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  • Wood Badge Five Central Themes / 11 Leadership Skills

    The CD of the first 21st Century Woodbadge course I staffed was worried that it wasn't going to work.
    His idea of making sure it was going to work was to invite a lot of other guys who had been Scoutmaster for the course that the 21st Century course replaced.
    These guys were old school, hard core old course types.
    They had been passing on the 11 Leadership Skills for a very long time.
    1. Communicating
    2. Knowing and Using Resources
    3. Understanding the Characteristics and Needs of the Group and Its Members
    4. Planning
    5. Controlling Group Performance
    6. Effective Teaching
    7. Representing the Group
    8. Evaluating
    9. Sharing Leadership
    10. Counseling
    11. Setting the Example
    When faced with this new course and a new list with Five Central Themes, they were at first a little bamboozled!
    However once they got into the course and looked:
    1.Living the Values
    Values, Mission, and Vision
    Aims and Methods

    2.Bringing the Vision to Life
    Listening to Learn
    Giving and Receiving Feedback
    Valuing People and Leveraging Diversity
    Coaching and Mentoring

    3.Models for Success
    Team Development Model
    Situational Leadership

    4.Tools of the Trade
    Project Planning
    Problem Solving
    Managing Conflict
    Assessing Team Performance
    Managing Change
    Celebrating Team Success

    5.Leading to Make a Difference
    Leaving a Legacy
    Learning the Greatest Leadership Secret

    Many if not most of these old-timers were a little surprised and taken back at how much alike the two course were and how much they had in common.

    There were of course a lot of comments about the big differences in how the material was delivered and different people had different feeling about this.
    When you look at the list (Not the delivery!!) What changes do you see?
    What do you think is better?
    What is worse or missing?

  • #2

    In a world where many adults have had leadership and management courses in school or through their jibs, the element missing is skills. Many years ago when many scout leaders were in more rural settings, WB taught outdoor skills when they likely had little management skills. Now people have management skills but little out door skills so what does scouting teach - management of course! If the adult leaders do not possess a wealth of outdoor skills, then no amount of management skills will create a good scouting program.


    • #3
      Well of course you need both! I watch the struggles my son's troop goes through. We have a bunch of adults with above-average outdoor skills, who none the less, cannot seem to transmit to the boys either a high level of skill OR a clue as to the leadership stuff. It is not an uncommon thing to hear adults expressing disappointment in the troop's youth leadership, and/or in the skill level of the troop's senior scouts.

      You know why? Because many of the adults do not know how to work with youth, to coach and mentor. Because some do not understand that scouting is more than the sum of its parts. Because some don't know how to step back and let the boys do things and learn from their own experiences, rather than having some adult charge in and do it for them/tell them what to do. Because some treat youth leadership like puppets on strings, rather than as real, autonomous people capable of making decisions on their own if we'd only truly give them the tools, coach them a bit, and then get out of the way and let them do it.

      You're right, Wood Badge won't make you a better camper, or a better dutch oven cook, or better with knots. It could, conceivably, help you learn how to transmit those skills and others to the scouts.

      As for better skill training? Yes, we need that too, but no one course can be all things to all people.


      • #4

        I am very sympathetic to what you are saying and just read your vent on another thread. I will go out on a limb here because I feel that it is not that the adults in most troops do not know about having a boy led troop but that they really do not wish to relinquish control. It does not not take multiple days of training to be taught that the youth lead the program and that we guide them (sometimes loosely and sometimes more tightly). I just believe that too many adults don't believe in that portion of the program or just will not give up authority. They do not understand that the SM who says little is often more listened to and respected than the one barking orders. I am not sure that WB or any other course will fix that problem. This is a serious problem for many if not most troops that I have known.


        • #5
          Eamonn writes:

          What is worse or missing?

          The ability to perceive when something of value is missing.

          Eamonn writes:'

          What do you think is better?

          This is surprisingly easy to measure objectively for yourself.

          Simply prepare an "important Scouting research" questionnaire to be given at a local Roundtable, University of Scouting (UoS), or other setting in which participants are likely to welcome it.

