What's New

Tuesday Talkback: How do you get other Scouters to get trained?

Tuesday-TalkbackRandy has tried begging, peer pressure and guilt-tripping, but no matter what the Scoutmaster does, he still can’t get every adult in Troop 339 trained.

“I have a handful of parents in my troop who say they don’t have time to get trained,” he writes. “How do I show them the value of training? I feel like I’ve tried everything.”

Sound familiar?

The BSA’s training continuum, which begins with mandatory Youth Protection training and continues through high-level courses like Wood Badge, help turn run-of-the-mill parents into Scouting superheroes.

But in training, like anything in life, 95 percent of success comes from just showing up.

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, answer this: How do you get reluctant adult leaders to attend online and in-person training? Leave a comment to help Scouters like Randy with this important problem.

Read responses from 2007

See Scouting magazine’s 2007 article

100 Comments on Tuesday Talkback: How do you get other Scouters to get trained?

  1. Kevin L. Warmack // October 8, 2013 at 8:21 am // Reply

    In some extreme cases, don’t permit them to take part in unit activities until they get trained. An untrained adult is a danger to the scouts not just in terms of physical issues but educational and emotional issues. Training only gets you ready to help that young man to develop.

    I would also appeal to their moral side. I’m sure the adults have learned the Scout Oath and Laws. In some way, point out to them that they are not being an example to the youth by not getting trained. That in fact, they are violating the Scout Oath and Law.

  2. The challenge I find in my unit is how to balance the need for training and the desire to participate in unit activities with their child. A leaders schedule can quickly be dominated by scouting activities leaving little time for anything else which then results in burnout and resentment. Allowing the leader to do one small step at a time is best I have found as a way of getting the leader to by into the program, unit and expectations. However, I recognize that specific positions call for specific training needs.

  3. Perhaps they are telling the truth and there really is no time for training? My husband travels 75% of the year. He has only been able to squeeze in the essential training, but only if that training is short. Our family time comes first.

    • Kevin L. Warmack // October 8, 2013 at 9:29 am // Reply

      The excuse of lack of time, etc is an excuse that just doesn’t fly. Its a matter of setting priorities. Also, if he were to look at the training, some of it, no most of it applies to what you do outside of Scouting. Its about leadership and as I’ve told my scouts a number of times, being a leader sometimes means you don’t have a title, you just do.

      • It’s interesting when others judge based on lives they no nothing about. I mentioned that my husband has trained, but he can not devote large chunks of time to training. This does not make him less of a leader or scouter. It only means he has decided family is his priority. I’m happy for those who are situations where they get to be available because they aren’t on the road and can see their families more than a few days a month. I also feel pity for those who do not possess empathy & feel that is appropriate to judge based on little information. Would this same judgement be applied to military personal? I’m not sorry if our priority of having a strong family and keeping a roof over our heads some how interferes with how much of a sacrifice others think we should give to the scouting program. Perhaps being a leader also means living by example. I was just offering another perspective. I was not looking for censure.

        • Kelly M. Horton // October 8, 2013 at 11:43 am //

          @ nogginquest,

          I taught a Royal Ranger training module called “Your Legacy”. There is a list of priorities and if you get them out of order, your life gets screwed up. I am listing these priorities since there is potential benefit for the scouting community and I stated them in scout meetings as well.

          #1) Relationship with God
          #2) Relationship with your Spouce
          #3) Relationship with your Children
          #4) Work (Your family’s security)
          #5) Relationship with Church family
          #6) Ministry (Royal Rangers or BSA or etc.)

          Notice that scouting is #6 and last on the list?

          How many issues have you all seen or experienced when this priority listing is upset? I know of one leader that attended a Wood Badge training week-end and did not spend the week-end with is wife celebrating their anniversary. Not very wise. The wife ended up hating Scouts after that.

          I also ran across a verse in the Bible about “Not growing weary doing good work.” Working with the boys is a good thing or else I would not be doing it. But if I am getting burned out from Scouting or Rangers, it is not a good thing. I have pulled leaders from leadership positions because of this. After they get rested, they are returned to their leadership positions. At first they react that they are being punished, but it is to protect priorities #1 through #5 so you can do #6. A good leader knows when to pull the reins back on other leaders or they will loose them for good.

          An even better leaders knows his own limits and trains up people as replacements. There are too many good leaders out there that did not withdraw from a position until it was too late.

          Troop and Committee members are volunteers and are involved in scouts on a free will basis. Training is the same as having a tool box filled with lots of tools. So it is always best of have to the toolbox to begin with stocked will all sorts of tools to make you more effective as a leader.

          I hope has been helpful to the reader.

        • H. David Pendleton // October 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm //

          Is it just me or does #1, #2, #3, & #6 of Kelly’s priority list overlap through Scouting?

          No better place to commune with God than having a Scout’s Own on Sunday morning in God’s Cathederal before heading back from the campout. My church has an outdoor service from Father’s Day to Labor Day Weekend at a local park at 8 AM. I never miss a service there unless I am out with my Scouts.

          If your spouse is also involved with Scouts (mine is not), it gives the couple something to do together instead of one parent going off golfing, fishing, hunting, or something else with their “buddies”.

          Being a volunteer with Scouts means interaction time with your kids at the Cub Scout level. Depending on your position with Boy Scouts, it may do the same.

          The one thing that has taken a backseat to Scouting since my started almost 6 years ago is how much of sports I watch on TV. I use to watch a lot of football on TV. Now, I watch much less. If I am home & there is a game on, I might watch it but I no longer “have” to watch my team every weekend along with Monday Night Football (Troop Meeting night so I usually miss the 1st half), Thursday Night Football (RT once a month) or any other “special” game being shown.

