Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Trainer Righteousness and Our Role in Supporting Units

Expand Messages
  • Bob Knudson
    Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a debate over the virtues of delegation of training responsibilities to the unit versus the district training
    Message 1 of 2 , May 6 6:25 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a debate over the virtues of
      delegation of training responsibilities to the unit versus the district
      training teams. Many have argued that:

      - ONLY the "blessed" training staff can deliver the training program
      correctly.
      - Certainly, the lowly, non-TDC exposed people in the units can't be
      "trusted" to train their peers.
      - They might get something wrong.
      - Attendance at training courses is the sole solution to "fix" poorly
      performing units.

      Well, my friends, the good people in the units are the ones, for better or
      worse, who deliver the program on a daily basis. They do it with or without
      the benefit of training, and for many youth, they do a decent job. Scouting
      even encourages adaptations from the "norm" to meet the needs of the
      community.

      Just like many of our units, training teams are not perfect. For example,
      training teams all over the country have "adapted" the national syllabus to
      meet the specific needs of their districts. Some of these adaptations have
      taken on lives of their own and we have forgotten when and why they were
      started. From a national council perspective, rebaselining the program every
      few years has the nice effect of pressing "restart" on the district training
      programs and bringing everyone back to the core.

      Further on the downside, training teams have also caused misinformation to
      propagate when a trainer accidentally answers a question incorrectly or
      turns a best practice idea into a mandatory requirement by using the word
      "must" instead of "should" (misinformation examples recently discussed on
      this list: The idea that two-deep is a "requirement" for meetings or that
      holding a youth that needs comfort in your lap is a YPP violation).

      But what benefits can training offer to a volunteer? I can think of three
      wonderful benefits..

      1) a good leader can be made aware of the resources available to them to
      conduct the best and safest program possible for the youth they serve.
      2) an awareness that others share the same questions about how to be an
      effective leader (reduces fear)
      3) the motivation that comes from the awareness that we are part of a bigger
      movement

      What will training not do?

      Training will not make a poor leader better, or cause an evil leader to do
      good (e.g. YPT does not fix child abusers). Training will not make a leader
      bent on running their own program comply with the national standards.

      My experience as a District Commissioner tells me that a good program starts
      with selecting quality leaders. Training helps these quality leaders fulfill
      their pre-existing good intentions. Quality leaders are best selected by a
      deliberate process by their chartered organizations. And don't forget
      (despite the actions and words of many professionals) that districts and
      councils are really cooperative endeavors of our chartered organizations. We
      exist to serve our units, not the other way around.

      I fully support the objective of having 100% trained leaders, rather than
      just well attended training courses. To achieve this objective, we need to
      be thinking anew about what is the essential magic that training provides
      and how we might be able to offer this magic to people who are reluctant or
      unable to give up a Saturday. Where there is distrust of the
      district/council in a unit, perhaps they might just trust someone in their
      unit to provide the training. And while this may not be the best training
      available, it can still provide the core benefits. After all, in Boy
      Scouts, we're all about facilitating the transfer of knowledge from boy to
      boy, and we KNOW that its not done in completion or perfection. But it sure
      works!

      Have faith in your fellow volunteers. And thanks for your service to
      scouting.
      --
      Bob Knudson, Vice Chairman
      Gateway District, Denver Area Council BSA
      Our Vision: "A Cohesive Community Living the Ideals of Scouting"
    • Judy Yeager
      Bob Knudson outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages of group training vs training within the unit. He stated that Many have argued that: - ONLY
      Message 2 of 2 , May 6 9:37 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Bob Knudson outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages of group
        training vs training within the unit. He stated that "Many have argued
        that: - ONLY the "blessed" training staff can deliver the training
        program correctly." <snip>

        First let me state that I have a problem with delegating training to
        someone within the unit and it has nothing to do with the "blessed"
        training staff.

        It has been my experience that often times in units there are more hats
        than people to wear them, so there are a few people who, out of
        necessity, wear more than one hat. Then sometimes, because of lack of
        time, some "requirements" are shorted or just plain overlooked. Things
        kind of get skewed out of shape. As the leadership turns over,
        especially on the Cub level where turnover is more rapid, but also on
        the Boy Scout level, the new leaders seem to learn by example, the
        skewed method that has evolved through no negative intent, but through
        time and necessity. It is really interesting as a trainer to see the
        "lights" come on when these new leaders come through training. Just
        within the past week I did some personal coaching with a Pack CC who was
        totally confused about leader responsbilities and how to get her Pack
        organized.

        On the Troop level, the prime example around here is the way that Boards
        of Review are conducted. When new leaders come to BS Basic, some of
        them have already been "trained" in their units and will actually argue
        that the mateials as presented in the syllabus are not correct.

        <snip> Have faith in your fellow volunteers. And thanks for your
        service to scouting. <snip>

        I do have faith in my fellow volunteers, but do not feel that every unit
        has two or three people who will give the time it takes to be a good
        trainer and keep abreast of the latest information that is available.
        This feeling is supported monthly when I do Youth Protection training
        and ask how many people know about the Youth Protection materials
        available for our youth members. It is obvious that this part of the
        program is not widely utilized in our District.

        On the other side of the coin, training within the unit in some areas
        might be the only way to get people trained. However, in a densely
        populated area like ours, it just is not the optimum choice.

        Of course, your mileage may vary.

        Judy Yeager
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.