Archive for the ‘Training’ Category


Roundtable StaffLast Tuesday was my second meeting as a member of the roundtable staff once again. I have to admit, I am having fun. And I think the Scouters who have been attending have discovered my method of roundtable training is a bit different then other peoples’ methods. I do not like to just stand there and talk. I like to move around, change up my voice tone, and even get everyone up on the feet to do things. I think the roundtable commissioner likes what I have brought to the table. At least I hope he has. Here is a review of things we both covered at this month’s Scenic District roundtable.

This year we start our roundtables with a two part opening, one part patriotic and one part Scouting related, and we plan to change it up for each monthly meeting. For this month we began with the American Creed and the Scout Law.

We would usually go into skill development next but since it gets dark early this time of year we switched things up and went outside for our game. Yes, you read that correctly. We played a game. The goal is to introduce troop leaders to possibly new games they can bring back to their troop to play. This month’s game was Tip, played with a frisbee. The two teams tossed the disc to each other. Team members would try to “tip” the disc to other team members and then have someone catch it. The team scores one point for each successful tip, but only if the disc is caught at the end of the tipping. The Scouters had a blast playing the game and really got into it. I believe a few grass stains may have been taken home.

Back inside the meeting room, Al and I conducted a brief uniform inspection and talked about the uniform being one of the methods of the Scout program. I opened a discussion of this month’s Jamboree On The Air and the Jamboree On The Internet. Many of the Scouters had not heard of these events. Al lead a discussion about the duties of a troop’s junior leaders.

Before the meeting I had set up a table display of my patch collections, including OA lodge patches, council shoulder patches, and patches from the 2001 National Jamboree. I also had several old Scouting themed books set out to view. We talked about the fun of patch trading, who trades with who, and about B.S.A. policy regarding trading.

Al finished the day’s skill development by discussing how to plan a troop meeting, or I should say, how the troop’s junior leaders should plan a troop meeting. A few Scouters were eager to share their thoughts on this subject. We closed the roundtable with Scout Vespers.

After the meeting, I caught up with a Scouter who is a fairly new scoutmaster and asked him if he had been finding this year’s meetings helpful. He said that he has been learning quite a bit and is discovering good ideas to bring back home to his troop. I walked to my car with a grin on my face. I guess Al and I are doing a good job so far.

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    rtcommishShortly after becoming a 21 year old scoutmaster in 1981 I began attending the monthly district roundtable meetings, and learned quite a bit about how to be a good adult Scout leader. It did not take long for the commissioner to recognize my enthusiasm about Scouting. A few years later I was a member of the roundtable staff. We had a lot of fun and hopefully helped a lot of troop leaders become better at their positions. I even earned my commissioner’s award. It finally came to an end after several years as we all moved on and others took over, but I still attended roundtables as a scoutmaster through the next two decades.

    I have been trying to figure out what to do with myself after stepping down as the troop’s scoutmaster a year and a half ago. I still help out with the troop as a committee member (the troop treasurer.) I have helped on a few activities and the occasional troop meeting. I think I may have been helping a little too much because a couple months ago I was told by one of the current troop leaders to back off. That caught me by surprise but it did get me thinking. I do want to stay involved in Scouting, but where does a retired scoutmaster fit into the program?

    A couple people suggested I become active on the district or council level. I really have no interest in serving on a committee or some such role. I do not have the slightest interest in being involved with fundraising. I have never been very active in the Order of the Arrow. I am not sure I would like being a unit commissioner.

    Which brings me back to roundtables. I was once a roundtable staff member. I think I might be able to bring a little something to help with those monthly meetings once again. There are a few things I would like to try to add a little fun and spice. So, I sent the commissioner an email asking if he would like some help this upcoming year. It did not take him long to respond.