    • Folks continue to fail to realize that in this economy, people are pulling double-shifts just to hold on to their jobs and pay the bills. That means less time for family.
      Makes it very hard for them to set aside time for training. For me, I had to wait two years before I could eek out time and $$ for Woodbadge.
      Being a leader sometimes means making a determination that some things are just not as urgent as scouters say they are.

      • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm // Reply

        I disagree with the economy as an excuse….In the US where most every family has multiple smart phones, 500 channel satelite or cable TV, a flat screen tv in most rooms of the house and multiple cars in the driveway.

        It is about priorities.

        • H. David Pendleton // October 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm //

          Bob: I guess we do agree sometimes.

        • Profusion of ‘got-to-have’ devices is indeed another factor. (I suggest Swenson’s book, “In Search of Balance”). For our kids, it’s ‘got-to-do’ every activity. For our schools it’s ‘got to field’ every imaginable sports team.

          However, think about the unskilled laborer who could hold down one full-time job, pay the mortgage, afford a wireless $50 TV, a car or two, and raise a couple of kids and had weekends free to volunteer as ASM — training included, or working extra hours could pull in overtime and free up his spouse. That person, a coal miner, was my ASM when I was a scout. That person is mighty hard to find these days.

        • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm //

          two thumbs down.

          Hit a little too close to home???

          I know ya rich folks all claim your six year old needs an Iphone for safety reason and an Ipad is an educational device and of the 500 channels you have at lease 100 have something educational on them occasionally.

          you kids absolutely positively gotta have the latest Abercrombie finch tshirt.

          And lets not forget that $3000 entertainment package on your last vehicle….honestly the kids don’t need to watch TV while your traveling….A little boredom or actually looking out the windows is good for them

        • Frank Casias // October 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm //

          I agree with Bob. Todays society has been turned in the wrong direction. We’ve become too tech-savy. High priced TV’s, video games, IPODS and the list goes on and on. We’ve let technology dictate to us how to run our lives. With all this, people say they don’t have time!?!? I can remember when my family would sit down and play a board game…yes ..your read it right a BOARD Game. When the last time you sat down with your son and/or daughter and interacted personally. Kids and adults spend more time ‘playing ‘ with electronic gadgets. TIME. I think someone once said…”Time is Relative”. You have to make the time. I remember a neighbor of ours, when I was growing up ,was a across country trucker, but when he was home he was actively involved with both his kids and the neighbors kids, with scouting and little league, not to mention his girls ballet. SO when I hear thre is no time, that’s a load of hogwash!!!!

      • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm // Reply

        Q, What you say is true. But training doesn’t have to take a ton of time and most of it is free.

        Our district training teams go way above the call of duty to remove every barrier to training they possibly can. Money, time, travel, whatever. If a leader won’t attend training, they don’t need to be a leader. Nothing personal. No judgments here. But the program is for the youth right? If you can’t commit to being the best leader you can be for your unit, you need to let someone else do it. You can clearly see the units with trained adults. Just look at their year to year youth retention numbers. It will be obvious.

        • Datafreak // October 9, 2013 at 12:33 am //

          Not all districts are like that. Training offered once or twice a year could be norm for others.

  4. Deaf Scouter // October 8, 2013 at 8:49 am // Reply

    Set up online training time DURING a Troop meeting. Ours was ideal as we met in the school where there was wifi. Bring extra laptops. Start a half hour early and watch them take 3 trainings are once.

    Don’t have a school wifi, consider the library and reserving the computers there one night and move the Troop meeting to their community room. Some school will let you reserve their computer rooms too if one puts in a building request form.

    What really happens is many say later but later never comes so setting up everything for them to do their later now gets the training done. Consider group going together so register together for in person trainings and car pool there together.

    • Samn Gilbert // October 8, 2013 at 10:39 am // Reply

      We do this too. Set up a couple of laptops for the parents to use while the troop is having their meeting.

      • Connie Knie // October 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm // Reply

        That may work for Cub Leaders but I guess I was mostly thinking this was referring to Boy Scouts since the time and money issues are totally out of the question as all of it is on line for Cubs.

        No matter what your reasons or excuses fairly soon it will be a moot point as National is making training mandatory……..FINALLY

    • We have had this idea come up within our pack, specifically with Youth Protection Training (YPT), but also in relation to other modules, since our Council does not offer ANY live/classroom training, other than BALOO and WoodBadge. Many of our adults – especially the brand-new-to-Scouting parents – would like to do the training in a group setting, not only for the comraderie, but so that they may have questions answered, or bounce ideas off one another.

      My question is this: on the YPT, specifically, but extending to other modules that offer “credit” (certificate of completion, credit toward a knot), how do you ensure that all of those parents/leaders get their certificate and credit? Running it through MyScouting.org requires a single login, and connects on only one Scouting Number.

      Can you send notification to your council that this whole list of people completed the module together, and therefore they ALL receive credit? (That’s the way we did it 15 years ago when none of this stuff was online. Ahh, the good old days… where people actually had to LOOK at and TALK to each other…. *sigh*)

  5. Deaf Scouter // October 8, 2013 at 8:52 am // Reply

    Another thought, what aren’t some of these trainings done it bits (chapters) at Camporees at the Troop level? The leaders are there anyways and doing it chapter style allows them to do bits during the long weekend that later can add up to the whole thus putting more scouting stuff into their time that is already being used for ScOUTING.

    • Our District does just that. In fact we have had troops host IOLS for all those who need it, over the Camporee.

      • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm // Reply

        Over the years our district has tried this as well. We found that we had two problems. One, units that sent adults for the day were short on leadership in their own campsite. But the most important being that we couldn’t provide a truly quality training experience.

