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Is Wood Badge just about "the beads"?

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I would love to know more about the Cub Method. Would help me do a better job when I get the younger boys coming from the Dens. As for why , who, or whatever. I posted the above information that was given to me from a Scouter who has been involved for a lot longer then myself. and will be on the Staff with me the next year's WB course.

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With all due respect, you constantly, CONSTANTLY (caps for emphasis, not shouting), give the 'workaround" on almost every single post:



Yours at 300 feet,


I think the key to getting the word out about PM is to get on IOLS staff, and talk it up, talk it up, talk it up.


Or better yet, get some of your older scouts to staff the course with you. let those older, experienced

scouts do the instruction, as they should be doing with your younger scouts.


Just a thought.







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To me, the Wood Badge beads are a symbol of commitment to scouting. The person who wears them took the time and effort to attend the course and complete his ticket. He made scouting a priority over the other things in his life. You may dismiss Wood Badge for the 21st Century entirely, but it does not take away the fact that its participants care about scouting and its results. The people who take the modern course can wear their beads just as proudly as those in the past.


Committed leaders not only talk about how to make things better, they turn their ideas into action. The purpose of the modern Wood Badge course is to turn ideas into reality for the benefit of the youth in the program. The ticket is the idea and the participant must get help from others to get it accomplished. He must effectively communicate, resolve conflict, make people comfortable with change, form teams, etc. Its not scoutcraft it is peoplecraft.


This is a universal skill set, taught by a lot of other organizations and businesses. Once the BSA decided to go with one course to fit all, it realized the woodcraft had to go. You may not agree with this decision, but it makes sense. This change opened up the course to more people - turning more ideas into reality - increasing the benefit to the youth. We all can agree that you dont need a lot of outdoor skills to take the course now.


You may say this is sacrificing quantity for quality: that the course was opened up to more people, but the changes watered down the curriculum and made it less effective. It all depends on whether you believe that these modern leaders, with this universal tool set, can make the existing program work better. If you dont believe in todays program, then I can see why dont believe in Wood Badge for the 21st Century either.


Scouting changed and Wood Badge changed with it, not the other way around. You may want scouting to change back to the way it was and may have many good reasons and web sites that explain why. But to vent your frustration by attacking the modern course as the root of all of scoutings evils is just utter nonsense.


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Woodbadge is the worst of modern scouting.


1. Very cult like

2. Perpetuates the Good old boy network

3. Takes away in a large manner from why and what scouting is.

4. Creates a them and US culture.

5. No truly useful skills taught




far as dedication to scouting goes, I know a number of scouters who have not and will not take woodbadge. I wish I had not. The biggest waste of time I have experienced in scouting.

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@Basementdweller: I still feel for your experience. I had the time of my life, and recommend the course to every Adult in Scouting. I think you got the wrong end of the draw, and maybe attended the course in a Council full of people just as you say above. If I might ask, what council are you involved in. That way I will try to avoid the place. BTW, have you finished your ticket?


@AvidSM: I have to agree with your comments. Again WB has been an excellent experience for me, and I can't wait to Staff the next years course. I think that in 3-4 years I could very well be the Course Director one year. And I would do it in a minute. Lucky thing about my Council is that the Adult turnover is every three years. So positions open all of the time, and faces change.

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"Scouting changed and Wood Badge changed with it"


There are plausible arguments for the position that the modified Wood Badge was a stealth hijacking of Scouting, and was used to change Scouting. The evidence that the no-woods Wood Badge *reflected* change already present in Scouting seems pretty thin. The evidence that those pushing the White Stag quasi-religion (adopted in the early 'leadership' Wood Badge) intended to use it to produce NEW change in Scouting seems substantial.


It's worth noting that when an ORGANIZATION changes as a whole, and publicly, they often name the 'new' program something different and distinctive. On the other hand, when a minority within an organization hijacks an organization, they often KEEP the old names while gradually morphing existing programs into something new. This approach is used to prevent rank and file from noticing the hijack.


This latter approach is precisely what happened in the Southern Presbyterian Church, and was successful in redirecting the denomination from Christian orthodoxy to religious modernism. Several smaller orthodox denominations (including ours) were formed when some frogs noticed that the pot was boiling and hopped out.


There are many other interesting parallels. For example, Scouting's national leadership gives the impression that they don't actually believe in anything except organizational continuity and financial growth. If there are any Scouting principles which they treat as genuinely foundational and fundamental, we've missed those news reports.


It seems plausible that Wood Badge represents an *on-going* hijacking of Scouting principles, and that the continuing 'progress' in WB is actually continuing progress toward the final emasculation of Scouting


TN Scout Troop

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I took Woodbadge in 1985. It wasn't a cult then, and I see no evidence of anything like that in our district or units today.


For me, Woodbadge deepened my habit of continued commitment to Scouting, and the image of always "working your ticket" is an image I continue to relate to.



Perhaps there are problems elsewhere, I haven't heard anything like that in the Seattle area Chief Seattle Council.

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I have not finished my ticket. Come to find out some of my course mates have. Less than three months after the course. Amazing. I understood it was supposed to take 18 months and have items which are meaningful.



I will finish my ticket but the verdict is out whether I will turn it in and accept the beads.


