What about training?

  • Cub Scouts recruited? Check.
  • Dens formed? Check.
  • Leaders volunteered? Check.
  • Applications submitted and filed? Check.
  • Dens are meeting? Check.
  • Training completed? Ummm….

Something’s missing here.

It seems like in the hubbub and rush to get our Cub Scout dens cranked up and running again, families invited and involved, pack meetings held, popcorn sales organized, supplies, handbooks and uniforms obtained and den programs up and running, that one essential aspect of Cub Scouting – the one that tells you how to do it – is frequently ignored.

  • Oh, I don’t need to go to training – I’ve been doing this for a couple years now.
  • I’ve coached Little League. How much different could Cub Scouts be?
  • I’ll just follow along in the handbook. It’s all there, right?
  • I took my Youth Protection Training – why do I need even more training?
  • I don’t have time for this – I’m pretty busy.

These and more are the excuses you’re likely to hear from your leaders if you press them on the issue of training. Consider, though, how things have changed and how easy it is to get trained. Many of us will remember having to get up on a Saturday morning and drag our tired selves to a church or school in a nearby town for training (I sure do – I trained in our district for many years). Now, training is as close as your computer or laptop, with all the Cub Scout leader training modules available online.

To answer those objections:

  • Some may think they don’t need to re-do training once they’ve taken it. It’s true that most of the training repeats from year to year, but taking the pertinent modules from a different perspective (say, as a Webelos den leader) can shed new light on your position and its responsibilities.
  • Scouting is unlike other youth activities, so our volunteers need specific knowledge in order to deliver the promise that Scouting offers our youth.
  • The handbook outlines the Adventures but doesn’t give you the background and the logical flow and how to run a den or pack and how advancement works and how to wear the uniform and how to plan for fun and how to work with boys.
  • While Youth Protection Training teaches you how to keep Scouts safe, leader specific training concentrates on helping you do your job as a den leader, Cubmaster or committee member.
  • Training is an investment in time. By learning how to do your job, you’ll do it better and more efficiently than without it. Training will pay back dividends in a better program for your Scouts.

Your leaders should complete position training as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the less the chances are that they’ll actually complete it. Ideally, they should be trained before they meet with youth, so they’ll know how to get off on the right foot and chart the right direction for their dens.

Finally, consider whether parents would want their sons to be led by a Little League coach who doesn’t know the rules of baseball, or a music teacher who can’t read notes. Parents expect that their sons’ leaders have some knowledge about what they’re doing. Training helps it go smoothly and can instill excitement in the den and the Scouts – and the families too.

So complete your training and make sure your fellow leaders are trained as well. Every Scout deserves a Trained leader!

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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