Winter 2012

The Training Times

Winter 2012
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Training Leaders, not just running training courses!

Happy New Year!! All of us in Volunteer Training want to wish you a safe, prosperous, Happy New Year! One that is filled with great training and great Scouting!

This Is Scouting

As a result of a research project that included both new leaders who have and have not completed “basic” training for their Scouting role, the BSA’s volunteer training committee has made a change in the set of courses necessary for a leader to be considered “trained” for 2012.

Leaders told us that one of the obstacles to completing training was the number of different courses a new leader saw they needed to take to be trained. For den leaders, some lists had as many as four different courses, for Scoutmasters five! They also cited the duplication of some courses; and there was the “why did I need to take that?” factor.

Some tenured leaders among us like to think that new leaders should know everything we know. But what new leaders say they want is to know how to do what they have volunteered to do, and where to find the resources to do it better.

The research reinforced the decision in 2009 that Fast Start not be part of the basic set, and it recommended that This is Scouting become optional. Effective this month This is Scouting will no longer be necessary for unit-level leaders to be considered “trained” in the ScoutNET system. It is still important training that will still be available. Leaders who wish to learn more about Scouting and new leaders will be encouraged to complete the course.

Additional recommended changes in the content and delivery of unit-level leader training are being reviewed and included in updated training. More on that later in this Times.

These changes, and the ones in the unit Journey to Excellence and the training awards, will make all of the “requirements” for training more consistent for new leaders. Tenured leaders who have completed previous training for their current role will continue to be considered trained in all these areas.

Guide to Leader Training

As you are probably aware, the Leadership Training Committee Guide has been unavailable for a while. With some of the changes in training, awards, and the Journey to Excellence we have been working on a complete rewrite of the manual.

The new Guide to Leader Training will outline basic council and district responsibilities for leader training. Since things are updated and evolve as the needs of youth, leaders, and Scouting change, we did not want to make the guide a tool that will be out of date almost as fast as it is printed. It will not contain the forms and other materials that are more easily available, and more current, via the training pages of official BSA web sites. The training page of will list the current resources.

The new Guide is in final editing and on its way to printing. Watch for it soon here and in your local council.

New Quicklinks Items

We have undertaken an effort to update the training code list that can be found in the “Quicklinks” section of the training page, and on ScoutNET. Several new codes have been added.

You will soon see two lists: one with the codes for current training courses in the BSA, and one with codes for most older BSA training. There is no way we can list all of the older training courses the BSA has offered, but the “history” list will have the most common courses.

You will also see new What Makes a Trained Leader, Top Leader Training Date and Course Code, Basic Training Requirements, and other new links.

We hope this helps you build training the records in your service area.

New Committee Chair

Dan Zaccara has stepped down as the chair of the volunteer training committee. Dan will be taking on a role in a new project related to the coordination of volunteer and professional development efforts in the Boy Scouts of America.

There is no way that we can capture the impact that Dan has had on volunteer training during his tenure with this committee and the Boy Scout committee. We are grateful for his leadership in Scouting and his service to youth – both of which will continue in his new role and all he does for Scouting.

Joel Eacker has been appointed to the Program Impact Committee and been tasked to give leadership as the Volunteer Training Chair. Joel has been on the committee for the past few months and was the chair of the new training design task force.

Joel is the president of E2 Program Management in Virginia. He is a certified program management professional, a project management professional, and a professional engineer.

A Life Scout, he has two Eagle Scout sons, he and his wife have each received the Silver Beaver award, and he has an extensive Scouting background at all levels of the program. Joel has been a den leader and a pack and troop committee member.

Included among his many other volunteer roles are council president, region board member, area president, and most importantly district and council training team member. He has hiked the trails of Philmont, earned his Wood Badge beads, and served on the staff of National Jamborees in 2005 as a commissioner and staff dining halls in 2010. He was awarded the Silver Antelope for his noteworthy service to Scouting.

Thank you Dan for your service, and welcome Joel!

Philmont Training Center

Registration is well underway for the summer and fall conferences at the Philmont Training Center! In fact, as of this writing, over 1,100 people have already registered to attend – well on the way to our expected 5,000 Scouters and family members.

PTC provides a unique environment and opportunity to learn from and share with Scouters from all over the nation and the world. What makes it even more unique is the chance to share the experience with your entire family.

As a trainer, PTC is a great way to expand your “tool box” and get ideas and content to share back home in your service area.

Take a look at to see the conference schedule and to see more about why PTC has had such an impact on so many lives and families. Registration for the conferences can be found on

Training Design Task Force

There is a fairly new task force within the training committee called the Training Design Task Force. The task force, made up primarily of Scouters who are full time trainers and instructional designers when they are not Scouting, will work with subject matter experts from all over the BSA to design training courses, as requested by the various committees and departments of the BSA, that meet the objectives of the course, the mission of the BSA, and are the most effective to enhance learning among adult and youth learners.

