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We read a lot of posts here about WB and being ready for the course. I understand about being ready, heck WB courses are filled with people who have got their stuff together and want to do great things.


I had the 20 questions filled out.


I knew that it was the "mountain top" of training for adults.


But I did not know anything else.


I was clueless to the requirement of the ticket and that there was a practical phase.

I did not know about the ticket until the middle of the first week end.


I knew little about the course and came away with much.



How much did you know before you went?


Do you think it takes away from the course to know everything that will happen before it does?

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Wood Badge staffs are trained to be able to work with people who know essentially nothing about Wood Badge and very little about Scouting. IT happens.


There are also, not uncommonly, participants with decades of service, Silver Beavers, etc. I had one participant who had both the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope.


And everything in-between.


I would say that it is better to go earlier rather than later as there will be more time for your Scouts to benefit from your Wood Badge participation.


Not knowing much about the ticket is not a big problem. Again, typically there are several participants who have no idea what a ticket is. The staff is trained and prepared to handle that.


There might be a little more problem with being unprepared for the ticket if it is a week long course. But when you can go home between the weekends, there really should be no problem.


Unless the staff are choosing to be jerks. I have seen that happen where the staff does not try to make unprepared people welcome but rather seems to be trying to make them feel stupid. That's no fun at all but, fortunately, is rare.

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Wood Badge is a milestone training for any adult leader that is involved in the Scouting program. As for being prepared for Wood Badge I have to say that I was pretty much prepared. It all had to do with my district executive being the staff advisor for the my Wood Badge course.


Thanks to that I knew a little bit more about the course than I was suppose to know, but my district executive told me no matter what I heard about Wood Badge that I needed to come into the course with an open mind, because Wood Badge is different for everyone.


To say the least I did go in with an open mind and got a lot out of the training and wrote some really good tickets and pushed myself to get them completed as soon as possible.


It is now only 9 months since my course ended and over half of us that participated in the course have completed out tickets and received our beads.


To say the least Wood Badge is an awesome experience as long as you forget everything you have heard about the course and go into the course with an open mind.

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Here is my Wood Badge story.


I attended Wood Badge in the 80's. Just prior to email and the internet era. I had been recommended to attend by our District Commissioner, and informed it was an advanced adult Scout leadership course. I submitted my applications three months earlier (via snail mail and personal check), I think my application beat me to the course director by three hours.


Essentially. There was little information that my fellow learners could learn about the course, before the course actually began. Now, learners can practically read the entire curriculum without experiencing the actual Wood Badge course.


Over the years, I attended the week-long course and have went on to further staffed five additional week-long courses. It's unproven and only an opinion, but Fellow Staffers have usually commented and joked that the one-week course attendees bond more as a patrol.


Humorously, one attendee a few years ago, called the day prior to the course and asked the CD when the educational modules would be presented. This learner stated they knew everything about Scouting and teamwork, that they were too busy with work and other commitments and only desired to attend during the educational portion. The CD stated to the learner, they needed to attend the whole course or show up at registration for an immediate refund (first time Ive ever heard of that). The learner called back an hour later and stated they would be there for the entire course (and had a blast).


Most learners attended with only a vague knowledge of the experience. Some have attended with a few (not all though) of the fundamental lessons. None have really played any games to re-enforce the learning or application of these skills.


Most learners whom have previously attended some of these lessons during work seminars have placed their notes on the shelf to gather dust. Few ever really applying them.


So, those whom attend Wood Badge with an open mind, have usually enjoyed learning these skills and applying them by practice (or re-enforcement games).


How much did I know before I went? Nothing really. It was all new to me.


Do I think it takes away from the course to know everything that will happen before it does? Yes, I think it will take away from the experience to enter with preconceived ideas.


I don't think it will damage a personal experience, but I do believe it will take away from that experience. Most all learners will leave with a decent understanding and commitment, and the success rate of achieving their promise and earning their regalia is a high percentage. But the amount of commitment, and how long will a Wood Badge trained Scouter stay in the Scouting program is questionable. The unique first time experience should add to the course, and enhance a learners commitment.



Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


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I knew basically what to expect - husband had attended WB a couple of years earlier in a neighboring Council. I knew what the Ticket was all about but I had not thought about it for myself (in other words, what "I" was going to do). I was an experienced camper - others were not so much! We had a couple of very new Scouters with little camping time under their belts - I think they were a little overwhelmed at that part of it, although they (like ALL of us!) learned quickly from our peers.

A comparison afterwards of my experience and my husband's showed some differences but the overall program was the same. In other words, talking with someone who had been-there-done-that was a big help in me being prepared for my 2 "mountaintop" weekends.

I went into it with high expectations and I was not disappointed!



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  • 3 weeks later...

I have heard many times that there was a saying in the "old" (pre-WB-21Century) "It will be revealed to you at the proper time". IOW, they did not WANT participants to know too much about the course ahead of time and things were kind of deliberately held back from participants. Now, as staffers, we are told to answer questions from potential participants openly but without giving out too much information, as "discovery" is still something that the participants need to go through...it's part of the fun of going through the course IMO. I certainly discuss what the ticket is about and advise potential participants to think about possible ticket items pre-course. I went into my course fairly prepared as far as ideas for ticket items..but still had to rethink many of them..but it was a help I think to have that information about the ticket before the course.



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I attended WB in 2003, under the WB for the 21st C curriculum.


I didn't know a whole lot about WB before I attended. I asked around a bit, but at the time most people I knew locally in scouting were fellow cub leaders who didn't have any information whatsoever. The fewer troop and district folks I knew were not exactly forthcoming, some even going so far as to actively try to discourage me from attending on the basis that (in their view) WB should not be for cub leaders.


I got this answer: "It will be revealed to you at the proper time" A LOT, both before the course and during the course. Plus a variety of other trite and empty phrases, in lieu of actual information or good discussion. I found it to be condescending and an increasingly annoying cover-up for "we're not prepared" or "we screwed up and are still trying to figure out what to do next."


In reading and discussing the changes from the "old" WB to WB/21 here and elsewhere, I've concluded that in the case of my particular wb course, there was a lot of resistance to the newer curriculum among the powers that were running the show. Lack of timely info was a part of this, I think.


So going in, I knew very little about what to expect. I found the continual lack of info to be a barrier to getting into the groove, so to speak, throughout the course. I'm very pleased to hear that things are supposed to have changed, and I hope that they actually have changed. None the less, I still had a very good WB experience and am glad I did it and I wear my beads with pride.


I do not think it makes a lot of sense for people to arrive day 1 with their tickets all written but on the other hand I do think that the approach that I went through turns off and turns away some folks (in particular cub leaders) for very little reason.


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One of the things all the members in my Patrol appreciated was our TG. At the end of the first weekend, we were planning our interim patrol meetings. We asked him some very targeted questions. His quote to us: "For the next month, I am your liaison with the faculty. If you have a question, I will either have an immediate response, or I will have a response back to you in 48 hours."


He understood the value of our time in our day jobs/Scouting positions and the sacrifice we were making to be better Scouters.


So there's one wily Fox out there who demonstrated to me "what right acts like."

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Fellow Scouters,



Concur. In the former curriculum. There was an air of mystery. Staffers were asked not to divulge course agendas, beyond what was stated each day by the SPL at the PLC. It created a path of communications for Scouts to rely on the Patrol Leader and Patrol Leaders rely on their SPL. The PLC agenda was precisely scripted.


"It will be revealed to you at the appropriate time" and "Ask your Patrol Leader" were standard answers to questions regarding what was on the schedule.


