Stan’s EYO Scouting Blog #5: Be a Trained Leader

Stan Stolpe

I just got back from the first and second week of a Sunday-friendly Wood Badge course where I served as the senior patrol leader. Wood Badge has a magic all its own that inspires adults to lengthen their stride and achieve excellence in Scouting. It is the local council’s “top of the ladder” in training.

Participating in Wood Badge made me think how important training is in delivering on the promise of Scouting. When we deliver the promise of Scouting, we help each young man to learn how to make moral and ethical decisions, to practice leadership skills, and to gain self-confidence.

I have always found training with Scouters to be fun, and it has always made a difference in the delivery of the program to the boys. How a boy feels about the Church has a great deal to do with what he experiences in Church settings. As the eleven-year-old (EYO) Scout leader, you have an impact on how the boy sTrained patchees and feels about the Church in the program you deliver and how you respect and treat him has an impact on how he sees and feels about the Church. To that boy, you represent the Church, and you represent Scouting. Being a trained leader allows you to be perceived as someone who meets the same high standards that are required of the boy when he says, “On my honor, I’ll do my best . . .” When we raise our hand to the square with them we are making the commitment to do our best for them. The more we know, the more we improve our skills, the better program we will have for the boys.

The Boy Scouts of America has made it easier for the EYO Scout leader to get the required training they need. At MyScouting.org and through E-Learning, you can take Youth Protection Training, Fast Start Training Boy Scouts, and supplemental training such as Hazardous Weather, Safe Swim Defense, and Safety Afloat.

Other training that is essential to your position is Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training (for Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters) and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS). At leader position-specific training you will learn practical ways to instill the eight methods of Scouting into your EYO Scout meetings.

At IOLS, you will receive a hands-on program that gives adult leaders the practical outdoor skills they need to lead Scouts in the out-of-doors. Imagine having firsthand knowledge of: setting up a campsite, pitching a tent, hiking, outdoor cooking—all the skills necessary to see the outdoor program of the Boy Scouts of America come to life.

Most of all, you will learn how to train your Scouts. EYO Scout leaders do not just present program, they teach and develop leadership in the Scouts of the EYO Scout patrol. We need to teach Scouts to communicate effectively, how to be an effective teacher, how to control the group, how to plan, how to represent the group, and sharing leadership through techniques such as telling, persuading, delegating, consulting, and joining.

The 2012 BSA’s Guide to Leader Training (511-028) puts it this way:

A trained leader is knowledgeable and more confident in the role being performed. Trained leaders exhibit a knowledge and confidence that is picked up by people around them. Trained leaders impact the quality of programs, leader tenure, youth tenure, and a whole lot more. A trained leader is better prepared to make the Scouting program all it can be!

As we prepare youth to become priesthood holders and work and serve in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they feel connected to the Church because of the experience we deliver. We deliver powerful programs when we have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do so. Strengthen your programs by attending as many BSA training courses as you can.

-Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current positions include district roundtable commissioner, district Cub Scout training chairman, and assistant Scoutmaster for a new Scout troop. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Jeff Sorensen says:

    I live outside of Utah and thus my council holds IOLS and Wood Badge over the weekend including over a Sunday. I feel that as long as I can make arrangements to partake of the sacrament on Sunday, completing this training as part of magnifying my calling as a scout master is an appropriate Sunday activity. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or does the LDSBSA relationships committee have any thoughts/positions that they could share? I lucked out and got IOLS and Scoutmaster specific training done at scout camp last week and it was clear that every scout leader should complete at least that training. Thank you for any thoughts.

    1. David Parker says:

      Jeff, I also live outside of Utah and Sunday-friendly WB courses are less frequent. That being said, if you can energize your stake and get commitments for 30 attendees, I am pretty sure they run a course that is Sunday-friendly.

      What frustrates me is that for years LDS leaders complained about the non-Sunday friendly format of WB, then when the council organized one that was Thurs-Fri-Sat over two weekends, almost NO LDS leaders attended! The non-LDS Scouters were left with a sour taste as a result and I was mortified at what happened.

      If your council has a functioning LDS Relations committee, consider attending and bringing up the subject of a Sunday-friendly WB session. When I shared President Dahlquist’s comments about WB with my stake Presidency member over YM and what happened with the last Sunday-friendly WB session, he agreed that we should do it again and make a strong stake push to get our leaders there. I asked him to have the stake match up to one leader’s WB fee from each ward as a further encouragement. We’re working on dates now and I hope we can fill it with members from our stake.

    2. Stanley Stolpe says:

      David,

      In my district, many years ago we revamped IOLS to be Friday-Saturday course ending around 5 pm on Saturday. There just is not a compelling reason to go over another night. Work with your district training/program chairman to look into a 2 day/1 night IOLS. Even the non-members liked the idea of a shorter IOLS.

