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robvio

What are the benefits of Wood Badge to a troop?

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I guess this may be the dumbest question asked in a very long time, but if I am asked to spend the 250 dollars and pay for travel expenses on top of that, I do want to know to what benefit it will be to the troop and not my personal gain.

 

Elaborations and experiences would be appreciated.

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One of my WB patrol members had an analogy: it's hard to describe fried chicken (scouting program), and even harder to describe really good fried chicken. Our first taste of fried chicken usually winds up being the standard by which all others are compared, and you may never even bother to try anything different. Wood Badge is a gold standard of scouting. Whatever your scouting experience, you will come away with some new perspectives and ideas on what you are doing right, and what you are doing wrong.

 

Wood Badge is, on its face, a leadership seminar. If you've served in the armed forces, been to management school, or participated in other leadership seminars, you'll be in familiar territory. Many scouting volunteers don't have those experiences, and getting it from Wood Badge is a plus.

 

Among other things, I came away understanding how my personal strengths could be better used to serve my scouting community. My pack will be better off as a result of my ticket items. (And the ticket is just a start. I have bigger ideas for down the road, now.)

 

To top it off, I met a bunch of great men and women who will be my peer group through the next generation or three of scouts. Not that the old timers are leaving anytime soon, but now there's a new crop of go-to people that I can count on when I need advise, information, etc.

 

The program is not perfect, but I'm still learning from it as I reflect on what we went through. I wasn't quite sure if I made the right choice when I plunked down my money, but I have no regrets now. I figure my total cost was around $1000 counting tuition, supplies, travel, and lost wages.

 

There's a big time commitment on top of the two weekends, so make sure you're prepared for that.

 

Without knowing you personally, I cant say 100% that you should go, but I suspect from the way you phrased your question that it going would be worthwhile.

 

If you're really lucky, they'll make you a Bobwhite.

 

 

 

 

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I don't know your position in the adult structure, but I submit:

 

- You will have the leadership psych tools to help guide a PLC through its annual planning, coordination, and close planning processes.

 

- You will have a better network of Scouter resources to bring to bear to assist your young men.

 

- You will have intense and in-depth review of the 3 Aims and 8 Methods of Scouting, along with determining means of applying them to your youth.

 

- You will have to design and execute projects (to include internal controls) which will benefit yourself, your Troop, and the Scouting community you serve.

 

All of those to me are external benefits. Per your request, I won't discuss the internal benefits.

 

YIS John

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I recently became a member of a sub-committee, and at our first meeting, there was a lot of discussion, but not any direction. I interrupted the discussions, and started applying skills I learned from Wood Badge.

 

It helped the group really define exactly what we wanted to accomplish, and how we were going to get there.

 

I'm currently a committee member, but there are changes coming. I'm going to be the Leadership Training and Development coordinator. I'm planning to impart some of the Wood Badge knowledge I received to the PLC and other scout (and adult) leaders.

 

I found Wood Badge to be worth it on many levels, but that's my opinion.

 

Like others have said, a lot of the information I had seen before, but not in the Scouting context. An added benefit (one of the biggest ones, I felt) was getting to know other scouters from across the area. I have found that when I have a scouting question, my Wood Badge patrol is the first group I ask; the second group is on Scouter.com.

 

With luck, you'll even be a Fox.

 

All the best in your decision.

 

Tom

C-44-06 I used to be a Fox

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My answer to your question is - it depends. So much of what you get out of the Wood Badge experience is what you put into it.

 

There are benefits to learning the preferred leadership style, but only if you apply it in your scouting job.

 

There are alos benefits to meeting other scouters with more experience and knowledge than you. There will be people there, both on staff and as participants, from all walks of scouting. You and your unit will only benefit from meeting these people if you engage them and follow their advice and examples.

 

Lastly you will be encouraged to write a ticket that when completed by you, should benefit the youth in your unit. How you write this ticket and how well you complete it is up to you. If done right, it should enpower you to make a change for the better. And, it should kick your scouting career up a notch.

