Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

LNT Trainers Course

My experiences in LNT Trainers course are varied, some great and some OK.

First let's start with why. You are a Master Educator.
Second I am not able to in one post teach you everything I have learned, I am only going to be able to give you my experience and my opinions.
Third get a copy of the Trainers Course guidelines from LNT.org, if you can't find your copy.
Fourth please make the choice that you are going to do everything.

Create a great one page flyer;
  • must be able to be .pdf
  • must be able to be loaded quickly on website
  • must contain the basic information
  • When, where, what time does it start and end, How much (more on that later)
  • like who is the course for.
  • Yes, then you have better had experience in running a council or district event and know every detail that is involved in this. A great resource I used is at www.dacbsa.org/forms-BSA/BSA_Camporee_Guide_pamphlet.PDF, while this is used for Camporees it provides the basis of planning an event for the BSA. Then you are going to have to create a budget, get it to your Council/District Volunteer Camping or Training Chair, they are going to have to submit it to the District Executive for approval. Remember all council activities must withhold a portion of the fees collected (typically 15% to go directly to the council), and you must at least break even. Obtain a reservation to use the council facilities. Submit your flyer for approval for your council website, and for distribution to scouters (this will cost money and you need to budget for it). Expect resistance.
  • No, here is how I have successfully hosted an event without the council assistance. First obtain a reservation for your troop/crew to use the council facilities as a unit activity. Get your District Committee involved, let your District Training Chair and District Executive know that you be will hosting this event, get them to buy into it. In my experience this is easy, especially if you serve on a District Committee. Contact the Ranger at the scout camp let him know exactly what you will be doing and why. This is a great opportunity to introduce the Ranger to Leave No Trace and it's principals. And you though the Ranger knew about LNT?
Planning
Who are you expecting to attend this course? You had better be clear to yourself on who is going to show up. You noticed I was very specific;

All Order of the Arrow Troop Representatives, Adults Scouters, Camp Staff, Scouts 14+ and Venturers


Now I know who I want to attend I need to go after them. Promote, Promote and Promote. Yes you need to go after them, they are not going to come to you. You must make yourself known and that Leave No Trace is your passion. Get out there to every round table you can, talk to every Scoutmaster, get them to send at least on if not two scouts. This works exceptionally well if the troop or crew is going to Philmont on a trek, sell then that they need to have this training for their Philmont crew. I personally like to get older Scouts out. I firmly believe they are the ones that will spread the word not adults. Every scout I have trained as a LNT Trainer has, gone back and trained his troop, has ran awareness classes and demonstrations at local nature centers, some have taught at summer camps. You need to volunteer to do the conservation project at your local Wood Badge, most of the staff I have met do not like this. You can do an in depth presentation of Leave No Trace and the second week a simple project, and drive home the impact of that project. Personally I like wood duck houses, they are simple to build and install, but they require thought and planning as to where and how they should be placed, but more importantly you can really raise ethical questions about their use.

How much? After a great deal of thought and discussion with Charlie Thorpe, my opinion is as little as possible. Let the participant buy their own books and materials. Create a list of items that you want to sell (non profit), and hand this out when the course starts. This means that you will have to carry an inventory. Or distribute the order list in advance if you have enough registered participants. Please do not count on having early registered participants, it is not worth the disappointment. Expect people to just show up. This means you need to be clear in your flyer what the participants will be doing ie: sleeping outside!

Location: Find a location you can use for free (not in our council). Remember they need to practice the skills, so you need to scout out a suitable location where you can educate, demonstrate, guide, and let them experience their new found skills.

Food again be specific;
"does not include food (participants must bring their own food for the entire weekend)"
I don't like this, I much prefer to have food available and use the time preparing food for review and fellowship. I like the "clam bake" type dinner on Saturday night. So you will need to work on what works for you and your course. However you will need to work out how to pay for the costs. Either way they need to know what to expect before they arrive.

Should you let the participant know what they will be teaching?
From my experience for youth yes, they need time to digest what they will be teaching, they need props, they need time to rehearse, they need to gain confidence in advance. For the adults I want them to be able to fill in for the the principals that have not been assigned yet.

Ok you haave got all the aforementioned done, now what? Get yourself a copy of "Venturing Flintlock LNT". You are going to use this as you guide on how to schedule your trainers course. This is simple, easy read and follow. It does work I have been using this format on all of my courses since I obtained a copy.

Now what is not written down is how they need to teach others, they need to see how you and the other participants do, this will add greatly to everyone's experience. I strongly suggest that you make notes of all of your personal "Leave No Trace" experiences and write them down. Making your course have your personal experiences will motivate others to share theirs.

Now the challenges I have overcome with a council, first what is Leave No Trace? Can you believe that was the question time and time again I faced early on. Then it was we all practice conservation, why do we need LNT. Conservation? This came from a council that despite the abundance of natural resources available they have never had a conservation committee. One person used to be a Hornaday adviser, one did nature trail brochures, one even a Master Educator.
What I did is not quit, I made LNT and conservation my passion. I attended every council committee meeting I could, very time I could reference Leave No Trace or conservation I did. I created a proposal to start a conservation committee, which for years went on deaf ears until finally I got a copy on the Scout Executive desk, then things started to happen. I even asked permission from my Scout Executive to wear the Leave No Trace Master Educator Interpretor strip and received approval.

The
BSA Leave No Trace Task Force has rolled out the "program" to every council, I inquired about this to several Scouting Professionals in our council and I found one that actually received the information and gave me the name of who he gave the information to. I have attempted contact with this person to at the very least see the information and so far I have met with no success.

Don't expect cooperation, expect assistance form those that have an interest. One final point from my experience you are going to bite off more than you can possibly chew by being highly visible. I have made that mistake and had to step back to keep the promises I have made.

Your not done yet, you need to submit your Training Course roster to the center at:
http://lnt.org/training/rostersubmissions.php