Chris, et al...
From my experience in the Greater New York Councils, the Trainers on any
course we run are always recognized by the Course Director or Training Chair
at the close of the course. On courses that span more than a few hours, such
as the old SMF/SLT, ITOLS, OWL/Webelos Woods, WB, etc..., we usually make
some special trinket for the staff as well as the thank-you's at the end. It
may be a bolo, a slide, patch, armband or something along those lines. This
not only identifies them as staff, but allows for a feeling of a special
uniqueness. But, in reality, they are just adept interpreters, translating
the rules of the program into terms other leaders can understand.
We've had trainers that have less actual experience than those they are
training, but they are exceptional at conveying the concept of a particular
aspect of the scouting methods. One example we had was an 11 year old
demonstrating the safe use of wood tools, and fire making techniques, during
an ITOLS course, to veteran leaders who never really learned these things,
no less how to teach them to their own units. Others are the people who
complete their basic, and are on that courses staff next year.
I myself avoided training as a CM for several years. When I finally was
coerced into going to Cub Leader Basic, I was hooked. I saw the dedication
in those running the course, and how committed they were to helping the
students understand the ways of Cubing. I jumped in head first after I
completed SMF. That was some time ago, and I have been a proponent of
developing good leaders ever since. I try to be a part of every course I
My opinion on the qualifications for a trainer, in any realm, is someone
that is able to translate the details of a skill or procedure in a way that
affords easy learning in a comfortable environment, remember, KISMIF. Those
with this ability should be recognized by their peers and usually are, by
way of being asked to continue! Sure, the trinkets and doodads are nice, but
after a while they just become part of the collection or another thing on
the wall. The "Old Timers'' on our training team get their satisfaction when
they see someone come back as a staffer and bring friends as participants.
That is when you know you are doing a good thing, when the students come
back to help you.
Usually people who are really good at something want to help others. It is
our task to find them and bring their talents to the surface. We Can do this
with ease if we keep our eyes open and forget about the "elitism" Chris
Good trainers / teachers are important and elite, but in the most humble
way. They are the key to the youth getting the program as it was designed,
and the leaders they help to do this are the real special people. It is much
harder to be a unit leader than it is to be a trainer. Those that we teach
are the real shapers of tomorrows leaders.
I find being an SA in an active troop very stressful, but I am at complete
ease on a training course. I once heard an old adage, "Those who can, Do -
Those who can't, Teach". Luckily, I am a good translator.
Sorry about the lengthy diatribe, but this is something I believe in.
YiS & B
Brooklyn Council, GNYC
(and a Fabulous Fearless Fox too)