Let’s get at least 50 percent of direct-contact leaders trained in 2017

Every Scout deserves a trained leader, but less than 50 percent of direct-contact leaders complete basic training for their position.

Scouting U wants to change that.

The BSA’s training team has set its 2017 goal: at least 50 percent of direct-contact leaders trained this year.

Direct-contact leaders, as the name implies, are adult volunteers who have direct contact with youth. (See a complete list below.)

Nationally, the percentage of direct-contact leaders trained has risen steadily:

  • 2016: 46.3 percent
  • 2015: 44.5 percent
  • 2014: 41.9 percent

The 50 percent threshold is in reach, but we need your help encouraging fellow Scouters to get trained.

Who are direct-contact leaders?

  • Cubmasters (CM)
  • Tiger den leaders (TL)
  • Den leaders (DL)
  • Webelos den leaders (WL)
  • Scoutmasters (SM)
  • Leaders of 11-year old Scouts- LDS (10)
  • Varsity Scout coaches (VC)
  • Crew advisors (NL)
  • Skippers (SK)

What courses are required for someone to be considered ‘trained’?

A direct-contact leader is trained once he or she has completed:

  • Youth Protection training
  • Position-specific training (including Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills for direct-contact Boy Scout leaders)

This PDF offers a handy breakdown of required training by position.

Where does someone take these courses?

You can find an overview here.

Some of these training courses must be completed in person, while others can be taken online through the BSA Learn Center, available at My.Scouting.

Why take basic leader training?

Five quick reasons:

  1. The training requires a small time investment with a big payoff.
  2. It’ll improve the impact our youth programs have on Scouts and Venturers.
  3. Training helps adults deliver enriching, effective and fun learning opportunities for young people.
  4. It makes your job easier and more rewarding.
  5. You can do all or most of it online.

What can you do?

If you haven’t yet completed position-specific training, please do so.

If you have, please encourage your fellow volunteers to get trained. How? Here are some ideas.


  1. Our Troop recharters in March. The current requirement for registering adult Scout leaders, as I understand it, is to be fully trained in both Leader-Specific training and YPT. We will not reregister any of our Scouters who are not fully trained.

    That being said, looks like 100% of our direct-contact leaders will be trained, not 50%. also, what’s stopping non-direct Scouters from being fully trained?

    • That’s correct. Our council requires 100% position specific trained, and, Bryan, committee members are also required to be fully trained. YPT is mandatory for anyone listed on a Cub Scout Pack roster. The council is in the process of switching recharter dates so all units expire in December.

    • YPT expires — what tends to happen is the recharter happens then YPT expires, and then we wind up with non trained leaders for the rest of the year till recharter rolls around and they reup the training…..

      And since YPT is all that is needed to register, specific training is required to be trained, and i have met committees who didn’t even know there was a committee training for them

    • @ majmike,

      I guess you will have to recruit more leaders so you will drop from the 100% training to 50% trained level. I say this with my own troop being 100% and we are in the same boat. But take this seriously, a troop needs to have fresh blood in it. New talent, more involved parents, more involved sponsoring organization members, etc. The outcome would be a better troop in the long run.

      When I was involved in Royal Rangers, I recruited the boys AND the dads. I never gave them the option of not being trained. If there was a mom involved, she got equal treatment. If she did not want to work with the boys, there was always the committee that needed help.

      Just something to think about. Believe me Royal Ranger Training is much more extensive than that of BSA training. So a BSA leader should not complain about the training especially with a lot of it over the internet. OWL, BALOO, ITOLS is comparable to the Leaders Training Academy for RR and Wood badge would be similar to National Training Camp for RR. Both are good trainings for any leader.

      • We’re currently at about 80% trained leaders. All of our ASM’s and the Scoutmaster are trained. We have about 10 Committee Members who, for whatever reason, decline to take the leader-specific training for their registered position. Most of those we never see and will be dropped in March. In our Troop, those who are active, are trained. Those who aren’t active, are not trained. YPT currently is at 98%, those untrained in March will be dropped.

