If you had a magic wand, would you use it to make the Scouting program better and more fun for youth so they stayed in Scouting longer, so it had a larger impact on their lives? What if the same magic wand made leadership roles easier, more rewarding, and led to better retention among adult leaders? Would using that magic wand be a top priority?
Well, such a magic wand does exist—in the form of the learning programs for leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.
The path of training for adult Scouters has five steps to completition:
- Joining Courses
- Leader Position Specific Training
- Supplemental Training
- Advanced Training
1- Joining Courses
Youth Protection Training required for all new registered leaders and must be retaken every two years to maintain registration. A login at my.Scouting.org 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.
The online course is designed to help you keep our youth safe from abuse. You will learn the Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection Guidelines, signs of abuse, and how to report suspected abuse. After each section of material, you will answer questions about that section’s topic. Completion is noted automatically in the BSA training records database if the module is experienced online.
These courses are designed to help get going quickly. A login at my.Scouting.org 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.
- Fast Start Orientation Training
Intended for team leaders as well as unit commissioners and chartered organization representatives immediately following the acceptance of their calling.
- This Is Scouting
For those not familiar with Scouting, this course provides an overview of the entire organization, including history, values, programs, Youth Protection, community involvement, and training. The module consists of six video sections, each followed by a brief quiz. Estimated time to complete: 50 minutes.
3-Position-Specific (Role-Based) Course: Varsity Vision (Basic Training)
These instructor-led courses are designed to help you learn how to effectively carry out your role as a coach alongside your youth. This course is done in an overnight setting. In most cases, completing the course will make a Scouter “trained” for the role(s) covered in the course.There is also and 8 hour Team Leader Specific Training that your Stake or District may offer.
Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS)
Working as patrols and squads, this hands-on course provides adult leaders basic outdoor skills they need to lead Varsity Scouts in the out-of-doors. Upon completion, leaders should feel comfortable teaching team members the basic skills required to obtain the First Class rank. This course is required of all direct contact leaders registered in Boy Scout Troops and Varsity Scout Teams, in order to be considered “trained”.
4- Supplemental Training Courses
These courses are designed to help Scouters with a particular skill or to enhance their Scouting role. They include monthly Huddles (on Roundtable nights), University of Scouting, Powder Horn, Kodiak Challenge, Passport to High Adventure Training and Varsity Vision at the Philmont Training Center.
5- Advanced Training
This is Wood Badge, a course for Scouters, provides adult members with leadership skills and experience they can use in their Scouting positions and in other situations demanding leadership of self and others.
The course centers upon the concepts of servant leadership and leaving a legacy. The key elements are then taught with a clear focus on “how to.” The skills come alive during the week as the patrol completes a patrol project based upon what they have learned.
Wood Badge is a six-day course done in one stretch or two weekends. Content is delivered in a troop and patrol outdoor setting with an emphasis on immediate application of learning in a fun environment. Interconnecting concepts and work processes are introduced early, built upon, and aided by the use of memory aids, which allows participants to understand and employ the leadership skills much faster.
Common sense tells us that training is important, and research shows the importance of trained leaders. A trained leader is knowledgeable and more confident in the role being performed. Trained leaders exhibit a knowledge and confidence that is picked up by people around them. Trained leaders impact the quality of programs, leader tenure, youth tenure, safety, and a whole lot more. A trained leader is better prepared to make the Scouting program all it can be!
What course are you ready to take?
You can read other parts of this blog series here:
|Week 1||Week 2|
|Week 3||Week 4|
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He was a Team Coach for three years during the pre-pilot phase of Varsity Scouting and then became a Varsity Scout trainer when the program launched.