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Minimum training session

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  • Neal Smith
    How large of a group do you need to hold a training? We just had an evening training (2 parter) for Cub Scout Basic in our district. We had 2 leaders show up
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 2, 2001
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      How large of a group do you need to hold a training?

      We just had an evening training (2 parter) for Cub Scout Basic in
      our district. We had 2 leaders show up for the full Basic training,
      and 4 others who were shifting positions show up for the position
      breakout.

      Our Cub Scout Training Chair (who is leaving) wants to cancel the
      one-day (Sat) CS Basic that we have scheduled in April, citing the
      poor attendance at this training. I'm the new Cub Scout Training
      Chair, and I need to decide whether to hold this training or not.
      I'm doing the obvious thing - surveying units for their training
      needs - but I would also like a feel from experienced trainers.
      How many attendees do you feel like you need to make it worth
      your time to hold a Basic Training?

      On a related note, I would like to ask the same question about
      Webelos Leader Outdoor training (WLOT/OWL). We had one scheduled
      for this Saturday (3/3), with preregistration required. His stated
      threshhold was 6 people attending. 5 signed up. He cancelled. Now,
      I really understand wanting preregistration, as you have to buy
      food for the cooking demo. But I have to ask - if 6 is enough,
      isn't 5? (Aside: after he cancelled, I found out about 2 other
      people that were planning on showing up as walk-ins, but had not
      preregistered.) Anyway, what is your minimum there?

      YIS, Neal Smith, nsmith@...
      Tatanka District Cub Scout Training Chair
      "http://www.bsa.net/samhouston/tatanka/"
      Sam Houston Area Council, Houston, Tx
    • Wendell Brown
      ... I am not sure that there IS an answer to this question. However, let me tell you about our experiences. Our district training team used to plan trainings
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 2, 2001
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        On Fri, 2 Mar 2001 10:37:15 -0600 (CST), Neal Smith wrote:

        >Our Cub Scout Training Chair (who is leaving) wants to cancel the
        >one-day (Sat) CS Basic that we have scheduled in April, citing the
        >poor attendance at this training. I'm the new Cub Scout Training
        >Chair, and I need to decide whether to hold this training or not.
        >I'm doing the obvious thing - surveying units for their training
        >needs - but I would also like a feel from experienced trainers.
        >How many attendees do you feel like you need to make it worth
        >your time to hold a Basic Training?

        I am not sure that there IS an answer to this question. However, let
        me tell you about our experiences. Our district training team used to
        plan trainings and cancel them if a minimum number of attendees did not
        pre-register. Unfortunately, this had an unintended side effect -
        people started expecting the courses to be canceled so they didn't
        belive the course would be held which became a self-fulfilling
        prophesy. In the last 2 years we changed our policy to be that if a
        course is on the calendar and 1 person shows up (note that I didn't say
        pre-registers) we have the course. We are now getting the reputation
        for consistent courses and are having much better attendance and
        pre-registration.

        >On a related note, I would like to ask the same question about
        >Webelos Leader Outdoor training (WLOT/OWL). We had one scheduled
        >for this Saturday (3/3), with preregistration required. His stated
        >threshhold was 6 people attending. 5 signed up. He cancelled. Now,
        >I really understand wanting preregistration, as you have to buy
        >food for the cooking demo. But I have to ask - if 6 is enough,
        >isn't 5? (Aside: after he cancelled, I found out about 2 other
        >people that were planning on showing up as walk-ins, but had not
        >preregistered.) Anyway, what is your minimum there?

        Owl is tougher because you do have to do more preplanning. Our
        training chair has said that we will have the course even if we have to
        have staff members act as participants to fill out the den for
        activities. Again, this has improved our reputation in that our past
        participants tell how much fun the course was instead of telling people
        "I signed up but they canceled the course and I didn't even get my
        money back".

        Wendell Brown
        Scouting The Net -- http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
        A Mini-Yahoo for the scouting community.
      • Kevin Pate
        I don t have a minimum number for Cub Basic, and we ve had groups as small as what Neil described more than once in any given year. But, the key is, would
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 2, 2001
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          I don't have a minimum number for Cub Basic, and we've
          had groups as small as what Neil described more than
          once in any given year. But, the key is, would those
          few leaders have been trained if that particular class
          were not held. I've had numerous times over the past
          few years where someone has said in essence, finally,
          a class on a day that 'I' could attend.

          I'm the first to admit that as a trainer, I enjoy
          large numbers of participants, but I also enjoy the
          interaction found in a small group as well.

