Trained Leaders

It is said that “Every scout deserves a trained leader” but what does it take for a leader to be considered “trained”? Well, that varies as much as the roles that leaders fill in scouting.

What defines a “trained leader”?

Every position that you can fill in Scouting has with it a set of training that must be completed to be considered “trained”, which allows you to wear the Trained patch on your uniform for the role represented on the position patch on your sleeve. The trusted source for what is required for each position is That site has a lot of information on it so here is a direct link to the PDF document that lists what is required:

The common training that is required for all registered leaders in the BSA is Youth Protection Training (YPT). That training is now the same for all of the BSA programs and is valid for 2 years from the date of completion. Youth Protection Training can be taken online at

Now that I’m a “trained leader”, am I done with training?

Being a trained leader is the first step into the world of learning how to execute the BSA program to the fullest. While being a trained leader is the minimum requirements for serving in a role, there are many other training opportunities that will help you learn more about how to present the Scouting program.

General Scouting

BSA Podcasts

The BSA produces two monthly audio podcasts that provide information on topics of interest to Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders. You can find more info about both podcasts at or search for “Boy Scouts of America” in your favorite podcast app.

Powder Horn

Open to both registered adults and youth who are at least 13 and have completed the 8th grade, Powder Horn is a hands-on resource management course designed to give you the contacts and tools necessary to conduct an awesome high-adventure program in your troop, team, crew, or ship.

Wood Badge

Wood Badge is an advanced, national leadership course open only to Scouting volunteers and professionals.  Scouters from Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Explorers, and district and council Scouters all are welcome and belong here. Find out more info at

Trainer’s EDGE

While the Trainer’s EDGE is a required train-the-trainer course for Wood Badge and NYLT staffs, it is also for other trainers wishing to enhance their training and presentation skills.

Cub Scouts

Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation

This one-and-a-half day course is designed as an introduction to the Cub Scout outdoor program for leaders interested in adding a camping component to their Pack activities. BALOO training consists of an online pre-requisite component in addition to an overnight hands on practical. BSA’s Cub Scout level camping policies will be taught along with the discovery of the necessary tools to help units carry our a successful camping experience. Completion of this course is mandatory for a MINIMUM OF ONE adult on a Pack overnighter.

Training FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions from the realm of training the BSA:

  1. Is Youth Protection required and mandatory for all adult volunteers?

Yes.  All adult volunteers are required to complete Youth Protection training before they start as a volunteer, and every two years thereafter.  By October 1, 2018, all new and currently registered leaders will be required to complete the updated training.  The enhanced and updated content will allow leaders and councils to comply with all current legal requirements.  While this may be inconvenient for some, it reflects the BSA’s commitment to the safety of all youth

  • New Leaders are required to take Youth Protection Training prior to completing the registration process.
  • Units cannot re-charter unless all unit leaders have completed the new YPT within two years.
  • Adult Youth Protection Training is required for adult program participants 18 years or older. Adult program participant (Venturing, Order of the Arrow, Exploring) must complete adult Youth Protection Training before submitting their adult application.
  1. What are the BSA youth Protection?

The BSA strives to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures, which include the following safeguards to serve as barriers to abuse.

  • Ongoing youth protection education for all volunteers, parents and Scouts.
  • A formal selection and screen process for adult leaders and staff that includes criminal background checks.
  • A volunteer Screening Database system to prevent the registration of individuals who do not meet the BSA’s standards due to know or suspected abuse or misconduct inside or outside the organization.

Requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all time.

Youth protection begins with you.  All units, adult leaders, and youth members have responsibility to enforce youth protection program policies.  Our education and training programs are specifically designed to teach Scouts, parents, and adult volunteers to recognize, respond, and report abuse-in and out of Scouting.

  1. Why is the BSA updating its Youth Protection policy?

The BSA constantly evaluates and reinvests resources where needed to strengthen our policies and ensure they are headed of or in line with society’s knowledge of abuse and best practices for prevention.  We also regularly consult with survivors, expert from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other relevant fields.

