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Beavah

Is Training Enough (the BobWhite thread)

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Yah, I reckon this is so much a recurring "theme" across multiple threads that it needs its own permanent home. :)

 

From the parent thread, BobWhite states:

 

It would not be needed for someone to do am exceptional job as a program leader just to follow the prgram Methods. They are not that difficult to do. But you have to know what they actually are, and as we know the vast majority of leaders are untrained. If parents want scouting to be able to help the children grow in healthy ways they need to demand that scout leaders get trained and follow the training.

 

So what do we all think?

 

Is the training enough to ensure leaders can understand and succeed at implementing scouting in their community?

 

Is knowing what the methods "actually are," as defined in the program materials, sufficient on its own to ensure success at implementation?

 

Or is working with parents and kids of different ages and needs, and the outdoor environment and culture of different parts of the country and within different COs with different goals and adult leaders of different backgrounds and talents sufficiently complex that a single training set, or a single program without supplementation and adaptation, is insufficient to meet all of the needs out there? ;) Whew!

 

Does one size fit all? Or are different ideas and examples helpful?

 

Do we follow the program, or do we enact the program, if we do it well?

 

Beavah

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Having trained leaders is a necessary but insufficient condition for having a good scouting program. I am inclined to agree that leadership training should be mandatory, and I think the existing syllabi are sufficiently broad to be helpful to anybody who aspires to adult leadership. I think it is also necessary for BSA national to prescribe a minimum level of understanding of the program through its training syllabi.

 

Having said that there is no testing and no enforcement of program standards unless somebody steps seriously out of line on something in a way that attracts public attention.

 

When I compare my experience as a scout leader to my experience in organized youth sports (mostly soccer) the youth sports leagues in general seem to be ahead of scouting in encouraging adult volunteers to be trained. Further the performance of the adult volunteer is in public view every game day, and I don't mean just winning or losing games. If the adult volunteer makes a fool of himself he can find himself ejected from the game by neutral referees. Scouting has nothing like that.

 

We can provide training, but even if it is made mandatory, there is no way we can guarantee that leaders will implement the program.

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No training is not enough (and I never wrote that it was).

 

As I posted, one would need to know AND FOLLOW the program. kKnowing without applying is worthless. So just knowing will never be enough.

 

Does one size fit all? Never. That is why the Scouting program is not a one size fits all program. But again you would need to know what the program Methods were and how to apply them in order to understand that.

 

No one who actully knows the Scouting program thinks of it as static an inflexible. That is smoke screen used by some as an excuse for not using the program Methods. The truth is the Methods are fluid allowing them to be used when applicable for the activity or situation at hand.

 

But the very focus of the Methods are to positively affect character, citizenship and fitness. so how could the use of the Methods not have a positive result if applied correctly?

 

 

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It'll never happen. First of all it's difficult enough to get volunteers and if we have them jumping through hoops will mean less leaders and thus less units and less opportunities for the boys. BSA national will never allow the drop in adult leadership by making training mandatory.

 

Also from the reaction I have received on the forum, it is obvious that even with all the training I have had from Cubbing through Venturing, Masters of Scouting University through Woodbadge, that such training doesn't guarantee a quality leader. :^)

 

Training assists the leader, it doesn't make the leader.

 

Stosh

 

 

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Stosh

 

You make a very VALID point, training helps the scouter deliver the program it does not make them a good leader. There is no job where you can sit down and read a book about the theory of a program or function then go out there and be an expert in the field. The same is true for scout leader training, it is just a very basic framework to develop your program from, as you gain more experience you can fine tune it even more. To advocate that all you need to do is attend a handful of trainings, read a leaders book and follow what it says will make you a great leader and the program a great one is simply naive. What made my units successful was a lot of hard work and first hand experience, all my training provided a starting point from which the program grew and developed from a variety of experiences over time, not from the pages in a book. I would question the quality of any units program using a one size fits all approach. Our youth deserve so much more.

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Great line Stosh! And right on the money.

 

As poor leader will probably still be a poor leader after they attend training.

 

I feel mandatory training would help weed out the people who sign up just to sign up. I feel the leadership quality would increase. There is nothing like hands on experience to enhance the training. Not everything functions like the books day they will!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

 

 

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And yet again, mandatory, shmandatory. I've been pursuing training since the day I signed on as a no-position Scouter. In less than 11 months, became an ASM and then SM and have gone out of district and council trying to get training. And have people irritated that I'm alwas asking when the next (whatever I or any of my Scouters need) training opportunity is. You can't push mandatory training unless you can deliver it w/o making those who want it pull their hair out trying to get it. If Council doesn't move it again I may have had all of the minimium training at 13 months. By which time I'll already have repeated some of it that can be accomplished independantly.