 

 

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robvio

 

I think John-in-KC provided the major benefits to those in your unit and your direct influence. I would only add this - Every boy deserves a [well] trained leader! Wood Badge offers advanced training for Scout Leaders which they bring back to the troop.

 

I cannot provide a laundry list of benefits which you would then be able to equate to a dollar value. Let me ask you this... Can you place a dollar value on the difference you will make in the life of a boy after going through Wood Badge?

 

If you are considering going at all, then I would submit that you have already assessed the value of the course. If all you need is a reason to go, then you don't need to look here on this forum. I can't really provide that for you. Take a look at the boys you serve and then ask yourself, "is it worth it?" I think you know the answer already.

 

Every Boy Scout deserves to have a program that teaches the Aims, Methods, and Values of the Boy Scouts of America in the way it was intended. The only way we are going to accomplish this is to have well-trained leaders like yourself.

 

In my view, Wood Badge is not an option. It is essential training that every Scout Leader who is committed to the well-being of their troop and the boys must attend.

 

Just go. When you get back, if it isn't worth every penny I promise to do a chicken dance in front of everyone at my next roundtable.

 

Eagle Pete

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What you get out of Woodbadge depends entirely on what you put into it.

 

Will it benefit your unit? Absolutely. As others said, your ticket is mostly going to be work done on behalf of your unit and/or district. And, it's just the tip of the iceberg. My ticket still isn't complete (two of my items have time specific commitments), but I've already been involved with a couple of new "projects" which would have easily been ticket items. And I fully expect that to continue as long as I'm actively involved with Scouting (my youngest son has over ten years until he ages out).

 

Will it benefit you personally? Most likely.

 

I've been thru a lot of professional management courses, and this is one of the best values you'll find for learning management skills. Some people have sucessfuly justified the time off of work as "training" by touting its benefits for their professional life.

 

So, don't look at it as a $250 expense. Look at it as a cost effective investment in your personal development.(This message has been edited by eolesen)

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robvio,

Welcome,

Your troop will benefit immensely. You will always find ways to apply what yu learn, at home, at work and in the troop. Aside from what YOU gain, the troop gains a well trained leader with increased motivation, dedication and ability. You will have the skills and knowledge to know when something is "right" and when it isn't.

 

Plus, what John-in-KC said, And, I'll supplement Eagle Pete's guarantee with another Chicken Dance.

 

After you've been to WB, encourage someone else in the troop committee (or other adult) to attend, you will have common but different experiences.

 

Gonzo1

Eagle Patrol, SR-59

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Is Wood Badge Right For You? It depends on how you define "Troop"!

 

To find the right course of action, simply consider the following eight "Troop Method" statements:

 

1) Troop Elections should be held in multiples of six months to correspond with six month "POR" advancement requirements.

 

2) The purpose of a Patrol is to teach "Leadership Development".

 

3) My employer will be impressed to find out that I have participated in a corporate leadership course on my own time.

 

4) The SPL, not the Patrol Leader, is the true leader in Scouting.

 

5) The teacher of Scoutcraft skills is the Troop Guide, not the Patrol Leader.

 

6) The "chain of command" is SM -> SPL -> ASPL -> PL.

 

7) New ideas are "modern" and therefore better than "old-fashioned" traditional ideas.

 

8) I get a lump in my throat and my eyes get all weepy at the following statement: "If the most talented Patrol Leader in the entire world were a member of the Troop that I serve, my duty would be to ask him to step aside to give someone else a turn because my job is to teach leadership."

 

If you agree with the above eight statements, then you already approach Scouting with Wood Badge Logic. Wood Badge is just perfect for you, and it will be a valuable resource in subordinating the Patrol Method to whatever trendy Troop Method leadership theory is popular these days.

 

On the other hand if you disagree with the above statements and if you define "Troop" as a meeting of Scout Patrols then you are probably a strong supporter of the Patrol Method.

