Baloo's Bugle

July 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 13, Issue 12
August 2007 Theme

Theme: A Century of Scouting
Webelos: Naturalist & Forester
Tiger Cub


From the National Meeting
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy

At the end on May, I attended the National Meeting of the BSA in Atlanta. I saw a lot, met a lot of special people and learned a lot there. One session, however stood out above all the rest for me, and for the readers of this column.

William “Rick” Cronk is the president of the BSA. He is an ex Assistant Cubmaster and he is concerned with the quality of the Cub Scout program. Here is his proposal:

Cub Scout Leader Training Challenge "Because Every Cub Scout Deserves a Trained Leader"

Trained leaders provide an active, quality program at the den and pack levels and keep Tiger Cubs and their partners, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts coming back for more fun week after week and month after month. When Cub Scouts participate regularly, the many purposes of Cub Scouting are achieved. Trained leaders increase boy retention and leader tenure.

Rick Cronk, Boy Scouts of America national president and sponsor of Cronk's Club, will recognize Scouters at all levels for their efforts in increasing the number of trained leaders who are delivering a dynamic program. A special neckerchief will be awarded to those who meet the challenge



Council Key 3 and Council Training Chair:

  • Accept the challenge and commit to join Club.
  • Publicize the Cronk's Club challenge to all district and unit Scouters by September 1, 2007 (introduce at council annual program kickoff', on council Web site, and in council newsletter)
  • Promote the recruiting of pack trainers (mentors) in all council Cub Scout packs and promote the Pack Trainer Award requirements.
  • Attend a minimum of one leader-specific training.
  • Provide adequate training opportunities in the council's training calendar to assure that all direct-contact Cub Scout leaders (Tiger Cub den leaders, Cub Scout den leaders and assistants, Webelos den leaders and assistants, Cubmasters, and assistants) are able to attend instructor-led training
  •  Submit e-mail addresses to of all council and district training chairs to assure that all chairs receive the latest training information and resources.

Council Registrar:

  • Review training attendance reports from all Cub Scouting training courses within the last two years to make certain that reports are posted and accurate by August 1, 2007.
  • Make certain all training attendance reports are entered into ScoutNet within seven working days.


District Training Chair:

  • Personally commit to "Cronk's Challenge" by declaring an "open season" on all untrained and newly recruited direct-contact leaders.
  • Increase the percentage of trained direct-contact leaders in the district by 10 percent, or achieve the national standard of 60 percent trained direct-contact leaders
  • At monthly Cub Scout leader roundtables, provide publicity on the Cronk's Club challenge and progress reports on direct-contact leaders trained.
  • By September 1, 2007, complete a Unit Inventory of Training for all Cub Scout packs in the district using registered pack trainers and/or unit commissioners


Now, normally I view new ventures from National with a bit of skepticism. I've been down those roads too many times to get really excited. This time, I was totally impressed with a presentation by Rick and CS Director, Sam Thompson about their challenge to have 100% of CS leaders trained. I went into their session quite negative, really expecting the worst, but came out a true believer.

This time there were these differences.

First, there are the leaders.

  • Rick Cronk is a former Cub Scout leader and his son is a CS leader. I am convinced that he really means to make this thing go.
  • Sam Thompson is for real. I have met a lot of Cub Scout Directors over the years and I rate Sam right up there with the best.

Second, they all know what is wrong.

Well they know mostly what's wrong. A lot of the training issues that were aired on email lists lately were also discussed in Atlanta. For example, we should be teaching DLs to run den meetings and Cubmasters to run pack meetings.  And that meetings should be fun. The first thing they emphasized is to move Cub Scout Leader Specific Training ahead of New Leader Essentials. They reported that Essentials is a downer and contains “nice to know” stuff while Specifics has what leaders need to do their jobs. Moreover, Essentials often turns people off and they never return for more training.

Also all training must be improved. Sam is building teams of people who understand adult education.  I've spent enough time with adult educators to be able to recognize when training is headed in the right direction.  The gang in Atlanta and Associate CS Director Jamie Shearer were impressive.  I'm expecting some great things from them.

For years, and many versions of our leader training, we have operated with a form of cookie-cutter training that tried to give all things to all people.  That doesn’t work.  Our leaders are a diverse lot, each coming with a unique set of skills, life experiences, resources, and needs.  The single working parent and the suburban professional are different.  They both have valuable skills and urgent needs as potential leaders, but they are not the same skills and the same needs.  One rigid training session is not going to help both.

A Director of Field Service related to me that his council found that trained first year leaders didn’t understand their Scouting jobs until they attended a Pow Wow.  Pow Wows and Universities of Scouting have the range and flexibility to better serve the needs of our leaders.

Finally, the Minsi Trails Council of Lehigh Valley, PA
reported their success with mandatory training for all leaders.  They will not reregister untrained leaders and they reject charter renewals if key leaders are not trained.  They have made mandatory training a cornerstone of the best retention and strong membership growth. It can happen and it does work.  (The Southern NJ Council has adopted this approach, too.  CD)

Just wishing for 100% training isn't enough. It's a complex job involving a lot of diverse people who have different agendas and different problems. it will take a lot of commitment and a lot of work to pull it off. It's going to take a bit of time to get this train up to speed. It's taken Minsi Trails several years to really make it happen.

I also heard that there is a move to simplify the retaking of Specifics for trained leaders taking on new Cub Scouting jobs. Some councils are looking into on-line sessions and other non traditional methods.

Again what will it take to get 100% in your area of concern? And what can you possibly do to help? I'm sure that every district will need more people to do things like creating lists of the untrained, doing promotion, helping with registration, record keeping, child care and all sorts of other support items as well as just conducting the training.

It is a major change in outlook and I would consider it one of the best pieces of news from National in many years. It’s not a slam dunk, but better than another technical foul.

Some more training links:

Also, be sure to visit Bill’s website

to finds more BIG project ideas.

Have any Comments and messages for Bill
just click right here!

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