  2. Our Council Training Team puts together a training calendar by November of each year to coordinate our 9 districts training offerings. Each District takes up a month to offer a ‘Day of Training’ in their district. With 9 districts, 9 months of the year is covered very quickly. This has spread out the work load of trainers and gives plenty of opportunities to the many multi-hats volunteers for a time/day that works into their busy schedule.

    The other option is our Council Training Team coordinates is training at summer camps for Boy Scouts and Venturing. The camp chair leader now becomes a ‘trained’ leader via his camp chair!

  3. Wow! 50%! If only 50% of our doctors had the training needed to be successful how would you, the patient, feel going into the operating room? If it is important to have trained leaders then it should be required in order to register or have a grace period (6months, or 1 year). Accepting anything less than 100% trained leaders is atrocious.

    • Had this issue with some new committee members late last year. Here’s how to get to it (verified this still works a few minutes ago, 10-Feb-2017):

      1. Log into your https://my.scouting.org account.
      2. Once you log in, click on the menu option in the top left and choose My Dashboard.
      3. What should come up is your “My Training” section, probably opened to the YPT area. Click on “Training Center” in the top bar.
      4. It should bring up a list of all the different BSA programs. Click on “Boy Scouting and Varsity.”
      5. At this point it should bring up a big list of all the different training courses offered online grouped by category. Look for the “Leader Position-Specific Training” grouping, it is likely the only option listed.
      6. On the right side of the listing for Troop Committee Challenge should be “Take Course.” Click on that. It should load the training at that point. since I’ve already taken it, mine says retake course and when I click on it the course launches.

      NOTE: The following notice was posted on the MyScouting system yesteday (9-Feb-2017): “Training courses are currently being updated. Some courses taken, including Youth Protection, may not reflect as completed on your record. Please do not take any training until the update is complete. A notice will be posted once the modifications are completed.”

    • I agree. I unfortunately, joined a pack where they seem to think training is not important. Had I known that training beyond the YP was not required I would not have joined.
      That being said, I think the Scouting program will be great for my son and don’t want to leave. Any advice on how to “remind” the leaders that they really should be trained???

  4. In my experience, convincing fellow leaders to get trained is easy and talking them through finding the courses is not hard. But getting the council records updated to reflect that the training has been done is impossible.

    I am registered under five different member numbers, and only one adult in my unit has only a single member number. It’s hard to say which number will get credit for the training and which number the council will look at when they ask whether the unit has enough trained leaders to be renew our charter.

    Is this a widespread problem? I know how to link member numbers to an account on myscouting, but that doesn’t seem to help.

    • Jeff, this is an ongoing problem across the country created by computer system changes on the national council level. I learned that a new member number is created when you move and transfer into another council. Why this idiocy happens I do not know and neither does our council registrar other than “National does it,” and until it stops happening, the training records problem will continue. Best way to make sure credit is given is to take the training cards to the registrar’s office.

    • Jeff, your unit “key three” can enter training into my.scouting.org. They can also tell which one of your five numbers is associated with your current unit. Give them your training cards or other documentation and they can easily fix this.

    • Jeff, my council had a big problem with that under previous management. It is not perfect by any means but it has come a long way in the last several years and we are not seeing anywhere near as many issues as we used to.

    • When I was district training chair back in the day, the council’s records were so inaccurate that only those who had been trained in the past year were officially “trained.” Try telling your district district commissioner, who is not only a long time Scouter but Philmont Training Center faculty, he’s not trained.

    • I’ve had this happen once to me. I completed an application for a district level position and rather than attaching it to my existing ID they created a second one. I caught the issue when I received my membership card in the mail, contacted the council registrar, and they corrected the problem.

      Since then a tip I’ve found that helps in combating this issue is that I always write my BSA ID # onto the application. And if it is for an additional position that is not my primary I write “MULTIPLE” across the bottom in large print.

      When I have youth transferring into one of my units, I’ll do the same. If I don’t have their ID #, I contact the council registrar and get it. I’ve also had adults come onto units I associate with that were BSA members years prior, and I’ve contacted council to get those ID #’s. For example, at the Troop where I serve as Scoutmaster we recently got a new IH and new CR. The IH was an Eagle Scout as a youth but never an adult, and the CR was previously an adult leader in our troop and crew a decade previously. I was able to email the council registrar with their names and a little additional information like what unit they previously served in, and they were able to look up their old ID #’s in Scoutnet and provide them to me.