          The questionnaire should ask which Wood Badge courses the person has taken (if any), how many years he or she has volunteered as an adult, what leadership courses he or she has taken for work, etc.. It should state that the answers to the questions should be based ONLY on the information read in this session.

          Have a talented speaker read the "Patrol Method" session from "SM & ASM specific training" exactly as it appears in the course outline. Do not add or subtract a single word.

          Stress again verbally that this test is about ONLY the information conveyed during this session.

          The questionnaire should have a number of "Leadership Development" style questions with "None of the above" as a possible answer for every question. Among all these leadership theory questions are "trick questions" mixed in to see who is able to perceive that something of value, both the Patrol Leader and the Patrol itself, is missing from the Patrol Method session.

          These trick questions would be along the lines of

          The Patrol Leader reports directly to
          a) The SPL,
          b) The ASPL,
          c) The Scoutmaster,
          d) None of the above

          When a Scout asks you a question, you should tell him to
          a) Ask his Patrol Leader,
          b) Ask his SPL,
          c) Ask his Scoutmaster
          d) None of the above

          A Patrol is:
          a) What a Troop is divided into
          b) The primary unit in the Boy Scout program
          c) A convenient work group for teaching leadership
          d) None of the above

          The ideal number of Scouts per Patrol is:
          a) 6
          b) 8
          c) 10
          d) None of the above

          And so on.

          The correct answer for all of these trick questions is, of course, "d) None of the above," because the Patrol Method session NEVER mentions a Patrol Leader, and the Patrol Method session NEVER mentions a Patrol (without insisting that it is the same thing as a Troop).

          My guess is that no person who has taken the new Wood Badge would perceive that the most valuable parts of the Patrol Method (the Patrol Leader and the Patrol itself) are missing from the Patrol Method session. In fact, if you could test 1,000 Course Directors I doubt if any of them would notice either.

          I do agree with Eamonn that there is not really much functional difference in the two Wood Badge courses. The percentage of participants who could perceive that the Patrol Leader is missing from the Patrol Method might be about the same.

          The problem seems to be leadership theory itself, not what brand it is.

          Most Wood Badge courses (at least in the past) separated the Patrols at close to the distance that Baden-Powell recommended (300 feet), but is there a holder of the Wood Badge in the entire United States who took that home with him to his own Troop? Probably not, and the reason I think is that no Course Director or SPL would ever point it out as important. That is because it does not illustrate some point of an abstract leadership theory. If only a small part of Wood Badge included "See how far your Patrols are spaced from each other? That is Baden-Powell's Patrol System. Try it with your Troop, if only once," then all this confusion about what is 'boy-led' would be gone.

          The same is true for the Patrol Hike and Patrol Overnight that Hillcourt added to Wood Badge. When I took Wood Badge our Patrol Hike was a treasure hunt that ended up at our Patrol's campsite for the night. We had no idea where the other Patrols were camped, because they were spread out over the entire range of the Council's largest camp. If only Wood Badge had spent 40 or 50 seconds the next day explaining "That Patrol Overnight that you did last night, well that is the Patrol Method. That is what Patrols do. Write that down."

          But as I remember the course, a Staffer would show up and challenge our Patrol to some activity. Then afterward he would sit in his folding chair and say something mysterious about one of the 11 Leadership Skills. I had memorized the 11 Skills before the course, so I knew what he was driving at, but my interest was in the physical stuff that Patrols do, not how it is an illustration of some theory.

          I don't remember which of the "11 Skills" the Patrol Overnight was supposed to represent. But rather than abstract theory, Wood Badge Patrol spacing and Wood Badge Patrol Overnights should be presented as actual widgets. Something real in the increasingly gray world of "21st Century Scouting."

          As I alluded to in the parent thread, magical thinking seems to be a result of leadership training in general, and not just a problem with the Wood Badge brand.

          Why is it that trained "leaders" can not perceive when something of value is missing? This correlation also appears to be about 100% in the corporate world, from which (depending on which way the wind blows) Wood Badge is said to be taken.

