Troop JLT Course Page One
By: Gary Malicki
Posted On: 2008-12-30
GETTING STARTED - Letter to our JLT candidates prior to the course:
WELCOME TO OUR JUNIOR LEADER TRAINING COURSE! These classes feature material from the Boy Scouts of America, JLT course outlines from various internet sources and outdoor tips from contemporary outdoor magazines like "Backpacker".
THERE ARE CERTAIN RULES BY WHICH WE PLAY THIS GAME WHICH YOU MUST FOLLOW:
THIS MAY SEEM LIKE AN ELEMENTARY IDEA BUT DON'T TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT THE PATROLS IN YOUR COURSE WILL COMMUNICATE 'AT WILL'...YOU HAVE TO TEACH THEM TO DO THAT:
THIS IS A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF OUR FIRST LEADERSHIP CLASS FROM THIS YEAR'S COURSE:
Our Troop meets in a school so we have the good fortune of having other areas of the building available to us. When we do training on a Scout meeting night we take the JLT candidates to a separate area to eliminate distractions.
We called out the names of the boys in the course and walked them (in silence) to a training room upstairs and lined them up. We have a home-made wooden stand (like a pole with various badges of offices of rank tacked to it with a piece of wood at the top where we light 3 candles for each session of training) The 3 flames represent the 3 points of the Scout Oath. We are lucky to have many assistant Scoutmasters, so myself, my training partner, the Scoutmaster and about 12 other assistant adult leaders and the SPL came into the room and encircled the candles and together we (the leaders) recited the Scout Oath and then all but myself & training partner exited the room silently. (the boys seemed really impressed by this and a really good atmosphere was created)
After the leaders left, I led the group in the recitation of the Scout Law (we open EVERY CLASS with that). I then asked for a group representative to help with a leadership exercise and gave them 30 seconds to choose one. I then gave the boy they chose a piece of paper that only HE can look at which read the following:
"A Simple Task"
We then reviewed what they learned from the exercise:
COMMUNICATION BY A GROUP LEADER / COMMUNICATION BY WAY OF READING INSTRUCTIONS / RELAYING DIRECTIONS TO A GROUP / WORKING TOGETHER TO ACCOMPLISH A TASK / HELPING EACH OTHER-This is the main theme & idea in Junior Leader Training.
We then had everyone in "Scout Arms" & a leadership prayer was read.
We then issued Patrol Flags-blank material attached to two long staves (they were expected to paint their flags accordingly)
Next we presented a short lecture on most of the basic concepts that they will learn in the course and presented a "Team-Building" exercise called "All Aboard" which is found in "Woods Wisdom". (This is a really great first one to do, It really gets them all involved and one of them inevitably emerges as leader suggestion the best way to do it).
Next we did a quick inspirational reading (like a Scoutmaster's minute) recited the Scout Law again and went over the next training date before dismissal.
So that's a typical class in our JLT course.
I'M A BIG BELIEVER IN THE 'REFLECTION PROCESS' WHICH I LIKE TO USE AFTER DOING A TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE WITH THE GROUP. THE FOLLOWING IS A NEAT ARTICLE & SOME TIPS ON DOING A GOOD REFLECTION:
Facilitate the Discussion
As a leader, avoid the temptation to talk about your own experiences. Reserve judgment about what the participants say to avoid criticizing them. Help the discussion get going, then. let the participants take over with limited guidance from you. If you describe what you saw, be sure your comments do not stop the participants from adding their own thoughts. Above all, be positive. Have fun with the activity and with the session.
Use Thought-Provoking Questions
Remember, reflecting on an activity should take no more than ten to fifteen minutes. The more you do it, the easier it becomes for both you and the participants. Remember that the value and the values of Scouting often lie beneath the surface. Reflection helps you ensure that these values come through to Scouting participants.
A Model for Reflection
Discuss what happened. Direct openended questions toward specific incidents. For example, you might ask, "Who took leadership? What did they do to make them a leader?" or "How did decisions get made?"
WHY THE SPECIAL RULES?