      The council registrar sees the ID # on there and activates it or adds the additional position to it, rather than creating an entirely new ID.

      That’s really the best practice I’ve found to ensure that adults and youth don’t get assigned a new ID # every time you transfer to a new council, or volunteer for a new position outside of your current unit.

  5. If the training was available on mobile devices, it would probably be higher. Currently I think it cannot be done on a tablet or phone.

    • Cub Scouting, Venturing, Exploring and Sea Scouting training can be completed online on a tablet. The Boy Scout training will be available online for desktop and tablet in February 2017, but Scoutmaster will still need to take Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills in person.

  6. Would direct contact Scouters also include merit badge counselors, Nova counselors, SuperNova Mentors, Explorer Post Advisers, OA Advisers, etc.?

  7. there are several factors to this problem:

    a. has mentioned, YPT expires and is not renewed quickly,

    b. Leader A changes leadership position, assumes the previous training, if competed, covers the required training for new position,

    c. Leader B feels any training IS NOT necessary and does not complete, period.

    d. Some councils have implemented their own incentives, such as completing YPT EACH YEAR for re-charter, direct contact leaders Must be Trained for re-charter, etc., or said leader is dropped for registration with Unit.

    e. Particularly for Cub Scouts, these leaders do not avail themselves of the online training which is far better than any live, in-person training attempted these days.

    f. new leaders having no initiative to attend, partake in any leader training, an epidemic I am seeing in local council. These folks have many excuses as to why….

    g. for our tenured crowd, their training records have not/never been manually entered into ScoutNet to at least “count for something”, if not “grandfathered” …..

    There is more data excess positions TODAY than there were a couple years ago, a decade ago, a couple decades ago when I started as an adult volunteer five councils back….

  8. Our council implemented a 100% direct contact trained plan. It is a 3 year plan to achieve which goes into to full force when all units recharter on Jan 1 2018. This plan includes Unit Committee members and Merit Badge Counselors too. Each district and the council training teams have been working diligently to make position specific training available to everyone. If you are not “Trained” for your position on 1/1/18 your membership will not be renewed. Going forward, new direct contacts under the plan will have a 6 months to complete their basic training.

    • Our council did this 3-year plan about 6 years ago. We normally run 95%+ trained leaders. The only ones that are not are usually the new Tiger Den Leaders and any new adults that join. Once you explain that everyone is trained and that Scouts deserve a trained leader, it is usually not difficult to get them to do it. If they balk, I ask it they would let their child play sports for someone who doesn’t know the rules of the game. Then, it finally dawns on them.

  9. Our council has a 100% direct-contact trained policy. All leaders must be trained in order to be re-chartered… so if you don’t get trained within your first year, you’re dropped.

  10. I would be concerned about this, except for the fact that most of the training is a total waste of time. Youth protection training is designed primarily to protect the organization, not the scouter. I know many will disagree, but the BSA has been going full-speed in that direction for years. Decisions are made by lawyers and political types to self-preserve, increase fundraising, and try to appease with little thought into how these decisions impact local units and scouts. Recharter is a pain in the rear and most district/council reps only show up when they want something from you.

    Sorry about the rant, I know most local leaders are giving their units everything they have to impact these boys’ lives. My problem is strictly with the bureaucracy that makes it hard for volunteers to be effective.

  11. A 50% goal for anything viewed as important is pretty pitiful. Seeing the number of postings that they are at 100% trained, this seems to imply there are those with 0% trained. In Pennsylvania, we have additional legal clearances to even register so meeting a 50% goal should be easy. We also have an additional catholic diocese three hour YPT training course for all volunteers. That goal is 100% or you cannot volunteer.

  12. I agree that every leader whether or not they are “Direct Contact” or “Indirect Contact” should be trained.

    But there is a major flaw in this article versus what gets measured by the Journey to Excellence (JTE) Scorecards.