  1. I’ve been in Scouting since I was a youth, why do I need to go to training?

Many of our Scouters have years of experience and we value their knowledge.  We invite them to join our training teams.  Unfortunately, about half of the direct contact leaders in the district have not completed their required position training.  Having 100% trained leaders is the best way to achieve the highest quality program and Scouting experience which our youth deserve. Additionally, from a risk management standpoint, given the nature of what we do in Scouting and the outdoor environment in which we take both our youth members and our adult volunteers, documented trained leaders are absolutely necessary in order to protect our volunteers, the Greater Alabama Council and the Boy Scouts of America from exposure to unwarranted legal liability actions.

  1. I took training years ago but it doesn’t show on my record. Do I have to take it again?

Over the years training courses and their names have changed.  If you have a training certificate or other information about the training you had such as year, name of the course, place and instructor, you could be given credit for the course.  Contact your Unit Commissioner or District Training Chair.

  1. How will I know if I need to do training and which courses to take?

Your Unit Program District Executive, Unit Commissioner, and District Training Chair will work together to give a training report to your unit committee chair who will let you know what training you need to complete.  Some courses are available online at where you took your Youth Protection Training and others are “live” courses. The “Live” course calendar is posted on our council website or on our district website at . You can also download our “What Makes a Trained Leader” syllabus and see what course you need to take based on your Scouting position.

  1. What if I can’t attend the training course I need to be “Trained”? What is my next option?

The council and districts will be providing training courses multiple times throughout the year.  As mentioned above, several of the courses are available online in “My Dashboard” where you took your online Youth Protection Training through In some cases, you can request your District Training Team to bring the necessary training directly to your unit. You will have ample opportunities to complete your training requirements and you can take the training in any district or council.  Summer camps often offer required training as well.  If you take training at a summer camp or out of council, be sure to send a copy of your training certificate to council offices to update your records.

  1. Who are Direct Contact Leaders?

Direct Contact Leaders are those who have face-to-face interactions with youth.  They include Cubmasters, Asst. Cubmasters, Den Leaders, Asst. Den Leaders, Scoutmasters, Asst. Scoutmasters, Venture Crew Advisors and Asst. Advisors, and Sea Scout Advisors.

  1. Do Indirect Contact Leaders need training too?

Yes, all registered leaders need to have the required training for their positions. We encourage all Indirect Contact Leaders to complete their training as soon as possible, most of which is available online at

  1. I’m currently trained as a Webelos Den Leader but plan on registering as an Asst. Scoutmaster when my son joins a troop. Do I need training?

Yes.  Even if you are trained in your current position, you will need to complete the training for any new position that you assume.  Asst. Scoutmasters require IOLS in addition to the specific training for the role of Asst. Scoutmaster.

  1. What is IOLS Training?

IOLS is Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skill.   IOLS is a two days program that provides Scouter with the confidence to take youth into the outdoors.  Specifically, this hands-on-program gives adult leaders a practical introduction to the patrol method of a boy-led-troop by teaching many of the practical outdoor skills they need to lead Scouts in the out-of-doors.  In addition, the teaching methods, activities, and games model the variety of teaching used in effective and engaging Scouting programs.  The skills sessions presented in IOLS closely follow the Boy Scout Handbook, trainers can be sure new leaders are proficient in many of the basic outdoors skills through First Class rank, and gain exposure to the patrol method and numerous teaching methods and learning games.

  1. What is a BALOO Training?

BALOO is Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation.  This is a two day program designed as introduction to the Cub Scout outdoor program for those leaders who are interested in adding a camping component to their pack activities.  BALOO is an instructor-led course which is conducted at the District and Council level.  BSA’s Cub Scout level camping policies will be taught along with necessary tools to help units carry out successful camping experience.

  1. Whose responsibility is it to keep track of training records and make sure all training is completed and up to date?

Ultimately, it’s up to the Unit Key Leadership team and the individual leader to be responsible for tracking required training and making sure that Youth Protection Training is updated every two years.  Unit Commissioners and District Training Chairs can access online training records to assist in this.  Official training record validation is located in the Training Manager in, and each unit should have a designated member of the unit committee (Training Coordinator), whose responsibility it is to keep the records up to date. As an individual volunteer, you can access your entire training record in “My Dashboard” in where you took your Youth Protection Training. In doing so, make sure you have linked your account to your membership number (located on your membership card) and to the Greater Alabama Council (#001).


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