Bobwhite

Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Avoiding the expert mountain

I remember when I was about six or seven years old and was first learning to ride a bicycle. I had training wheels on my two-wheeler for what seemed like forever. One day, I noticed that the training wheels weren’t touching the ground as I rode, so I asked my dad to take them off. Riding down the sidewalk, I felt empowered that I had learned a new skill and felt that I had mastered riding a big-boy bike.

Until I rounded the first corner, and the wheels slipped out from under me. Boom! Down I went.

I wasn’t such an expert, after all.

Life is like that. We get a taste of the knowledge we seek, and we learn a bit more, and a bit more, and it starts to come to us. Continue reading

Convincing volunteers to get Trained

Hi! I’m not trained at all in how a Boy Scout troop is supposed to be run and I haven’t been vetted by anyone on having the skills necessary to take your son and his friends camping or hiking…So how’d you like to entrust your first-born to me???

trainedGreenq_125Ask Andy, the NetCommissioner, has some wonderful gems of advice. This week’s article deals in part with a question from a troop’s training coordinator on how to convince leaders to get Trained when the only hard-and-fast requirement is Youth Protection Training and when the Scoutmaster pushes back.

Read Andy’s article here. (It’s the second question.)

Now, go to my.scouting.org, log in, and if you’re a unit Key 3 (committee chair, unit leader or chartered organization representative), you can access your unit’s training records. Look to see who is not fully trained for their current position, and use some of Andy’s methods to encourage them to get trained.

Your district has probably scheduled training sessions for the fall and winter upcoming. Register and take advantage of all the learning you can – for your son, his friends and yourself.

The “what” comes immediately. The “why” takes longer.

whowhatwhy_stuartmiles_200If there’s one thing that Scouting does thoroughly for its adult volunteers (besides handbooks and publications, that is), it’s training.

There are all manner of courses for training every volunteer position, from den leader to council chairman. Basic training courses are offered online and in person for unit positions – a first exposure to adult leadership at the pack and troop level. In-depth seminars and specialty classes at events like Pow-Wow and University of Scouting expand on that knowledge. High-level courses such as Wood Badge and Advanced Backcountry Leadership Experience put Scouters through the wringer. For the serious volunteer, there are week-long courses at Philmont that offer something for everyone.

Yes, the BSA is big on training – make no mistake about it. Continue reading

Course correction for your journey

JTE-White_250A few weeks ago I answered a question about whether a unit should rearrange its adult roster to take advantage of points available on the Journey to Excellence. By registering a den leader as an assistant Cubmaster instead, the pack would qualify for additional JTE points and possibly a higher level.

It’s not a good idea to fudge the numbers this way, because it doesn’t accurately reflect where your unit stands, and takes away an opportunity to realize where you can improve your service to your youth members.

While you shouldn’t try to optimize your JTE score this way, you can certainly use it to suggest a course correction for your Journey in the coming year. Continue reading

Belief or learning?

brainlock-lekkyjustdoit_200fA commenter on a story in The New York Times made the observation:

Belief is the conviction that one already knows; learning, in contrast, requires an awareness that one has yet to know.

This is what happens when a mania for belief takes over your life. Eventually, you become incapable of learning. New information goes in one ear and out the other — it literally just does not register, as the mind, addicted to belief, blocks it out.

While the original context of the comment had nothing to do with Scouting, I certainly think it applies to some volunteers in our movement.

Too many Scouters come in to Boy Scouts with the belief that they know how the Scouting program should work, and they apply the beliefs they have acquired in life. Often these have to do with their experiences in areas like business management, sports coaching, and even Cub Scouting. They do not have the awareness that Boy Scouting is different. Continue reading