    Tonight I had a two hour meeting with Al. I threw a bunch of ideas at him and told him what I would be interesting in doing, and what I was not interested in doing, if I joined the staff. To tell the truth, now that I look back at the meeting, I wonder if I may have been a little too enthusiastic. He liked a lot of the ideas I brought up. Before you knew it, the two of us started creating a yearly plan for the 2013-2014 roundtable year. We now have our monthly themes, and even the September and October agendas plotted out. We plan to meet with our district executive within the next few weeks to get things finalized.

    So I guess I am once again on the district roundtable staff after a two decade hiatus. Who knew that I would one day be back in that saddle?

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      FirstClassSmallTwo Boy Scouts attended a committee meeting recently. One came for his Star Rank board of review, the other to ask some questions about his Eagle Rank. After talking to both Scouts we discovered it may be time to spend a portion of each troop meeting talking about the basics of Scouting. You know, those things boys learn when they first become Boy Scouts but have forgotten over the years. In other words, it was time for a refresher course.

      The Boy Scouts are very good with reciting the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto. They stumble a bit when asked what the twelve points mean, or what are the three duties of the Scout Oath. What should a Scout be prepared for, and how exactly does one do that?

      I talked to the scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader about this subject. I offered to do a ten minute review at the end of each troop meeting covering one topic of the basics. The SPL smiled and told me he would time me and let me know when I reached my ten minutes. He is such a sweet kid. I guess I better keep the talks short and to the point.

      Here is a list of some of the topics I plan to cover:
      The meaning of the Scout Law, and the Scout Oath.
      Wearing the uniform properly and proudly.
      The Scout sign, slogan, and handclasp.
      Advancement double dipping.
      Preparing for a board of review.
      Flag editcate. Uses for basic knots.
      Meaning of the Scout emblem.

      Like I said, these short talks are not meant to teach the basics, although new Scouts may learn a few things, but are meant to refresh the Boy Scouts’ memories. To tell the truth, I know a few adult leaders who could benefit from listening to these discussions.

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        Fast Start Orientation, The Outdoor ProgramThe last post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast contained the first of three parts of an eleven year old Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation vhs tape I have in my Scouting collection. This post features part two of that training tape which covers the troop Outdoor Program. It is an excellent video that is still relevant to today’s Scouting program.

        I think it is fun to watch these old videos to see how, or if, Scouting has changed through the decades. What do you think about it? Have you seen this before?

         

        Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
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          Troop Meeting TrainingI have collected a fair number of Scouting related items during the thirty-plus years I have been involved with our local Boy Scout Troop. One of these items is a vhs tape of Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation from 2002. You see, there was a time, not that long ago, when adult leaders could not readily go to the internet to watch training videos. They had to borrow a vhs tape from their council office. I know, hard to believe.

          While I am stuck at home recovering from neck surgery, I decided to make a digital copy of this 2002 training tape I received from the council when they decided to throw it out several years ago. Once I had a digital copy of it I thought it might be fun to share this 11 year old production with the viewers of the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. The whole video is 32 minutes long so I broke it down into three parts.

          This first part takes us through the process of planning and conducting a Boy Scout troop meeting. The video covers things very well and is still very reverent to today’s program. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has followed this format for decades with a lot of success. If you have new adult leaders in your troop I would recommend they sit down and watch this. I also think it is fun to watch a training video from 11 years ago.

          Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
          Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
          or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
          Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

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            Boy Scout Troop 68 has a problem. We are looking for someone to become the scoutmaster. Unfortunately, no one seems interested in the position at this time. Having a small troop does not seem to be helping matters. Being in a community that has not been interested in having their boys in the Scout program has definitely made it tougher. (Only three of our eight Boy Scouts live in town.)

            When I retired from the position after being the troop’s scoutmaster for 30 years I had a feeling it would be tough finding someone to take over. Luckily, one father stepped up to the plate. After five months he has decided to step down. I had a hunch this might happen. Why? Because he is also the Cubmaster of our Pack. Holding two “full time” volunteer Scouting positions would be tough for anyone to handle. Add to this that his sons are heavy into sports and extracurricular activities, and that he owns his own business, I knew it would be a challenge for him. But I have to give him credit. He gave it a good try. He did a good job. But there just was not enough time in the week to do it all, and do it well. He continues to serve as the Cubmaster.

