RE: [Scouter_T] Pack Trainer
- Lloyd Solis wrote: >>What should that 'training class' include
and what should be the time frame (length) for presenting that course.
All I've seen from BSA is a list of the trainings Pack Trainer may be
presenting in their units. I have not seen any requirements or
recommendations that Pack Trainers should complete TDC, have any tenure
as trainers as part of district / council teams.<<
I would first ask: What is the objective of the Pack Trainer position? I
believe that the position was created with the goal of having more "Trained"
leaders by having someone right down at unit level who could (a) check on
the training status of each unit leader, (b) encourage training through
personal contact with each unit leader, (c) conduct the desired training
right in the unit, even one-on-one, at early and convenient times.
So, what does a Pack Trainer need to carry out those functions? (1) An
interest in the program and in having competent, trained leaders; (2)
knowledge of what is required in order for a leader to be considered
"Trained"; (3) tools to help track the training status of unit leaders; (4)
tools to help motivate and encourage leaders to get "Trained," such as
information on leader awards and recognitions; (5) an understanding of the
materials and resources available to unit leaders, such as the Cub Scout
Leader Book, Guide to Safe Scouting, Program Helps, Boys Life magazine,
etc.; (6) the syllabus and materials for NLE and PST for each position; (7)
tools and techniques for presenting the information; (8) access to training
cards and the ability to officially record leaders as "Trained." This is
the content of a Pack Leader training course.
What obstacles are there that we have to deal with? (i) Pack Trainers are
fundamentally _unit_ positions, not adjunct District Training Committee
positions. These folks are approaching this as a way to help their Packs,
first and foremost. (ii) The tenure of a Pack Trainer is likely to be
short, both in Scouting experience before taking on the job, and service in
the position. Therefore, they may have more enthusiasm than actual Scouting
knowledge, and may not be settling in for a long haul as a Trainer. These
are considerations that influence the length and difficulty of the course.
A long, intensive process to become a Pack Trainer will mean that you will
have very few of them, which brings me to my final question:
What are the objectives of the Council/District? I can think of only one:
increase the number of "Trained" leaders.
I guess if I were designing the Pack Trainer course, it would be no longer
than the longest NLE + PST for any Cub Scout position, it would focus on
teaching trainers to teach resources ("you don't need to know the answers --
you just need to know where to find the answers"), and the only real
qualification would be an enthusiasm for Cub Scouting.
- Yeah, there is an inconsistency between the new Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training syllabus in the Pack Committee module, and other Cub Scouting resources (and common practice for many Packs) about who can be on the Committee. A related point became a hot topic on the Cub Scout Talk yahoogroup.
On the Pack Trainer question, yes, they syllabus says the Pack Trainer can't be a Committee Member:
-- On an early slide of the Committee Member module, one of the "objectives" seen is "Describe the makeup of the pack committee", and there is a slide a few clicks later that essentially makes one point, about who can be a "Member of Pack Committee" and who cannot be a Member of the Pack Committee.
-- That slide shows big "X" marks next to Cubmaster, Den Leaders, Pack Trainer to confirm that those roles can't be on the Committee. Oh no, not you guys!
Now, the bigger conflict in the syllabus that became a hot topic on the Cub Scout Talk yahoogroup is the issue of whether Den Leaders and Cubmasters could or should meet with the Pack Committee, or are Packs supposed to have separate Committee Meetings and separate Leader Meetings, with the Cubmaster "reporting to the Committee" with results from the Leaders Meeting.
Since this is the Trainer Site, I'll note some comments on the issue, because if you have Trainers teaching the new Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training syllabus, what they tell Den Leaders and Cubmasters about planning (and working with the Troop Committee on those tasks) is different from what they tell Pack Committee people in the Pack Committee module. So . . . most Training Teams would be well advised to coordinate their messages (and, I think, change the message in the Committee module to line up with the Cubmaster/Den Leader module) so that Den Leaders, Cubmasters and Committee Members can all be on the same page as they come out of Training and work together.
As to Leader and Committee coordination, there are elements in the syllabus where the Pack Committee and Leaders are clearly to work together and plan together, including:
-- The Annual Planning Conference, where "Den leaders and interested parents attend and participate".
-- A line in the "notes" to that illustrates that: "Reinforce that the meeting is led by the committee chair but is the joint responsibility of the committee and the Cubmaster".
-- Similarly, Monthly Planning is to be "Led by the pack chair" and then "Supported by the pack committee and Cubmaster"
-- And "Den leaders and interested parents attend and participate" in that monthly meeting.
-- Also, it has that "chair leads but both jointly responsible" line about the Cubmaster role.