 

In that case if you like to read and if you have some self-discipline then your time would be better spent if you skipped Wood Badge and invested $30 for the two-volume 3rd Edition of the BSA's Handbook for Scoutmasters (or $5 for a copy of the 4th or 5th Edition). These three editions were written by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt, the "father" of the BSA Patrol Method, see:

 

http://tinyurl.com/38zo9r

 

The 3rd Edition is 1,132 pages long. If you don't find at least one idea for your Troop on each and every one of the 1,132 pages, I will "buy the book back" from you!

 

Kudu

 

 

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Robvio,

Kudu's "Troop Method Statements" are Kudu's troop method statements, not BSA's. While there may be some validity to the 8 points he makes, rember, every scout deserves a trained leader.

 

You'll have fun, if you were a scout, you may feel like one again during WB, I did. But then again, I went to WB along time ago - in the "old" WB course.

 

It's all about the boys and the patrol. I agree with a lot of what Kudu says, but not everything.

 

Get the handbooks he recommends, go to WB, have fun!

 

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Kudu - I'm confused. Overall, Woodbadge is a leadership course, not a New Leader Essentials type course. Some of your statements really confound me. I did not come away with the impression that the "troop method" was pushed at Woodbadge. Heck, look at the critters - patrol spirit was emphasized, not the fact that we were a part of Troop 1.

 

From what I remember (and I admit, I may be fuzzy on what I "learned" from Woodbadge vs. Leader Specific vs. Essentials vs. just reading the Scoutmasters Handbook) but

 

1) Troop Elections should be held in multiples of six months to correspond with six month "POR" advancement requirements. I believe they "may" be held in six month increments (that is what our troop does) but not because of the POR requirement (after all, Star is four months) but because of school athletic "seasons", school band, and it gives a chance for the boys to remove an ineffective leader.

 

2) The purpose of a Patrol is to teach "Leadership Development". The methods (all of them) help us to reach the aims (all of them). Experience shows that a ratio of approx. 8:1 is ideal for leadership. That goes for the work place, Scouts and anywhere else. I would not say that main purpose of a patrol is to teach leadership but the experience of being a patrol leader can assist a Scout in gaining leadership capability.

 

3) My employer will be impressed to find out that I have participated in a corporate leadership course on my own time. Please, my employer seems to be clueless on most everything. When I took Woodbadge, I didn't inform my employer.

 

4) The SPL, not the Patrol Leader, is the true leader in Scouting. True, the SPL is the youth leader of the troop. However, I've always felt that the Patrol Leader is the most important position in Scouting.

 

5) The teacher of Scoutcraft skills is the Troop Guide, not the Patrol Leader. The "teacher" in many cases is an Instructor. The Patrol Leader has the leadership skills but any youth may have a specialty skill. I use the Troop Guide as a mentoring position for leadership not as a scout skills teacher.

 

6) The "chain of command" is SM -> SPL -> ASPL -> PL. I agree but more so as the communication path except the ASPL should be "removed" from this path.

 

7) New ideas are "modern" and therefore better than "old-fashioned" traditional ideas. I have no idea where this came from. Since the buzz word for the BSA (which I can't stand) is traditional values, I have no idea where you came up with this.

 

8) I get a lump in my throat and my eyes get all weepy at the following statement: "If the most talented Patrol Leader in the entire world were a member of the Troop that I serve, my duty would be to ask him to step aside to give someone else a turn because my job is to teach leadership." I would not ask him to step aside but I also would not want him to be patrol leader for eternity either.

 

If you agree with the above eight statements, then you already approach Scouting with Wood Badge Logic. Wood Badge is just perfect for you, and it will be a valuable resource in subordinating the Patrol Method to whatever trendy Troop Method leadership theory is popular these days.

 

On the other hand if you disagree with the above statements and if you define "Troop" as a meeting of Scout Patrols then you are probably a strong supporter of the Patrol Method.

 

The BSA does teach that the troop is a coming together of patrols. It does teach that the patrol is the basic unit of the Boy Scouts. Now, I agree that many Scout leaders don't follow that but I don't think Woodbadge teaches the "troop method" in any way.