          According to recent reports, the global stock markets lost $30.1 trillion dollars in 2008. If we can assume that every corporate millionaire executive has taken a "leadership" course, then I wonder just how pathological leadership theory is. Why did nobody notice that his or her corporation's share of that 30.1 trillion dollars of value was not real?

          If we were able to conduct a brain-storming session in which leadership training was presented as a pathology, I suspect that peer-pressure would emerge as one of the contributing factors to the inability of leadership experts to notice when the most basic things are missing.

          What holder of the Wood Badge would ever dare mention that in his interviews the Chief Scout Executive cuts the Patrol Leader out of his examples of Scouting as just "sitting side by side with adults of character"?

          Another aspect of leadership theory as a pathology is the elevation of "values" and "ethics" over real things.

          Just when did corporations invent mission statements? My guess is that companies started to define their mission as "values" around the time that America stopped actually making stuff.

          The BSA's Congressional Charter defines our product as generated from teaching Scoutcraft the way it was practiced in 1916, but leadership experts seem to prefer a mission statement about "values" and "ethical choices" alone.

          If we were to examine the mission statements of all the failed corporations, I bet they all focused on "values" and "ethics" too.

          In a perfect world, corporate mission statements would be more like the BSA's Congressional Charter. They would talk about actual objective standards:

          "The mission of the XYZ Corporation is to import Widgets made to the following specifications...."



          • #6
            I took Wood Badge at Gilwell Park back in the early 1970's.

            The Training grounds as far as I know never moved they are in the same place as they were when the fist WB courses were held.
            The training grounds are not that big and don't cover that much of an area.
            I know that we didn't camp with each patrol 300 away from each of the other patrols.
            With some of the larger course hosted at Gilwell Park to try and do this would mean that a couple of Patrols would have camped in the Tea Shop in Chingford.

            I'm not sure how a thread about two courses can end up talking about a book that never was part of either course?


            • #7
              Eamonn writes:

              I took Wood Badge at Gilwell Park back in the early 1970's. I know that we didn't camp with each patrol 300 away from each of the other patrols.

              But you are aware that Baden-Powell suggested that Boy Scout Patrols should camp no closer than 300 feet. Gilwell Park was a donation and it was not perfect. However, Wood Badge in the United States seems to have commonly conformed to Baden-Powell's specifications.

              Eamonn writes:

              I'm not sure how a thread about two courses can end up talking about a book that never was part of either course?

              The course outline for position-specific training is certainly relevant because it is the justification for changing Wood Badge to meet the needs of Cub Scouts.

              Likewise, in most Councils the Staffers for these position-specific courses are usually holders of the Wood Badge. No holder of the Wood Badge seems able to perceive (or possibly to care) that the Patrol Leader is missing from the Patrol Method, and/or that the Patrol Method session defines Patrols as being the same as Troops.

              I have brought this up many times over the years in this and other forums, enough times for people to say that I always say the same things.

              It is not unreasonable to guess that at least 10,000 Scouters have read it.

              It is interesting that on a Website dedicated to the man commonly credited for the long-overdue creation of the Patrol Method in the United States, that no person has ever said, "Gee maybe the Patrol Leader should be part of the Patrol Method session."

              That is why Leadership Development is a pathology.



              • #8
                Before someone attends Wood Badge they should have completed the Specific Training's needed for the position that they hold.
                The Patrol Method is covered in the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training.
                The Patrol Method is used at the Introduction To Outdoor skills and at Wood Badge Courses.
                At Wood Badge there is a daily PLC meeting led by the SPL.

                I'm not sure what more you might want?


                • #9
                  Problem is that with the new WB21C Cub Scout leader and Venturing Leaders who don't do SM and SM Specifics and IOLS. So some folks get the patrol method for the first time at WB. And since WB is still considered by many as the epitome of training for Scouting, I've seen some folks NOT go through SM/ASM Specifics or IOLS becasue they are considered fully Trained by going through WB.