Even on the afternoon of day one, thirty minutes after the patrol (of seven individuals not even introduced yet) arrived at their campsite to find all the tents and equipment on the camp table. One hour till darkness, and thirty minutes after the new patrol begins scrambling to squeeze a two hour job in one hour. The Troop Guide comes walking into the campsite smiling, carrying a table top flip chart and ready to talk to the patrol about "Communications". As inconvenient and awkward as this lesson was, the awkward timing was scripted.


In 2002, 2003 and probably 2004. There were probably about 30-60 Scouters whom recently completed the WB21C. Most council Wood Badge Scouters and even former staffers were probably still vague on the recent curriculum changes.


From staffing the WB21C course, if a learner asked what was happening next, we would defer them to ask their Patrol Leader. The Patrol Leader had the agenda for the day, and should have passed an hourly schedule to their Patrol.


If a learner was truly concerned about the approaching training dates and concerned about events. Staffers will usually defer to the Course Director for detailed questions about approaching training days. Most often, the question was only to satisfy the learners curiosity, and not to resolve a personal, scheduling, diet or health conflict.


It appears to be similar to the Order of the Arrow answer to concerned parents. There are no secrets in Scouting. Members like to keep the mystery so that when new members attend they may enjoy the full experience of the whole process.


Timing and a prompt schedule was everything. Even in the prior course, outside just the scope of the curriculum. The learners were amazed when the staffers would do small things like changing neckerchief slides and name tags simultaneously. How a patch (like the Baden Powell Star, now known as the Honor Patrol Star) would be handed out at 0830 and all the staffers had it sewn on at 0900. Also, How participants would walk out of a campfire with the entire staff singing Scout Vespers, walk immediately and directly to Crackerbarrel, only to find the entire staff waiting at Crackerbarrel for the arrival. Learners were always saying "We just saw you at..." Weren't you just wearing a...." "How did you all do that?"


That was just part of the magic surrounding the curriculum. But the staff amazed the learners by sticking to the script, being prompt and on schedule, and rehearsing the course over and over and over. That way the staff was ready for their fellow Scouters and learners.


Because the staff rehearsing the curriculum lessons over and over, their presentation skills were outstanding. Speaking to the fellow Scouters as both a refresher and sometimes newly discovered material. Even if the learners had heard portions of the curriculum before, or just for the first time. They enjoyed the curriculum. They soaked it up like a sponge.


Back to uz2bnowl's question.


The Course Director and SPL should public a listing of personal needs prior to the course. Sometimes they do host a one night Q&A before the course,every learner is invited, but of course not every learner may be able to attend a pre-course Q&A before the meeting. Also, if a learner still arrives without personal equipment and feels concerned that they still are not ready, the course Quartermaster and Assistant Scoutmaster for Support and Physical Arrangements will do what they can to satisfy personal equipment needs that may be lacking.


Essential, in today's WB21C course. All learners should be ready materially. The Course Director should assure this. It's up to the learner if they are ready consciously and emotionally.



Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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  • 1 year later...

After reading this and another thread concerning Wood Badge. I think back to conversations with my Dad. He went through the "old" course, his father went through the course before that and I had a great uncle at WB1 in 1948. I have a general concept of the program but it has changed so much since Dad went though it, that is all I can get. Four weeks from today I will be headed to the mountain top. I think I have an idea for part of my ticket and these threads have me convinced that I have a 50% chance of being on target. I feel like a new Tiger at Join Scouting Night. I am really really excited, not exactly sure what I am excited about, but I am truly excited. After oreintation it looks like we have a fantastic staff, and I am truly amped up and ready to go.

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Seems strange to say it now, but I really didn't want to attend the first course that I attended.

I had at the time been selected as an Assistant Scout Leader (ASM) For the Greater London Central contingent to the 1975 World Jamboree in Norway. It was "Strongly Recommended" that I get off my duff and attend Wood Badge.

At the time, I really was an obnoxious little twit.

I really thought that I was the cats whiskers. I was a Queen's Scout, had the D.of E Gold Award. I seen the course as an opportunity for me to highlight how good I was.

When I now read that some people think that there is a need for more Scouting skills in the Wood Badge course, I smile.

