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I am interested in helping on Staff with a Wood Badge course. An opportunity has presented itself.


Of interest, how much time and preparation is needed? I see in our council calendar that there are 4 Friday > Sunday weekends as WB Staff Development weekends from March > May, and August of this coming year. That makes 12 days, not full, but still 12.


I know that a lot of preparation is needed. Is this representative of the level of preparation needed with a WB course?


As a good ol Fox, I would like to be able to pass on some of what I have learned and experienced from WB myself.


Your thoughts are welcomed.

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Yes there is a lot of preperation. The amount required will vary from person to person depending on skills and experience.


You may also be asked to promote the course.


Once the course completes you may be asked to be a ticket counsellor.


You should discuss this with the course director and get his or her expectations.


If you are able to commit to the expectations then I highly recomend you accept. Woodbadge staff was one of the most satisfying experiences in my Scouting career.

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I''m not sure how to say this!!


OK, there is a book answer.

It can be found in the Administrative Guide. (What you are looking for used to be on page 26!! But may have been updated.)

Wood Badge Staff Development was looked at very closely when the Wood Badge course was changed to the Wood Badge for the 21st Century course. The time spent developing the staff was cut back a lot!!

Course Directors are kinda, sorta supposed to follow the Administrative Guide.

Please don''t tell anyone but when I was CD for NE-IV-153, I didn''t follow the Administrative Guide.

We had one meeting (Long before the 90 days that is outlined in the guide.

Mainly because ours was a cluster course and with staff coming from different Councils I wanted them to meet each other and start getting to know one and other. It was a lunchtime meeting (Working Lunch -Pizza in the Council Service Center.) Everyone got out before Tea time!!

We then had 3 development weekends.

Due to the distances that some people had to travel, we did meet on Friday nights, but didn''t start until early on Saturday. We worked through the day on Saturday and everyone was free to leave after supper. Some people opted to stay till Sunday morning.

The course started on Fridays,most of the staff came in on Thursday night a few of us came in on Wednesday to get the heavy work done.

Your best bet is to sit down with the CD and see what he or she is doing or wants to do.

I think asking anyone to give up six weekends in a year is a lot. Especially if they are involved with a unit.

Course Directors do seem to have a lot of freedom when it comes to Staff Development -I really don''t recommend looking up the "Book Answer" and then going to him or her and quoting chapter and verse!! This tends to make them very cranky. (Even nice guys who talk funny!!

Good Luck -Who knows you might get to work with the Bear Patrol and really enjoy Wood Badge!




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WB Staff takes a lot of time, but is definitely worth it, if you have the time. For our course, we had two Sunday meetings to begin, from 1:30 - 6:00. We had 2 Staff Development weekends, from Friday at 7:00 pm to around 2:00 - 4:00 pm Sunday. Two weeks before the course started, we had our infamous "Tarp Day" where we put up two 40 x 60 tarps, along with electic lights, at the Troop Learning Area. The week of the course, we arrived Tuesday at 7:00 pm to prepare, with the participants arriving Friday morning. The second weekend of the course, we had to arrive Thursday evening. Monday after the course was take-down day, and we didn''t depart until around 1:00 or 2:00 pm.


Depending on your position, you will have presentations to prepare, note cards to write up. I don''t know how many hours I put in, but when I throw it on the scales, I got more out of the experience than I put in. I still miss it!

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Thanks for the candor with your replies. In reflecting upon my own participant experience, your comments, and the admin & Staff guides, I can see that there really is lot involved and that a fair amount of time is needed to prepare for the WB experience that is offered for participants.


...now getting the behind the scenes look at WB from a staff perspective is quite the eye opener. I looks like everyones job does require quite a bit of prep, no matter what they are doing. Granted, the SM and ASM''s have a bit more.


I can also see that it appears that some of the positions (ASM and SPL) appear to be better suited for someone who has at least done staff once before. It does not show that as required, but I cannot imagine someone counseling the Guides without prior personal experience in the matter.


In regards to the 6 weekends, although I would be delighted to get 6 weekends away from the crew I have at home, I want to make sure that the time invested is accurate and appropriate. I may be misreading into it (some may be for SM/ASM preplanning). I did look at the admin guide that was suggested.


Also, I did set up a lunch meeting with the CD so that we could discuss in a bit more detail.


In regards to promoting, that sounds fun. I already know of one that has expressed interest and am sure that I can drum up a few more.


Of interest...what was with the "Tarp Day"?

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Our Council has a Wood Badge area at one of our Council camps. We do not have a permanent structure (pavillion) for the Troop Learning Area. We have plenty of money to construct one, but we haven''t, and won''t for several reasons. The main reason is "Tarp Day" is a big part of the team building process that takes place for the staff, to help build the staff into a high performance team.


As you probably remember from your WB training, there are 4 stages in the development of a high performance team - forming, storming, norming, performing. Tarp Day plays a big part is getting the staff team through those stages. As I mentioned, we hoist 2 huge tarps that overlap each other, for the TLA. This is no small feat! We also put up canvas tarps at the 8 patrol sites, another 40 x 60 tarp in the Quartermaster area for the staff, and other tarps around the staff tents (the staff stay in summer camp tents on platforms). It is a lot of work, and requires the team to really work together to get it all done on time.


Hopefully you will have a CD who recognizes the need for the staff team to go through those same stages, so they can come together as a high performance team in order to deliver a fantastic program to the participants. I was extremely fortunate in that the CD for the course I staffed had been on 12 other course staffs. He was the most experienced staffer in our council! He started staffing back in the mid 70''s. He was hesitant to become a CD because once you do, your staffing career is essentially over, unless you get invited back as an advisor.

