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Preparing for IOLS

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#21 meyerc13


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Posted 18 April 2016 - 10:34 AM

You can take the IOLS, which is for Boy Scout Leaders, and with the advance knowledge of your Trainer, get credit for BALOO, too.   The IOLS is BALOO with more stuff. Lots more stuff.   The trainer, if he/she is knowledgeable, can give you the "Cub Philosophy" part, too, and presto!  Double credit!  BALOO and IOLS for later in your Scout career!


I've heard of some Districts and Councils doing it this way, but I don't agree that IOLS covers everything that a good BALOO program covers.  BALOO in our Council focuses heavily on planning a Cub Scout campout (including outdoor games, nature hikes, etc.), differences in gear (Boy Scout camping gear suggestions are different than Cub Scout camping because the level of intensity is different), planning a campfire program, and other useful things such as alternate methods of cooking (reflector ovens, foil packet meals, etc.).  It's a lot more about how to make the campout Fun, than it is about how to camp like a Scout.  While there is some overlap between the two, from what I've seen BALOO offers at least a half a day of material that wouldn't be covered in the other course.

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Yours in Scouting,


Chris Meyer


Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner 2015-Present

Lion Guide 2016-Present

Cubmaster 2013-2016

Father of a Boy Scout 2016-Present


#22 blw2


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Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:58 PM

Agreed....at least in theory BALOO's focus is different.... teaching different rules and with a different purpose.

I still want to half chuckle when i think about my BALOO course.  Most of the students could have taught the class too..... silly requirements...

The discussions about rules, tour permits, and such were the most value, except to say many of the students knew more about those processes.... and it was really more of a debate about how silly it all is.

I can't comment on IOLS yet, since I have yet to find a local course without a personal conflict....  Not required for my present position so I'm not scrambling for it though...


My suggestions to the OP....

Spend a lot of time NOW getting more up to speed with how a troop operates... or should operate.

....really learn what the patrol method is and how the boy lead concept fits into it.

& Read Baden Powell's Aides to Scoutmastership to understand the basis for a lot of this stuff.

Spend time at places like this forum, scoutmastercg.com, etc....


My experience was ADL, ACM, CM, then back to ADL to round out my son's 2nd year of WEBELOS..... all the while I supported the DL as best I could, and often acted as the "experience" since I spent much more time reading and getting up to speed on BSA and the program....

It wasn't until that last partial year that I really started digging into this troop level stuff though, and that is a regret!

In hind sight, I really wish that we would have run the den more like a proper patrol.  Regardless of what the program says or requires, that in my opinion should be the primary focus during WEBELOS.  It would help train the scouts and the parents as well as to how things SHOULD function...

oh, and I think a book by Clarke Green should be required reading.... "So Far So Good"... to help a person in your position better understand all of this.

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#23 tnmule20


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Posted 02 May 2016 - 08:49 PM



