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Introduction to Outdoor Skills is only required to attend WB as a troop leader if you are a SM or ASM. If you are a troop committee member you need only have completed basic training for that position, which is New Leader Essentials and Troop Committee Challenge.


The training continuum only requires that a WB attendee be a registered adult member of the BSA and have completed Basic Training for their position in scouting for which they are taking the Wood Badge course.


It would be unfortunate and unnecessary for any council to add-on to these requirements.


Bob White

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Bob's absolutely right. OST is a must have for Scoutmasters, but is not relevant to quite a few positions, and Wood Badge is designed for ANYONE in scouting to come. I attended as the District Religious Relations Chairman, and had a Bear Den Leader in my patrol. There was a lot of discussion in our Council about the training requirements prior to the first class, and there is still a lot of missinformation floating around. We finally had our Council Training Chairman check with National, and they stated emphatically that the requirement is completion of all units in the training path for YOUR position.

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If I can take the liberty to substitute the word "unknown" for "secret", it'll continue to be unknown until you go, then it will be known. I don't think that's a deliberate plot on the part of BSA National to keep the masses of unwashed volunteers from enlightenment. Rather, I believe it's just an oversight...but, an oversight consistent with what I see as a reluctance (unintended, probably) on the part of BSA National to "push" information to the vols at the unit level. It becomes personality dependent; if you've been around for a while, if you ask the right questions, if your DE is a "lean forward" type, etc., the resources are available. If not, then "you don't know what you don't know".


WB as a case in point; there's a fact sheet on it, that's outdated, on the BSA National site. A deliberate attempt to misinform us? Of course not, just somebody not paying attention.


Now, if somebody in your District is making a game out of it, that's another matter...



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Figures...I posted this in another thread, but I suppose it belongs there as much as here...so, begging your pardon, I'll repeat it here, too...


I attended my first Wood Badge many years ago, when the sun and moon were still brand new...or so it seems. Since then, if there's anything about WB that this four-beader has learned about the course, it's that a well constructed and presented course is just chock full of subtleties. And a learner going through the course looking simply for the questions and answers, the right and wrong, the left and right and up and down, will miss them completely. That is especially true with someone who enters the course with preconcieved notions and misinformation about the course. And knowing a little about the course, rather than starting as an eager blank slate can be starting with misinformation.


Folks shouldn't look to deeply or seriously into the realm of Wood Badge and what some call it's mysteries, even when they finally get there and start their own very first day in the course. Tis best just to let it happen, enjoy it, participate fully and enthusiastically, ready and willing to go wherever the course takes them...looking certainly at, but also beyond the obvious. That is where the secrets of Wood Badge lie, and no one can tell you exactly what they are, for they're very different for each and every participant.


Just enjoy it.


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masses of unwashed volunteers


Be careful on that one KS, BW will come after you!


No seriously, I dont know what it is with you guys from the rest of the country (not the Northeast). THERE IS NO SECRET!


Here, if you ask the question you get an answer. We talk about it at Roundtable, we talk about it at training, and we answer all questions anytime they are asked. What I wont do, is give away the punch line. Those of you that have been there know what I mean. I will not go into great detail about each and every minute of the course. It would be counter productive, and not in the best interest of the Scouter that asked the question. Some things just need to be experienced for the first time without any preconceived notions.


And for those of you that seem to have trouble getting any information about WB, I suggest this; have your SE fired. BW will tell you that there are no secrets in BSA.



(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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I would respectfully suggest that the last paragraph in the above post be amended to, "if you can't get any information about Wood Badge, talk to your Scout Executive." And adding "if he can't get it for you, then have him fired."


I agree that there are no secrets in Scouting, but don't have any trouble with a little mystery. If someone wanted to sit in my office and read the entire Wood Badge syllabus, I would let them. However, I'd do everything I could to try to convince them to live the experience rather than try to turn the two-dimensional black and white printed word into a moment-by-moment image of what they're going to get for their time and fee.


your Scout Executive can't control the tongues of all the volunteers in the council. If there are folks who won't or can't (articulate) specifics about Wood Badge, don't shoot the Scout Executive. He probably gets a rash when he brushes against those folks as it is. It ain't his fault.


I'm not fighting you, photoscout. I'm not even disagreeing with your post other than to say that it might not be the scout executive's fault. By talking to him, you may just find an ally.



