Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training

Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training

In December 2014 the Boy Scouts of America released a new version of one it’s main training courses for Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters. The name of the course was changed from Scoutmaster & Assistant Specific Training to Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training, although the course number remains the same: S24.

Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters who complete this course, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, and Youth Protection Training are considered “trained” for their positions.

My wife and I ran the new course for the first time in our council this weekend at our Merit Badge University event. Overall, I think the course is a great improvement over the previous one. It’s more interactive and discussion based, which beats the old course’s format of sitting through hours of lecture.

The only drawback on this course was the fact that the syllabus constantly references using the new Troop Leader Guidebooks, a two volume set that replaces the old Scoutmaster Handbook – which as of this post, is still not available – neither as a PDF download or for purchase.

This blog post on Scouting magazine’s blog about the Troop Leader Guidebooks from August 2013 shows an update from June 2014 that the books have been postponed until December 2014.scouting-blog-august-2013 Well, the syllabus for the Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training came out n December 2014, but we’re still waiting on the new guidebooks.

The absence of the new guidebooks made putting the course together a little tricky but using already available materials and a packet of handouts, we were able to run the new course successfully.

If you’re a BSA Scouter looking for materials to run the new Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training course, you can download the handouts we used here:  Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training (532 downloads)  And you can get to the PowerPoint presentation we created here on SlideShare.


Round Lashing Game

I’ve been leading the Pioneering Badge with a group of Scouts since February. A year ago, it’s something I would’ve been unable to do. Leading this badge is one of my ticket items for Wood Badge – a highly involved Scout leadership program. Not having been a Boy Scout as a youth, this is kind of the closest thing I can do to earn a rank in Scouting as an Adult.

A year ago when I did the Wood Badge weekends of camping/training I was a disaster at knots and knew nothing of lashings and hitches. That’s why I chose leading this badge as one of the five Wood Badge ticket items I have to complete – it pushed me. It literally took me a year of practicing knots, hitches, and lashings to be able to do this. I carried ropes and cords everywhere and practiced – waiting on planes, on planes, in meetings, etc.

What’s the end result? I’m almost finished with the ticket item – but I’ve discovered that’s not really the point. Above all, it’s been tremendous fun – the challenge of the skills I had to gain and the process of leading the badge. I strongly believe in Nature Not Lecture – having Scouts gain skills during outings and activities, not sitting in a meeting room listening to a lecture. Leading this badge has proved to be a blast.

Here’s a video of a little race I setup. It was my wife’s idea – we saw a similar game on Survivor and she thought it would make a great game to teach the Round Lashing. She nailed it – the Scouts had a blast and were tying nice, strong Round Lashings by the end of the evening.



One Man’s 90,000 People’s Trash

Last weekend over 90,000 people attended the Reading Festival in Leeds.
Reading Festival 2013 Trash 1
They left behind an estimated 150 tons of trash.
Reading Festival 2013 Trash 2
Let’s take a closer look at that “trash”. (Click the image for a better view.)
Reading Festival 2013 Trash 3
Yep – lots of brand new tents, many filled with sleeping bags and other camping gear.

“Camping gear is so cheap these days that people seem to make it part of their festival package budget, and don’t bother to take it with them when they leave,” a festival spokesman said.

Despite a ‘Love Your Tent’ campaign imploring people to pack up and remove their camping gear, thousands clearly did not.

A quote from one attendee: “We never intended to abandon it but although it popped up really easily, it was impossible to get it to fit back in the bag properly. Everyone else was leaving their stuff behind so we did too.”
Reading Festival 2013 Trash 4
Last year more than 20 tons of re-useable equipment was salvaged – and this year the figure is expected to be even higher.

This is sad, but at the same time it’s a great opportunity for Scouts in the UK to get some free camping gear as the salvaged equipment is donated to Scouts and other outdoor programs.


Tucker’s Eagle Project

My son Tucker passed his Eagle Board of Review on August 7, 2013.  His family is very proud of his achievement, and I’m completely blown away by the scale of his Eagle Project that he did over the summer of 2013.  It was the largest Eagle Project I’ve seen anyone take on, but Tucker has never been one to do things small.

Tucker’s project was a major restoration effort that corrected severe erosion around and underneath the bleachers at William Lenoir Middle School.  Volunteers filled voids underneath the bleachers with 1.5 tons of rock and clay.  After installing a drain line where an overflow pipe washed away the hillside, volunteers filled and seeded the hillside on both sides of the bleachers.   Students did concrete patching with 700 pounds of grout, and a professional crew helped with structural concrete repairs.  On the field, volunteers cleared the drain box, trenched to alleviate flooding on the field and filled and seeded.  A heavy-duty trash and recycling receptacle was installed.  The project required 450 man-hours and cost $3,759.14.

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2013 Jamboree Photostream

Check out the BSA’s Flickr photos from the 2013 National Jamboree.  Photos are being updated daily – and often during the day.

2013 National Jamboree Photostream