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Dave Steele who was once active in this forum made the observation that if you send an idiot to training you end up with a trained idiot.

Looking at it from the other way if h doesn't attend training you have an untrained idiot.

 

Training does not in any way ensure that everyone who attends is going to come away a better leader or a better Scouter.

Just as being a Boy Scout doesn't ensure that the Scout when he grows up is going to be a model citizen.

Still if we all thought we were wasting our time, working with the youth we serve? I think we would find somewhere else to devote our time and energy.

Many of us have met the nicest, kindest people who do try and deliver what they see as a Scouting program, but sadly they miss the mark by a long shot. Being nice and kind are great qualities, but don't always ensure that the Scouts receive a quality program. Training does a lot to help them do a better job and deliver a better Scouting program.

Of course the training is all about delivery of the BSA Scouting program.

If I decided I wanted to toss the BSA program out the window and go with a UK Scouting program, the training would be of little use.

Kinda like sending a soccer coach to a camp that teaches cricket.

 

One of the last things I said to the participants at Wood Badge before they departed for home was that Training never ends.

We all keep on learning something everyday.

Some leaders find something that is of interest to them and really get into it, they take courses and learn more, which they in turn pass on to the Scouts they serve.

We all learn from each other. Formal training's do help us find each other and can show us what we are doing right as well as what areas need work.

I remember coming home from PTC thinking to myself how glad I was that I didn't belong to a good many of the Councils and Districts that the other people there belonged too!!

Eamonn.

 

 

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>>But the very focus of the Methods are to positively affect character, citizenship and fitness. so how could the use of the Methods not have a positive result if applied correctly?

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Training only "helps" if the trainee is willing to practice and apply the information he recieved. So participants who do not practice and apply the information offered them through the various BSA training and resources are no more skilled than the volunteers who never attended.

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Personally, I think it's an error to believe that people can be "trained" in Scouting. I can train someone how to do a simple task like change a tire on a car. But Scoutin' is way too complex for that.

 

As close as I can tell, Scoutin' is something that folks learn over time, gradually improving, gradually coming to a deeper understanding, gradually figurin' out themselves and how to use it successfully for the kind of kids and families their troop attracts. Always somethin' new, always somethin' to get better at, good things to learn from other agencies and programs, and most importantly - always the opportunity to make all kinds of mistakes and still be a good scouter.

 

Scouting is a great program for kids, and I'm always wonderin' why we don't think of adult learnin' in the same way. Training sessions play only a small role in teachin' youth (TLT, etc.). The handbook offers a reference or at least somethin' to flip through. But almost all the learnin' and growing in Scouting happens through learning from peers, and developing experience on-the-job (with some coaching!), and meeting challenges that occasionally test and evaluate and recognize skills.

 

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, eh? I don't reckon a single one of us would suggest that the SPL handbook and the 3-hour TLT and an admonition to follow them is enough for our youth to be successful.

 

Beavah

 

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>>I don't reckon a single one of us would suggest that the SPL handbook and the 3-hour TLT and an admonition to follow them is enough for our youth to be successful.

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Eamonn said, "We all keep on learning something everyday." and that is so true for me. Well maybe not EVERYday but then my memory isn't what it used to be either.;)

But that's the idea.

Bob White might get nervous when I write this, but I'm persuaded by his approach. Training gives leaders the opportunity to learn the basics, and if they're really interested they may also acquire the 'feel' for it. Then, over time, we continue to refine things through experience and other resources like this forum.

However, if they're not trained they are at a disadvantage compared to those who are...and without the training, the probability of presenting a solid program, I think, is diminished.

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Packsaddle, I concur.

I am at a disadvantage without having had the full training package. And fully expect to get a lot more out of it the second time around.

 

But experience also comes into play. Without ever having seen a Blue & Gold/ Crossover/ Arrow of Light Ceremony I suppose you could still do one but it probably won't look like people expect it to. Which is a problem when people want their children to have at least a similar experience to what they did as Scouts. And can lead to their Scouts going elsewhere when it doesn't look like they expect it to.

 

I think that lifelong learning, or at least active reflection, on what has been taught and examining past activities in light of what is going on now must be a continual process.

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