I think having a lunch with your CD is a great idea. The worst thing you can do is say yes and later find out you have to pull out. That really leaves the CD and the staff team in a bind. That happened to us but was resolved after a couple of stressful weeks for the CD.


A little story about how loyal and devoted a member can be to the staff:

One of the Troop Guides fell at home during the time between course weekends. He slipped on the stairs to his basement and tore his ACL. He knew what he had done, and knew he was looking at surgery and a lengthy rehab. His first call was to 911 for an ambulance, and his second call was to our SPL, letting him know about the accident, but also assuring the SPL that - no matter what - he would be back for the second weekend. He kept his word, and the rest of us TG''s enjoyed the extra work helping Jim get around. His dedication, while very inspiring to the rest of the staff team, really wasn''t all that surprising. I think we had all reached a level of dedication to the team that we all would have done the same thing in that situation.

Staffing that course was definitely a highlight in my Scouting career. I hope it will be for you as well.

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Very interesting. It dawned on me the size of the Tarps... 40x60...thats huge, not to mention all the other ones you mentioned. I am sure that definitely is a teamwork tool!


I was amazed when you told me that your CD had been on 12 other course staffs. Thats pretty amazing. I can see why he was hesitant to become a CD with some many staffing experiences, but I do like the idea that there you are limited to being the CD on only 1 WB course. I have seen some older records of previous WB courses in some of my old councils and saw several individuals who were CD''s at least 6 or 8 times each. That does not offer up much training development in that capacity for other, so IMHO, I think it is a good thing. I commend that individual for taking the step to CD the couse you mentioned and to open up the opportunity for others to step up to the plate.


I agree that this is a significant committment. With 5 kids, it is something I spoke with my wife about at length. She is ok with the 6 weekends, not thrilled, but ok. (Perhaps I have it wrong, but that is what is currently in the Council Calendar...we''ll see how that pans out).


Of interest, I see that in the requirements for a Staff member, they must have completed a "Trainer Development Conference". Would that be considered one or some of those weekends, or is that a regularly scheduled council event? In looking at the training courses that have been offered in my council the past few yaers, I did not see any reference to such a conference. They do offer Pow Wows (I saw one council refer to thier Traininer Development Conference as a Pow Wow.) My council does not offer a University of Scouting and occasionally offers a Commissioners College (That appears to rotate through a grouping of councils including ours). Can anyone offer any insight into that?


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Eamonn is exactly right. Wood Badge for the 21st Century has changed and is still evolving. He is also right to point out that, although we don''t want to place too much burden on staff in regards to time commitment, there are some things which can help the staff to come together.


Our Course Director opted to adhere strictly to the Administrative Guide. We had three, and only three, staff development meetings. Other than that we had the first orientation meeting which he held 90 days out exactly as the guide states. We also had a staff dinner the night before the first "Work Day" on the Hill.


In my non-CD, less experienced staffer opinion, I think that our staff could have benefited with some other less formal get-togethers in addition to the three staff developments. Also, as a Troop Guide, I would have appreciated some more meetings to go over Troop Guide stuff. It didn''t seem like there was that much Troop Guide training during the three developments.


I know I don''t speak for everyone on our staff but, for me, I would have no problems committing to whatever the staff needed as far as time and preparation. It was an honor and privilege to serve on staff and none of it seemed burdensome to me.


Eagle Pete(This message has been edited by eagle-pete)

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On the course the CD had the 3 staff development days and we had 3 troop guide meetings. The staff days were from 8 am until 4. The guide meeting lasted a couple of hours each and we covered the ticket process and our project. So was I prepared? Yes but I also spent time practicing my presentations ( my cats could probably recite them verbatum) and reveiwing the staff guide on my own. So there is a lot of time you can spend on this preparing for those two weekends. Is it worth it? You bet it is. This was the best Scouting experience I have had.


I used to be a Bear.....



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To me, what is even more amazing is our CD never had a son in Scouting. He has one child, a daughter who is off to college, but no sons. He was an Eagle Scout with 5 palms, and went into leadership with the Troop right after he aged out. He is one of those really special people you just enjoy being around. He has done just about everything there is in Scouting, but you would never know it just running into him - he is very humble. Face it - you don''t get invited to be on 12 staffs unless you are a team player with a great personality!


The small world part of this story is my dad and my old SM (from my troop as a youth) knew this CD from back in the 70''s, but the CD didn''t know I was his son. My dad has been out of Scouting for awhile, but he is going to our WB Reunion this weekend. He, my old SM and two of their old WB patrol mates from a 1975 Antelope Patrol will all be there. Even their coach/counselor is going to show up - it should be fun! They are all in their 60''s and 70''s - I hope I''m doing the same when I hit that age.

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In reference to your question of Trainer Development Conference, this is a day long training session for all trainers. It used to be called Train The Trainer (TTT). There are round robin sessions on different ways to present. This might be of some interest to some, I just received the 2008 Admin Guide and talked to next years CD, and he told me that there are only a few changes in the course. The Admin Guide does have a change regarding CD''s. A pre-21st Century WB''er (including past pre-21st 4 beaders) can become a CD for 21st by going to 21st Century and completing a ticket, being a Troop Guide in 21st Century WB, and either having been on staff in the pre-21st WB or being on staff of a NYLT course. The key is they still have to set aside their beads, go to 21st Century and earn their beads.

David Harrison



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