 

 

 

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It must be a real drag being born in the wrong century.

 

robvio,

If the course is presented properly, you should see the BSA Patrol Method modeled throughout the course. You will learn the steps of team development, which should help your Troop in building high performance teams with both your Committee and SM/ASM corps. It is so much more than I thought it would be. Go be a sponge and soak up as much as you can.

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I took Woodbadge under the former syllabus. I did not see Woodbadge empahsising anything like what Kudu is saying.

 

I came back from Woodbadge fired up about the patrol method. I wanted our SM to implement all of the stuff we did. I had a lot of fun being in a patrol, and I did not remember my scouting years in the 70's being this way. I found our present troop to be lacking in soooooo many areas.

 

Now, after serving the troop under three Scoutmasters who really did not move beyond an adult dominated troop, I have the job. I am drawing on my Woodbadge experiences to develope the Patrol Leaders and the SPL. I am giving them much more decision making responsibility, and demanding more leadership from them.

 

What I am finding is that developing a patrol so that it has an identity of its own, with its own character and relationships, takes time. More time than I thought it would take. And just when it seems to start jelling, I find half the guys leaving for basketball season, or summer vacation for 2 months, or just plain leaving.

 

Woodbadge gave me a vision of the "ideal" troop. Would to God that the majority of scoutmasters start with at least that.

 

 

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Gonzo1 writes:

 

"remember, every scout deserves a trained leader."

 

"What Makes You a Trained Leader?

 

"Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters are considered trained when they have completed New Leader Essentials, Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training, and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills."

 

http://www.scouting.org/boyscouts/resources/18-813/

 

acco40 writes:

 

"Kudu - I'm confused. Overall, Woodbadge is a leadership course, not a New Leader Essentials type course."

 

My point exactly. Wood Badge was hijacked.

 

Real Wood Badge is all about the Patrol Method (not the Leadership Development Method) and the Patrol Method is all about the teaching and the practice of outdoor Scoutcraft skills in Patrols. This is how all of Boy Scouting is supposed to work. You learn Citizenship through Scoutcraft skills in a Patrol ("education"), not through classroom Merit Badges ("instruction"). Corporate leadership classroom training is the same as Citizenship classroom training: the very opposite of Scouting.

 

For this indirect teaching of real-world Scout Law to work you need the Patrol's most gifted leader as Patrol Leader rather than using Patrols to teach "Leadership" out of a sense of fairness to weak Scouts who need POR credit, with the Troop SPLs, Troop ASPLs, Troop Guides, and Troop Instructors all taking up the Troop Method slack.

 

"Some of your statements really confound me. Heck, look at the critters - patrol spirit was emphasized, not the fact that we were a part of Troop 1."

 

A better term would be "Generic Unit Spirit." Wood Badge Patrol Spirit is just nostalgic fluff since it includes Cub Scout leaders and the unit is called a Den and a Crew on alternate days.

 

"I did not come away with the impression that the "troop method" was pushed at Woodbadge."

 

The Troop Method statements are an "aptitude" test. If robvio agrees with the statements then he will love Wood Badge. Likewise Wood Badge graduates tend to make those statements when they are discussing other subjects and are not consciously defending Wood Badge.

 

"From what I remember (and I admit, I may be fuzzy on what I "learned" from Woodbadge vs. Leader Specific vs. Essentials vs. just reading the Scoutmasters Handbook)"

 

Likewise. One of my future projects is to take a stopwatch to Scoutmaster Specific Training to see how many minutes are actually devoted to the Patrol Method.

 

"1) I believe they "may" be held in six month increments (that is what our troop does) but not because of the POR requirement (after all, Star is four months) but because of school athletic "seasons", school band, and it gives a chance for the boys to remove an ineffective leader. "

 

Well now isn't that a coincidence! :-)

 

The Troop Method assumption here is that Patrols must have elections according to some Troop plan. A Patrol should have an election when the Patrol thinks it needs an election. Why should a Patrol wait six months to remove an ineffective leader unless POR requirements are a consideration? Why should a good Patrol Leader face elections (and the implied hint of term limits) according to a Troop schedule unless letting someone else have a chance at the POR credit is a consideration? We would not see Troop election schedules if Wood Badge was about building strong Patrols rather than using Patrols as convenient Leadership Skills Mills.