        There ended up being no up-side and stopped years ago. Our council provides 2 incredible weekend IOLS experiences a year, in opposite ends of our council. So far we have been packed (30-40 participants) for the last 2 years. The same main IOLS leadership have run it for the last 2 years. Word of mouth has gotten to unit leaders that IOLS is a great experience. I find it hard to imagine that happening (at least consistently) by doing it with the random Troop stepping up to teach it.

        I could see a dedicated team coming to the camporee to do it however. And with our council’s new mandatory training requirements, I could see us including that as an option just to provide more opportunities to the leaders.

      • What are IOLS?

        • Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

        • Interesting. Here in Atlanta we add a “t” (from the word “to”) and call it ITOLS … I guess so we can pronounce it … EYE-tolls … instead of spelling it out I-O-L-S.

          Disappointed they renamed SALT, too, because that was much easier to say than B-S-L-S-T.

          Scouting does a lot a great things, but nomenclature not so much.

        • bob basement // October 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm //

          That explains it your from Atlanta

    • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm // Reply

      Because the troop leadership are busy running the stations at the camporee.

      • Steve Stockham // October 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm // Reply

        Really? I thought the older scouts were supposed to be doing the teaching with the adults there to “advise.” Personally, making time for leadership training for adults at the camporees seems like an inspired idea to me! Not only do we get trained leaders but we get commraderie amongst the district’s scouters as well as giving the adults something to do other than sitting around drinking coffee (not that I’m against that) or just hanging out!

        • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm //

          Not the way our District runs it.

  6. My unit REQUIRES Youth Protection Training before parents can join us on overnights. We try to appeal to the common sense side of this…would you want your son heading into the woods with a leader who is not trained? (Weather Hazards, First Aid, Patrol Method, etc.). We find that those that see the immense value in scouting come out and get trained. The rest usually stand on the periphery and help as we ask them to, but never seem to want to get too involved.

  7. I’m a leader in a pack and a leader, Ass-Scoutmaster in the troop. Leave no Trace Training, Out Doors Leaders Trainer, Unit Commissioner and in OA. How to get your adults to get trained. There are lots of things I could suggest . But in the long run, it is just really hard to talk someone in to doing something they don’t think they need. I would say that the Adult leaders that aren’t finding the time or think they don’t have the time have not been asked ,What would you like to see your boys get out of Scouting? Then show them that for their boy to get out of scout all they can they need to be trained. Because with training we can answer the boys every (?) and be some what sure we are giving them the right info. There is always time.

  8. It is all about their (the Adult in question) priorities. While I understand those who are very busy with work, the saying “Where there is a will, there is a way” applies.
    The training staff should find different opportunities for them to go to, like different district trainings in the area, etc. As a trainer myself I did specific training with two leaders who asked for help getting trained but could not fit it in their schedule.
    As for Cub leaders, there is no excuse since it is all on line now.
    Every scout deserves a trained leader.
    For those who refuse to be trained, easy remove them from their leadership position.
    No YPT, no contact with kids other than your own. This is the last resort of course.

    • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 9:13 am // Reply

      Ron,

      My district covers the entire NE quarter of Vermont. A huge area and it takes 2hrs+ to travel from one end to the other. It’s impossible to schedule a convenient training for the entire district. Even regional events were not well attended. We found a working solution.

      Our District has training teams broken into logical geographic areas. Mostly intended for Cub leader training. When we identify a unit needing training, we bring it to them on their schedule in their town. Our training chair gets a workout coordinating, but it’s the only way we’ve found to truly deliver to our units. Yes, we still have big training events too, but without looking at the actual numbers, I’d say we do the majority of our Cub leader training in this way.

      Our trained leader percentages are slowly coming up.

      • Frank Casias // October 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm // Reply

        You have to do whatever works.

      • Can your team come to IA and help us out? LOL. We need something like this out our way! Our Council offers no group training other than BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) and Wood Badge. Everything else must be done online. I don’t know a single leader/parent who wants to do the stuff online. They do, of course, but they hate every second, and get very little out of it.

  9. Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 8:59 am // Reply

    We normally ask the adult if they would let their child join a baseball team that the coaches had no training for. Obviously the answer is no. Scouting is no different. That doesn’t work many times.

    Our council board just approved (this summer) a mandatory training requirement for a unit to recharter. The simple version is that by the end of 2014, top unit leaders must be trained. That is, be qualified to wear the trained patch for their position. By the end of 2015, ALL direct contact leaders must be trained. Yes, there are details and ways to make short-term exceptions, but that’s the meat of it.

    We also specifically do not allow “grandfathering”. If you haven’t taken the training, you need to take it. Period. Being a SM for 40 years won’t exempt you. Yes, we got a lot of blow back on that point. But, I know I always learn something at every training, even when I’ve taken it before or are simply teaching it. Personally, I resisted taking Wood Badge again for years. But when I finally did, I had a blast and learned a lot and got a great refresher for the things I knew.

    When I first heard about the committee researching this, I immediately asked to be on it. I am a District Chair and I know we already train our butts off and was very concerned we couldn’t do more. Even with the (what feels like non-stop) training we already offer, we have the normal 40-50% trained leaders in our district.

    We looked at several other councils that have done similar and while they saw (and we expect to) a short term drop in adult numbers, the 5 year outlook had retention at huge numbers. The short term was negative, but long term had way too many positives to not try it. After all, every boy you retain is 1 less you have to recruit to grow.

    Now, the challenge is to deliver the training opportunities!

    • Our Council is going Voluntary. But the we have kicked off a program to get 95% of the CS DCL trained by Dec 2015. We are starting with the CS since once they crossover they understand that there is needed training and they should seek it out.

      There is a lot more behind all of this, and it would take a small book to write.

      Each Registered Adult Leader deserves an equally Trained Registered Adult Leader! That way, the Scouts get a quality program that is consistantly presented to them!

