The Value of Leader Specific Training
I remember when I was first called to be a Scoutmaster, back in 1995 in Quantico Virginia. My Bishop and Ward YM President encouraged me to participate in the BSA Leader Specific training for my new role, so I enrolled as soon as I could in what was called back then Scoutmaster Fundamentals! It was a weekend-long camping training experience held at the District Level and I became a member of the infamous “Barking Blue Beagles” Patrol, and I even wrote our Patrol cadence! The big take-away I had from that training was that it was OK for our boys to experience challenges and adversity, and to let them struggle with it to find a solution.
The next month my Assistant Scoutmaster and I took our young Scouts camping, to include a 5-mile hike with full packs. The trail we were on crossed a creek and the bridge had been washed out. We consulted with our Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). We could turn back if he wanted? He talked to his boys, and to our surprise they recommended that we get in the water and rebuild the bridge! It was made of corrugated airfield matting, much of which had washed downstream, and the materials were heavy and awkward. With both adults supervising from a safety perspective, the SPL organized our two patrols and the boys got to work. There were some challenges and the adults had to lend a hand, but the adventure to rebuild the bridge was too fun for the boys and their leaders to pass up! It was THE topic of discussion the next day during quorum openings!
I am glad that my Leader Specific training kicked in at that crucial time, and that when something went wrong, I allowed the boys to make it go right!
Assistant Council Commissioner for Latter-day Saint Scouting Service,
San Diego - Imperial Council