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  • Why is the old Wood Badge Training deemed inadequate?

    I have a question. Since it appears that WB21C has become a de facto requirement in exercising leadership in today's BSA, what was it about the older Wood Badge that was deemed inadequate for exercising such leadership?

  • #2
    "Since it appears that WB21C has become a de facto requirement in exercising leadership in today's BSA, what was it about the older Wood Badge that was deemed inadequate for exercising such leadership?"

    Well, what about the original WB that made it inadequate such that we had to come out with a new version??

    How is that little different then ANY training program that is replaced by a new one???

    Our knowledge of leadership, what works, how it works is always being worked on. B-P never knew about concepts like situational leadership, tead development, servant leadership, etc. Its nothing about the old being 'bad', but that we have learned so much about what works & doesn't work.

    Heck, in my Fraternity we are always looking at our leadership training program in the 10 years or so since we rolled it out. In many cases we are on the 3rd or 4th revision of the courses, where we have revamped the courses, adding and removing whole sections.

    its little different with WB.


    • #3
      I thought the reason for Wood Badge for the 21rst Century was because the BSA knew it couldnt develop speciifc training for every scouting position so they went general so that the same vocabulary would be in use by everyone.

      We know what several poster's think of this notion, but I don't think it was as much as deciding that the Old Wood Badge was inadequate, it was because BSA wanted to change the focus of training. Unfortunately the change meant Wood Craft skills were sacrificed to make room for managerial skills.

      I know a lot of people talk about how the current Wood Badge gives them the same management skills they got in college, or at seminars and it's a waste. But I think of all the people who never went to college, to whom "Management" is at the very least suspect and the cause of most problems in their lives "management laid off 1,000 today"

      BSA should have kept WOod Badge as scout craft teaching and perhaps came up with the Seton award for Management, but they didnt. We still have plenty of volunteers who never went to college, who never get to go to Management Seminars and this is for them


      • #4
        I took the "old" WB course in 1985.

        Personally I have yet to see anyone who has taken the "new" WB course impress me as having superior skills of any kind because they took the new course rather than the old course.

        There were a number of positive things I took away from Wood Badge --- probably the most important a deeper sense of commitment to "working my ticket" as a lifelong avocation.

        Were I to take the new WB course --- what should I give up to make time for an additional commitment?

        1) The failed pack I've been reviving for 2+ years as Cubmaster?

        2) Serving as Cub Scout RT Commissioner since August because no one else was available?

        3) Serving as District Membership Chair?

        4) Looking for methods to increase recruiting and retention of Hispanic Scouts and families in traditional Scout units?

        5. Perhaps the Pack I'm Commissioner for would be better off without a Commissioner?

        Until someone wants to suggest that I should drop some of these and other activities in order to take Wood Badge again, because it is SO revolutionary, I will consider the claim that people should be disqualified for not having taken it as bogus.

        The only places I hear it is required is for leading unit to Jamboree. Even there, refusing to consider earlier WB graduates for such a position seems bogus to me unless sonmeone can explain to me which new skills are critically important to filling that position.

        Frankly, I understand that Adult leaders managed to get units organized for Jamboree without the new WB course before it was invented. I suspect there are many adult leaders who would do a fine job of providing such leadership without ever having taken WB.

        I'm not impressed by such requirements unless they were supported by unambiguous proof that the new training was clearly superior to the earlier training. I've never been able to observe that at all myself.


        • #5
          "Personally I have yet to see anyone who has taken the "new" WB course impress me as having superior skills of any kind because they took the new course rather than the old course."

          Having never taked WB...but having postponed my plans to take it til next year...I cannot argue a whole bunch, but having talked to so many WoodBadgers ans reading the arguements here....I think that sometimes, being outside gives you a different perspective on things.

          What I mean is, if you are involved personally, you don't have a bias towards one side or another.You can take an objective veiw.

          I don't think anybody intended for the new WB21C to create "superior" scouters.

          I see it just as emb021 said: It was just a refining. It's just like cars. Every year, they fine tune this, tweak that. Every 5 or 10 years, they come out with some bigger changes.

          Remember catlytic converters? They were an improvement on emissions, but they also reduced the quality performance and power.

