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Troop Leadership Training questions

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And I think that's the point. But instead, everyone seems to just want to pull out the old one ... because it's easier.

I'd be the first to admit that the new one isn't written very well. It needs to be redone, and I hope that's happening. I've heard leaders say that when they've worked with it, the new one works very well. There's a tendancy to resist change, especially when it comes from national. Look at EDGE. It's a simple and effective way to teach kids how to teach. It's a good model for many adults who need a road map when putting together some sort of training for kids or other adults. BUT ... those who seem to know it all (and I'll put myself in that category sometimes) think they know a better way, and therefor attack the new material.


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I admit I have not looked at the new syllabus, and I won't need to for at least 4 more years ;) But i have heard lots of complaints about it. One of which is that it isn't long enough nor does it cover needed topics fully.


That said, I have gone through some older youth training, and taught it as an adult. So yep I'm comfortable.



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You know about training youth leaders. I'm sure you could handle the new material. I'd guess that one in ten (probably less) would be able to deal with TLT. It needs changing so that everyone can manage it. Right now, SMs are simply giving up on it, because it's too hard.

It'll get better. Tell you what ... I'll bet I could use EDGE to teach Scoutmasters how to use it.


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This is a good discussion and I think really good questions. Here are the questions I would ask for any scout to take most formal trainings like TLT. A Scout should take training only if:


1. If he wants to attend the class.


2. Hasnt taken the training before.


There has been a shift of attitude in the last 20 years that scouts should get the basis of their leadership skills, or most skills for that matter, from formal training, not observation and experience.


Its more important to understand that until puberty, our human ( and most animals) nature or instinct is to learn most of our behavior and skills by observing. Not by listening in a formal classroom style training environment but observation. In fact experts say we learn as much as 90 percent or our behavior just from observing those around us. Puberty is the line where our instinct switches from learning by observation, to applying skills for survival. I know that we generally dont worry about survival in our culture, but the instinct doesnt change. The important thing is the vast majority of the skills we use after puberty were learned by observation before puberty. I certainly saw this in our program when we tried different styles of training.


So this leads back to the list: In question 1, a scout should not be forced to take training that he doesnt feel ready to take. If the training is required for an activity, leadership or advancement, the scout needs to make the choice and learn from his choice. In the real world, we have to complete a process to advance our position. The troop is the perfect place for a scout to learn that lesson. If a scout doesnt want to take Woods Tools Training, he should have to, but he cant use a knife. He will learn.


In question 2, I learned through the years the only thing boys hate more than formal training is repeated formal training. Nothing like a bored boy disturbing the scouts around him because hes been there done that. If a PL is re-elected, he shouldnt have to take the TLT class for the position again, he should teach it.


Also, teach only what the scouts need to grow. To many troops teach a lot of stuff the scouts already know because it was part of the corriculum they were using. Don't be afraid to take stuff out you don't need and add subjects in areas the scouts are struggling. Trust me, the scouts will respect your leadership for this.


We slowly developed our program so that a scout was never required to repeat any training unless he showed a total lack of skill in that subject.


So what does all this mean? It means that a troop program should aspire to as little formal leadership training as possible and instead develop the program structure to where younger scouts are exposed to skilled older scouts in action as much as possible. In fact, I taught Scoutmasters that training for the sake of teaching skills is a red flag that the troop program is not working well in those areas and should make attempts for changes.


The troop leaders goal (youth and adult leadership) is shape the troop program so that a scout learns all his skills through program activities to perform at a maximum level instead of formal trainings like TLT. Of course that is next to impossible for any troop, but it should be the goal and requires the leadership to review their program performance to make changes where improvement is required.


As I said, no troop is perfect and we all require some formal Training to supplement those imperfections. So the question is; when should we provide formal training? It should be provided when a scout needs to make a big step in skills faster than what simple observation would provide for a required minimum level of performance:


>Getting a new responsibility like Patrol leader is a good example. Not giving a new Patrol Leader some kind of training is setting him up for failure, so we give him enough training to get him through the first six weeks.


>Safety is also another place where formal training is required over learning from observation like the proper use of woods tools.


>Joining a High Adventure Crew might require some training to get up to speed to function in the back county like canoeing.


I have observed many times through the years that scouts 14 and older use at least 80 percent of what the observed up to that age to apply their skills. Scouts who didnt have good leadership skills in his older scout years usually werent exposed to good leadership in their early years. It is an interesting thing to observe and the primary reason I dont like same age patrols.