    According to the Council/District Scorecard for JTE Criteria on “Unit leadership: Increase the number of direct contact leaders who are trained”: This is: “Number of Cubmasters (CM), Tiger Cub den leaders (TL), Den leaders (DL), Webelos den leaders (WL), Scoutmasters (SM), Leaders of 11-year old Scouts- LDS (10), Varsity Scout coaches (VC), Crew advisors (NL), and Skippers (SK), paid or multiple registration, completing essential training requirements for their position by 12/31/17, divided by total number in the positions listed above on 12/31/17.”

    Nowhere does it mention any position with the word “Assistant” in it. The Councils and Districts are not being formally measured by JTE as to whether or not Assistant Cubmasters (CA), Assistant Den Leaders (DA), Assistant Webelos Den Leader (WA), Assistant Scoutmasters (SA), Assistant Varsity Coaches (VA), Associate Crew Advisors (NA), or Mates (MT) are trained.

    Personally I feel they should start including these positions in their JTE measurement.

    They should also include: Merit Badge Counselors (42), Supernova Awards Mentors (52), Nova Counselors (58), Lone Cub Scout Friend or Counselors (88), and Lone Scout Friend or Counselor (96).

    If you go down to the Unit Level, their JTE Scorecards reflect:

    Pack Scorecards still don’t mention Assistant Leadership roles.

    Troop Scorecards do call for 60% of Assistant Scoutmasters to be trained.

    Team/Crew/Ship Scorecards actually call for all Assistant Varsity Coaches and Associate Crew Advisors to be trained.

    We need to get everyone on the same page…

  13. For those leaders that are long in the tooth whose records may not reflect training that they completed many Summer Camps ago. Produce the training card, your District Training Chairs, Unit Leaders, Committee Chairs, or Chartered Organization Representatives can actually update the system to reflect the completion. Don’t have the training card or certificate, retake the course. Retaking the course won’t kill you and you might learn that something has changed or that you may have even forgotten a thing or two. It is possible, some of us long in the tooth Scout Leaders are getting older – the memories do begin to fade.

    • Unit Commissioners and Troop/Pack members with proper authorization can update the National BSA Training Database via Commissioners’ Tools’ Training Manager. This removes the burden from the Council Registrar. In my unit, I require a hard copy of the training completion documentation (training card or certificate).

      Scouters coming from another council have had problems with their training records following them to their new location. Unit level trainers and Commissioners can fix this.

      • The first SCOUTNET 2000 director told me it would happen. And I’ve been waiting since 1998 for SCOUTNET to allow records to move council to council.

    • I advise all Scouters to keep all of their training cards/certificates regardless of the class/course. I’ve got training documentation going back to 1996 in a loose leaf notebook utilizing document protectors and baseball card pages. Document, document, document.

      • I encourage anyone taking an online course to save a copy of the trained certificate in a file on their computer. It is then easy to email the certificate to the council register.

        It is important that anyone creating a my.scouting account to use their full legal name instead of a nickname. And never create a new account if anyone forgets the user ID or password.

        That helps to keep the data more accurate.

  14. When are the online Boy Scout Leader Training modules being added to ScoutingU – My Learning under my.Scouting? I have been told by my Council Training Chair that it was supposed to happen before 2017.

    Big surprise – still not here. I hope that is why there is a note on my.Scouting informing people of an update currently taking place.

  15. The council where I serve started several years ago with a 100% trained direct contact leader requirement, then after a few years moved to a 100% trained leader requirement…that they have since backed away from and at this past year’s recharter only required updated YPT. I was disappointed in that. However, in the units where I serve we always strive for 100% for all leaders. The hardest of all of these is getting the CR to the classroom course D72 (Training the Charter Organization Representative). Not because they don’t want to attend, but because it is almost never offered. I believe it has been a few years since this course was offered in our council.

  16. It is not that difficult to get 100% Adult leader training. It is offered at Roundtable, University of Scouting, on-line, and at summer camp. There is GreenBar and Blackfoot, both leader specific training in Central Ohio.
    Anyone not trained is not worth having in a leadership position.

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