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Questions and answers for parents and leaders new to Scouting.

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    • I do not have any problem with the Wood Badge course,  or people taking Wood Badge.  Most my scouter friends took Wood Badge and it was just a training course to them and nothing more. I have a problem with over the top Wood Badge recruiting that spoils a scout activity. I have a problem with scout camp fires becoming surprise 45 minute long beading ceremonies. I have a big problem with the way Wood Badge people haze and insult one another,  it is very un-scout like.
      I have a problem with all the critter based sexual innuendo and inside jokes that sound like sexual innuendo that they use in front of the scouts.   At the last Camp-O-Ree camp fire I went to the Wood Badgers ( a group of around 15)  managed to completely mess things up. . . in a way that I have never seen done before (they upset a lot of boys and scouters).    The problem is some people treat Wood Badge as something more than a training course, when they really shouldn't.        
    • I agree completely. That is the situation I am in. When I taught SM specific and IOLs, I went after the best folks I could to help with the courses. I even had youth staff who i know had the KSAs to do the job to show what a Scout is capable of doing if you "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"  And I have folks I see today who are only paying lip service to the patrol method. One troop was nearly annihilated when one of them took over. he told me that "BSA needed to change with the times." Of the 3 NYLT grads he had when he took over as SM, 1 stayed registered to remain in the OA, but never did another thing again with the troop, and 2 transfered to a troop that is a PM troop.   Regarding Adults reminiscing about troops of their youth, as I see more and more troops, I realized how lucky I was to have Joe S. as my SM growing up. We were a Youth Led troop. We made mistakes. We had out problems. We were by no means perfect. But we were youth led. SM, and CC for that matter, not only advised and mentored us, but more importantly kept well meaning adults from interfering and ruining the program.  
    • I've completed NYLT (2009), and Wood Badge (2015) and also served as adult staff on NYLT(2018). They are incredibly similar courses. Their content is similar. Where they differ (or should if they're done right) is the mindset the participant should be in. NYLT a Scout is supposed to live the life of a scout in a model troop and participate in the activities that challenge them and their patrol. Wood Badge is similar, but it's more about witnessing and participating in how a model troop is run, and the presentations are tied back to how adults can coach youth in leading the troop. Wood Badge in 2015 was a great chance for me to review the things I'd learned at NYLT and how they applied to me as an adult working with youth, instead of the soon to be SPL I was back in 2009. I'm excited to be sharing that experience with another great group of staff and participants in 2019. 

      To be frank, we're fighting an uphill battle here. The reality is new adult leaders do not go straight off to the training. They enter a cub scout pack or boy scout troop, and that is there default experience against which they view any subsequent training. If that adult was a Scout in their youth, than they are also viewing the training through the prism of their own scout experience (for better or for worse.) When I took Scoutmaster Specific Training and IOLs in 2012, I was basically able to teach IOLS (and did help the instructor.) Scoutmaster Fundamentals was a revelation for me, because I realized how much room my troop had for improvement from the adult side of the program. It was a pretty good troop when I was growing up, but it's patrol method was lacking ( and in many ways still is, despite many efforts over the last 6 years.) If a leader is not the Scoutmaster, they are pretty powerless to effect change in a unit, they can only influence through persuasion. Then there is a ton of friction and challenge to getting an organizations adults and scouts to accept a change AND get it to stick.  Many leaders are going into Boy Scout Troops where the patrol method is only given lip service, and where the Scouts are executing the plans of adults (best case scenario). Worst case it's a camping club with scout advancement run by adults. Even the best training is going to have an uphill battle against that kind of ingrained expectations. In places where training isn't well done, or the trainers aren't strong, knowledgeable, or helpful, I'm not really sure what impact changing the training would have. 
    • It sounds like a good course for a summer camp to offer for scout masters. 
    • Sure - i get the Wood Badge isn't the pinnacle of Scouting  knowledge.  It's a leadership course set in a Scouting context.  It's can provide you tools to be a better Scouter - but they are just that - tools. I'm 100% in support of an advanced course for Scoutmasters.  That would be wonderful.  A sort of Wood Badge or Powder Horn scale course about being a Scoutmaster.  Scout skills, boy led, patrol method, etc.  That would be an awesome course! I'm not looking to start up a debate here.  I just think that the volume of negative Wood Badge comments are excessive.  
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