Adult Leader Training 101

So what training is a scouter supposed to take, anyway?  Well, it basically falls into a couple of categories.  Are you a Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster, or Committee Member?  First, though, lets give you a quick overview before we cover the basics of leader training.

All of this information comes from two main sources:

Why should you get trained at all?

  • Every boy deserves a trained leader.
  • Once trained, you have a much better idea of what you’re doing, so you’ll feel more comfortable.
  • If we don’t get trained, our boys lose a LOT of points toward quality unit which basis a significant weight on the percentage of trained leaders.

How do you get trained?

  • Start by logging into and clicking on E-Learning.
  • Check out the Juniata Valley Council website.

Requirements for Everyone

First, the easy answer.  No matter what you are, you MUST take Youth Protection Training (YPT) every two years.  For BSA leaders to be present with youth, there must be a YPT trained leader with them.  Every one of our registered adults is supposed to take this training and keep it updated.  It helps us stay on the same page regarding youth protection, helps our boys by increasing our awareness to help keep them safe, and also SIGNIFICANTLY helps our Journey to Excellence ratings at the end of the year.  So, registered leaders that don’t keep their YPT training updated are missing multiple opportunities to help the troop.

Another great training program is Boy Scout Fast Start Training.  If you haven’t taken it, it’s an awesome orientation to Boy Scouts.  Every leader should take this, once. The next stop you want to make sure to cover is the “This is Scouting” online training.  It’s a session that highlights scouting principles.  Every leader should take this, once.

Requirements for Committee Members

This training is often neglected, to the detriment of the troop.  Committees are not just groups of parents.  A well run committee has members that fulfill a number of critical roles for the troop, under the direction of a committee chairperson.  So how do you find out what those roles are and what the function of the Troop Committee really is?  I’m glad you asked! It’s spelled out in a short (about 30-60 minutes) online training program called “Troop Committee Challenge.”  This class is the minimum required position specific training for all committee members.

The Council also offers additional position specific training on an as requested basis.  Often times, if you call them up, they can make this type of training available to you at roundtable.

Requirements for Scoutmasters/Assistant Scoutmasters

Those trained to work directly with the boys as scoutmasters/assistant scoutmasters should take Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS).  It’s a weekend course that orients you to how we expect Boy Scouts to work in the outdoors.  And before you ask: No, your Cub Scout training or backwoods experience doesn’t cut it, here.

There is also a day long scoutmaster specific (SMS) training class that you should take.  It teaches the basics of troop operations and expectations of a scoutmaster/assistant scoutmaster.

SPECIAL NOTE: You usually find out at SMS or IOLS that you need to have have training in basic first aid and CPR.  It’s not just a block filler, it’s a good idea in general.

We try to put both these on the troop calendar because they are both hands-on courses that are generally taught at scout camp.  However, if you don’t have them, call the council office and inquire.  When they get enough requests, they schedule class.

Once you get the basics under your belt, there is a bunch of other great training that you’ll want and/or need.  They range from hazardous weather training, to hiking safety, to boating, to safe swim defense.  These classes (and more) are available online and generally take less than 30 minutes (each) to complete.  Depending on the activities we’re undertaking for a weekend, some of these are required for at least one attending adult leader.

Things like Leave No Trace training and Wilderness First Aid are special bonus classes that pop up every once in a while.  They’re not required for your basic training, but can be a real boon to help out the troop when we go on backpacking trips.


About ewdupler

Gene is an avid outdoorsman, loves reading and is known to put pen to paper (well, he types) as an amateur poet.
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