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pchadbo

Great Advertisement for Scouting. . .NOT

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As soon as they realized they were lost, they should have sat down on a log and played "The Game of Life" until the Wood Badge caterers arrived.

 

Oh, c'mon Kudu, you know perfectly well WB21c isn't meant to cover getting lost in the woods.

 

What they should have had was a soccer ball. A magic recruiting soccer ball. Throw it out into a field and within a few minutes a horde of prospective new Scouts would show up to play soccer. After the game was over, the leader could just ask one of the parents which way back to town...

 

Yikes, I'm a little too sarcastic even for myself.

 

Of course Seattle Pioneer and Kudu are really both - in their own way, and so am I for that matter - saying the same thing about current BSA training: it's not meant to make competent outdoor leaders. We rely on previous knowlege for that.

 

The question is, should we?

 

Is there a need for real outdoor skills training for BSA volunteers? I think half the criticism of WB21c would dissapear if it wasn't called "Wood Badge" but was instead called "Organizational Leadership" or something similar (the other half of the criticism is related to the Game of Life and would surivive any name change). Maybe we really do need enhanced outdoor skills classes to avoid this sort of thing. We're moving towards requiring WRFA certs for backcountry trips and at least my council is making a big effort to offer training. Maybe we need to emphasize basic outdoor skills too.

 

 

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JM,

 

 

Problem is that the advance outdoor leader skills course use to be WB. WB was a week long, and you lived the PM 24/7. You worked on outdoor skills in addition to leadership skills.

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Yah, here's a new one, eh? My apologies for da grammar, I figured I'd just cut and paste da stuff from the news reports in the area, and apparently they don't hire folks who know how to write. :p

 

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Three Boy Scouts who went missing in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard on Saturday were found safe this morning.

 

Transylvania emergency dispatchers said the scouts were found at about 9:30 a.m. Dozens of search crews had been looking for three boys scouts, ages 12 and 13, are from Troop 118, based at St. Stephen United Methodist Church in southeast Charlotte. St. Stephen's minister, the Rev. Tom Latimer told WBTV that the boys were safe.

 

The Brevard Rescue Squad is coordinating the search. They say the scouts were last seen around 1:00 pm Saturday before being found this morning. Their troop was hiking from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Buck Horn shelter in the Pink Beds area, when the three became separated from the rest of the troop. Authorities began searching for the boys at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

 

A member of the Brevard Rescue Squad was injured during the search when the all-terrain vehicle he was riding threw him and rolled on top of him, according to rescue squad chief Vince Stone. The squad member was flown to Mission Hospital. His condition and extent of his injuries were not immediately known.

 

------

 

Don't know if we'll get enough info to really guess what happened, and I don't know da area. But it does show that when we rely on others for rescue we put da rescuers at risk. Rescuers push themselves when they believe kids are in danger. It will indeed be a tragedy if a man doesn't make it home to his family because he was injured while out lookin' for scouts who should have been prepared.

 

B

 

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Eagle92,

 

Yep, that's what I was (inexpertly) trying to get at. If the new leadership-focused class they teach with the Game Of Life wasn't called Wood Badge and wasn't touted as the summit of Scouter training, it would get less criticism. Let's call it "Leaderbadge" or something, and not position it as a replacement for outdoor skills. Honestly, I know lots of guys who use both sets of skills (indoor Organizational Leadership skills and outdoor scoutcraft skills), so there's just no reason the two courses couldn't coexist. Of course, that would require National to re-evaluate the direction it's been drifting for a while where it's been reducing the outing in Scouting.

 

The sad thing is 30 years ago the old-style outdoors Woodbadge was probably less necessary than it is today, because there were more adults who came into the movement with outdoor skills.

 

So, maybe we the volunteers need to organize our own course. Unofficial of course, but I bet a few with-it Councils might support it. A week long class would be hard on people's schedules, but it would sure be a nice format for covering material.

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Sign of the Times: This weekend I staffed an orienteering course for a "Scoutcraft Skills" Camporee. At the general assembly I asked everyone who brought a compass to raise his hand:

 

The total number of Boy Scouts in the entire Camporee who thought of bringing a compass to a campout? Six (6), three of whom had proudly counted the button compass on his Chinese rescue whistle!

 

Of all the First Class, Star, and Life Scouts who tried the orienteering course, none (zero) could study the map and compass and then point with his finger in the general direction of the first control point (from the swimming pool labeled "Start" on the map). This was surprising because I oriented the map for them and the first control point was due north (Most American Boy Scouts believe that the red end of a compass needle magically points the direction they want to travel) :)

 

My solution was to have the Scouts from each Patrol pick 1) Their best camper, 2) The smartest Scout, and 3) The most athletic. Then with everyone else watching I went through the three steps individually with each of these three Scouts: (1.) Place the baseplate edge along the two points, 2) Turn the compass housing so that "N" points to the top of the map, 3) Shove the baseplate into your chest and turn your entire body around until the floating needle points to "N" on the housing).

 

In other words I repeated the three steps three times, using the actual control points on the map.

 

I do my instruction in rhymes so as soon as a Patrol has heard it once, thereafter when I get to the end of each line the Patrol can shout out the missing word to the Scout being instructed. See:

 

http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/skills/map_compass/index.htm

 

This is not rocket science. It takes twenty minutes (per Patrol) to individually train the three natural leaders how to use a map & compass (and count their paces) well enough to navigate six control points through a mile of thick wild-hog brush and alligator swamp (without any adults tagging along--the high point of the weekend for most of them).

 

So it's not all doom and gloom!

 

Teaching our Boy Scouts how use a map and compass is not a priority, but certainly as a twenty-first century organization we Wood Badgers and adult Eagles are second to none in our ability to correctly identify the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing stages of our group's development as we sit and wait for the heat-seeking rescue helicopters to arrive.

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

 

(This message has been edited by kudu)

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JMHawkins, great points all. If I have one main beef about WB, it's false advertising.

 

I like the idea of a two track adult advanced training plan. If WB is your cup of tea, great. Enjoy. But, if the outdoors is where you want your personal pinnacle of scout leader training, that course should be offered, and on the same footing as WB.

 

(Yes, I understand such a program exists, but you have to be a WB grad to do it. Get rid of that prerequisite, and you'll see people signing up in droves.)

 

Kudu, I had a similar experience at our spring camporee. I was staffing the orienteering competition and noted that a) no one brought a compass, though the camporee guide said there would be a compass course (the scouts had to borrow from the staff) and b) though the course was extremely elementary (nothing approaching the complexity/adventure of your course), each patrol needed a refresher course on how to use the compass. Didn't matter whether the patrol was comprised of newbies or senior scouts.

 

As you noted, the scouts learned quickly and did well. Why they weren't trained or prepared before camporee is the real issue.

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Beavah, it is not too far from where I am. The area is crisscrossed with trails and old logging roads so it is easy to go down a wrong alternative. According to local accounts they were found hunkered down exactly like they were supposed to be, in a tent with emergency food and everything. The local reporter:

"A reporter on scene said the boys' scout training and preparedness helped them through the nearly 24 hour ordeal."

That's the kind of rep scouting has in the area. These boys probably would have survived another night or two if it had been necessary. This unit has had a couple of 'close calls' that could have ended up like this. But in each case I was completely confident that the boys in question would know how to respond to the situation. In each case, they realized the error, corrected it, and then found a safe solution which took them out of trouble. Never lost their heads, prepared for their trouble, and confident in their skills.

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