mrkstvns said:

Agree with jjlash.  BALOO and IOLS are not necessarily one and the same.

When I did BALOO, it was a few hours, mostly classroom, and definitely centered on family camping.

IOLS was centered around the outdoor skills that a scout needs for Tenderfoot through First Class advancement:  knots, first aid, map and compass, knife and axe, cooking ---- basically everything that a SM or ASM will be asked to sign off for a scout over his first year or two in a troop. The IOLS was practical camp skills taught in a camp setting. A much better class than BALOO...

(Besides, even if some material might be repeated, a little reinforcement never hurts...)


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