The task force is divided into two parts: Current State and Future State. The Current State team is looking at what we do now and how can we make it better. The Future State team is looking at the future of BSA volunteer training.

A big task! But we have some great Scouters on the team that are working hard to make it real.

You will see a lot more from them in the coming months.


Have you listened to the CubCast lately? Cubcast is a monthly audio podcast featuring a variety of how-to and information topics for Cub Scout leaders and parents. It is designed to supplement your training and roundtable programs. You can listen to it on-line, download it to share, and/or subscribe to it via RSS feed. Check out, choose Cubcast, and give it a listen!


In some on-line forums we have been told that “national” is trying to move all training on-line. Nothing could be further from the truth!

There is a lot of training that the BSA offers on-line. We do that because some people cannot attend training for various personal reasons, or sadly because their service area does not offer training on a timely basis.

But we want to assure you that the volunteer training team and committee believe that the best way for a leader in Scouting to be trained is via an instructor-led course. We have always known that more learning occurs when there is feedback and interaction.

But that is not just “what we think.” There is much research to back that up. As recent as 2011 Science magazine reported on a study by Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman. He said that “students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor.” What a surprise!

We are also concerned because over one-third of the population of the United States does not have broadband Internet in their home. In fact 25% of US homes do not have a computer! Yet we find some service areas that do not offer Cub Scout leader training anymore since it is all available on-line.

Our goal should not be to just “check a box” with regards to training. It should be to provide training that effectively prepares a leader to carry out a Scouting role or helps them learn a new skill.

Some day we may be able to do a blended on-line course for new leaders, but until then a face-to-face, instructor-led training course is the best and most effective way to train. In 2012 you will hear a lot more from us on new ideas and best practices on delivering training.

Scouting is after all, a very “people-based” activity and not only is in-person training the best way to learn, one of the best parts of being an adult Scouter is the fellowship with other Scouters!

New Leader Training in Their Language

One of the challenges for a new leader is training that is conducted in the “language” of experienced Scouters. Try as we might, we tend to default into a “Scouting language” and the new leader gets lost in the translation.

It is not just “the SPL is joining the OA and wants the PLC to go to NYLT.” There are other issues as well.

Additionally, in our diverse nation many councils serve a significant population of Scouts and potential Scouts that has its own terms or culture.

We know that many new leaders are reluctant to ask when they hear a term they do not understand or the training does not relate to them, so they begin to “tune out.” If we teach in terms or - in cases where there is a significant culture, faith group, or population that uses Scouting to serve their youth - concepts at the beginning of the training that they are familiar with, we can help them get off to a better start and they will soon “speak Scouting.”

In an effort to help with those challenges, the volunteer training team is working on designing training for new leaders in the “language” of the new leader. As part of this effort we are also working on courses that can help councils with a significant population of leaders in one of the above categories. These “small group method” leader-specific courses will all have the same objectives and basic content as other courses, but can be used when needed to help folks get started on the Scouting Trail in way that they can connect to a little better.

The first version of the training will be released this month and will be den leader training for leaders in units chartered to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Spanish versions will follow soon, and we are working on more that councils can use when the need arises.

Volunteer Training

Our Vision - We enable a training culture that supports regions, areas, and councils to deliver effective, fun, and accessible training to all adult and youth leaders.

Our Mission - It is the mission of the Volunteer Training Team to support the mission of the Boy Scouts of America by:

  • Working cross-functionally with stakeholders, producing training resources, products, and strategies which enable councils to deliver effective, fun, and accessible training to all adult and youth leaders.
  • Creating opportunities to enhance leadership skills in youth and adults through advanced training.
  • Continually assessing our training and delivery model to ensure relevant and effective training for both the current and future states of an evolving Boy Scouts of America.

2011 Index

Articles in the 2011 editions of The Training Times that may still be of interest.

Spring 2011

  • Training Recertification - BSA courses with expiration dates
  • Facebook

Summer 2011

  • Training Delivery
  • Fast Start
  • Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops
  • Kodiak Challenge
  • Powder Horn
  • Philmont Training Center

Fall 2011

  • Unit College Reserve
  • Trained or Trained
  • Awards and Knots
  • Update on Required Training
  • New Training Pocket Certificates
  • Outdoor Skills Training Update
  • Technology and Scouting: Are we as connected as we think?
  • BSA Unit Leader Course Titles and Sources

The Training Times is a publication of the Volunteer Training Team of the Program Impact Committee of the BSA.

Joel Eacker, Volunteer Committee Chair
Mark Griffin, Volunteer Team Leader
Ron Timmons, Peter Self, Sara Lacobee, Judy Maldonado, team members