In a recent study done by Donovan Fleming, he discusses the reasons that motivate leaders to get trained and why some volunteer leaders choose to delay or never complete position-specific leadership training. Fleming was previously vice president of the Utah National Parks Council and also a vice president of the Mountain West Area. He holds Scouting’s Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards. Here are some main takeaways from the article:
Intro and Statement of the Problem
The study was designed to examine why few adult Scouters are completing position-specific training for their current Scouting positions. It also looks into why the majority of them have not received the appropriate instruction.
Two forms of a questionnaire were designed. The questionnaires were administered to 143 adult Scouters attending the Orem District, June, 2016 roundtable. Of that total, 95 previously received position-specific training while 48 had not. Since the questionnaires were anonymous, it was reasoned that Scouters would be more candid in their responses than they might be in a face-to-face interview.
Results for Trained Leaders
One of the results that was surprising to Fleming was that one of the major reasons for leaders getting trained is the convenience of the training facility.
Also noteworthy was the fact that being invited by one’s COR, a committee chair, or friends made a difference in a Scouters’ motivation to attend a training course.
Results for Untrained Leaders
Not having time to complete training, previous position-specific received for another Scouting position being considered good enough for current role, the availability of online courses, and family and employment issues were the principal reasons training was either delayed or not being considered. Some other related items that received modest responses were whether training made a difference and the concept that having access to Scouting handbooks is sufficient.
The most frequently cited response by the untrained Scouters was, “I haven’t had time to complete training.” The availability of online courses was indicated to be a good substitute for taking a face-to-face course.
A frequent response to the open-ended question from the untrained leaders was that they had not been informed of when or where training courses are being held.
As far as the trained leaders, it is evident that they are more motivated when it comes to being trained. The principle reasoning for trained leaders to receive their training is that they want to provide a good experience for the youth. They also want to have a better understanding of their role in Scouting and be essential factors for the success of their youth.
For the untrained leaders, we can conclude that many of them lack motivation to become trained. However, we can also see that there is a lack of communication between leadership on when training is being held.
The average tenure for the trained leaders was 24 months: that for the untrained leaders was eight months. It was interesting to note that 58 percent of the trained leaders were trained in their first year of service. On the other hand, 60 percent of untrained leaders had not become trained in their first year.
From these data, we can see how important it is to get leaders trained quickly if we want them to be successful and stay in the program. One big help is the recent announcement of online training for all leadership. We hope that this will help with some of the struggles the LDS church and Scouting have faced with training.