      I also train Webelos leaders at IOLS providing them a 30 minute session that covers the difference in OLSWL and IOLS.

      Let me know if you need a 2 day syllabus.

      Stan

      1. Jeff Sorensen says:

        Stan, I’d love a 2 day syllabus so I can submit it to my council for consideration. Thanks!

      2. Jeff Sorensen says:

        Stan,
        I would love to have a copy of the 2 day IOLS course to try to present to our district. Please send one along if you could. I believe my email is accessible through this post to you. Thanks.

  2. David Ripplinger says:

    I also believe training is very important, so much that I recently volunteered to be the training chair in my district. However, I have to say that I had a negative experience at Wood Badge. Here are the problems I see with the current Wood Badge curriculum.

    1. It’s geared toward a less advanced audience.
    Wood Badge is flaunted as the pinnacle of council-level training, meant for the more seasoned leaders. I beg to differ. All the modules cover very basic and generic concepts about communication and leadership. I honestly didn’t learn anything while there. Other people got more out of it, and I’m glad for them, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking, profound, or technical.

    2. It feels juvenile.
    I swear I was going to lose it if I had to sing that silly Gilwell song one more time. Being a multi-day training event, it’s necessary to fill in some fun time between training modules and hard work. That’s okay. But we’re not 11 year old boys. We’re adults who enjoy more sophisticated entertainment and hands-on activities. Troop ceremonies should not be drawn out either. Fill it with quality activities or cut it shorter to get people home sooner.

    3. It isn’t flexible for partial absentees.
    It’s possible this was just my experience with my own Wood Badge course. My course was split over 3 separate weekends. I was in the hospital for the 3rd weekend. I asked if there was a way I could make up what I missed (like review the modules and discuss with a staff member or something), but they said no. I’d have to sign up for another Wood Badge course and start all over again.

    Of those three reasons, #1 is the big important one. The whole reason to go is to learn something new. If I don’t learn anything, it’s a waste of my time.

    There are some aspects that should stay the same for Wood Badge. The tickets (personalized projects the trainee completes over time after the course) are the most important tool for helping the trainee put things into practice and make a real difference. Putting trainees into patrols and having them live the patrol method and see how troop meetings and PLC meetings should be run is a great framework to then incorporate everything else.

    1. Aaron says:

      David, I’m sorry your experience at Wood Badge did not live up to your expectations. I attended in 2014 and found the presentations to be similar or exactly the same as some other materials I had seen at other training conferences. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it was not about the material, per per.

      For me the experience brought the vision of scouting to life in a way I hadn’t seen since I was a very young Cub Scout. One of the methods of delivering the course is to immerse the attendees in a patrol/troop environment much like what our scouts experience. They taught lessons and played games that were meant to help us experience some of the fun and frustration that our boys might experience.

      It’s hard for me to nail down any one things that I found most valuable. I can name a couple that come to mind right away. First is the camaraderie I quickly developed for my fellow patrol members and the staff. Second is the energy that I felt through the whole course. And third is the ticket process. I’ve learned how to set goals several times. This one was a bit different. The combination of the camaraderie, energy, and the action plan for the goals/vision helped me make a big difference in my attitude toward scouting and my efforts in changing things that weren’t working well.

      I don’t know what your experience was because I wasn’t there. I can say that I could have very easily fallen into the same mindset after the first couple of presentations I saw, thinking that I had seen all this before and that I was sorry I had come. My frame of mind made the course for me. And the staff and students helped get me in that frame of mind.

      I’m begging to be on staff just so I can feel that energy again.

  3. David Parker says:

    Stan, we are working on getting our council to put on a Sunday-friendly session of WB and because of the time schedules of educators, we are looking at 3 Friday-Saturday sessions. After chatting with the previous course director, he said there was previously a syllabus that fit this format, but that there was a new syllabus released recently and he wasn’t able to find it there. He said he looked over the new syllabus and it didn’t seem to lend itself to the 2X3 format. Any ideas on this issue? The course director is checking with the council training chair on the new syllabus and the 2X3 format, but I’m hoping you might be able to help.

    1. Stanley Stolpe says:

      David,

      This is an interesting approach to a 3 week-end Wood Badge. We do a Thurs. – Fri.- Sat.- approach. It would take some major thinking to revise it to a three week-end vice two week-end. I do not have anything but I will check around.

      Stan

    2. Stanley Stolpe says:

      David,

      Sorry I have taken so long to respond. I have spoken to several course directors, and breaking the current syllabus into 3 sessions would be extremely difficult to do and dilute the course. Part of the course is to bring the Scouters together through the stages of team development. If you move forward on a 3 session course, keep this in mind.

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