            So, the troop is once again looking for a scoutmaster. I have received several “hints” that a few people in the troop (Scouts and parents) would like to see me return to the position. I have no plans to do so. I am worn out and burned out. I actually began to hate going to Scout functions during my last year as scoutmaster. I do not want to return to the routine of weekly meetings and monthly activities. While I really enjoy working with the boys I do not want the responsibility any longer. I like my new position on the committee.

            Sometimes I think thirty years was too long to be the scoutmaster. People got to the point where they would just assume that I would take care of things, and I usually did. People are now scared of the role. I am not quite sure why they should be. I took the position when I was a “wet behind the ear” 21 year old. I did okay with almost no experience. I had a committee that supported me. I was willing to take training, and that made a huge difference.

            We have the month of June pretty well covered. I guess I will be the acting scoutmaster. Next month is summer camp, so the troop will not have any meetings. But by August we need to have someone step up to the plate. If we don’t, the council could get antsy and apply pressure to find someone quick. Or else. Troop 68 went through that in 1981. We went through four men as scoutmaster that year. (I was the fourth.) I would hate to see that happen to the troop again. I would really hate to see the troop lose its charter because no one was willing to take the position.

            It would be sad to see the troop fold after 32 continuous years.

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              Adults leaders need training. I think most people would agree to that. We need to be trained so that we may properly train our youth leaders to do their job well. Call it “train the trainer” if you want to. We receive this training through various courses offer by our districts and councils. We attend monthly roundtable meetings. The Boy Scouts of America has begun making more online training available so we can do it in the comfort of our homes. And, of course, there are the handbooks and the leaders who came before us.

              I have a Twitter account and follow a number of Scouting leaders from around the country. I even follow a few people from other countries. Twitter can sometimes be a pain in the neck when the bots start following you. At others times it can be a great resource. Occasionally, someone will post a link to a great resource they found. Once in a while, someone from an interesting website will find me and start following me. I usually check them out to see if they are worth following in return.

              A few days ago a received a new follower so I checked out their website. The site, “Animated Knots”, found at http://www.animatedknots.com/ , is quite a site, if you like knots. They feature animations of how to tie dozens of knots, found under various categories. There are knots for boating, fishing, climbing, and rescue. There is a section of Boy Scout knots which you may find helpful for you troop. be sure to check out the “Decorative” knots if you would like to learn how to tie a monkey’s fist or a turk’s head. Learn these knots and you could be the envy of your troop.

              By the way, if you would like to follow me on Twitter you can find me at http://twitter.com/stevejb68 .

              100 Days of Scouting: Day 13.

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                Before there was the internet, dvd’s, or even vhs tapes, council and district training sessions used filmstrips to assist training adult leaders. I happen to own four filmstrips used by our council in the 1980′s. The council was going to throw them in the trash until I said I would take them. I am not really sure why I took them. I do not have a filmstrip projector, nor do I know of anyone who owns one, other than maybe the school. They have been stored with other old Scouting memorabilia in box in my basement.

                When I decided to take a picture of them for this article it was the first time in years that they have even been out of the box. I was surprised to see that they are still in excellent condition. It almost makes me want to find a projector to view them again.

                The four filmstrips that are part of my Scouting collection are:
                How To Select A Scoutmaster.
                Boy Scout Orientation.
                Unit Organization.
                How Much Is It Worth?
                All four were created by the Boy Scouts of America Audiovisual Service. Unfortunately, I do not have the scripts or audio tapes that were used with them.

                I am curious. How many of you remember using or seeing these filmstrips in training sessions of years gone by? Do you have any as part of your Scouting memorabilia collection?

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