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I have been contemplating attending the local woodbadge training for some time, but I still haven't come up with a definitive reason why I need the training. I have met with and talked to many woodbadgers about the course and they all say it is great and I should go. I guess my hesitation comes from the following areas:


Does it make a difference in the scouting program? I know many WB and non-WB leaders. They all seem to have great programs and are great leaders. They are all enthused and committed to the boys. If there is no self-evident difference, is there any difference?


I have attended high quality leadership training over many years through my job. Will WB add anything to that training or will it rehash what I've already had?


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I can think of many good reasons to take woodbadge. One of the best is the contacts in scouting you make. One of my patrol members is the new DE in a neighboring district. Another good reason is the insight it gave me on my roll in scouting, now and in the future. I learned how I can improve myself and my pack. It is true that I could learn how to improve myself through a business course but they don't deal in scouts. Over all it was a great experience that I think everyone should have.


I used to be an Eagle


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Personally, among the most useful things I got from wb are the network of scouters and the exchange of ideas/views/skills. Any scouting issue I'm working on, I know for a fact that I can contact any of my fellow woodbadgers and they won't hesitate to help out or offer feedback, or whatever I may need.


You're right, there are many excellent leaders out there who have not done wb. But I'll tell you, I have yet to meet a lousy leader who *has* done woodbadge!



A good old bobwhite too!

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I guess one might ask the same question about any training: is there any observable difference between Scouters who've been to basic training vs. those who have not? Between those who've taken YPT vs. those who have not? BALOO? WLOT? Pow-Wow? Roundtable? PTC?




If there isn't, and there's no reason to go, then why are *any* of them offered? Are we all wasting our time taking (and teaching) these courses?


I can't speak for anyone but myself -- but I find I usually get something out of every course I take, and I normally find something new even when I retake a course.


What you get out of a training is a direct function of what you put into it. So I guess the question I suggest you ask yourself is: what are you willing to put into it?


Back to the difference between those who've been to WB and those who have not: maybe the difference isn't so much in the individuals, but in the units they populate.


WBers are supposed to "work a ticket" that somehow benefits their unit. Not to say that non-WBers can't benefit a unit with their own projects, but I'll bet you'd be surprised to learn how many ways WBers have benefitted their units: that Webelos crossover bridge that a WBer built as a ticket item for his son's pack, even tho his son was only a Wolf at the time; the PWD track a WBer built for his son's pack so the pack wouldn't have to annually rent a track from a neighboring pack; that pack to troop index that WDLs use to identify nearby troops to visit, etc.


Look around you; I bet you'll find WB ticket items everywhere. Could those projects have been done by non-WBers? Of course . . . but were they? No, they were done as WB ticket items.



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I agree with Fred. The hidden jewel of Woodbadge is the many ticket items that are done for units. Personally, I feel that my ticket items have made my unit stronger and my job much easier (because we're doing things right now). And no one from my unit knows what they are. They know that they were done, but they don't know that they were my ticket items.


Woodbadge doesn't make you a great scouter. In fact, a couple of the worst scouters I know were WB-ers. But Woodbadge does make great scouting. That's why you should go.

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Some rhetorical questions for you:

Is Scouting in your unit as good as you would like it to be? Are there any improvements you would like to see made?

Are you interested in giving your Scouts the best Scouting experience that you can provide?

Is Scouting the best and most important activity (other than church, possibly) that your son(s) participate in?

Do you view Scouting as a program that can really make a difference in boys lives, or is it an activity similar to baseball, football, etc...?


If you see some room for improvement, and are interested in learning how to effect that change, WB is for you.

If you think Scouting is the greatest program your son will participate in, WB is for you.

To be honest, the reason I went through WB was because people I trusted and respected said it would be a great experience for me - they were correct!

Unfortunately, not everyone buys into the program. We had a patrol mate who had Cub Scout knots all over his uniform. He told us he was there in case emergency transportation was needed by another course attendee, who was from his unit. He never got into the program and usually wandered off to smoke cigarettes while the rest of us were trying to come together as a team. He didn't complete his ticket, and just wasted a great opportunity. He is the rare bird, thankfully.

All the others were there to learn how to be better, more efficient Scouters. We wanted to learn how to take Scouting to the next level, and we weren't disappointed.

I probably didn't answer your question - I hope I didn't muddy the waters further.

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From my perspective, much of the course CONTENT you've probably had either as an undergrad or grad student. Leadership psychology hasn't changed much in the past 25 years.


OTOH, what cajuncody and Lisabob said about the NETWORKING is spot on!!! You will see several different perspectives about Scouting from your patrol mates, and you will meet lifelong friends when you join your patrol.


Equally, what Fred Goodwin said about the service woodbadgers do to complete the course is absolutely spot on. I don't think many of us will brag ... we just want a better Scouting program for the youth we serve, and we're stepping up to the plate to commit to that concept across the years to come.


Trust me, the course is worth your time.

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Yes..many people do get the same leadership type training through their jobs..sometimes in multiple!! But the benefit of doing it again through WB is that through the process of trying to come up with your "ticket" it makes you focus on how to use these leadership skill in the context of the Scouting program specifically and how you can be of benefit to your pack/troop..how to make them better either in your own current position, or as in my case..a position that I was moving into. It forces you to not only take a good look at your troop/pack and see what needs to be done, what improvements are needed, but to also look into yourself, to see how your own particular talents, skills and interests can be put to better use to make those improvements.


For me personally (and many other people too!) the skills I learned in people management etc. have helped me greatly not only in scouting but also in my everyday life! I've gained a lot of confidence and faced a lot of personal fears head on through my choice of ticket items. And as the others have said..the new network of talented and wonderful people that I have made is great!! I'm still taken aback with the amount of respect that I seem to get from many of the longtime scouters who I met at the course as staff members..I don't feel like I've done anything particularly "special" to deserve that respect..but it sure is a good feeling!!!


Do it!!


Sue M.

I used to be a Beaver

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fgoodwin said "...that Webelos crossover bridge that a WBer built as a ticket item for his son's pack,...

Could those projects have been done by non-WBers? Of course . . . but were they? No, they were done as WB ticket items."


Before you go off jumping up on your self-righteous soapbox and ranting maybe you ought to think first. Your ranting paints everyone with some sort of broad brush that is extremely insulting. Wood Badgers are the only ones that do projects to improve their units??? Give me a break!


The one example you cite is particularly appropriate. The Webelos crossover bridge for our pack was getting rather run down. I was a Webelos-I Den Leader at the time and I had our den design, assemble, paint, and present to the pack a brand new crossover bridge that we use to this day. Did the other Webelos-I den leader in our pack, who was working his Wood Badge ticket at the time do this? Nope! It was this lowly non-Wood-Badger that took care of that one.

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ManassasEagle, you are absolutely correct, and I apologize to my fellow Scouters who are non-WBers. The examples I cited were those I know personally about, and they were done by WBers who saw the need, and did it.


As I said, the projects could have been done by non-WBers, such as yourself. But in the particular cases I know of, the projects were done by WBers.


I know that many Scouters, WBers and non-WBers alike, go far beyond the call of duty, and I certainly meant no disrespect to those who have not been through WB.

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I guess I will take the walk down the Woodbadge path. As has been indicated, one can learn new things in any training and it can only help the boys in the troop for the leaders to have more training. Anything that generates that much enthusiasm among graduates must have something good to offer. I guess my skeptical self wonders about the hard sell I usually get when I mention Woodbadge. Sometimes I feel like I just walked into a used car lot with an obvious wad of money. You definitely attract ardent attention from the sales staff.

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