          We don't even ask participants to preregister anymore.
          We set dates, announce and promote, and whether we
          have 3, 30 or more, we hold the class. We only cancel
          for horrid weather and unforeseeable loss of available
          trainers and if at all possible, we reschedule those
          cancelled courses as well.

          So before you cancel that Saturday April class, ask
          yourself when might those people who can receive
          training in April have another opportunity to do so.

          As to OWL, I can't say, I've never staffed one of
          those training events.

          Kevin Pate
          Norman, Ok

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        • deedee.cobb@excite.com
          ... Great question Neal! In our council we really try to encourage not cancelling any training sessions. Many scouters are attending to fulfill the knot
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 2, 2001
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            --- In scouter_t@y..., Neal Smith <nsmith@t...> wrote:
            >
            > How large of a group do you need to hold a training?
            >
            Great question Neal!

            In our council we really try to encourage not cancelling any training
            sessions. Many scouters are attending to fulfill the knot requirement
            tied to the training. It isn't fair to anyone if they do not have
            opportunities to do that. With BLT's we offer 4 for Boy Scouts each
            year; 2 per district in the Fall for Cubs, and then at least 6 more
            during the year (on a district basis, yet advertised to anyone within
            the council). Since we are not charging for our training events, it
            makes it easier for people to just walk on. Which is an issue. But,
            we generally know of a few that will be coming. In my district we
            hear 2 days before the training that only 5-10 are signed up, then 25
            show up. We prepare for a large group and then modify if only a few
            show.

            In the CS BLT's we encourage anyone who has changed position to come
            an attend the breakout session to be considered Trained in their new
            position. And, we offer Youth Protection training at the beginning or
            end of the training. By combining all of this within one day, it does
            help to increase attendance.

            And, it really takes advertising the event in the right way to get
            more to attend. You should explain in your flyer the reasons why you
            need to know ahead of time if someone is attending. But, don't
            discourage walk-ons, simply because you may have someone who joined
            as a leader a day or two prior to the training.


            > On a related note, I would like to ask the same question about
            > Webelos Leader Outdoor training (WLOT/OWL).

            Our council only offers this training event once a year, in the Fall.
            We usually have between 100 - 125 participants to attend. Since it is
            required for the Webelos Leader knot, we've never had a problem with
            too few participants. Our biggest obstacle is only offering once a
            year. Our course starts on Friday evening and ends on Sunday about
            noon. It takes about 30 people to staff the event.

            Dee Dee Cobb
            Middle Tennessee Council
            Nashville, TN
          • Neal Smith
            Thanks for all the great responses about the minimum needed for a training. I haven t been able to respond to this list this week, but I ve saved (and
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 9, 2001
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              Thanks for all the great responses about the minimum needed for
              a training. I haven't been able to respond to this list this
              week, but I've saved (and savored) the messages on the list.

              I've been of the philosophy that, if you schedule the training and
              don't state in advance that you require reservations, you have an
              obligation to hold the training. I'm glad to see that so many trainers
              here feel the same; it gives me more moral support when discussing this
              with people on the District Committee who disagree. I also really
              liked the idea of turning small trainings into staff development
              sessions. Our training team is currently pretty small, and needs
              to be built up, so we can certainly use this idea.

              After doing a quick (but not thorough) survey of our district, we're
              going ahead with our scheduled Basic training in April. I've also
              scheduled BALOO and OWL trainings on the first Saturday in May -
              after seeing support for this from packs that don't have activities
              scheduled opposite it.

              Judy brought up budget constraints. I certainly agree that OWL
              (and now BALOO), where food is purchased, needs to be preregistered
              to meet a budget. Is that really a constraint for Cub Basic,
              though? The displays, posters, and other "one per training"
              materials aren't purchased for each training. Handouts, trained
              strips, certificates, etc., are one per person trained, but can
              be saved for future trainings. What fixed costs do people see
              in their Cub Basic trainings that would make large groups economical
              but small ones not?

              YIS, Neal Smith (nsmith@...)
              Tatanka District Cub Scout Training Chair
              http://www.bsa.net/samhouston/tatanka/
              Sam Houston Area Council, Houston, Tx
            • Judy Yeager
              Neal Smith wrote: Judy brought up budget constraints. Is that really a constraint for Cub Basic, though? No, that has never been a
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 9, 2001
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                Neal Smith wrote: Judy brought up budget constraints. <snip> Is that
                really a constraint for Cub Basic, though? <end snip>

                No, that has never been a constraint for us. We are a very large
                district and run three sessions in the fall and three in the spring. A
                slow day for us is fewer than 30 participants. With a charge of $4.00
                per participant on this course, I have been able to combine it with Den
                Chief Conference when budgeting, run all DC expenses through CSLBT and
                offer the DC training to the kids free of charge. Their cost of
                admission is one or more non-perishable food items which we donate to
                the food pantry of the church which hosts us.

