LDS Boy Scouting

Training for LDS Boy Scout Leaders


Adult Training

President Monson observed that to be a successful leader you had to be mindful of the four “T’s” – Testimony, Time, Tenure and Training. This chapter deals with the cornucopia of training that is available to you as an adult youth leader. Your council’s web page will have training tabs that will describe to you the training, tell you the dates it is being offered and whether it is available on line. In the lower left corner of the web site is a link to the national training page that has even more training. That page, however, will ask you for a user name and pass code. Your user name is your first and last name and your pass code is the number on your membership card. If you lost your card, call your council office; they have the number in the computer.

Preliminary Training

First, there is “Fast Start”. Fast Start training consists of a short 30 minute or less video. Fast Start training is available on the web at Just tab down to the training site and you will find fast start for Boy Scouts and Venturing. There is a VHS tape available for Varsity training at Council Headquarters.

Second, there is Youth Protection Training. Again this available on the council’s web site, the national learning center and is offered live at Round Table.

Third, there is New Leader Essentials. New Leader Essentials is an introductory session that highlights the values, aims, history, funding, and methods of Scouting. It addresses how these aims and methods are reached in an age-appropriate style within Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing. Videos, discussions, and hands-on reinforcement are presented during the 90-minute training session. Ideally, all unit-based volunteers—Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Commissioners, Committee Members and Venturing leaders—take this session at the same time, so they understand that they are all striving for the same results with the youth they serve. Each leader completes New Leader Essentials training only once. While we expect that some day this course will also on the internet, for now you must go to your council’s web page and find out when it will be offered. Also, if there is enough interest among units of the Church, your Stake Young Men’s Presidency can arrange training on a Stake wide basis.

Intermediate Training

Roundtable. Hosted monthly in each district, this meeting provides information updates and theme or merit badge based program ideas. This monthly district in-service meeting is designed to provide information of upcoming events and hands-on how-to training on many subjects. In conjunction with Roundtables: Rally Training, Pop Corn Sales Training, and Re-Charter Training – Hosted by the districts at December Roundtables, this training offers tips about completing that dreaded paperwork.

Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training. A one-day training session for Scoutmasters and their assistants. This training covers advancement, patrol method, outdoor program and program planning.

Troop Committee Challenge. For all Troop Committee Members and the Chairperson. At this three-hour training the committee learns who has responsibility for various tasks and how to work together within the group. This training is also available from the National Learning Center on line

Outdoor Leader Skills Course. Outdoor Leader Skills Course will provide leaders with the basic outdoor skills information needed to start a program right. The course is the required outdoor training for all Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and Varsity Scout coaches and assistant coaches. The skills taught are based on the outdoor skills found in The Boy Scout Handbook. The course is also ideal for Venturing leaders because it focuses on skills that build confidence and competence in leaders conducting outdoor camping experiences. This course is offered twice a year in May and again in October. You must have had essentials and specific training in Scouting of Varsity Scouting to attend. The dates are on the Council’s web site. BALOO – Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation – An introduction to camping for leaders in the Cub Scout and EYOS program.

Commissioner Specific Training. This is a course for both Unit Commissioners and Chartered Organization Representatives. It is offered periodically through the year and the dates can be found on the Council’s web site. Commissioner’s Conference and Council Leadership Training is available for members of the Bishoprics and Stake Leadership.

Varsity Leader Specific Training. This training introduces the adult leader to training to be a Varsity Coach for boys 14 to 15 years old. Varsity is a little understood program in the Church. This training is offered once a year and it promises to unlock the mystery of a program that you need for boys you think they are too old for scouting. This is a one day session.

Venture Specific Training. This is one day training session for Venture Crew Leaders and their Assistants. This program explores the tremendous breath in the Venturing program and the special challenges and needs of teenagers. The dates for this training can be found on the Council’s web page. This is a one day session

The chart bellow shows the minimum requirements to be a trained leader. If you take Youth Protection Training, Scouting Essential, the Specifics Course for your calling and the out door skills course (if you are a Scout or Varsity Leader) you are now basic trained and eligible to go Wood Bade; and, if there are two basic trained leaders in your unit, your unit is well on its way to being a nationally recognized quality unit. But, the training does not stop here.




Out Door

Youth Protection





Yes (available online)
Varsity Coach




Yes (available online)
Venture Advisor



Powder Horn Optional Yes (available online)
Committee Member




Yes (available online)




Yes (available online)

Additional Training

In Scouting training is ongoing. During the Spring, Autumn and Winter Quarter Roundtable offers training in discreet areas. In addition, every November the North East Council as a council training day that offers a lot of tips to scout leaders. Finally, every December in the Northeast Council is a Commissioner Conference which makes a real effort to explain how to make your unit achieve scouting’s goals.

Council Training Day (Cub Scout Pow Wow) – Timely and topical, hands-on workshops for all programs – as well as a series of basic classes available in this day long program. This is a one-day event, usually on a Saturday in the fall, where Scout leaders take a variety of interesting and informative classes that will help them to better provide the benefits of the program to the Scouts in their wards.

Powder Horn. This is an outdoor course that is offered just for Venture Crew Advisors. It is not normally offered at the council level, but offered at a regional facility. It is the advanced outdoor skill training for leaders of Venture Age Boys.

Safe Swim Defense. Before a BSA group may engage in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum of one adult leader must complete Safe Swim Defense training, have a commitment card (No. 34243) with them, and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan. This training is also available on line at the National Learning Center

Safety Afloat. Safety Afloat has been developed to promote boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat. Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water (canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, tube, or other craft), adult leaders for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training, No. 34159C, have a commitment card, No. 34242A, with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat. This training is available on line at the National Learning Center.

