One of my Scouts was out last fall for a while playing football and was thinking about not coming back.
His dad encouraged him, he came back, and in February he was elected Patrol Leader. This led to him participating in our Troop Leader Training Conference (TLT). Now he is really pumped and excited about Scouts.
This was something he talked about at his First Class Board of Review; two of the adults on the board told me how important the TLT was to this particular Scout.
We usually conduct a TLT twice a year; in August or early September and in February after troop elections. I try to make our TLT look and feel like a professional training seminar; somewhat like Scoutmaster Fundamentals or Woodbadge. There is a course director (usually but not necessarily the SM), a quartermaster, a registrar and planning starts several months ahead.
Here’s the elements of that make our TLT memorable and impresses the Scouts with the importance of their role as leaders;
1. Great Location
I’m always looking for the large conference room with the large mahogany conference table, big cushy, roll around chairs and lots of wood paneling. I like lots of projectors and multi-media. This past February we met at the Fireman’s Hall, in the past we’ve used the meeting room at local restaurant. That day we had the works including a catered luncheon on the river.
My program is a lot about food because boys like to eat. (Adult leaders like to eat too!) We have donuts, coffee and juice when you arrive. About 10:00am we bring out the fruit and snacks and more juice, we have a nice catered lunch. We use tablecloths and nice serving dishes; we make this aspect of the TLT special and memorable.
Everyone (presenters and participants) wears their Scout uniform. Committee members that don’t normally wear the uniform wear dress slacks and button down shirts.
4. Presentation Materials
Everyone gets a notebook folder with a full agenda, handouts, Powerpoint slides, and name tags. Each place at the table has a nice name tag with the Scout logo.
5. Active Participation
Each session includes a hands on demo – it get’s Scouts out of their seats and keeps them moving. The EDGE training session is especially interactive.
Some of the results that I expect from TLT:
1. Gives Scouts the big picture.
It’s important that Scouts learn something about the way Scouting works outside their Patrol and Troop. My committee chairman does a presentation about the Troop Committee and includes a little bit about the district and council. When you are mentoring a Scout as he is working with his patrol it’s not usually a good time to wax eloquent about the function of the local Scout District but this is something he needs to understand.
2. Gives Scouts a sense of support.
I want Scouts to know that the Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee really care about them and their leadership. We don’t just show up somewhere and drone on about how to run a meeting or something – we take the trouble to make this important and memorable.
3. Equips Scouts to instruct others.
I think that the Scoutmaster’s main job is create youth leaders who can instruct their fellow Scouts effectively. Most of the instruction in TLT is from adult leaders and, sometimes, older, more mature Scouts. All of our instructors model different ways Scouts can lead sessions and teach.
From Scoutmastercg.com Contributor Larry Gieger