                  Grant you I have not been through either WB course, only the scout versions (Brownsea 22 and JLT) of the old course. but from what I've been told by very respected WB SMs of both courses, is that WB has lost some of the basic scouting skills and focuses more on leadership management. Grant you that is important, but one of thet things i've learned is to lead by example. Scouters need to know and master these scouting skills. While we may not be experts in everything, we need to know the basics. Also with the creation of Powderhorn, my take is that Powderhorn is where the Outing in Scouting and patrol method really come into play as it is advertised for both Venturing leaders and Scout leaders now. Further that new post WB course Philmont came up with and is shown in the recent SCOUTING also gives the impression that patrol method and the Outing in Scouting comes later.

                  Again these are my impressions. I do plan on taking WB when I can, but I am more interested in Powderhorn at this time.


                  • #10
                    Eamonn writes:

                    The Patrol Method is covered in the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training.

                    Read the course outline.

                    "Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training" uses the term "Patrol Method" to refer to adult leadership styles.


                    One of its examples of the "Patrol Method" is an adult telling random Scouts when it is time to put out the campfire. How can cutting their Patrol Leader out possibly be an example of the Patrol Method? That might be a rewarding opportunity for the adult to practice his or her awesome "leadership" skills, but in even the most adult-led Troop, the "Patrol Method" would mean that an adult would tell the Patrol Leader or SPL of those random Scouts when it is time to put out the campfire.

                    "The 'Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training' Patrol Method session NEVER mentions a Patrol Leader, and it NEVER uses the word 'Patrol' without insisting that a Patrol is the same as a Troop." The pathology of Leadership Development is that a holder of the Wood Badge might understand each of those words individually, but he or she can not understand the significance of the sentence.

                    Eamonn writes:

                    The Patrol Method is used at the Introduction To Outdoor skills and at Wood Badge Courses.

                    Read the course outline.

                    A Council can arrange the participants into Patrols if it wants, but that is not part of the official course. In fact on page 7 under "Training Techniques" it advises that the buddy system is the organizing principle for IOLS. Likewise the Course Evaluation form asks participants for feedback on the buddy system, not the Patrol Method.

                    Eamonn writes:

                    I'm not sure what more you might want?

                    The job description for "Patrol Leader" should be about Scoutcraft adventure rather than Wood Badge manager theory.



                    • #11
                      I'll admit that it's been some time since I presented Scoutmaster Training's.
                      Maybe some of the more active Trainers can help me out?
                      (My copies of the syllabuses are in the garage which is a mess thanks to a non-working fuel pump on a tractor!)
                      I have presented both Training's.
                      If my memory serves me right?
                      In the specific training the Methods of Scouting are covered, which does include the Patrol Method.

                      I do remember not being happy with the way the course material is set up and that the methods do seem to come near the end of the course.
                      I think (I don't know!) That there is some kind of expectation that most people attending have some idea of how Patrols are set up.
                      This course in very informational and doesn't go into any styles of leadership.
                      The videos are good and do cover the relationship between the SPL and the SM..
                      When I have presented this course, the participants are placed in groups when they arrive. While not in any way real Patrols. (At least to start with) The groups are Patrol sized. By the end of the day they do come up with a Patrol name and Patrol yell. The games and activities (Some are not in the syllabus, but you can only sit for so long!) Are done in these groups/patrols.
                      Before the participants leave,they are invited to sign up for the outdoor course which is as a rule presented soon after. Because the outdoor course is held at the Council primitive site which is normally used for Troop weekend Campouts, the Patrols are asked to work together on bringing tents. The other equipment is provided.
                      When they arrive back for the Outdoor Skills course; they from the get go (Flag ceremony on Friday Night) are in Patrols. Each patrol is assigned a guide who works with them going over the skills.
                      All the time they at the course they are in Patrols, they eat, sleep , cook and do th activities in Patrols.
                      One member of the Training Team is appointed SPL and this person is very much th go to guy for that weekend.
                      Just as in real Troops we have had problems with the Patrol Guide wanting to do too much and wanting to become a member of the Patrol -Rather than being a resource for the Patrol.
                      Some of the sessions are presented to the entire Troop, mainly because of man power and expertize.
                      But for the most part the entire weekend, the hikes and everything else is done as a Patrol.
                      While there isn't a sit down presentation (Thank God!) On the Patrol Method. I think that the participants get the message.
                      At Wood Badge, soon after the course starts the participants participate in a PLC meeting which is held with the SPL and the PL's meeting as they will do everyday, but this first meeting is held with everyone who isn't a PL observing.
                      The course is set up so as to be or look like three Troop meetings and a Troop weekend Campouts.
                      The second part of the course (The last 3 days) has the participants camping, cooking,and working as Patrols.
                      They get to use the skills they have hopefully picked up on the course to do a good and maybe even a better job.
                      While I don't think it adds very much to the course! Everyday as a Patrol they evaluate their performance as a Patrol.
                      The Troop Guide who on day one was hanging around like an old mother hen has (Or should have) backed off and is now leaving the Patrol to do more and more on their own.
                      Having been a Course Director /Scoutmaster for the course. I found that my job was mostly done before he course. Developing the staff. Once the course got under way the guy who had more to do and worked most closely with the Participants and the Patrols was the SPL.