The description of both of those meetings sounds like an "all in" Pack Leadership/Committee/Parents Planning Meeting.
Here's the problem: you'll only find that detailed description in the Den Leader and Cubmaster Modules.
But in the Pack Committee Module, they don't get that direction:
-- A note in the Committee module implies that annual planning isn't a joint responsibility: "While the Cubmaster plans each pack meeting, the pack committee assists by planning the overall year". (Yeah, it says "assists" but it separates the task: Cubmaster, you plan your Pack Meetings, we'll plan the rest.)
-- In the "Activities" slide in that module, the note says "The pack committee supports the den leaders by planning many different types of activities to interest the boys".
-- In that Committee Module, there is reference on a slide to having a "monthly pack committee meeting", so the Committee is getting a message to do that, which makes sense, since they are told to plan the year and activities. They are not getting the message given to Cubmasters/Den Leaders to hold meetings that are "led by the committee chair but [are] the joint responsibility of the committee and the Cubmaster", or that "Den leaders and interested parents attend and participate".
Couple that with the big "X" marks next to Cubmaster, Den Leaders, Pack Trainer to confirm that those roles can't be on the Committee, and the message of the Pack Committee class is that the Committee might not think you have to work so much with Cubmaster and Den Leaders, and you might think they have their own little "leader den" meeting or no meeting while the Committee does their oversight thing separately.
So everyone is not "on the same page" when they get taught in these separate modules. Now there are odds and ends of the Committee module that are consistent with what is to be taught to the Den Leaders and Cubmaster, but it is easy to see why folks come away with different perspectives.
-- I will assume that a basis for the "you can't be on the Committee mantra" is that you may not be allowed to "dual register" in certain roles, but . . . I think that is a fairly limited prohibition (e.g., Cubmaster can't be Pack Chair), intended to confirm that there is a leadership team. But that charter rule shouldn't govern a coordinated planning function.
-- Another reason is that the Committee may be the recruiting team for Leaders, and would be the group to consider sensitive issues like replacing a leader. But those meetings (to discuss the replacement of a leader) are usually few and far between; most Committee/Leader meetings would cover leadership by saying "awesome job . . . do you have enough help?" And would cover, say, activity planning by saying "you den leaders and Cubmaster are doing an awesome job . . . when does the spring campout work into YOUR schedules?"
I will note that there is a slide showing certain "Pack Committee Functions", and a note that says "these roles represent the voting members of the pack committee", but then it oddly says "The Cubmaster is not a voting committee member unless he or she also holds one of these roles". So it is sort of inclusive, but only if the Cubmaster takes on more than he needs to. Not if he just does his big ol' regular job.
It is also odd that the Committee Member module says "The committee chair is like a CEO". That overstates the role. If ya wanted to make the corporate analogy, the Committee is like a Board of Directors, the Committee Chair is like the "Chairman of the Board of Directors", and the Cubmaster is like a CEO, since the CEO / Cubmaster are the ones who are tasked to run the company/Pack.
FYI, I stumbled on this problem and fixed it for my classes while in the process of taking all of the important (and consistent) words of the new Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training syllabus and rearranging them into a "methods based" format for "total leader training" in my neck of the woods. In this approach, everyone hears what the whole team is supposed to do. So everyone knows what the Den Leader is gonna do so that Den Leaders can do that job and others can support the den leader in that role (because like Bill Smith wrote, "In Cub Scouting, you're either a den leader or your main job is to help den leaders . . . There is no other choice!"), and then the Den Leader also hears what the Cubmaster and Committee Members / Pack Helpers will do, so that they know how they work with the Cubmaster in the Pack Meeting, and how they'll work together with the Committee Members / Pack Helpers who will hopefully take on roles that support what the Den Leaders are doing.
-- So everyone knows what to expect from everyone on the same team.
-- And that way, when it comes to the common enterprise of working for the kids in the Pack, everyone on the team will get "the same story" about what they are doing and how they'll work together.
-- Plus, like at my class yesterday, a common lament of Cub Leaders is "I'm the guy really doing it all" or "it's really just me and the Chair right now", so I want to teach them how the whole thing works, so that they can then hand off parts of it as they pull others into the program (and are not "in the dark" about what, say, Committee Members might do to support them).
YMMV, but this is tuned up and runs good.
Pack and District Trainer
South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council
Support your local den leader!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Geoffrey Mayer" <geoffrey@...> wrote:
Just going over the Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training for 2010 and it appears that the Pack Trainer is no longer part of Pack Committee.
The BSA web site page "The Pack Trainer" says: "The Pack Trainer is a member of the Pack Committee."