Two reasons. One, in order for you to absorb all of the material presented, you have to attend as many classes as possible. Since the course lasts all year, we understand that you may not be able to attend every class for one reason or another. It's important for you not to fall out of the loop. And two, YOU WERE SELECTED to attend the course and JLT, no doubt, will make you better Scouts. It doesn't hurt to maintain a higher level of discipline when we meet. Being involved in the course has ALREADY elevated your status with the Troop. Experience tells us that JLT makes a difference. Scouts who completed the course in the past perform better in certain situations than IF THEY WERE NOT trained. You will get a deeper understanding of what the BSA is all about
LEADERSHIP CONCEPTS THAT WILL RELATE TO THE TROOP AND YOUR LIFE.
A TYPICAL LESSON PLAN MAY LOOK LIKE THIS
RETENTION is so important!
One 'side-benefit' of doing an elborate course really does help retain Scouts in your Troop for longer periods of time. Another thing we've seen happen is that the first-year Scouts actually look forward to their second year because they know they'll be in the course. We've had the good fortune of creating a mystique about our course. When we go on a regular weekend campout, we house the Troop in a cabin and might reserve a lean-to or another smaller cabin exclusively for our JLT group. We then hold short (30-40 min.) leadership classes before bed. But the next morning, we may re-join the rest of the Troop before breakfast, singing perhaps, and the younger ones see this. They are wondering...where do they go? What's it like over there? This works for us and subsequently Scouts STAY in the Troop longer passing by that vulnerable period of time where many drop for a variety of reasons.
BEFORE YOU START THE COURSE
COMMENTARY ON TEACHING A JLT COURSE/WORKING WITH YOUTH
Let's say you're an adult Scouter dedicated to the ideals of the 'movement'. OK, now you've decided to teach Junior Leader Training.
As an adult, it's easy to have certain expectations from the group of boys you chose to be in your course. And why not? You are just used to things getting done, working out smoothly. When you work with adults you usually get the results you'd expect from the reliable ones you count on TO BE THERE TO HELP. But now you're working with kids in, what you hope to achieve, a controlled atmosphere.
You expect a lot from them because, after all, they are your future leaders. You must not forget that they are kids FIRST and not every task or class will be to your liking.
Some are smarter than others, some are lazy, some are Super Scouts and some day dream too much. DON'T LOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Think about your life. You're holding down a job, making a marriage work, paying bills, hoping your car starts in the morning and maybe taking care of little ones while the wife works...whatever. The biggest things that may be weighing on their minds is homework deadlines, beating the newest video game and "will she say yes" when I ask her out to the dance? These are real-life crisis situations in the lives of those you teach, unimportant to you but the whole world to them.
Try to never require any written work in your JLT course, they get enough of that in school. Offer them hand-outs on material covered but don't insist they read them only suggest. The ones who take the time to do that in their own private moments are the ones who will turn into your true leaders. GET TO KNOW THEM, FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THEM TICK, their favorite music, TV shows & movies. You can teach them about B-P's times, but we don't live in B-P's times.(A nice ice-breaker exercise is to go around the room at a class and have everyone "say something about themselves that you don't think anyone else knows"...you'd be surprised at what you can find out about what's on their minds).
STAY AS CONTEMPORARY AS POSSIBLE WHILE TEACHING THEM TRADITIONAL THINGS.
And one more thought, as suggested by a Scouter from our JLT E-mail group...
MAKE IT FUN...IT'S OK FOR ADULTS TO MAKE IT WORK BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND...MAKE IT FUN FOR THEM. "If You Build It They Will Come"!
Our JLT Training meets & exceeds National BSA standards. The 2 main differences between our program and a Council program is that you train over a period of months instead of all of it in a week. Also, you're doing it with Scouts that you know...and you will get to know each other a lot better.
OUR COURSE ALLOWS YOU TO CUSTOMIZE THE MATERIAL
TO FIT THE NEEDS OF YOUR TROOP
Good Luck-we hope you follow through to its conclusion. It'll make you think of Boy Scouting in a whole new light. (Here's another thing we tell our JLT candidates)-We encourage you to share your JLT experience with your parents but please don't discuss information about the course with younger Scouts who are not yet in the program. This will keep the material fresh and the mystique alive. Most of all HAVE FUN!