Summer 2011

The Training Times

Summer 2011
Issue 3, Vol. 2
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Fall is almost here! Are you out there training leaders, or just running training courses?

Training Delivery

If you had a magic wand that you could wave that would help volunteers stay in Scouting longer, could make youth have better programs and have more fun (and stay longer so Scouting has a greater impact on their lives), and could make a leader’s job more rewarding, would you use it?

Would using it be a top priority?

Well you do, and that “magic wand” is training.

Common sense tells us that training is important. Trained leaders impact the quality of programs, leader tenure, youth tenure, and a whole lot more. Few things impact the Scouting program more than training - good training helps a lot, and bad or no training hurts us.

Are you training leaders or just running training courses?

All too often we trainers fall in to two dangerous traps:

  • Scheduling training courses and hoping someone will come
  • Dropping “instructor-led” training because training is available on-line

It is evident that the mentality among many training teams is what some might call Field of Dreams Training - “if we build it they will come” - and it does not work. We might get some leaders, but we all too often neglect more.

In today’s society, where people need to be convinced and shown that something is worth spending time on, we are only going to have success when we decide that helping new, and experienced, leaders get trained is more important than putting on a super-sized training course once or twice a year. We also know through research of educational methods, and over 100 years of success in Scouting, that small group instruction (the patrol method!) is more effective.

We are also finding that many districts are dropping instructor-led training because some of the training is on-line. E-learning has a place for some, but in Scouting where mentoring and personal interaction are so important, instructor-led training is the preferred method for most of our courses.

Training teams are finding success by locating untrained leaders and conducting small group training in living rooms, classrooms, and local parks where the leaders live. These sessions are more interactive and the “familiar turf” makes training more comfortable for a new leader.

We need to be sure that all leaders receive training as soon as possible. We can’t wait until they come to us for training; we need to take it to them. We need to be aggressive about training our volunteers, and we need to develop a culture of training in our service areas.

Fast Start

Fast Start training was dropped from the list of training courses that are required for a leader to be considered “trained” in ScoutNET in 2010. However, it has remained a requirement for a leader to earn the “Trained” patch and for other training recognitions because those have not been updated since then.

It is also a part of Journey to Excellence, but a simplistic rationale for Cub Scout packs is that Bronze is to complete required training and “orientation”, Silver is to complete “basic,” and Gold is complete the camping part of “supplemental” training. While this makes sense, it has caused some confusion.

In our research, the duplication between Fast Start and Specifics and the requirement to take four or five courses, has caused dissatisfaction among new leaders and a reluctance to take any additional training. With the availability of training on-line and the mentality in many councils that deliver Specifics via instructor-led courses within two weeks of volunteering, making a new leader go back and take Fast Start after they have completed Specifics is unnecessary. Or, taking Specifics just after taking Fast Start is duplication.

We are in the midst of updating literature and web sites to be consistent.

Fast Start was originally designed to be an orientation training for new leaders that would help them get started with meetings before “basic” training was available - back in the day when most districts did two courses a year and training was not available on line. It was not designed to be part of the “basic” process. However, it is still an important training for circumstances when immediate training is not available, so it will continue to be available. It is being removed from the “basic” list in our literature, and Fast Start will not be part of the JTE in 2012.

The “Trained” patch means that you have been trained for your Scouting role. That means Specifics.

As we update you will likely see this scenario:

Required of all leaders to register – Youth Protection
Orientation – Fast Start to get you started when Specifics is not readily/quickly available.
Specifics – The “basic” training for your particular, registered, Scouting role (includes outdoor skills training for Scoutmasters) – completion earns the “Trained” patch.
Supplemental – Additional training that can help you in your Scouting role.

Our goal will be to make training meaningful to leaders, with sound adult learning concepts that help them run safe, quality activities, and of course - Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!

Course Director Conferences and Area Training Conferences

This fall the BSA’s Regions and the Volunteer Development (Training) Team will be conducting Course Director and Area Training Conferences for the course directors of upcoming leadership development training in councils.

Here is the information and links to registration:

Central Region

September 23-24 – Mantoc Scout Reservation – Ohio
Wood Badge and NYLT

September 3-October 2 – Kiwanis Scout Camp – Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota
Wood Badge and NYLT

October 14-15 – Heartland Conference Center – Parkville, Missouri
Wood Badge and NYLT

Western Region

October 8-9 – R-C Scout Ranch – Payson, Arizona
Wood Badge and NYLT

October 14-15 – Camp Kiesel – Ogden, Utah
Wood Badge

October 14-15 – Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch – Elizabeth, Colorado
Wood Badge

October 28-29 – Camp Thunderbird – Olympia, Washington
Wood Badge, Powder Horn, NYLT, Kodiak Challenge, Council Training Chairs, Venturing Officers, Risk Management

October 28-29 – Forest Lawn Scout Reservation – Cedar Glen, California
Wood Badge and NYLT
(Link coming soon)

November 4-6 – Walker Creek Ranch – Petaluma, California
Wood Badge, NYLT, Council Training Chairs, Venturing

Northeast Region

September 23-25 - Alpine Scout Camp – Alpine, New Jersey
Wood Badge, Powder Horn, Venturing Cabinet

October 21-23 – Alpine Scout Camp – Alpine, New Jersey

Southern Region

September 24-25 – Bert Adams Camp Reservation – Covington, Georgia
Wood Badge and NYLT

November 5-6 – Boy Scouts of America National Office – Irving, TX
Wood Badge and NYLT
(Link coming soon)

Three New Syllabi Released

Work on three new or updated course syllabi has been completed by the Leadership Development Task Force.

Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) - The purpose of the ILST course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role. It is intended to help Boy Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. ILST is the first course in the series of leadership training offered to Boy Scouts and is a replacement for Troop Leadership Training. Completion of ILST is a prerequisite for Boy Scouts to participate in the more advanced leadership courses National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). It is also required to participate in a Kodiak Challenge Trek. ILST will soon be available for download on the training page of

Kodiak Challenge is designed to be an adventure that pushes the boundaries of every participant - one that will encourage you to try new things that may be out of your comfort zone. It is an experience—but one that has its underpinnings in the application of the leadership skills they learned in the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops or Crews, NYLT, and/or NAYLE. It is, as is all of Scouting, an adventure with a purpose.

A Kodiak trek is an expedition, a road trip, an adventure, a visit to another country, a whitewater rafting trip, a cross-state bicycle adventure, running a sports week for special-needs youth - anything that helps push the participants out of their personal comfort zone for the sake of adventure and learning. A trek is an adventure that pushes boundaries. Not all troops or crews go on high-adventure outings, and Kodiak need not be a high adventure to be a great experience. Of course a natural setting is always a plus, but the key is ADVENTURE. For some units, it may be more challenging to do a weeklong city tour than a backpacking trip similar to other trips in the past. Do what works for your unit, but do something that is truly a challenge to each participant. Treks should be a minimum of five days. Kodiak Challenge will soon be available for download on the training page of

Powder Horn - The Powder Horn course is designed to help the troop, team, or crew by exposing older Scouts, Venturers, and adult leaders to safely conducted outdoor/high-adventure activities of a fun and challenging nature. The course provides an introduction to the resources needed to successfully lead youth through a program of outdoor adventure and is based upon giving participants an exposure to some outdoor/high-adventure activities. It is not a certification event. It is for any youth or adult interested in experiencing a unit-level, high-adventure program. The purpose of a Powder Horn course includes:

  • Safe participation in fun and challenging outdoor activities
  • An introduction to resources that can improve a unit’s program
  • Exposure to new and exciting high-adventure activities
  • Help in delivering the promise at the unit level
  • Promoting youths’ and adults’ creativity when delivering high-adventure programs

Basic Course Requirements:

  • All Powder Horn courses must follow the official Powder Horn Staff Guide.
  • Courses must be approved by the area training chair at least 360 days in advance.
  • The course must be financially self-sustaining.
  • Consider both the costs and the quality when filling your course. It is not cost-effective to put on a Powder Horn course for a small group. Similarly, no one has a good experience if a course is overly full. The minimum course size is 20 participants, and the maximum is 48 participants. This permits cost sharing and justifies the staff investment necessary to complete the course.
  • At least three full days are required for the course, with the maximum length no more than six days. A five- to six-day course may run over two weekends, but no more than two weeks should pass between sessions.
  • At least 12 different electives must be presented during any given course. Your choice of electives is determined by your needs and resources. Attendance at a minimum of 10 electives is required to earn the Powder Horn.
  • The course should not be done in conjunction with other activities such as other courses (i.e., Wood Badge), family events, or other youth programs. Participants should concentrate on Powder Horn.

The Powder Horn syllabus is available to councils conducting an approved course.

Did you know…?

Looking for a place to share with potential new leaders and parents of new Cub Scouts that will give them basic information about Scouting? Send them to (Or for Spanish speaking Scouters, These web sites are part of an “on-boarding” project to help families and leaders to get off to a good start.

Post cards were sent to every council that are designed to be given to the parent of every new Cub Scout at a recruiting/join night. By using the card, new parents and potential leaders can get info as soon as they join, and not have to wait for the first den meeting or when their application is processed. Be sure to encourage the use of the cards in your service area this fall.

Philmont Training Center

The summer conferences at PTC were a great success! Attendance is up, conferences and family program were great, and the future looks even brighter!

If you are reading this in August or early September, it is not too late to attend PTC in 2011, as the fall conferences are still open, but the 2012 schedule has been released. Visit to see the schedule of conferences and the latest news about PTC and registration information. Also if you are on Facebook, you can visit – or “like” - PTC at for updates, photos, and posts from Scouters and families about their PTC experience.

In 2012 PTC will feature four region Journey to Excellence weeks. Conferences during the Journey to Excellence weeks were planned with the regions in an effort to support the Journey to Excellence in units, districts, councils, and areas. Some of the usual PTC conferences are included, as well as a couple that met specific needs of that region (but they are topics that can help any council in any region.) Scouters from all regions will of course be welcome to attend any of the weeks, but there will be a special regional emphasis to some activities such as the after lunch mini-sessions or evening “fireside chats.”

The Training Times is a publication distributed in conjunction with the Volunteer Development Sub-committee of the Program Impact Support Committee of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.

Publisher—Mark Griffin, Volunteer Development Team Leader
Editor-in-Chief—Sara Parker-Lacobee
Contributing Editors—Peter Self, Ron Timmons
Volunteer Development Subcommittee Contributors—Dan Zaccara