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Let me add my name to the "I'm not sure what's going on elsewhere" list. Here in Northeast Georgia, the information is readily available at the district level. Our Council Training Committee has set the tone for every District that Wood Badge is simply the last step in the formal training path. We're recruting folks, rather than keeping it secret. If you've done everything else on your training path, then Wood Badge is the next logical step for you. Here, if you're asking the SE about WB, then you've not been paying attention.

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Good Morning,


DS, my humble apology, I think you know my thoughts about professionals!


Mr. Robby - I'm glad to see that we are not alone!


I expect that the next 2 dozen posts will be from all around the country (world) with affirmations about how much detail is communicated about WB. Great!! It we say it, we can do it!



The point is, that for anyone who is interested in getting the answers, those answers can be found without much effort. Unit leaders, Training staff, Commissioners, Professionals all may have the answers. But if they dont, the ultimate go to guy is the SE.


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Photoscout -- no need for apologies. There was no offense taken.


I'm a little hyper-sensitive to the "let's fire the Scout Executive (or substitute professional title) mentality that I've heard quite often in my tenure. I know you're not guilty of this type of mentality, but I've heard that type of comment often enough (usually not directed at me, but every once in a while . . . ) that I try to stamp it out where I can. Please accept my apologies for pointing it at you without provocation.


Don't get me wrong, sometimes professionals screw up badly enough that they should be shot. I've shot a couple myself.


On another note, I just came back from a Wood Badge Staff Development session. I have a full plate as Assistant Scout Executive, and can't really attend every minute of every staff development session as I wish I could. Before I was married, I would. I was only there for about an hour. Now, what most of the first-time staffers don't realize is that it took me an hour to drive there, spent an hour there, and an hour to drive home. As far as I'm concerned, that's three hours of working time -- meaning time spent away from my wife on our 11th anniversary.


Why did I bother? I wanted to send the message to the staff that the council believes that what they're doing is important. I wanted to see the course director specifically, to see if there was anything I can do to support his efforts to put on the finest course available. I wanted to see the staff and their progression toward being the unified team of trainers they need to be in order to put on the finest training course possile.


Did I accomplish that in an hour there? I don't know. I like to think I did. The course director appreciated my "stop over." I was able to see the staff debate a fine point in the syllabus, which showed me that to a person they care very deeply about what they are presenting. I have visited all but one staff development (I missed the one that happened the day of my father-in-law's ultimately fatal accident.)


Of course, there are rewards for me, personally, to such visits. One of the most powerful is the knowledge that I, in a small way, am part of what will be a very powerful experience in the lives of many volunteers. I hope you're one of them (whoever you might be.) Another is that I am able to see, in a very short period of time, volunteers from several different councils, vocations, education levels, etc. all coming together to help improve the lives of youth through the Scouting program. Very cool! I was also able to nibble on a piece of very fine Wisconsin yellow cheddar for free! Very good!


And I'm home in time to take my wife to a nice restaurant for dinner. Like I said, it's our eleventh anniversary. On our tenth, we spent the night in different hotels. It happened to be the day that the movers showed up to move me from my last council to my current one. When my wife left the house at 6:30 AM, she knew she was never going to spend another night there. The movers showed up at 9:00 AM and the house was empty by 3:00 PM.


My wife, by the way, is a saint. She had never been to my new council headquarters city (she took a black belt test the day I went house-hunting here. I had a list of what she wanted in a house and power of attorney.) She saw the house and the town and area for the first time, the day the movers brought our stuff here.


Somehow I got a bit farther afield than I wanted to. My wife can have whatever she wants for dinner tonight. Nothing is too good. I'm just lucky she likes the area and likes the house.


As to Wood Badge being a secret, I think the only secret is asking enough questions of enough people . . . including the Scout Executive. I also think a dose of faith -- although not as much as Mrs. Steele demonstrated -- is important.


Everything we do is, and oughta be, for the good of our youth. If we can learn from it along the way, it's an added bonus.



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Off-subject, I know, but I always like to chime in when we discuss shooting the professionals. I scout in one of the largest districts in the country and, in my 8 years as a volunteer, I've worked with 6 different DE's. Some years we have 2, and some years we have 0. There have been some who needed shooting, some (my least favorite) who were experts in telling you what you wanted to hear, and some who I thank God for the priveledge of working with. I think the secret to a good volunteer-professional relationship is very simple. The pros need to remember that the Council/District belongs to the volunteers and the pros are here to facilitate us. The volunteers need to remember that the pros are working 50-100 hours a week for half (or less) of what they could make at a "real" job. If we keep all that in mind, the program runs well and everyone is happy (except of course for the spouses of the pros AND the volunteers!).