          Then came fuel injection and computers. More efficient, better fuel milage, but ask a hot rodder, and the power curve is way off.

          Then look at these 4 valve percylemndar motors and front wheel drive. Yeah, they have more power for the size they are, but compared to the same size car in 1978 with a V-8...Well...they just suck!

          Did anybody plan for cars to be less muscle machines that they used to be? Nah..probably not. They focused on making them more fuel efficent, cleaner, more environmentally friendly and safer.

          WB21C is the ame way. The down sides are probably not intentionsal or even really thought out. But there are improvemnts somewhere that trade off with what it used to be. The world is changing.

          Not a single scouter can claim that scouting could possibly be lie it was before. Your old leaders never e-mailed anything to council, never tected or cel phone the DE, SE, scout office or faxed anything to the registrar. They never online registred for Philmont,m a canoe trip or week of camping anywhere.

          No GPS's in the cars, buses, or vans. Nobody kept records on a computer or copied or printed forms , papers, applications , etc...

          And they sure didn't compare notes at!

          Just saying, the new WB ain't about making people superior to the old WB class.

          It's just people trying to take an existing thing and improving it to fit the ever changing world.


          • #6
            I have taken both the old and current versions of WoodBadge, IMHO it would have been much more effective and much more simplier to have developed a new Scouter Leadership Principles course generic for all scouters instead of totally gutting and destroying the old version of WoodBadge. Now what the BSA is stuck with is a watered down leadership course intermixed with some boy scout window dressing that is IMO ineffectual and superficial in both content and delivery.


            • #7
              emb021--must respectfully disagree regarding what BP knew or didn't know.....

              The only edge that today's leadership training brings is finer distinction. We've had more time over the years to quantify, label, categorize, etc., the leadership experience.

              Truth is, anything dealing with leadership has "been done" before, in practice, good and bad. It's all packaging and refinement at the end of the day.

              Just because we've tried to make leadership more scientific doesn't mean that the old timers were lesser leaders.

              In fact, to borrow from your example, I think BP's life serves as an excellent example of servant leadership. Just because servant based leadership wasn't codified then doesn't mean such leaders were nonexistent. Instead, I think the old timers knew the principles from military schools, religious studies, etc., to varying degrees, and lived their lives according.

              So to stray a bit further, I think this is one of the reasons why some folks--myself included--are a bit dubious of the claims that WB will impart knowledge heretofore unknown.

              I am still blown away by the requirement for past WBers to lay aside their earned beads until they've accomplished new a non-WBer, from the outside looking in, I see this as serious disrespect to the old school folks

              There were great leaders in the past. Their lack of a certificate or diploma in today's leadership theory does not diminish their accomplishments.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)


              • #8
                As a proud graduate of Wood Bage from 1978 I don't recall a lot of "teaching" of Scoutcraft skills. We used a lot of Scoutcraft in learning the leadership part, but I don't recall the staff spending any time teaching these skills. I did do a Walking(a euphemism for Backpacking) Wood Badge and we were on the move most of the time so maybe that is a reason for the difference.


                • #9
                  Did I miss a memo somewhere?

                  Is everyone with pre-2000 beads now required to turn them in? Do you mail them or are there pre-arranged collection points? I assume there will be some formal de-beading ceremony, a la "Branded"? If you don't give them up voluntarily will "they" come get them?

                  Obviously, I disagree with the premise of the thread.

                  As has been alluded to, I know of only two situations where WB21C is required: one, to staff either WB or NYLT. It seems fairly obvious that to teach the course you need to have completed it. Second was to serve as a first, second or third scoutmaster at jamboree last year. Honestly, having serve in that capacity, I saw no particular need or benefit to having WB training, regardless when. There are many great leaders out there without beads. I don't have any inside info on the rational, but I would guess that the policy was, 1) a blatant ploy to promote WB21C and 2) a method of forcing councils to get new blood into their contingents. The first point is rather lame, but frankly anything to get thin the heard of old war horses is a good idea.

                  Is WB21C required elsewhere?

                  SP wrote -- "Personally I have yet to see anyone who has taken the "new" WB course impress me as having superior skills of any kind because they took the new course rather than the old course."

