Re: [Scouter_T] Minimum training session
- On Fri, 2 Mar 2001 10:37:15 -0600 (CST), Neal Smith wrote:
>Our Cub Scout Training Chair (who is leaving) wants to cancel theI am not sure that there IS an answer to this question. However, let
>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?
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
>On a related note, I would like to ask the same question aboutOwl is tougher because you do have to do more preplanning. Our
>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?
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
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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.
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- --- In scouter_t@y..., Neal Smith <nsmith@t...> wrote:
>Great question Neal!
> How large of a group do you need to hold a training?
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
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 aboutOur council only offers this training event once a year, in the Fall.
> Webelos Leader Outdoor training (WLOT/OWL).
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
- 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
Sam Houston Area Council, Houston, Tx
- 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.
- 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
ADC - Fidalgo Island
Island District Training
Mt. Baker Council
- 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.
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
> 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,
> team members might have to travel by ferry, drive 1-1/2 to 2 hours
> both depending on the day/place training is happening. Training
> 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
> consolidate materials as a car and driver can cost up to $30 and
> walk on passenger fare is about $5 - 7. Once when we scheduled a
> training on San Juan Island one of the training team members
> to charter a plane in order to get there to do his part.
> Transportation alone for trainings in the outer islands can cost
> 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
> calendar. And if a unit or group of units are willing to commit to
> or more leaders at a training, the team will go to them and present
> Carla B.
> ADC - Fidalgo Island
> Island District Training
> Mt. Baker Council