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Hey Dave and Mrs Steele,

While Wood Badge may not be a mystery. At times the bond that holds a man and a wife together is.

At times I know that, Her Who Must Be Obeyed, must wish that she had her own PPCP (Private Personal Couch Potato) And I would think that Mrs. Steele, wouldn't mind seeing a little more of you. Heck if Her That Must Be Obeyed, had a Black Belt, maybe I would be a little faster with the "Obeying !!"

If memory serves me well, I think that we share the fact that we both met our Good Ladies, at Boy Scout Camps, so maybe, just maybe they had some idea of what they were getting. Along with our sexy knees ?

I wish you and your good Lady a very happy, if somewhat belated anniversary.

Of course if you were a nice hubby you would have saved her a nibble of that good cheese, still with only 11 years - You still have a lot to learn.

All my very best


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First of all, to Mr. Robby -- I think you're right on target about one of the keys to a successful relationship between volunteers and professionals. I agree that many of us will move on (either to another council, another profession, or shot, depending on performance and the ability to maintain good relationships. I also think that those professionals who try to keep everyone happy by never giving bad news are better off in politics than professional scouting. My personal theory is that people would rather hear a real answer, even if they don't like that answer, than fluff that turns out to be worthless or even false.


I would also like to add (for the masses) that there's another part of the relationship that is crucial for it to work. And that is to remember that the professional scouter, who may be younger than you, does work for the BSA all day, every day and has a knowledge curve that is very, very steep. The volunteer with several years of unit experience may not know more about the kinds of things a 22 year old D.E. works with every day. The council-level scouter who has been in just about every position as a volunteer may not know as much as his/her Scout Executive who has been working on Scouting matters for 60 hours a week (a low average) for 15-35 years.


Eamonn --


Thank you for the well-wishes for our anniversary. We did both meet our wives at Scout camp and I think both knew what they were in for. At the time I proposed, I offered to resign. We'd been together for several weeks at the time and she had a pretty good idea what she was in for. She said she was proud of my profession and would always support me. She's never said a word against the hours . . . as long as I don't ask her to attend Blue and Gold banquets and don't introduce her publicly on those occassions when we must attend as a couple. A very private person is Mrs. Steele.


The two blackbelts she has earned aren't being used against me, but do make a powerful incentive to behave :) She has one in jujitsu and one in kyu kido. She's working on a third in judo. It's kind of nice, my English friend. If I hear a noise in the house, I'm not getting out of bed :) Why deprive her of the practice?


Actually, with her taking the classes, she's away about the same hours I am. We have no children, so it works out.


I didn't need to save her some cheese -- Eamonn, it grows out of the ground here in Wisconsin -- but I did buy her a nice dinner. She had a wonderful steak skillet, and I had Alaskan King Crab legs.


Much better than being a house apart last year due to the move. It's never easy to uproot from council to council and house to house. However, we look forward to the adventure as long as we get at least 3 years in one place. I can't believe one year has already passed. In another two, it'll be another move to another council. It's exciting, scary, and very educational.


You, Eamonn, have Her That Must Be Obeyed -- I have Her That Taught Me (the hard way) to Duck!.


Thanks again for the well wishes. You're right, I have a lot to learn in this marriage thing. Whoever thought "school" could be so much fun!



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I know we're way off thread, DS, but you've peaked my curiosity. Your post implies that transfers every 3 years are expected. In my council, we've had some in place for 10-15 years (for some that's good, others, well...). Their titles change from time to time, but from where I stand, they are still doing the same things. They do play musical chairs among the Districts, more frequently than I think is wise (but they don't ask me), and there have been some young whippersnappers come in with college diplomas still dripping with ink, but they last maybe a year and were gone.



Just curious.

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I think that this is an important question, but that it shouldn't take over this particular thread. I also think a lot of people don't take Wood Badge because they have unanswered questions and I believe the people who post here have either valid answers or valid question.


So, sctleader, let's move your questions to another thread. I'll start if immediately under council relations and title it, professional tenure.


Would you join me? And any others with this type of question?


To quote Dr. Craine on Fraiser, "I'm listening . . ."



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