Re: Pack Trainer
- Lloyd & Dan,
Thank you for your discussion. I am working on a 2 session (1 hr 45
min) syllabus for our Pow Wow this year. The timing of this discussion
is great. At least one of our 5 Pow Wows this year is planning to
reprise a 6 session course that has been taught in the past.
[Yes. This year our Council is having each of our 5 service areas hold
a separate Pow Wow as opposed to one large Pow Wow. The hope is to
reach more leaders, and get more involved, by moving Pow Wow closer to
My thought were along the lines with Dan's comments. Describing the
roles and responsibilities, showing what resources are available for
parent orientations and leader basic training, explaining the
requirements for providing training in the unit, and walking through
some of critical items that need to presented and how.
A Trainer Development Conference is designed to improve trainers as
instructors. This is more to help them with the material they will be
Brent, you made a statement that we should not be pushing training down
to the Units. I would like you to consider a different reasoning. BSA
has a goal of 100% trained leaders. As opposed to pushing training
down to the units, they are providing units with another avenue for
providing the training. in the past the Cub Scout Basic Training Guide
included a section on self study. Having the Pack Trainers provide
basic training is to replace the self-study. One of the challenges is
always having training available when all leaders are available. Now
Pack Trainers can provide training at a time that fits a leader's
This is an opportunity for units, not a requirement. There are good
Pack Trainers in my district who have never lead any of the Basic
Training courses. IMHO leaders should attend district training
sessions. Having Pack Trainers providing Basic Training should be a
contingency, not primary training opportunity.
Now, if a Pack Trainer is going to be providing basic training courses
(New Leader Essentials and the 5 Cub Scout position specific courses),
they need to be certified by the District / Council (from Philmont
Training Center 2003). IMHO, a course at Pow Wow / University of
Scouting is a good step in that certification processes. I believe
that Pack Trainers should attend a Trainer Development Conference, a
Pack Trainer orientation session, like Lloyd is asking about, and lead
a training session under the observation of the District Training Chair
(or their representative). The observation can either be at a District
Training session, which is what I do, or the Training Chair can go to a
In my Council, I have stated that a Pack Trainer should only provide
training for a course that the District Training Chair is comfortable
with them leading during a district training session. If I am
comfortable that they will stick to BSA policies during a district
training session, then I am comfortable that they will stick to BSA
policy when providing unit training.
Ken R. Todd, Council Cub Scout Training Chair
National Capital Area Council
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- 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 email@example.com, "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."