Well OLS was this past weekend and it was great.  I was in a good patrol with some great people.  We arrived at Boxwell Reservation around 5:30 on Friday and had an immediate pack shakedown.  Our Patrol Guide let us know what we didn't need and we left it in the truck.  We then all had a short hike to Camp Beany Elam where we picked up our patrol gear and our rations for the weekend.  The patrol gear consisted of a bear bag, bear bag rope, oops bag, oops bag rope, and a dining fly.  After we divided up the gear and food and got it in our packs we walked down to our patrol campsite.  As a patrol we put all the food and smellables into the bear bag and put it up in a tree.  Then we put up the dining fly and lastly we set up our individual tents.  Friday night we had a dutch oven dinner that all the Leaders had prepared and it was good.  After dinner we had some presentations and then to bed.  Saturday morning down came the bear bag and we ate breakfast.  Broke camp and packed everything up.  All day Saturday we had training classes.  In map and compass we made sand maps.  First aid was split in two, Group A went into the woods looking for victims(real Boy Scouts from Troop 217) of a plane crash in various states of injury.  We assessed and assisted the injured and transported them to a central location.  Group B learned about AED's and general first aid then the groups switched.  We learned about water purification and all the ways to to that.  We learned about camp stoves and one pot cooking.  We had a nature hike.  We had a knots class and a lashing class. That afternoon we put our packs on and hiked to Camp Craig and camped by Old Hickory Lake.  It was a beautiful spot.  We pitched camp and started cooking dinner but our dragonfly stove wasn't running right so it took a while but we got it done.  My patrol was Service Patrol that night and we had to build the campfire. Did I mention that it had rained and the wood was wet.  We found what wood we could and luckily I had left my fire starters in my pack and we got a good fire going even thought it was wet.  We had skits and songs around the campfire and a cracker barrel after that.  By 9pm the Troop was pretty beat and most went to bed.  Around 11:30 we had thunder, lighting, and heavy rain but we made it through.  Sunday morning we drop the bear bag and eat breakfast and then break camp.  We had a seminar about hiking gear and then for the hike back to Camp Beany Elam we had an orienteering challenge.  My patrol did alright finding the points but we didn't get them all within the allotted time.  Once back at Beany we dropped our packs and changed into Class A.  We had a Sunday service and then the closing ceremony where we got our OLS cards, our Totin Chip, and out TRAINED patch.  The Leaders of this course treat you as a Boy Scout for the weekend and as if you are preparing to go to Philmont for a 50 to 100 mile hike.  Other than the trouble with the stove, the snoring, and one of our Patrol Leaders letting the power go to their head we had a great time.  I had a great time and learned a lot.  I met some people I hope to stay in touch with.  Overall it was a positive experience.  Thanks to all of you that gave advice.

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#24 SSScout


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Posted 03 May 2016 - 08:37 AM

Tnmule20:  Mucho congrats.   Sounds like you got a good course.  Now, as they say,  "go and do ye likewise!"   The young lives you touch will be the better for it.


The torch is passed ...  

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#25 Hedgehog


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Posted 05 May 2016 - 06:50 AM

For example... starting a fire.  As a Scout, you get your tinder, kindling, etc. and start small.  As a non-Scout, apparently the method is take the biggest log you can find, and get out the blowtorch.


I still prefer Potasium Permaginate and Glycerin.  :eek:


It sounds like you're in the right frame of mind to enjoy this course. Just some words of warning:


Keep in mind that a given demonstration will be of what's in the book + what that person thinks is the best way to do it. So for example, a cub leader came back and busted on my tying the taught-line hitch wrongly. (Last hitch was counter-clockwise to the others going clockwise. Lays flatter and you can make pretty braids with the tag end.)

  • I said, "But, it's holding the line taught. And that's what it looked like in my book. (Minus the macrame.)"
  • She said, "That's not the BSA way. We can't sign-off on any boy who does it that way."

I'll spare you the remainder of the discussion. I later looked in Son #1's book and saw that his picture was different from the one in my handbook.


If you get the right Scouter, the conversation could turn into a long conversation where both of you demonstrate the different ways of tying different knots.  If you really want to have fun, track down Karl Fulves book "Self-Working Rope Magic."  Get the book and you can have hours of fun with a simple rope.


Did I mention that it had rained and the wood was wet.  We found what wood we could and luckily I had left my fire starters in my pack and we got a good fire going even thought it was wet.  


As I always tell my scouts, if it is wet on the outside, it is still dry on the inside.  Typically, I only get out the first part of the sentence before they complete it.  In my humble opinion, that is why you should have a large sheath knife... to be able to get to the inside.  I love my Ontario Ranger RD-7 bushcraft knife and my son loves his Becker BK-9.


Also, we always carry petroleum jelly covered cotton balls and a sparker -- they have never failed the boys in starting a fire.

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#26 SSScout


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Posted 05 May 2016 - 09:56 AM

Here in the Delta Quadrant, IOLS will commence in two days.

Rain will be gone by Friday evening, so the TV lady declaims.   We have done  the usual promoting, and in the past have had 20 or 30 folks participate and have a good rep.  This season, we have 6 signed up, ( from 8, two had work emergencies come up)  all from out of District.  Fearless Leader and I (Stout Minion) will give them the  benefit of our experience and inspiration. 

Fearless Leader tells me that First Aid has been eliminated from the official curriculum.   More time for knots and sanitation, I guess.    

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