  10. At the very minimum, they should take YPT (required to register) and Troop Committee Challenge – classify them as Committee unless SMS and IOLS have been completed.

    Additionally, if they want to go on an outing, camping or otherwise, they should be required to have the appropriate safety course before attending {swim, Trek, Weather, et}. – most are available on-line and can be done in a short time on-line, even on a business trip form the hotel’s business room if they didn’t bring along a computer.

    I understand multi-day training such as IOLS or WoodBadge could be a problem for someone who travels most of the time, but if you travel that much, perhaps you should serve in a different position. The training isn’t that hard, but is useful, mainly common sense. Arguments can be made that corporations should consider subsidizing the student’s time in the Wood Badge and some other courses, as the skills picked up therein are useful in business.

    As to family time coming first, one of the opportunities for family time is with your boy on a troop activity, and it will be much more enjoyable and profitable for both if the adult is trained.

    Some of the excuses for not taking training are truly that – excuses. That being said, those who refuse to do the training after repeated requests should not be considered as resources in troop activities, although the son should be focused on all the more, since his activities aren’t apparently important enough to the parent to get the training to assist with the troop.

  11. Our council offers Scoutmaster Specific training at summer camp. New assistant Scoutmasters attend training while boys are earning merit badges.

  12. James Chaplin // October 8, 2013 at 9:08 am // Reply

    I have completed Wood Badge (twice), took all the training I could find, and currently serve on my district training staff. But like Randy, I looked around at the troop one day, took inventory of my ASMs (about ten ASMs) and was deeply disappointed of the lack of any formal training or example of wearing a uniform. I also looked at my youth leadership and discovered that they were better trained and uniformed than my adult leaders. All of them (youth) had completed a Troop Leadership training, several had completed NYLT and a few were serving as instructors on our council NYLT course. None of my adults had even consider Wood Badge at this point.

    At my bi-annual ASM meeting to review troop event coverage, I raised this issue, that the youth were better trained than the adults and we collectively set that as our goal to change that. Results, all but one completed the basic training and two signed up signed up and completed Wood Badge.

    • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 9:21 am // Reply

      Excellent job! It’s all about developing a culture of training. If you make it clear you expect it of everyone, then it’s just part of being a leader. Nothing special. You just do it if want to be a leader.

      Want to come talk to some of the units in my district? :)

      • Two of my youth wound up taking Venturing Leader Specific Training (long story). Now, they are qualified to replace me and my co-advisor … I just have to wait a few years for them to age in (and hopefully still be in the neighborhood)!

  13. I agree with Carey above.
    Start them all off with online YPT, and Committee training. This can be done by the Committee Chair at a regular meeting.
    It will soon become obvious who has the aptitude and desire for SM training.

  14. For our Pack, we show the YPT training video to all parents at our first Pack meeting and at Parent Orientation. This means now all our parents (leaders included) are YPT certified. Then, my intent this year is to have a real committee, made up of parents who aren’t leaders. This will allow the leaders to do training at our monthly Pack Committee Meeting, while the committee is planning the next few activities/Pack Meetings/gatherings/etc. I have adopted “extreme volunteer recruiting” by Hap Stokes (Northern Star Council), and have made excellent progress getting my parents more involved. At least half of my Pack have accepted a small role in Making the Pack Go. This is going from only leaders plus two or three volunteers doing everything, to about 20 parents taking on additional responsibilities. Now, I have to figure out how to best incorporate them into the Pack committee meetings, as some don’t need to be there until a month or two prior to their project, but it’s off to a great start.

    As for training, like I said earlier, having the Pack Committee made up of Non Leaders will allow our Pack Trainer to actually conduct some training if our own, and that should help leaders see the value of training. I have seen that those who attend one UofS generally go to as many as they can, as they see their Scouting experience improve. So once you start their training, hopefully they see the benefit.

  15. Our council requires Youth Protection Training before they can register and before they will recharter their Unit.

    It does come down to priorities and expectations. It should be stated to any leader that if they want the role, they must complete training by a certain date or they must find someone else that can fulfill the expectations.

    • That is a requirement from National. Each Registered Adult Volunteer needs the Position Specific Training to be considered fully trained.

  16. People have to be sold on the value of training. As a Unit Commissioner, when I talk to people who I know haven’t taken training I talk with them in such a way that shows them they would save a lot of time and trouble by taking training. I have to do this in such a way that is not ‘snobbish’, seeming like a know it all or condescending. I sometimes throw in a reference to where they can find the information discussed in the BSA training for their position(s). Some people don’t and will never ‘buy in’ it’s just their nature, while many people do ‘buy’ it, take the training and have thanked me for showing them that BSA’s training has value and they are happier and have a lot more time on their hands because they ‘bought in’.

    • Kelly M. Horton // October 8, 2013 at 11:51 am // Reply

      Training is “more tools for the toolbox!” Try hammering a nail with a saw or sawing with a hammer. All you get is frustration.

      • Mark Jensen sr. // October 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm // Reply

        Kelly, you oh so right, I know that when we talk to the parents that we talk in away that we make them fill we are speaking to them not at them. Let them know we were in the same spot they are. Sometimes it’s not the matter of finding time. But maybe being around people we don’t know and the training it’s self that hold them back.

  17. I was active duty Navy, assigned to a ship that deployed to the Western Pacific for 6 months every 18 months, and spent at least 60 percent of the time “at home” out at sea, preparing for the next deployment. I still found time to be a dad to my three children, only one of whom was a boy Scout, and a husband to my wife, as well as a trained Assistant Scoutmaster. I’m not buying the story that someone doesn’t have the time to spend a Saturday now and then getting some training. What they are saying is that they CHOOSE not to get the training, thereby diminishing their son’s Scouting experience.