                  That could be said of any BSA training. After a few years in the program, it should be VERY plain that real Scouter training is OJT. The folks I've seen with superior skills pretty much brought them to the table to begin with. I don't believe any one course is going to create a leader with superior skills. Those come from experience working with boys and learning how to apply the program.

                  If that is your expectation of WB old, new, or otherwise, I think you will continue to be disappointed.


                  • #10
                    In my years of management experience, I've come to believe a few things. One is that, although management is a specific activity with specific skills, you can't teach it as a general science disconnected from the activity it is supposed to manage. A good manager has to understand the work being done by the people he's managing. Putting that in the context of "old" vs "new" WB, the lack of outdoor scouting skills in the new WB is a serious weakness.

                    Second, management is a support function. It is not as important as the underlying acivity being managed. Good management might be critical to the operation, and a good manager might well be the difference between the underlying activity being done well or done poorly, but in the end no management effort is more successful, more significant, or more important, than the effort it's managing. Because we tend to pay managers more and consider them a higher social status, that message is easily lost. Again, in the context of WB21C, the idea that the new skills are more important and more worthy of respect than the old skills, fails that test. It appears from the outside that it elevates management sciene over scout skills. If scout skills are what's being managed, that's a mistake.

                    And third, no one or two week Leadership or Management course is actually very effective in making someone a better leader or manager. It can introduce valuable skills and ways of thinking about things, but like most everything else we do, proficiency takes practice. Real management development requires long-term follow-up and mentoring. Real management development is a continuous process, not a one-shot "now I'm trained" sort of deal.

                    None of that means WB21C isn't useful, but I do get the impression it's vastly oversold. Almost all leadership development courses are. They're a lot like weight loss fads that way. The underlying idea of eating better or exercising more is true, but it's not something you can do once or twice and get any real benefit. Taking a workout class one weekend that teaches you a new routine that you can incorporate into your daily schedule = great! A management class that teaches you concepts to include in your daily schedule = great! Neither is worth much without the follow-up.

                    We should respect the follow-up more than the class, is all I'm saying.


                    • #11
                      I didn't have the old Woodbadge, but ran Council-wide boy leader training courses in the late 70's that in many ways mirrored what Woodbadge was at the time. Less than a year ago I did the WB21C course and was probably most disappointed in the overall "Powerpoint" orientation of it all. No one leading or teaching it really "needed" to know all that much, either in the full sessions or in the patrol sessions (where the Powerpoints were just printed out in a ring-binder). I can't even measure how much more I appreciated the Managing Learning concept of involving the group in learning the skills, engaging what they already know to develop more skills, and doing it all through the patrol method and Scout skills action. As I trained the staff and tought the leadership skills during the course, those skills were part of my life and how I did things, and the training was about helping those there to experience the same thing, to actually "get it!" At all the training I've been through the last few years, at Pow Wows, University of Scouting, Leader Specific Training, BALOO, etc., I have been completely frustrated by this EDGE-based cr## that never establishes a starting point, at least understanding where everyone stands, and then failing to use the knowledge and experience of the group to teach the material. In almost none of the trainings was there an evaluation or feedback process to look at improving what you are doing. In the patrol method, isn't it the knowledge and experience of the older, more-experienced boys that goes into training the less-experienced? As an adult leader of a boy-run Troop, isn't it smarter to engage the boy leaders using what they already know to develop new skills rather than presenting a Powerpoint and hoping they get it? My call is that Scout training nowadays is far, far less than what I remember.


                      • #12
                        Being familiar with both, as I took it originally in the 80's, then was on the transitional 21st staff as a guide, I see pro's and con's to both. But, at least in the two courses in which I was involved, the real knowledge and growth was the patrols, which is still the same, other than being more mixed perhaps due to all various program participants being mixed.

                        Functioning as a patrol, and becoming a close knit group, is the basis for the rest, whether the focus is more on cerebral leadership skills, or traditional pioneering skills, or a combo of them. And the morale and knowledge support continues during the ticket process in most cases. Most participants, it seemed to me, learned as much or more from fellow patrol members.

