Do you know what a pack trainer does or would do if you had one in your pack? That’s what I would like to explore in today’s post.
History of a Pack Trainer
The Pack Trainer position was introduced in 2000. Many leaders assume that a previous position titled den leader coach was just re-named Pack Trainer. (That’s what I was taught.) However, as I’ve searched the history of Cub Scouting, I’ve discovered that’s not quite true. While many responsibilities are similar, the den leader coach position (which was discontinued in 2001) seems to be have been quite specific to helping train, encourage and assist the den leaders.
The position of pack trainer is to help train, encourage and assist ALL pack leaders and the families. The pack trainer is considered a member of the pack committee but is registered specifically as a pack trainer instead of a member of the committee. The qualifications and responsibilities of a pack trainer are similar to other committee members but his main goals and responsibilities are very specific to new families in the pack, and not just adult leaders.
The pack trainer’s main objective is for 100 percent of the pack leadership to be trained in their position responsibilities. New leaders and adult family members should go through orientation within one week of joining the pack. Leaders should be trained for their position as soon as feasible.
- Meet BSA membership requirements and be at least 21 years old
- Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America as a pack trainer
It is recommended that the pack trainer has at least one year of experience in Cub Scouting.
- Remain current with training material and any program updates.
- Be aware of and encourage leaders to earn their training awards.
- Conduct orientation of new families (boys and parents)
- Provide Fast Start/orientation training to new leaders.
- Conduct monthly Unit Leadership Enhancements.
- Make sure that the Cubmaster and den leaders are aware of all the resources to help them run their programs.
- Encouraging pack leaders to complete Youth Protection Training and Cub Scout Leader Specific Training.
- Encourage pack leaders to attend additional on-going training such as Roundtable, Pow Wow, University of Scouting and other training opportunities.
- Encourage pack leaders to attend outdoor training such as BALOO, and Outdoor Leader Skills for Webelos Leaders (OWLS), Weather Hazards, Safe Swim Defense, etc…
- Encourage pack leaders to attend advanced leader training such as Akela’s Council (UNPC exclusive), Wood Badge and Philmont.
- Encourage den chiefs to attend Den Chief Training.
- Maintain pack training records.
Of course, your pack may add or subtract from this list. Each pack’s needs will vary a bit.
Under the direction of the pack committee chairman, the pack trainer helps leaders and parents understand purposes, policies, and procedures of the Cub Scouting program.
The pack trainer conducts, or facilitates, the training of leaders and parents in the pack. The pack trainer promotes training to help leaders learn to plan and conduct pack and den meetings and activities. The pack trainer orients parents and leaders and guides pack leaders to carry out their specific position responsibilities.
A Pack trainer is a registered pack position and is a voting member of the pack committee. Regardless of the size of the pack committee, every pack should have one of its committee members registered as a pack trainer.
So, when you look back at that list of responsibilities, if you don’t have a pack trainer, who is covering those responsibilities right now? It’s likely a few different people do all that now, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one person in charge of all that? I think so. Of course, it’s probably best to select someone with a Scouting knowledge and preferably years of experience with the Cub Scout program.
To be able to wear the trained patch, the pack trainer needs to complete the following courses:
- Youth Protection Training – available online at my.scouting.org
- Pack Committee Leader-Specific – also available online
- Fundamentals of Training – available as a teacher-led training from the council (It’s not something that is done on a regular basis so if you need this training ask for it).
If you have a Pack trainer – Good for you!
If you don’t have a pack trainer – Get one!
If you are an LDS Cub leader, think about it from this perspective: In the primary presidency, there is a president and two counselors. What if there was only one counselor? Sure, they could survive, but each person would have to do a little bit more. A pack trainer is like the second counselor working with the president and committee chair. If you don’t have one, someone else has to do those jobs. I know lots of packs (including my own) that don’t have that position filled. Yes, we survive, but it sure would be nice and easier for everyone else to have a person whose main goal is to help the leaders and families understand Cub Scouting better.
Author: Annaleis Smith has been a Cub Scout leader (Cubmaster, Den Leader, Pack Trainer and Cubmaster again) Since 2003. She loves Cub Scouting and how it can help a boy grow into a fine young man. She currently serves as the Cubmaster in her ward/pack and as the Utah National Park’s Council’s Vice President of Membership.