By Annaleis Smith
Nov 01, 2016

Cub Scout Training – What’s your excuse?

Calling all Cub Scout leaders!

I would like to ask all the Cub Scout leaders out there, are you trained?  I guess that’s kind of a trick question because there is always more to learn. So let me ask it another way. Are you trained enough to wear the Trained patch on your uniform? If not, what’s your excuse? Did you know that training for Cub Scout leaders is all online? Cub Scout leaders have had the ability to do their training online since 2010. The training then was… okay.  But just over a year ago (Fall 2015) the online training for Cub Scout leaders was updated, revised, and in my opinion, greatly improved.

trained patchWhat’s required to wear the Trained patch?

Just because you have had a son in Cub Scouts or maybe you were a Cub Scout yourself does not mean that you know how to be a Cub Scout leader. Cub Scout leaders are eligible to wear the Trained patch on their uniform once they have taken:

1) Youth Protection Training—Don’t forget you need to re-take it every two years to stay current.

2) Position-Specific Training—The training specific to your current position.

These two trainings represent the minimum level of training that every Cub Scout leader should have. So how do you get trained? Youth Protection Training (YPT) is online at and that is the way most leaders do it. Don’t forget to print out the certificate at the end because the Scout office wants it stapled to your adult application when you turn it in.

Live and in-person is still the best

images-180I believe that live and in-person training is still the very best way to get trained for a number of reasons, such as the ability to get questions answered and confusions cleared up right away, meeting others who are also new to the same position, getting to know experienced Scouters and trainers who can become a mentor and friend. But I also recognize that not everyone finds this to be possible. There are various reasons that make it hard for Cub Scout leaders to attend a live training so let’s be glad that isn’t the only way to get trained.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-22-33-pmOnline Cub Scout training—WAY better than nothing (And WAY better than it used to be too).

I guess maybe that doesn’t sound very encouraging to some—”better than nothing”—but it’s true. If you don’t have the time or for some other reason can’t make it to a live training, get trained online. With online training, you can do it from home, in your pajamas, even while you or your kids are sick. You can get trained during your break at work, in the middle of the night, early morning or afternoon—whatever time works for you.

You also do not need to find one big chunk of time. One of my favorite thing about the new training is that it is set up in lots of short (2-17 min) segments. They are suggested in a particular order but you can do them in any order you want, or in a random order depending on how much time you have or what you have questions about. They even created a chart that lists the training modules, how long they are and which positions need to take them. I was SO glad to see this added to the site. How much simpler can they make it? I love the way they have broken it down into small, manageable, topics.cs-online-traing-req

A year ago when the new Cub Scout leader training came online I wrote an article about it and included a link to a step-by-step guide to getting trained because it was a bit confusing and took a few steps to get it done. That is no longer true. When you click “play” it now starts the training. There have been a few more improvements that make it easier too. I have now created a 1-page guide to Cub Scout leader online training. So, if you have not completed your training yet, what is your excuse? Just get online and do it! (Make note of any questions you still have and ask at roundtable).

Is there another option?

Yes! If you really can’t make it to a live training, and you don’t have access to a computer to do the online version (honestly these days this includes very few leaders), you actually have a few other options. Your unit commissioner or a member of your district training staff can find a time that works for you and do your training one-on-one. If no one is willing (not very likely) you can read the training syllabus yourself (they call it “Self-study”) and have a member of your key 3 record your training on my.Scouting.

Your training benefits both you and the boy.

It’s been shown over and over again that a trained leader is a better leader. A trained leader is a happier leader.   trained leader is a more effective leader. A trained leader runs a better program.  A happier, better, more effective leader who runs a better program means the boys you serve are getting a better program and a better leader. Every boy deserves a well-trained leader! The Cub Scout motto of Do Your Best isn’t just for the boys. It applies to leaders too.

Someone recently shared the following quote with me about training. (Thanks Nick!)

quote-we-don-t-rise-to-the-level-of-our-expectations-we-fall-to-the-level-of-our-training-archilochus-65-49-40Think about that for a minute. What is the level of your training? What can you do to raise the level of your training? If you are trained enough to at least wear the trained patch and is it sewn on your uniform?

Training isn’t just for NEW leaders

Maybe you have been a Cub Scout leader for years and you were trained back when you were new. Have you taken the training since the new Cub Scout program came out (June 2015)? Maybe it’s time for a refresher course. And don’t forget you need Youth protection Training every two years (the Western region suggests we re-take it every year). Every time a new version of Cub Scout training comes out I like to take it just to see what’s new. Every time I do, I find something I can improve on, something I could do better.

Do you take advantage of the additional training provided each month at roundtable? Are you planning to attend University of Scouting (Nov 19th in St George and/or February 18th in Orem)? Have you been to Akela’s Council? Woodbadge? Philmont Training Center? The opportunities for additional training are out there.

What is your excuse for not being trained?

Annaleis SmithAuthor:  Annaleis Smith is a self-professed “Training Junkie.” As a Cub Scout leader for the past 13 years, she has attended many trainings and has helped train hundreds of leaders in our council. Akela’s Council is her favorite training of all time. She is currently a Cubmaster in her ward/pack and the Vice President of Membership for the UNPC.

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One thought on “Cub Scout Training – What’s your excuse?

  1. AvatarLeah Overson

    I gave your email address to a nice lady today who is wondering about weekly plans for den meetings. With roundtable coming up this week, her question is very timely and she should be able to get the help she needs very soon from multiple resources. Thank you for your article Annaleis. I can feel your enthusiasm and am so grateful for the help you’ve given to so many adults and boys around the country!


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