                We also offer a whole cadre of free trainings - YP, H&S, Climb on
                Safely, Safe Swim, Safety Afloat, and Caving. There are no expenses
                because we use a free facility, handouts and pocket certificates come
                from Council and no trained strips involved. Also at these trainings,
                there are no refreshments, no drinks, no extras whatsoever.

                But, if there is food involved, be it "real" food or just snacks,
                finances come into play.

                Judy Yeager
              • AnacBuff@aol.com
                My district has geographical challenges that make holding trainings for less than about 10 people difficult. Island District in Mt. Baker (WA) council is a
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 9, 2001
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                  My district has geographical challenges that make holding trainings
                  for less than about 10 people difficult. Island District in Mt.
                  Baker (WA) council is a district made up of islands in the San Juans
                  at the north end of Puget Sound. Our district covers the same area
                  as the entire rest of the council.

                  When we do trainings in one end of our district or another, training
                  team members might have to travel by ferry, drive 1-1/2 to 2 hours or
                  both depending on the day/place training is happening. Training can
                  mean leaving home at 5 AM (or sometimes the night before, depending
                  on ferry schedules) and not getting home until late at night. If a
                  ferry ride is required to get to training then we try to carpool and
                  consolidate materials as a car and driver can cost up to $30 and each
                  walk on passenger fare is about $5 - 7. Once when we scheduled a
                  training on San Juan Island one of the training team members arranged
                  to charter a plane in order to get there to do his part.
                  Transportation alone for trainings in the outer islands can cost $50
                  or more depending on which training we are presenting (then add in
                  the cost of gas, food and, sometimes, lodging for the training team
                  alone - oh, my!)

                  That being said, we usually go forward with trainings that are on the
                  calendar. And if a unit or group of units are willing to commit to 8
                  or more leaders at a training, the team will go to them and present
                  training.

                  Carla B.
                  ADC - Fidalgo Island
                  Island District Training
                  Mt. Baker Council
                • Jim Hawkins
                  You are an example of my point (read the last message sent to scouter_t just a few moments ago). Cub Scouting/ Boy Scouting leader training requirements have
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 9, 2001
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                    You are an example of my point (read the last message sent to
                    scouter_t just a few moments ago).

                    Cub Scouting/ Boy Scouting leader training requirements have made it
                    very expensive, very difficult, and very un-"Keep It Simple" for you
                    and your training team. If I had to do what you are having to do, I
                    could not. I am glad you have found a way to do it.

                    Jim Hawkins
                    CS Training Committee Chair
                    Four Rivers District

                    --- In scouter_t@y..., AnacBuff@a... wrote:
                    > My district has geographical challenges that make holding trainings
                    > for less than about 10 people difficult. Island District in Mt.
                    > Baker (WA) council is a district made up of islands in the San
                    Juans
                    > at the north end of Puget Sound. Our district covers the same area
                    > as the entire rest of the council.
                    >
                    > When we do trainings in one end of our district or another,
                    training
                    > team members might have to travel by ferry, drive 1-1/2 to 2 hours
                    or
                    > both depending on the day/place training is happening. Training
                    can
                    > mean leaving home at 5 AM (or sometimes the night before, depending
                    > on ferry schedules) and not getting home until late at night. If a
                    > ferry ride is required to get to training then we try to carpool
                    and
                    > consolidate materials as a car and driver can cost up to $30 and
                    each
                    > walk on passenger fare is about $5 - 7. Once when we scheduled a
                    > training on San Juan Island one of the training team members
                    arranged
                    > to charter a plane in order to get there to do his part.
                    > Transportation alone for trainings in the outer islands can cost
                    $50
                    > or more depending on which training we are presenting (then add in
                    > the cost of gas, food and, sometimes, lodging for the training team
                    > alone - oh, my!)
                    >
                    > That being said, we usually go forward with trainings that are on
                    the
                    > calendar. And if a unit or group of units are willing to commit to
                    8
                    > or more leaders at a training, the team will go to them and present
                    > training.
                    >
                    > Carla B.
                    > ADC - Fidalgo Island
                    > Island District Training
                    > Mt. Baker Council
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