The whaty-what of what?

questionmark_200Drop in on any conversation between commissioners and you’re likely to hear something like this:

So I was at Pack 123’s JSN. The CM was hoping for twenty new members but the CC said they only got fifteen. That’s good, considering the TAY at that school. There were a couple adult apps so the COR took care of them and said he’d hook up with the DE. We just need to make sure their YPT gets done. Their JTE is looking great and we’ve already scheduled a FOS right before their PWD.

Scouting is like almost every other venture in that it has its jargon and abbreviations that are common internally but bewilder outsiders. Continue reading “The whaty-what of what?”

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

Adults teaching Scout skills

out_on_a_hike_250Suppose that instead of a usual weekend campout, the Scouts of your troop have decided to go on a weekend hike – maybe to get a taste of what a longer voyage like a Philmont trek might be like.

They’ll start out by getting dropped off Friday night, hike to their first campsite, set up and camp overnight. Then in the morning they’ll have breakfast, pull up stakes and hit the trail. Lunch is enroute, then arrival at a second site Saturday evening, where they’ll set up again, cook dinner, have a campfire and turn in. After Sunday morning’s breakfast, they’ll break camp and hike to where the parents are waiting to pick them up.

This requires not only a good amount of planning but some training, so the Scouts will know what to expect and what to plan for. Continue reading “Adults teaching Scout skills”

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 “Belief or learning?”

ScoutingU: The new look of online training

If you have ever tatrained_monitorken an online course, you know how cumbersome they can be. Usually it just involves watching some video clips, or reading text (sometimes with pictures) and possibly taking a quiz. At best, it’s a one-way introduction to a topic; at worst, it’s a nightmare that never seems to end, as the progress bar slowly moves along.

The Boy Scouts of America has tried to fix some of this with the rollout of the new online training system. Continue reading “ScoutingU: The new look of online training”