Climb on Safely. Climb On Safely is the Boy Scouts of America’s recommended procedure for organizing BSA climbing/rappelling activities at a natural site or a specifically designed facility such as a climbing wall or tower.

OKPIK- Training for cold weather activities. OKPIK (ook’pick) provides state-of the-art training, which instills leader confidence (both youth and adult) when taking groups into a cold weather environment and supports a year-around camping program. The course consists of three classroom periods and an outdoor practical session.

Wood Badge. Wood Badge is the advanced leadership-training course of the Boy Scouts of America. This course is designed for any leader (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity or Venturer) who has completed their respective basic training course and wants to further advance their leadership skills. Wood Badge is a two-weekend course of practical instruction and is completed when the participant finishes a “ticket” (a plan to put their training into action.) Wood Badge is an excellent training course and will truly enhance the skills of any leader. Wood Badge is offered once a year. The course involves 5 ½ days of field work and a ticket containing a list of project that can take up to 18 months to complete. When you have Wood Badge Training you are the ideal scout leader.

University of Scouting (Lord Baden-Powell University). This training is offered every March and is sponsored by a consortium of councils including both Black Hawk and Northeast Illinois Council. It offers classes on scouting skills and advancement, District Committee Administration; Commissioner Science, how to be a leader and handle teenage boys and much, much more. The BP University offers degrees for both Commissioner Science and District Administration.

Philmont Scout Ranch Training Center. This training is the top of the line and is by invitation only. The most important Philmont Training for us is the LDS Relationships course that is taught by General Authorities during a one week period. The course is offered twice per summer. This is the course that really explains the connection between the Priesthood and Scouting. Stake Presidencies and Stake Young Men Presidencies have first priority.

An excerpt from the BSA’s Annual Report reminds us that it takes a continuing training effort to prepare our youth to make ethical choices over their lifetimes…

“It takes more than merit badges, handbooks, and uniforms for Boy Scout councils across America to have successful Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews. It’s the people on the front line—council and district volunteers and unit-serving executives—who make the real difference in bringing the quality program of the Boy Scouts of America to the youth of our nation.“






Fast Start Training

Introduction to Scouting programs designed to get the program up and running as quickly as possible

All leaders view the training either prior to accepting the calling or as soon as possible afterwards.

Program specific (Cub Scout, Troop, Varsity, Venture) / 20 minutes

on-line from the Council’s web site or on tape/DVD


Welcomes leader and answers questions about the program and provides unit specific details

All leaders should be contacted as soon as they are sustained or asked to fill a BSA position

Unit Specific / Length depends on the leaders experience

Unit (Pack, EYOS, Troop, Team, or Post)

BSA Youth Protection

Discuss the issue of child abuse and a leader’s responsibility in assuring that abuse does not occur and reporting abuse

All leaders who work with youth – two versions are available on-line:

* Pack/Troop

* Venturing

Required once. Recommended every two years / Less than one hour

On-line or taught by BSA district trainers

New Leader Essentials

Introductory session that highlights the values, aims, history, funding, and methods of Scouting

All leaders as soon as possible after called to a BSA position

Required once – covers all Scout positions / 90 minutes

Unit w/ Pack Trainer, District / Council

Leader Specific

Courses focus upon the specific role a leader has when working in Scouting

Cub Scout Den Leader
Cub Scout Webelos Leader
Cub Scout Cubmaster
Cub Scout Committee
Troop Committee
Varsity Leader
Venturer Leader
District Committee

Required once for specific position. When position changes Leader Specific Training for the new position is required. Shorter versions of training may be available for individuals who previously attended Leader Specific Training / Four hours

Unit w/ Pack Trainer, District / Council

Troop Committee Challenge

Leader Specific Training for committee members

Troop/Team Committee members

Required once / 3 Hours

District / Council

Outdoor Leader Skills

Builds skills with the Leave No Trace emphasis of our Outdoor Code

Troop/Team/Venturer leaders prior to participating in outdoor activities

Required once / 2 days & 2 nights

District / Council


Provides timely information updates and theme / merit badge based program ideas

Unit Leaders and assistants

Pack – Den Leaders, Webelos Leaders, Cubmaster, Trainer

Troop – Scoutmaster

Varsity – Coach

Venturer – Adviser

Committee Chair and Committee Members attend Kickoff and when topics relate to their position

Monthly / 1 ½ hours


Council Training Day / PowWow

Timely and topical, hands-on workshops for all programs

All Unit Leaders (Previously for Pack Leaders but expanded to cover Troop/ Team/Venturer topics)

Annually / 1 day


Commissioner’s Conference

Unit Commissioner responsibilities and role in maintaining quality units

Unit Commissioners / Assistance District Commissioners

Annually / 3 hours


District / Council Leadership Training

Responsibilities of District and Council committee members

District and Council leaders

Annually / 3 hours


University of Scouting / Lord Baden-Powell University

Academic approach in examining the various aspects of adult leadership in Scouting. Classroom settings include more instruction and discussion vs. hands-on activities.

Commissioners, District Committee Members; All Leaders are welcomed; Review training provided and supplement Council training.

Topics such as: Risk management, Public Affairs, Cyber Scouting, Dealing with difficult children.

Annually / 2 days


Trainer Development Conference

Presentation techniques for trainers and Roundtable staff

Pack Trainers; Stake Primary Presidency

Annually / 4 hours


Wood Badge

Based on recognized leadership principles, the course prepares and enhances a leader’s ability to provide the needed adult leadership in Scouting

Stake and Ward Leadership, Unit adults in a leadership position

Annually / 2 weekends

Council (Region)


Advance training for District and Council leaders

By invitation



Little Philmont

BSA programs as a resource to help achieve Primary and Aaronic Priesthood purposes

Stake and Ward leaders involved in Scouting

As needed



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