First Instructor Training Workshop since NRA's application process goes online
Fairfax, Virginia - For all of those NRA Training Counselors out there, you know the drill. You post a class on NRAInstructors.org, reserve some range time and hold a class. Then there's the tricky part — submitting paperwork. Usually that means mailing things here to NRA Headquarters. That could take a while to process. No more.
Now all instructor certification will be submitted online. For NRA members, that means you'll receive your accreditation within 24 hours of your instructor submitting the information. For non-members, there may be up to a two week wait. Either way, things are going to speed up. Considerably.
"It's a question of man hours," said Mark Richardson, NRA's instructor program coordinator. "The old forms took a long time to get through. Now we can practically accredit our new instructors overnight. That's just what we plan on doing with the Boy Scout counselors coming in next weekend."
Two years ago, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) required that a Certified Range Safety Officer be present during every live fire event. Last year, they added a Certified Instructor requirement. Those classes can be expensive. Most who go through the program become full time instructors. In others words, it is how they make their living. That is not the case with the Boy Scouts counselors. They're all volunteers.
"Everyone has different overhead," Richardson explained. "One guy can train out of his gun club where he doesn't have to rent a class room or pay for range time. But there are plenty of instructors out there who have to go find a class room, rent it and pay for range time. That's something that is usually added into the tuition."
But the Boy Scout counselors can't recoup that money by teaching the general public, they're just teaching scouts. You can't make money going that route.
That's why Richardson decided it was time to step up to the plate.
"Mark Belli of NRA Youth Programs, our BSA Liaison, and I have been taking experienced BSA instructors and putting them through these workshops. Our goal is to have at least two Training Counselors with end up on each and every council. That way they can handle their own in-house training without the usual financial burden."
Next weekend, prospective Boy Scout Training Instructor volunteers from Virginia, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas will be here at NRA Headquarters to go through the workshop. Good for two years, each will become masters of NRA's policies, procedures and methodologies. But taking the class and passing the tests (one test for Basic Instructor Training and one test for the discipline you wish to teach) doesn't ensure Instructorship. You have to demonstrate teaching skills too.
"They have to show that they can operate in front of a classroom," said Richardson. "We look at their public speaking skills, presentation skills, ability to follow the course outline, effective use of total participant involvement, inclusion of training aids, etc... "
This will be the first Boy Scout focused workshop since the online application process went live. With any luck, Richardson and Belli will be able to add everyone's name to the online list. The sooner the better.