  18. Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm // Reply

    Don’t know what the big deal is about…..Spend a night in front of the PC…..and you can get most of the training to run a typical unit out of the way… IOLS, Baloo and Owl are exceptions.

    Ok folks grab your tablet, smart phone or laptop, Flick on Big Bang Theory and start YPT, or what ever you need to take…..Before the end of the episode your done.

    No big deal.

    • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm // Reply

      Actually, you can’t get Leader Specific for BS online either. So, you can’t get 2 of the 2 courses required for a BS leader without actually attending them. Unless I missed something that is!

      A Cub leader can get trained to the level required to wear the trained patch with online only courses. But, that way they miss out on interaction with their peers and the opportunity to ask questions of experienced Scouters. One of the problems we fight is the leaders who feel isolated and feel like they are in their own little Scouting world. Attending training (and roundtables!) goes a long way in helping them learn there is a huge support mechanism out there.

      Along with our council’s new training requirements, the second phase will require Cub leaders to attend an “in-person” training of some sort.

      • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm // Reply

        I said IOLS which is Introduction to outdoor leadership skills…

        Yes you have to go and camp for a weekend.

        • mikerossander // October 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm //

          ‘Leader Specific for Boy Scouts’ is not the same as ‘Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills’. ‘Leader Specific’ is classroom training. It’s available online for all the Cub ranks but not for BS.

  19. I tell these Scouters the truth and that is simply that by taking a few hours to go to training they will actually save themselves time down the road. That is because after training they will know much better what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. They won’t spend (waste) time stewing about how or what to plan and how to carry out their unit’s activities and program. The few hours invested in training will result in pay-back many times over by making their job easier for themselves and in providing more fun activities and advancement for their Scouts.

  20. Wood Badge is an investment of both time and money. Several years ago I got my pack to agree to fund anyone who took Wood Badge out of the pack’s treasury. Since the ticket directly impacts the pack, we thought it was worth it.

    Anyone who takes Wood Badge pays full price out of pocket. Once their 6 days of training is over, they receive 1/2 the cost back. Once they finish their ticket and earn their beads, they get the other 1/2. It’s an incentive to keep them on track and finish the course.

    • H. David Pendleton // October 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm // Reply

      Great idea. I wish my Pack had even paid 10% of mine.

    • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm // Reply

      Nice way to encourage training. The first time I took it, the Troop paid half, and since I was just out of college, it was much appreciated! The second time, I am only working at the district/council level right now, so I paid the whole thing. Still well worth the money!

    • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm // Reply

      What an incredible waste of the boys money.

      So $300 for the course…..

      I would never dream to ask for the boys money.

      I took the time off work unpaid, tradesmen, I paid for the course myself.

      • Wow, what a lousy, unkind reply, Bob. Thanks a bunch. Sounds like you’re a “joy” to be around.

        Since “feedback is a gift”, here’s some for ya….

        If you think it’s a waste, then I can only surmise you had an awful Wood Badge experience. Sorry to hear that. Mine was fantastic. I paid for mine, too, … not that I’m gloating like you. But I thought it was so great for the pack, that there should be an incentive to get others to go. If your ticket didn’t improve your leadership position, the boys you serve both for now and for years to come (legacy), then it certainly would be a waste … sounds like you wasted your own money.

        And at the Cub Scout level, I view it as the family’s money and the Pack’s money, not just the boys. A the Boy Scout level, the boys do most of the fund raising work and so they get to choose how their money gets used. At the Cub level, it’s a family endeavor and a pack decision. Tigers go out to sell popcorn only if their parents are willing to support that effort. If a leader felt as strongly as you do, the could either decline the money or work harder at selling popcorn to cover it. But IMHO, a better trained, well-rounded leader then none at all.

        “Waste” is only what you make of it. I certainly hope you didn’t waste yours.

        And let’s work on your internet interpersonal skills. A Scout is Kind, after all.

        • My apologies to everyone. Should have made this exchange private.

        • Mike you are correct the unit should offer assistance with paying for the training. If you are guilty about taking money then be more active selling products like popcorn so you “earn your keep”. The unit should devote a portion of their budget towards getting the leaders the training that makes them the best they can be. The youth reap the benefits of a much better program. You should also receive your beads or other credentials ie. training knots at a Blue and Gold/Crossover ceremony or a Court of Honor, you are not taking from the youth you are serving as an example. You need to do Lifelong learning. Sorry emotion has taken over this exchange you did get blasted. By the way I am a professional that has served on 5 Wood Badge staffs and tried to enable scholarships to be made for those people that need help getting their training. You have great ideas thank you for taking your time to reply, we all get better with dialog and a diverse set of experiences.

        • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm //

          Whose gloating???? I certainly was not.

          I made no mention of my experience in Woodbadge and will make no mention of my scouting experience..

          So how did you do in Win all you can???? I bet your patrol won didn’t it.

          I am glad you enjoyed the Kool-aid.

        • Thanks Mike K. Sorry about my emotions there, too. I won’t fall for the Trolling any more.

          I can’t wait to be asked to be on staff someday. I was moved by the time and effort put in by my staff and want to give back, too. Plus, I want to go back and really learn what I was supposed to learn as a participant. :)

          Thanks for the positive response. Makes me feel better.

        • Bob Basement // October 9, 2013 at 11:57 am //

          So anyone who disagrees with you is a troll???

          I have never been involved with a unit that had extra funds like that. We spend everything we collect on the boys.

