By Darryl Alder
Sep 30, 2019

Scout Ambassador Toolchest: Troop operations—Training the Leaders

Other Topics in this Series
The Unit Key 3, Scoutmaster and assistants, and Troop Committee
Selecting Quality Troop Leaders
Training Troop Leadership

Right after recruiting and organizing five primary volunteers and selecting quality Scoutmasters, the next step is training for those volunteers. However, as Scout Ambassadors our involvement may be limited to an onboarding orientation and some on-the-job coaching, but we play key roles in helping the new Troop with Youth Protection Training, Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, all of which are required for leaders to be considered trained.

Joining Courses

Scouting offers several courses, both online and those taken in person, but first, every adult leader must take youth protection training. As Scouting Ambassadors we are in a unique position to champion Youth Protection in Scouting by insisting that every adult leader takes the course.

BSA places great importance on creating a safe and secure environment possible for our youth members and provides parents and leaders age-appropriate resources for Cub ScoutingScouts BSA, and Venturing.

Position-Specific (Role-Based) Courses for Scoutmasters and Assistants

Following Youth Protection, it will be time to get the Scoutmaster and Assistants to basic training. These courses are run by the Council and Districts during the year and are conducted in groups

Scoutmasters and assistants who complete Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, and Youth Protection Training are considered “trained” for those positions.
  • Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training—This instructor-led course provide Scoutmasters with the basic information and tools needed to lead successful Scout BSA troop.
  • Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS)—Working together in “patrols,” this hands-on course provides Scouters practical outdoor skills that they need to lead Scouts in the out-of-doors. Upon completion, adult leaders should feel comfortable teaching Scouts the basic skills required to obtain the First Class rank.

    Along with Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training, this course is required of all direct contact leaders registered in Boy Scout Troops in order to be considered “trained”.

Troop Committee Challenge

The Troop Committee Challenge is designed for troop committee members and becomes the course (along with Youth Protection training) troop committee members need to be considered “trained.”

Supplemental Training Courses


Providing knowledge, program ideas, skills, and fun resources is the purpose behind the Roundtables for Scouts BSA leaders. Roundtable commissioners enable and motivate troop leaders to deliver an outstanding program to their Scouts.


Some courses are available in the e-Learning section of . A login is required, but anyone may create a user account and view the courses. Registered members of the BSA may provide their member numbers (as part of the user profile) to receive credit. These include:

Expanded Learning
Safe Swim Defense
Safety Afloat
Weather Hazards
Climb On Safely

Leader Position-Specific e-Courses
Leader Position-Specific: Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster
Leader Position-Specific: Troop Committee
Leader Position-Specific: Merit Badge Counselor

Advanced Unit Chaplain and Chaplain Aide Training

Councils may provide Unit Chaplain and Unit Chaplain Aide training which includes participation by the Chartered Organization Representative at their convenience. During this course, they learn best practices to strengthen their roles as Chaplains and Chaplain Aides, inspiring more Duty to God activities and fostering understanding of the many faiths represented in the BSA.

Advanced Training

Wood Badge

Wood Badge is an advanced, national leadership course open only to Scouting volunteers and professionals. Scouters from Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Explorers, and district and council Scouters all are welcome and belong here. More info

National Training Conferences

Since 1950 The Philmont Training Center (PTC) has provided a unique environment for training volunteer and professional leaders, and a fun family program for every member of the family. More info

Since every youth in Scouting deserves a trained leader, Scout Ambassadors need to make this a vital part of the organizing process of all new troops. Joining courses, position-specific (role-based) courses, supplemental courses, and advanced training are part of the progression along the Journey to Excellence for these new Scout units.

Author: Darryl Alder, Scout Ambassador

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