                      I'm not sure how other Councils set up the trainings? I'd love to hear from people who have been involved or taken th trainings as to how things are done in their area.

                      I feel sure that no one expects people to learn all that there is to learn about Scouts, Scouting in two or three training courses. Heck I've been around for a while and am still learning and am still doing things wrong.
                      I do think however that sometimes we don't need a sit down session with a title to get the message.
                      A lot of the time we fall into doing what is right or fall out from doing what isn't right.
                      The methods are all good stuff.
                      But I see many of them as goals.
                      The guy who was my ACM went on to start a Troop with a group of Lads that were all Webelos Scouts who crossed over.
                      The Lads were young, the group was small and the leaders were all new to Boy Scouts.
                      A lot of the things we spend so much time talking about: All this youth led stuff and to some extent the Patrol method was somethings that they just were not ready for, the kids weren't ready and the adults weren't ready.
                      Sure they used the titles, they had PL's and held PLC meeting but it took time for everyone to grow into and understand how things are done (How the game is played?)
                      This Troop is now one of the better Troops in the area.
                      They don't do everything by the book, they still mess up, but they continue to look at what they are doing and look for ways to do a better job.
                      They have been to some of the Trainings, but they (We all do) lean from each other, they see what other Troops are doing.
                      Who knows maybe they one day will think that having Patrols camp 300 feet apart is the way to go?
                      What they don't need is anyone beating them up, telling them that this is the way and the only way.
                      You can bet that as soon as they seem to have got it right and are where they think they should be? The adults will move on and an entire new group of adults will come along seeing things in a slightly different light and these guys will try to do their best to bring the methods to where they think they should be.
                      This next group of guys will more than lightly be younger than the group they replace. Some might not have been born until the 1980's. They have been raised in a different age, do things a different way, see things differently. For us to tell them or keep n harping on about the good old days or how some old English Lord went about things a 100 years ago, is not going to help these new guys.
                      The youth they serve are a lot different than the kids that BP took to camp 100 years ago.
                      Sure give them the opportunities to play in the great outdoors, allow them to be a group of boys that camp and get into the same type of mischief that boys have got into for the past 100 years. There is an ad on TV that states that fun is never outdated.I think that it's true.
                      I also believe that for us to get to where we want to be with these Scouts (Which even if we use different words. - I might use ethical choices and maybe others have a different take on it?).
                      We have to be flexible and open minded.


                      • #12
                        Another thread hijacked. Sigh.

                        Lisa, I do agree with you. Scouting has room and need for both families of courses. People do not know/understand the outdoors anymore. There's plenty of room for training on outdoor cooking, on basic camping, backpacking, you name it. IOLS skims the surface at great speed.

                        We also have many adults who do not know how to work with other adults or to work with youth. We cannot support discovery learning for our youth program members if we don't have a clue about what right should look like. At the end of the day, that really is the educational method B-P wanted us to use, in modern terms: Discovery learning.


                        • #13
                          A, A, B, B. As a WB21C-er, how did I do?