  21. Frank Casias // October 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    On-line training at a unit committee meeting is one of the ways I’ve seen my units do. Invite all parents to attend this meeting, especially the new parents and as part of the meeting, offer the online Youth Protection. Then you, at least have them ready for most of your functions, whether it’s a pack or troop events. (Yes there are special training needed for certain events).
    As for the cost of some of this training, especially Wood Badge. . Our district offers scholarships that help in covering part of, if not all the cost. At our annual district leadership awards dinner, we have both a silent auction and a live auction. We ask that each of our units provide a gift basket of various type(we leave it up to their discretion). Other items are gathered by the dinner committee from donations throughout the community(i.e., car washes, restaurants, etc.) These items are use d in the silent auction. Then come the live auction; some of our leaders offer their services to help the cause, such a family portrait sitting, a family dinner for up to 20 people, by one of our dutch oven society members. The money raised goes partly to our ‘scholarship’ program.

    As for not enough time:
    We hold a semi-annual merit badge midway. We see a lot of parents/adults sitting around, while their sons are in classes. I’m always looking for new merit badge counselors and the need to re-cert some of my existing ones. SO we offer a “How to be a Merit Badge Counselor. It fills both their time and I get a few potential names for counselors..
    By the way, as a boy, my dad was scoutmaster, for over 12 years and he gave up many a weekend opportunities to work overtime (He was a manager at an aerospace firm) to be with his boys(2 sons). Proper committee planning can provide Family Time so that there are no conflicts with family relations. As for those special times, such as anniversaries, special birthdays. There will come other opportunities for those training. Sometimes, in another district or council. When I did woodbadge, 2 members of my patrol were from another council over 40 miles away, and they had be in camp by 5pm for the start of classes, 3 weekend in a row in those days. Because they wanted the training, but they missed their councils course du to problems such as those mentioned above..
    We also us our district roundtables for several trainings throughout the year.
    I hope that some of these ideas will be of help. Our district has a commitment to best serve our boys. And the only way we have found is being trained in every aspect so that whatever arises there is someone trained to handle it.

  22. Before an individual is accepted they should be fully informed as to all aspects of their position. Training is but one part of the whole. If an individual does not agree with this then they should not be allowed to join. To allow them shows the lack of commitment of the committee to be fully vetted in scouts. All to often financial contributions are a way out of full commitment. A lesson well learned from Tyler, Texas.

    • Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm // Reply

      It is all about a culture of training. When it is just an expected part of becoming a leader, they just do it. That comes from the top down and by example. Like you said, if the unit committee isn’t expecting it, then it will be perceived as low priority for leaders.

  23. John Palmer // October 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    “I don’t have time to be trained” So your saying you cant find time for your kids? Let someone else do it? But you “will” find time to bail him out if he gets into trouble. Our sons may not understand what your doing for them now but they will understand why you did in the future. That shapes them for life. Do the right thing. Lead by example. Even a small one. Getting involved in Scouting made me a better father and husband as well as it helped my son to become a better man.

  24. Frank Casias // October 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm // Reply

    What’s more important. A TV show, football game or your son’s activities. Their only kids for so many years, after that, then there’ll be time for Monday nite football.

    • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm // Reply

      I was at an out of council camporee, a group of Troop adults had a Large Screen TV set up in the back of their trailer watching the game Saturday afternoon.

  25. Jon Hosford // October 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm // Reply

    In case people haven’t seen it, the new version of myscouting.org allows unit leaders to see the training records for all of their Den Leaders or Assistants. I know I’ve seen many instances where Scoutnet’s training records were not accurate (for whatever reason), and you only find out when it’s least convenient.

    It actually allows a leader to see anyone they “supervise” (for want of a better word). As a District Chair, I can see every adult’s training record in my district. I’m sure the council people can see everyone. It is nice to save a call the council office to ask when there is a question.

    If you haven’t checked your own records, you should do that. There are a few glitches in Scoutnet that can show you as untrained when you really are.

    • It actually is the Key 3 of the Scout Unit and District who can look into Training. It’s pretty cool.

      That’s the COR, CC and CM. Same for SM, Skipper, Coach. It would be nice to have someone who is the Unit Trainer/Pack Trainer to also have access.

  26. Donald Morris // October 8, 2013 at 8:04 pm // Reply

    We parents are all volunteers. Many of us choose to give more or less time to scouting depending on our time desire to be involved and money constraints. Yes, I need trained leaders to help on campouts. I urge my parents to go through advanced training. Having said that some will and some never will. I still need parents to help so I will never make those who are not trained feel unwelcome. They can help in other ways. I would like a fully trained group of parents and will strive for that. In the mean time I welcome all help offered as long as the minimum YPT is in place.
    My advice is continue to softly urge advanced training and welcome it when a parent finally says yes to it.

    • Donald your comment is a welcome salve and I thank you.
      Earlier I commented about my husband not having time to train and that our family time was important. Unfortunately some people thought it was appropriate to attack my emphasis on family time.
      In our situation my husband has taken all the required online training plus some that isn’t required. Sometimes he has taken this training while sitting in airport. He has been wanting to take Wood Badge and other weekend long training, but in order to this he would have to ask for time off which might equal a loss of up to 2 weeks worth of work in which case he wouldn’t be able to afford the training.
      When he is home it might be for a day, sometimes he might be home for a week, but we never really know when he might have a day off. Sometimes he has to choose between helping on a camp out with the scouts or take care of his ever growing home to do list. The kids always win out. However, most of the time he is out of town when classroom training is available. When he is on the road he works with no days off so training in other councils is not an option.
      Plus my dear husband offers Merit Badge Counseling via email and phone calls while on the road to boys in and outside of our troop. He’s one of a handful of counselors for this particular badge right now and certainly one of the few counselors who has international experience.
      In an earlier blog article I posted that our family appreciates Venturing because it has allowed our whole family to participate. This has led our daughter to work at a high adventure base. This past summer my husband and I took our other children and members of our crew on a trek. She met up with us on her days off and for some reason a few people thought it was appropriate to be negative about that aspect of our involvement. When he read some of the comments made on this blog he said he had to ask himself if being involved was even worth the hassle. Then he remembered that the trolls thankfully do not belong to our units.