                        They both were beneficial to those taking them if the participant took the "intent" to heart, and followed through. The few who are "so" negative towards the new course appear to often be the same ones who have "half empty glasses" in many of the other discussions.

                        There is not absolute in any training material or course. We take away what we internalize and are willing to put to reflective evaluation as to its worth.

                        JMO(This message has been edited by skeptic)


                        • #13
                          I will say one thing. Dealing with the kids of today, I have found that much of my WB experience is helping. Some of my boys have no respect for others, their parents have raised brats. I have 4-5 boys out of 55 that cause all of the problems int eh Troop. Sadly their parents have done nothing about this. And the adults int eh committee are best friends with the parents so nothing is getting done about it. Sure we were tough I'm sure when I was a boy. But we always showed respect for grown ups, and older boys running the troop.


                          • #14
                            I've always said Powerpoint will ultimately lead to the collapse of western civilization by undermining the core of our educational systems.

                            DRM and JMH both make great points -- there is no replacement for good teachers who really understand the subject matter.


                            • #15

                              sherminator505 and Fellow Scouters,


                              If I can provide my opinion to sherminator question. "What was it about the older Wood Badge that was deemed inadequate for exercising such leadership?"

                              I attended the previous WB and staff the previous WB course once. I later staffed WB21C four times. My Course Director during my first WB staff experience participated in the development and testing of the WB21C course. In 98, he provided WB Staffers with a few discussions about WB and WB21C. So let me echo, what I've been told, and have heard this more than once. My CD commented that there is a desire to provide contemporary leadership/management techniques (comparable with major business), he commented about the idea of training Cub Scout Leaders thru the new Venturing leaders (again this was back in 98). He commented about the removal of 2 year minimum tenure to attending WB21C as soon as you complete Basic Leader Training(and NLE, Fundamentals was beginning in 2000 as well).

                              But then he told us about recruiting potential students for WB21C. He stated that over the past decade (or thru the 90's) attendance of WB was decreasing. Also, the demographic of WB attendees was changing as well. He stated with changing family structures, single parents, grandparents participating in Scouting, and a 2 year tenure, these items seemed to change the average attendees age from early 40s to late 50s and mid 60s. So new CD and Seasoned Scouters were looking at increasing WB21C attendance. In addition to seeking a younger WB21C attendance, CDCs sought to obtain increase attendance by supplementing the lack of achieving "30 by 30", by inviting current Pre2000 WB recipients since they seem committed to Scouting and seek to "deliver a promise" to improve their troops already.

                              During later staff developments for WB21C, I've heard it again and again. First demographic for recruiting are the new Cub Scout leaders, and new Boy Scout leaders. The second demographic to recruit is the Scouter who has previously attended Pre2000 WBs.

                              So back to sherminator505 question. I expect as WB21C development committees and concentrated focus groups whom compiled and authored the WB21C worked together. They thought the pre-2000 Wood Badger would be a good targeted recruit to achieve 30by30, they thought the Pre2000 Wood Badger could learn contemporary leadership techniques. As I said, I have heard this recruiting technique and target audience a few times.

                              Similar to the business world (or maybe outdoors in nature). The younger WB21C began stampeding thru the council. The newer WB21C staffers over the years, were told to approach the few remaining older "dinosaur" Pre2000 Wood Badger as a potential WB21C student. Over the years, since they were advised to recruit Pre2000 Wood Badgers to achieve recruiting quotas, new WB21C Staffers began to believe that WB21C was a superior course, and Pre2000 WB not only was outdated, but it was quickly deemed inadequate.

                              Sherminator505 said; I have a question. Since it appears that WB21C has become a de facto requirement in exercising leadership in today's BSA, what was it about the older Wood Badge that was deemed inadequate for exercising such leadership?

                              I think it is not what caused Pre2000 to be deemed inadequate, I think the better question was when it was deemed inadequate.

                              I'm not bitter about it. But "perception is reality". More recent WB21C students tell themselves they are superior to Pre2000 WB students, since this is what they were told. I just see the WB21C Course Development recruiting briefs, during the development of WB21C as portraying a false image of Pre2000 WBers.

                              Scouting Forever and Venture On!