 

"The methods (all of them) help us to reach the aims (all of them)."

 

I went to Wood Badge hoping for an in-depth "why" discussion of the so-called "Eight Methods" (why not the original six?) and the so-called "Three Aims" (why not the original one?) but the Eight Methods were only mentioned in passing.

 

"Experience shows that a ratio of approx. 8:1 is ideal for leadership. That goes for the work place, Scouts and anywhere else."

 

Yes, Wood Badge is about the least common denominator: leadership theory for eight-person units which can be used in the work place, a Cub Scout Den, or anywhere else.

 

"2) I would not say that main purpose of a patrol is to teach leadership but the experience of being a patrol leader can assist a Scout in gaining leadership capability."

 

That is how it should be: a nice growth experience for a Patrol's most gifted natural leader.

 

"3) Please, my employer seems to be clueless on most everything. When I took Woodbadge, I didn't inform my employer. "

 

In most "Why should I take Wood Badge" discussions the fact that Wood Badge is a corporate leadership course is usually touted as a reason for attending. Some Wood Badge courses even offer a form letter that can be sent to your employer.

 

"4) True, the SPL is the youth leader of the troop. However, I've always felt that the Patrol Leader is the most important position in Scouting."

 

Me too, but my current SPL was having none of that :-/

 

"6) I agree but more so as the communication path..."

 

When a Troop is really a "coming together of Patrols," then the "chain of command" is PLC -> SPL, with the SPL elected by the Patrol Leaders not by the Troop Method.

 

"...except the ASPL should be "removed" from this path."

 

I included ASPL as a good example of the Troop Method. Why should some kid appointed by the SPL be the Patrol Leaders' boss when the SPL is absent?

 

"7) I have no idea where this came from. Since the buzz word for the BSA (which I can't stand) is traditional values, I have no idea where you came up with this."

 

And there is Brent right on cue with his assertion of historical inevitability :-)

 

If you want to spin this off to the Issues & Politics area, I would argue that the BSA's buzz term "traditional values" is the neoconservative "odd fellows" combination of a) right-wing Christian social policies (including a religious test for "good citizenship" -- DRP) and b) corporate values. This unholy alliance does not reflect Traditional Scouting values anymore than it reflects traditional Republican values.

 

Traditional Scouting values are always taught indirectly through the learning and practice of outdoor Scoutcraft skills in a Patrol. The place for adults to learn that should be Wood Badge.

 

"8) I would not ask him to step aside but I also would not want him to be patrol leader for eternity either."

 

Well, why not? One single gifted boy leader can transform and continue to set the standard for an entire Troop. It is the positive side of peer-pressure. Wood Badge should be about learning how to recognize the most gifted natural leader, and helping him become even better. This is very different from the idea that everybody is a leader and leadership (read "management") can be taught through a system like Eleven Leadership Skills or that One Minute Manager stuff.

 

"The BSA does teach that the troop is a coming together of patrols. It does teach that the patrol is the basic unit of the Boy Scouts. Now, I agree that many Scout leaders don't follow that but I don't think Woodbadge teaches the "troop method" in any way."

 

Wood Badge is all about "Leadership Development" and Leadership Development is all about the Troop Method. The opposite of Leadership Development is Patrol Leader Training. By definition Patrol Leader Training is not relevant to the needs of the Troop Librarian or adult Den Leader.

 

allangr1024 writes:

 

"I took Woodbadge under the former syllabus. I did not see Woodbadge emphasizing anything like what Kudu is saying."

 

Now by any chance would that have been before the learning and practice of a few outdoor Scoutcraft skills in a Patrol was completely dumbed-out of Wood Badge to accommodate the indoor leadership needs of Cub Scouts?

 

Kudu

 

 

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