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I hate to say it, but I know Gilwell Park was experimenting with a "non-outdoor" WB as early as 1995. I had the choice of going to the WSJ in Holland or doing WB at Gilwell, and picked the WSJ after I heard about all the changes they were doing.

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In the end I hope some one who counts reads this forum. May my experience improve the program.


but sitting and watching a movie Sunday late afternoon, while we were running multiple hours behind and I had a three hour drive to get home. After dealing with the camping gear got me to bed after midnight. I had seen the movie before......... Most of this was because of the staff screwing around at gilwell and inside jokes.



there is something useful in woodbadge to a blue collar kinda guy or gal. I am an engineer so I have seen this material multiple times.


The backpacking stove presentation was a scream. I wish they had brought in someone who actual had used them to teach it. Absolutely worthless.



Yes I did fill out the evaluation and return it.



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A staff who lollygags and wastes their participant's time is doing no good for the reputation of Wood Badge, let alone their own reputations.


I can assure you that your experience is not universal.


Is it cult-like? Sure, but so is Scouting itself in the view of many.


Does it perpetuate the good old boy network? It can depending on the culture of the people involved. If run according to the policies set forth and what the course director pledges to do, it shouldn't. In my council, we strongly stress the 30% new staffer recommendation, and that brings with itself a new feel and a new group of people who have benefited from the material.


I am curious how the curriculum of Wood Badge takes away from Scouting. I've not heard that argument before.


Them vs US culture? I guarantee there's nothing in the syllabus (save the Game of Life) that could even be represented as that mentality. If the staff follows the Staff Guide and treats the course as a "Real Troop 1" the course becomes what the participants want out of it, just as the leaders of a troop become what their boys need. If that didn't happen on your course, there's really no excuse for it.


Communication isn't useful? Learning to relate to the boys on every level isn't useful? The games didn't provide you real life experience to take back to your youth? You didn't feel the benefit of being in the shoes of a patrol leader and having to lead a group of fellow volunteers? You didn't have any fun with a purpose?



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The time spent wasting time at wood badge could have been better spent with troop activitys. Fall recruiting, Popcorn, camping, ect.........


Of course sitting at home in front of the tv would have been more fun and informative.



I know this is not a popular opinion. sorry guys.


you can bet the drum for a positive woodbadge experience I will continue to speak of my experience.

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What if there were no beads or special recognition or patrols or any affiliation with Wood Badge after the course was finished. Instead you just get a plain old certificate, nothing of note to wear on your uniform, no special neckers or woggles? How many of you out there would still go through the entire process now that you know what is involved.


If you can answer that question truefully and your answer is no then like it or not you were just in it for the beads and the prestige and becoming a member of the "WB Cult".

Just something to ponder.

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I pretty much tried to just read the posts but I got confused with yours.


You asked: "What if there were no beads or special recognition or patrols or any affiliation with Wood Badge after the course was finished. Instead you just get a plain old certificate, nothing of note to wear on your uniform, no special neckers or woggles? How many of you out there would still go through the entire process now that you know what is involved."


If there were no patrols then it would have had NOTHING to do with Scouting at all but I would ask you a question using your own remarks: Knowing what you know of WB21 and if they offered nothing but a $0.05 certificate and 6 days away from your family, would you pay me $300? Some of these courses cost that and more to the attendees.


Maybe they expect SCOUTCRAFT training or maybe they expect IN-DEPTH training in thier area of Scouting (Cub, Boy, Venture, Explorer, District,...) rather than a course on "Storming, Norming,..."


It is different. It is NOT just about the beads. I was able to buy beads before I earned them (I did earn mine though).


I have had the displeasure of the being involved when the "Inner City" scouting movement almost destroyed BSA. I have been a Scout and an Explorer in the 70's. I have been an adult leader off and on since the late 70's. I have allways had respect for "WB Bead-wearers" until I went to WB21. I saw a first year TC Den Leader earn his beads and still not know how the Pack functioned or the Cub-Scout transition plan. But he did his tickets and got his beads. Would you go to him for information? I used to allways count on WB personnel to know the Scouting program for which they earned thier beads. I guess we are supposed to rely on paid profesionals for any answers now.


Just my personal view and my $0.02 which is probably worth about that much.

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Did you ever think that the Scouters to whom you used to go for answers probably had years and years of Scouting experience and not just Wood Badge beads. I know when I was a young Scouter, the experienced Scouters I went to for answers usually had beads. However, I think it is a mistake to equate a Scouter's Wood Badge beads with his or her experience and knowledge. Wood Badge does not make or certify someone as "All Knowing in Scouting" and it never did. Whether it was the old course which I took in 1992 or the new course I took in 2008, Wood Badge just gives Scouter tools which he or she hopefully will use to be a better leader. Nothing more.


Nowadays, when I see Scouters with beads, I tend to see someone who in my mind should be capable to lead because he or she has the tools and know-how. Will the beaded-Scouter use the tools? Maybe. Will he or she have all the answers to questions on Scouting? Maybe. Usually when I need answers, I look for Scouters who has been around certain blocks longer than I have and not just for bead wearers. So, would I go to that first year Tiger Cub Den Leader you mentioned for information? The answer would depend on what information I was needed.


Chazz Lees

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