I smile because when I went, I was so busy showing everyone how good I was and how much more I knew than they did! That a lot of the course was just lost on me.

I must be a really slow learner?

As when I was first asked to be a staff member of a course here in the USA, I seen it as being asked to join some kind of elite club! I wanted that third bead. That little piece of wood was all so very important.

Thankfully the Scoutmaster who is now my best friend was a lot wiser and a lot more knowledgeable than I was then gave me a friendly kick in the pants and made me see that the course wasn't about me, but was about and for the participants.

I went on to serve on staff on a lot of other courses. Sadly some of these were not very participant friendly, staffed by old guys who had done nothing but staff courses and who wouldn't know a Scout if he were to bite them on the tail.

I did staff one of the old Cub Scout courses.

Back then the Cub Scout course was a Regional course. The staff came from all over the NE -Region. The Cubmaster was a lady from Germany. While some of the staff did know each other from having had worked together before. We as a staff really never jelled nd it seemed that there was some sort of one up man-ship going on.

When I was selected to be a Course Director for the new course. I really wanted the staff I had to ensure that the course was all about the participants. I remember at a development weekend asking the staff to leave their egos in their cars!

Most of the participants at the new courses I have been involved with already know a good many of the staff. While there are parts of the course that for the enjoyment of future participants are best not shared?? For the most part people who are coming as participants have a fairly good idea of what they are letting themselves in for.

For me Scouting is all about fun.

Wood Badge should be no different. (Yes! On the course I directed we celebrated the imaginary feast of Saint Stanislaus, complete with lots of cabbage,Kielbasa sausage and dancing Babushka girls!) So far, other than one guy who just didn't get it and didn't return for the second weekend! Everyone I have talked with enjoys the course.

The course is a lot of fun. I think the fellowship, companionship and friendship that everyone has help make the course enjoyable. But at the same time there is a lot of good learning taking place.

I do think that some people might come a little "Over-prepared"!

I have had people who come as participants who have taken ever leadership course known to man! At times these people want to compare the Wood Badge course to the last $2,500 Leadership seminar that they attended.

Kinda like when I attended my first course and wanted to highlight how good I was! Some of these people are so wrapped up in letting everyone know that they know it all, that they never allow any part of the course sink in.

Which might just show that the other courses they took might not have worked that well!


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I knew little other than the 20Q and what I had researched on the internet and had received by word of mouth. I attended the 1st weekend and promptly dropped the course. I was and still am deeply disappointed in what it was I received.


Be sure to go in with an open mind and positive attitude and decide then if the course is what you need or met your personal needs.




You may skip the rest of my posting about my experience. The moderator may see fit to move this entire post to the other thread.


As someone who was told that it was an adult level personal management/adult level management course I found the WB21 to be little more that a poor rehash of management courses I have already taken now only with songs and cheering. As former scout and someone who has extensive camping and scouting experience I was upset about what the course really turned out to be.


I will be the first to say that I am not a rah rah guy. I am not into song and dance and prancing about. That doesn't do a thing for me. I was hoping more for practical training on issues surrounding scouting and the management of them along with personal management skills.


Instead I was treated to 3 days of cub/web skills and all of it clocked down to the minute and lasted well into the night. The patrol method was used with each participant having to be the PL for a day but again I was scout and have current boys in scouting and this was of no benefit for me and it felt like a tiresome rehash of all I have already done and am already doing.


I would like to see the course made into two tracks or courses. One for experienced scouters who have XYZ criteria/experience already and the current course for those with 2 years or less experience in scouting. I have attended all the other scout training and simply expected more.


I will be punching my own ticket through my own projects with the troop though, as for me, it's the scouts that matter not the number of knots or beads on my uniform. I will only ever wear the three knots that I earned as a youth. For those that have earned WB good for you and congratulations on a job well done.


Like anything in life how successful you are depends on many factors. WB21 for many has been a great model and successful method but it's just not for me.

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