      Donald your thoughtful comment is a reminder of the type of mindset that brought us into scouting in the first place.

      • Kevin L. Warmack // October 9, 2013 at 7:41 am // Reply

        nogginquest,
        Let me be the first Troll to apologize for my comment. Now that you’ve clarified everything, your husband is a great example of a Scouter who really does his best for the boys. As they tell us that it only takes “one hour a week” to be a volunteer for scouting, we all realize that Scouting becomes a way of life for us.

        Hopefully one day, your husband will soon get the chance to have that WoodBadge experience. Because once you go through it, it ties Scouting and real life together.

        And tell your husband, Thank you for your sacrifice and your hard work.

        • Thank you Kevin :-)

  27. For me to sign off on their child’s Bobcat, I have them take YPT and bring in the proof. I know that they are not going to let their boys down. It is easiest to get them to understand what we can and cannot do as leaders if they have the same training. It is also great to get them to do it as Tiger parents because they have to be there anyway. I have had great success with this.

    • H. David Pendleton // October 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm // Reply

      Sounds like you are adding to the Bobcat requirement. This is against the GTA. I admire the intent, but not the method. I told my Cub parents that the YPT was as much for their benefit as their Scout’s. I got at least one parent of each Scout to take YPT & many of them both parents.

    • It’s great to encourage parents to take YPT but the leaders cannot add or subtract from listed requirements for any rank or advancement. We offer group YPT at a parent’s meeting every fall when we also recruit volunteers to help with various activities. We also require it of all leaders who are going on camping trips when any boys will be attending without parents (Webelos at summer camp, for example.)

    • Mandy, you’re a genius. And don’t let these bean counters fool you. (Guys, I love the GTA, but please don’t use it to squelch a good idea.) This is an excellent way to get parents to think about protecting their child from abuse — reinforcing the reading of that pamphlet in the cover of the book.

  28. mikerossander // October 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm // Reply

    Guilt works. I’ve had good luck convincing parents with the phrase “Every boy deserves a Trained Leader.”

    It’s not perfect though, and it’s important to remember that (so far) BSA has not made any training except Youth Protection mandatory. Sometimes you have to ask whether it’s more important to have a leader who shows up and works (but maybe needs some extra coaching) or another parent who sits in the back talking on his/her cell phone.

    • All direct-contact leaders are required to complete basic training in order for their units to recharter. Direct-contact leaders are: Cubmasters, Assistant Cubmasters, Den Leaders, Assistant Den Leaders, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Varsity Coaches, Assistant Varsity Coaches, Crew Advisors, and Associate Crew Advisors.

      • mikerossander // November 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm // Reply

        That is not true, at least in our Council. We’ve heard for several years now that a “mandatory complete training” standard is coming but it has not yet been rolled out. In fact, as of the current rechartering cycle, they’re not even enforcing the intermediate standard that the “top leader (CM, SM, VC) must be fully trained”. Youth Protection is still the only mandated training for rechartering.

        • Connie Knie // November 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm //

          How is it your council can go ahead and ignore National? Is it “legal”? Not that they will get into any kind of trouble (unfortunately). But why not take this opportunity to make someone else the “bad guy” and get all of those leaders trained?

  29. I assume the initial question refers to basic position-specific training rather than supplemental or advance training such as WB. Having read all these posts, the answer is captured best by Jon Hosford’s various posts – especially, “If a leader won’t attend training, they don’t need to be a leader. Nothing personal. No judgments here.” Adults should only do what their time, priorities, and training level permits. If job or family priorities only allow time to be a trained MB counselor, then be the best trained MB counselor in your district. The back page of every BSA adult application (marked “applicant copy” for a reason) makes it clear from the beginning. There are no surprises about the BSA’s expectations. There shouldn’t be any question about your unit’s expectations of registered adults either. Remember, no adult is entitled to his/her position. Just as each adult/parent is free to set his/her priorities and choices, so can the unit. Parents can be involved and supportive parents; that’s wonderful. But, if they want to be a registered adult, they need to understand and commit to what that includes. If the council/district need to offer more training opportunities, that’s a topic for a separate discussion. The initial question for this topic asked how to motivate untrained unit adults to “get trained”. Oh yeah, in the last 4 years, our district has moved from 35% to 83% (and climbing) without a training mandate. Maybe that’s also a contributing factor to why our district is also the only one in council to achieve any JTE level (Gold, in fact). BSA has lots of evidence (including our district) that more “trained leaders” is a leading indicator for lots of other positives such as increased advancement, retention, camping participation, fewer troubled units, and more.

    • DWM, what was the change in the # of adult leaders in your district over those for years?

      Can’t tell if you got more folks to attend training, or got rid of a lot of folks unwilling to be trained.

      • In reply to q – Yes, there was an initial decline of less than 10% which is within the typical annual loss I’ve recently seen published by BSA. In fact, several unit committee chairmen told their commissioners and me that those dropped folks were mostly “dead wood” anyway who hadn’t been active/seen for years. Since then, the district’s number of registered adults went back to previous levels and essentially maintained that level for 3-4 years now. I assure you, the council registrar and every DE we’ve had since love the various resulting improvements partly due to better trained, knowledgeable, and resourceful registered adults.

