PUTTING PIZZAZ IN TRAINING

The following is from a posting to Scouts-L by Judy Yeager.

Thanks to all who responded to my query for ideas of how to put pizzaz into training. Following are some of the ideas received:

The biggest complaint I hear from BSWB and SMF participants is the boring dedication to the use of flip charts as the only means of training in that phase of the program. Challenge trainers to use their imaginations and spend enough time on their technique to make it memorable for the observers. Think of what GRABS folks' attention and gives memorable experiences. Make it BIG, REAL BIG!

We must not be afraid to use a wall as a backdrop for a presentation if it is available and appropriate, use a ladder or stand on a piece of furniture to make a point, pop a few balloons to reveal key words and phrases, throw candy to the audience when they participate, turn the entire training piece into a question and answer game, have a backup crew remove a door from its hinges (noise and all) while you are talking so you can creatively use it in your presentation. Use your resources, the room, your imagination, and your staff! Look for and develop some key point in the session to use as a hook in building a bigger-than-life presentation!

Have a lot of displays, ideas especially for new leaders. Use crafts, resource materials. Pow Wow books, any or all books you can find, magazines with craft ideas, literature from nature centers, stuff you pick up at any National Park is good. Use songs, skits, and run ons, a new game, etc. Most of all, keep it fun, and if you start off with a bang, you will keep your group wondering what is coming at them next.

Use a theme for your training. Write a skit that follows the syllabus. Wear costumes to fit the theme. Change segment names to fit the theme. It is fun for the trainers as well as participants and numbers have grown using this concept.

Our District and Council have both agreed to put the "Pack Meeting" back into the CLBT. This lets Trainers and new Leaders have a great time playing games and doing skits and songs. Done at the very end of the session it ties everything together and closes on a good, fun, energetic note.

Show up wearing a tall chef hat, Italy's national colors in your clothes, tossing a pizza crust in the air, singing "when the moon's in the sky, like a huge pizza pie, that's amore". Another trainer interrupts that you are supposed to be doing a section on "Putting Pizzaz in Training", not "Pizza in Training". Act sheepish, then suddenly flash on the fact that Scouting is supposed to be FUN and go back to singing Amore.

Use props (a Pepperoni stick to remind them the presentation needs to be peppy?), puns, run-ons, etc to keep it lively. Do a presentation in character a road worker in hard hat work shirt for Cubstruction theme

Use participant involvement, hands-on learning, and don t forget there is a great difference between "training" and "learning".

We can always do great things with an overhead projector, especially now that we have computers to generate the graphics.

EVERYTHING is part of the training and every detail must a little pizzaz

  • make sure every other instructor is adding pizzaz.
  • treat the attendees as customer, stockholder, the most important people there
  • put pizzaz in your promo - make your flyers really unique. announcements at RT's must be unique.
  • Promote in the community by working with the local fast food franchises for discount coupons
  • Get the announcement placed on local cable TV.
  • Find out if any area schools provide for continuing education credits
  • have unique direction signs made up
  • get a group of volunteers to valet park all cars
  • BEFORE they register, ask if they would like a cup of coffee
  • Get a local fast food franchise to provide a buy one get one free coupon for attendees.
  • provide pen/pencil and paper for all attendees (local business donated)
  • Make lunch a little different. Get local food franchises to set up a booth during lunch.
  • Have people there whose sole responsibility is to make sure the place stays clean.
  • Thank people for coming, thank people for coming, thank people for coming.
  • send a follow up letter thanking them for attending and ask if they have any suggestions for improvement.
  • Send letters of thanks to all instructors two weeks AFTER the session
  • If you have a number of unique items at the session, they will be talked about for a long time. You will have people wanting to come next year just to see what you have done different. Adding pizzaz is an ongoing requirement.


Keep a stash of 1" pom poms on hand and toss to trainees who seem to need a "warm Fuzzy" and then tell every one that sometimes that works in your Pack at home, brings a smile.

Put on costumes...the funnier the better...play music.. have lots of handouts, give aways, and MAKE IT FUN. You can cover the material without being boring... You just have to get inventive..

Use a theme or costume or both. Some of the training presentations that stick in my mind were the ones I identify by a theme, i.e. "the Cub kitchen one" or the "one where Linda made chili". Use a hat as part of the opening remarks. A little bit of a theme can help you turn an ordinary presentation into something a bit hokey or more fun or just more memorable. Have a trademark that you use, like a beaver holding something or sitting by a flannel board or somehow involving him in what you re doing. Use another trainer or do tandem presentations walk-ons or characters such as "Al" in a "Tool Time" presentation.

Judy Yeager
.....and a good ole' Bobwhite, too NC-CS-10

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