A few other things we learning in our JLTs is the shorter the training period, the better. We started out with a full weekend TLT campout that over the years evolved to 12 hour overnight lock-in. The thing about camping is the boys do so much of it, they get bored with a training campout really fast. They dont have a good attitude about it. Doing training indoors changes the environment to something different and special. We found the scouts more attentive. We also found that boys can only absorb so much training, so two days is way too much. They have had enough by the end of the first day. So we eventually change our TLT curriculum to a 12 hours lock-in environment. They like that curriculum so much they started inviting friends from other troops. Our training for changes in leadership positions is only two hours long during a week night so that it doesnt interrupt their weekend. And two hours might even be too long.


I know this was long reply, but I always like to give reasoning to justify my experience and advice. Plus, some folks arent getting enough sleep and this should do the trick Have a great week.


I love this scouting stuff.




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I would have to admit, the first time I looked at the TLT kit, I thought that it was missing a lot of information. It only provides a bare-boned outline of what to teach. It talks about introducing EDGE, but offers no details about the method.


Unless you took the time to study the outline and make up your own training syllabus, then I can see why you would not switch. I went with it because I saw the benefits. I believe you cannot have a boy-run troop, unless you have showed them how to do it. Wind in the Willow, Nine Magazines, and the Trust Fall does not teach the scouts what their job is or how fits with the rest of the troop.


TLT at least get the scouts to think and talk about what boy led means and what is expected of them. For me, the best part of TLT is the Start-Stop-Continue assessment tool. It got even the quietest scout to open up and say what was on his mind. Every time I ran the course, most of the PLC attended and always came away with new ideas and ways to do things. And they really got the point that they were running the troop and that they had the power to make the changes that they thought were needed. If you are still running Junior Leader Training, you are missing out on this very useful tool.



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I'm glad I am not the only one that looked at TLT and walked away eyes-crossed.. I just couldn't get into job description, nor see the scouts getting into it, they way they do the hands on JLT..


But.. being on the District training team, for the good of the team.. I proposed that the Scouting Universty we have coming up in March, offer not "DOING" the TLT, but a course on training units on how to organize and "DO" their own TLT.. This met with a positive reaction from others organizing Scouting U.. So SM and the SPL of units will need both come to SU to take this course.. But listening to you guys, I think we will have some turn out for it..


ALSO -- TLT does have a new edition.. I have a copy of it in zerox print, because the book has yet to be published. I have the job of finding a unit in my district that will do the TLT, while I am a spectator.. Not having much luck in finding a unit that did the current TLT.. I guess I could try to find a unit that has never done TLT at all, but that would be a harder sell because of the work to learn the material.. Easier to find one that does it and offer them first crack at a New, (hopefully) Improved version...

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I wish to extend a great heapin helpin of appreciation to those who responded with positive comments. Special thanks to Eagledad, AvidSM, BDPtoo, MMallin, jblake47, and, of course, da Bevah.


After further researching, I tend to concur that the three module outlines in the Scoutmaster Handbook are not much more than, well , outlines talking points, if you will. Even after referring back to the suggested references, it appears that an engaging presentation will take quite a bit of effort on my part. Spirited dialogue, not monolog, seems to be in order. I will probably use the Power Point presentation, too, for its utility, not out of spite.


I intend on conveying most, if not all, of your opinions on this matter to our Scoutmaster.


Best regards,

Eagle 77


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  • 2 weeks later...

I've seen a lot of folks on this thread referring to the use of previous versions of training materials, but not mentioning where to get these materials. I ran my council's week long Troop Leadership Training Course for three years in a row (as a youth) back in the late seventies, and I agree that the new NYLT leaves a lot to be desired compared to the integration of leadership skills and Scout skills into the program. This past spring I went through Woodbadge for the 21st Century, and overall found it useless by comparison to what I learned and taught as a teen. It seems some corporate weenies and "educators" got ahold of this training to make it "better" -- NOT!! The best place I have found for information, course guide, and more about the program we used to run for boy leaders is at: http://www.whitestag.org/ Check out their "Resources For Leadership" guide for a complete rundown of the leadership skills we used to teach. Their program also incorporates all the outdoor skills. It was an incredible pleasure to find all this stuff here, because it took me to the highlight of my Scouting experience, actually more important to me than earning Eagle, and something that has carried over into everything I've done since. I'm currently a Cubmaster, so patrol method is not yet my focus, but self-reliance and confidence, and just knowing you can do things and make things happen is a big part of what we do.

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IMHO, the old JLT was heavy on team building and leadership skills and light on what the Scouts need to do to do their jobs. The current TLT is heavy on job descriptions and goal setting and light on team building and leadership skills. So why not combine them?



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