  30. People – Most training is available online. You can do most of it (YPT, Position specific, Intro to Scouting) in a matter of an hour or so online. No computer or internet connection? Visit the library! No transportation? Call your DE and they will hook you up with someone to assist you! I am in units comprised of both economically challenged and super wealthy where money is no object. In both cases some people are not willing to spend the time to train due to their own personal agenda. All basic training to wear the “Trained” insignia is free. Even if you can’t pay the nominal fee for IOLS/Scoutmaster Specific there is money to cover that in every council. Woodbadge is expensive and guess what? Funds are available for every course being held to provide financially challenged adults a means to participate in Woodbadge. This is about the kids not about you! The more you train the more you can provide a quality program FOR THE KIDS! Thank you for your service! No excuses please!

  31. Wait, huh? Position specific? For which positions?

  32. It’s expected with our troop. Each of our leaders know the importance of education.

  33. You make it mandatory for rechartering. Plain and simple, it is for the protection of the youth.

  34. I think this topic is so important, I wanted to codify and summarize the responses. Here they are…

    Encouragement
    • Appeal to moral side, i.e. they are not being a good example until they get trained. (Kevin W.)
    • Provide them with one-small-steps at a time to getting them trained (Andrew)
    • Appeal to common sense, “would you want your son heading into the woods with a leader who is not trained? (Charles J.)
    • Show the leaders/parents that for their boys to get out of scouting all they can, they need to be trained. (Mark J.)
    • Publish / find training in other districts so there is more opportunities. (Ron)
    • For Cub leaders, there’s no excuse since all of the [basic] training is online. (Ron)
    • Point out that if the Youth are better trained than the adults, something needs to change. (James C.)
    • Take the time to explain the value of training and get them to buy-in to the reasons why. (Dave M.)
    • Explain that in the end, they are saving themselves time down the road since the training will help them accomplish their job more effectively. (Mitzi K.)
    • Try to get a “culture of training” going in your unit. Then then it becomes 2nd nature to get trained. (Jon H.)
    • With the new myscouting.org, key 3 can now see who is and isn’t trained….or at least if it’s not accurate. Use this to get records straight and inform those who need training to do so. (Jon H.)
    • Guilt works. I’ve had good luck convincing parents with the phrase “Every boy deserves a Trained Leader.” (Mikerossander)

    Opportunities
    • Set up on-line training during a troop meeting (Deaf S.)
    • Training offered at Council, District or Unit camping events like Camporee, etc. (Deaf S.)
    • For large districts, have the area broken down into teams of trainers who can target specific areas that need training. (Jon H.)
    • Show YPT video at first pack meeting to all parents. (Wade)
    • Have the unit subsidize or pay for expensive course like Wood Badge as an incentive. (Mikemenn)

    Allowing Participation
    • Don’t let them take part in unit activities until trained. (Kevin W.)
    • If a leader can’t find the time to take training, maybe they shouldn’t be a leader (Jon H.)
    • Require parents to take YPT before they can join overnight trips. (Charles J.)
    • Those who refuse or can’t be trained, remove them from leadership. (Ron)
    • Do not allow “grandfathering”. If you haven’t had it, then you have to take it. (John H.)
    • Council changes recharter requirements that top unit leaders are fully trained by end of the year. (John H.)
    • Require all leaders to take applicable safety courses before they can go on an overnighter. (Carey)
    • State to a potential leader that they must complete training by a certain date before they can accept. (Robert)

    • Very helpful summary. Thanks!

      • De nada.

  35. Marc Holtzberg // October 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm // Reply

    How do I get a SM to get trained??? He has all of the on-line requirements but, he has yet to go to ITOLS

    • In the end, it’s the responsibility of the Committee Chair and the Charter Organization Rep to approve, deny or remove leaders. Both the CC and COR have to sign application.

      In fact, by signing the adult application for the individual, the person should have been vetted with at least an interview about being a leader. By signing the adult application, the CC and COR are stating that they approve of this person being in that leadership role.

      If an SM or any leader isn’t living up to his or her responsibilities and requirements, then it is the responsibility of the CC and/or COR to remove that person.

    • What are his excuses for not getting trained? There really is no way around going to the weekend training and taking the course. Now our unit has been ok’d to teach the course so once a year in Dec. while the scouts are gorging themselves on video games, we have an “adult” campout and do IOLS. It has so many benefits. Allows our program leaders who don’t get to interact on a monthly basis to talk and compare and make sure we are all still on the same page.

      At the same time not asking for an extra weekend. This has become so popular that none of the trained leaders even skip it. It reenergizes us as a leadership and we have some great food and fellowship as well.

  36. Some wonderful feedback and suggestions!

    Our Pack issue is actually finding leaders! The tendency is to take anyone who even shows a slight interest and then strongly recruit promising it doesn’t take too much time or effort! The result, leaders who don’t put much time and effort into the program!

    While I read many ultimatums, the one ultimatum we have difficulty has always been to mandate participation by both boys and parents. We still don’t get the participation because there is no real consequence or follow through. Our tendency is to error with the concept “It’s all about the boys!”

    As a committed leader it is in the interest of the boys “why” I volunteer. The truth I discovered is “It’s all about the Families” and how they value the program! Maintaining a high level of value through quality leaders is key to a successful program!

    One trait of quality leaders is a desire to do the training and to be exceptional role models. The unpopular solution is to limit the number of boys based on the ability to recruit quality leaders.

    We all know uncommitted leaders and families become one more responsibility and frustration to those of us who are committed. We also know it likely goes beyond training to include fundraising, organizing and simply getting the job done! The question then becomes are the “uncommitted” an asset or will they ever become an asset to the organization? If “no,” they shouldn’t be around!

    Let’s honor our committed leaders, families and boys by putting them first!

  37. Boyd K. Packer, a leader in the LDS Church once said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” In context of your challenge, you may create more results by teaching the ideals of scouting to remind leaders of the great impact scouting has on lives of youth and they may then simply feel motivated to get trained.

Join the conversation