                          There were a lot of nuiances in the course I missed. That the course is laid out in the seven parts of a troop meeting, for example. On the other hand, I serve on staff of the next course. Part of the staff training for that course was a debriefing on the earlier course comparing perspectives of the staffers and participants. None of the participants had caught these nuiances, so in the following course the troop guides spent a few minutes here and there discussing what had been presented and making sure the participants were connecting the dots. Guided self discovery is a great teaching method when it works. But if you don't get it, you don't get it.

                          The new Wood Badge course needs to be accepted for what it is: a course for unit leader to teach them to better lead their organization and to pass those leadership skills on to the Scouts. We can bemoan the loss of the old "Advanced Scoutmastership" style course if we like. Personally, I would like to see more of that taught. But I appreciate what WB21C teaches and think it has value to the program. There are certainly a lot of folks out there who feel Scouting in general would be better served if the there were higher level of training in the traditional Scoutmastership skills. I don't necessarily disagree. But I do disagree that the so-called "corporate management" style of leadership, and WB21C inparticular, is the nexus of evil you make it out to be.

                          Now, Kudu, if you want to complain about the SM/ASM position-specific course, I'm right there with you. I think it is just short of useless. It is absolutely inadequate training for someone to take off and lead a Scout troop. The reason your Scoutmastership skills aren't taught, Kudu, is because they can't be crammed into a 6 or 8 hour syllabus. While I have taught the classroom course several times, It's been many years since I took the outdoor skills course and have been on the course staff either, so I'm fuzzy on that syllabus. But my memory is that it was at a very basic skill level.

                          I would be in favor of totally revamping the SM/ASM training, not just to focus more on the Scoutcraft skills, but a better general understanding of the program overall. How many of the folks who post fairly clueless questions here are trained to position? Probably a good number.

                          One possibility for revamping the training would be to make it progressive, like commissioner's college. A master's degree should be required for an ASM to be considered trained to position and a doctorate for the Scoutmaster. Two or three years of experience and training for a SM would be a very healthy change. But national will never go for it as it will limit their ability to whip together new units and convince well-intentioned but untrained folks to lead them.

                          (This message has been edited by Twocubdad)


                          • #14
                            I think the old WB course curriculum is better for teaching scouts leadership skills while the new course is better for the adults side of the program because it teaches unit management skills. I really like the new course for the adults, but I will agree with Lisabob that it doesnt do a good job of teaching adults how to work with scouts. The old course did do a better job there.

                            I disagree with vol_scouter that the old course was a skills teaching course, at least in scouts skills. I can understand why he and many other folks think that way, but the designers of the old course originally expected its participants to know the scouts skills. They used scout skills teaching demonstrations as a method of showing different teaching styles to use for teaching the scouts. I think this is what is missing is a major difference between the two courses.

                            I agree with John in KC that we are struggling with the Discovery part of the program. Well said John. However I wonder if we can really bring that back. Im starting to believe more and more that we as a whole have come to expect that adults only need the knowledge gained from BSA adult leadership courses to run a successful unit and can ignore tradition, experience and old time wisdom to be a good leader. More than all my BSA adult leader training and advice from my UC, it was my scouting experience as a youth that gave me direction to guiding our troop. Every troop in our district that started with Wood Badge trained adults who had no experience of scouting as a youth took twice as long getting their feet under them than new troops with non Wood Badge trained adults who were scouts as a youth. That makes sense to me, but many folks really struggle with that fact.

                            After reading the post about adults requiring scouts take a buddy with them to the latrine because of the adults fears of sexual predators, Im not sure they could really ever use the tool of discovery even if they did understand how it worked. The American culture may just have found its limits to adults letting scouts learn by discovery. Isnt that what Lisabob keeps writting about with her son's experiences with their adults? I expect some of those adults are WB trained. Maybe BSA really does mean Babysitters of America.



                            • #15
                              Why is it that when you attend a Wood Badge course you are separated from your friends?

                              I thought the best way to align patrols was putting all the Scouts in a room and letting them form their own gangs as boys do?

                              It seems to me that this is an example of dividing a troop into patrols; instead of having patrols that make up a troop.

                              FWIW - During my Wood Badge course we were far enough apart that no patrol knew where the other patrol was camping. We could not see or hear them.

                              C-32-05(This message has been edited by ASM 411)