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I'm getting old and for some time I have had the feeling we are going off the track to some extent.


I have thought for a long time that we definitely took a wrong turn when we vertically integrated Wood Badge. I have staffed a 21st Century WB course and had a great time. But we seem to be turning out formin', stormin, normin, performin 1 minute managers instead of Scoutmasters. We have dumbed down and compressed Cub Leader tng to the point that many Cub Leaders have little idea what the program is about and have no clue as to how a Pack operates. The online training is better than nothing, but does not replace the personal interaction between new leaders and trainers.


The biggest mistake we made was the elimination of Cub Trainer Wood Badge. I didn't go through one of these courses but had the good fortune to be trained by and train with many people that did. Most of the Cub Trainer WB grads I met were women and they brought a level of enthusiasm, confidence, and pizzaz to Cub Leader Training that is not seen today. I went through a TTT (Train the Trainer) course that was staffed entirely by Cub Trainer WB grads and it was fantastic. I staffed on several TTT and later TDC (Trainer Developement Conferences) and observed that as our Cub Trainer WB grads aged and began to drop away from the program,training started to slip. I;m sure we're not going back, but I think we sure miss these people.

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Well, here's the thing.


The purpose of the current WB (21stCWB) is NOT to "turn out Scoutmasters" per say, but to provide ALL Scout Leaders of any program with leadership training that they can apply to their program.


Its expected that those who come into WB already know the basics of how their program is run (whether Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Venturing or Sea Scouts). Its taught in the forum of being a new scout in a troop, but its not intended to make you an expert on how a troop (or pack, team, crew, ship) is run.


Now, is that the best way to do it?


I'm not sure it is.


Part of the reason for the new WB, is that many scouters in the past were denied a chance to go to WB. Prior, we had 3 WB courses:


* Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge

* Cub Scout Trainer Wood Badge

* Varsity Scout Leader Wood Badge


If you were a 'regular' cub scout leader, or an Explorer or Sea Scout Leader (21CWB came out around the time Venturing replaced Exploring, keep in mind), you were SOL in regards to getting to take WB.


Soooo, the solution was to merge all the courses together and make WB available to everyone.


I've felt that prehaps a better solution would be to create a 'core' WB course, but then deliver it in different format for different programs: (as a Pack for Cub Scout leaders, Troop for Boy Scout leaders, etc). I do see some issues with that idea: 1) some councils may not be able to deliver the course for certain programs (Venturing/Sea Scouting), 2) many cub scout leaders are very short term, usually moving to boy scouts with their boys, 3) if you move to a different program, do you take the WB for that program after you took it at the previous level?


But I do see some of the lose of these more unique WB. When I went thru BSLWB, it really pumped up alot of people about the program. I see that same level of enthusiasiam in people who go thru Seabadge (Sea Scouting) and Powder Horn (Venturing).



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I haven't been through WB, 21 or otherwise, but I do share baden's observations about the Cub Trainer Wood Badgers. I went through CSLBT in 1980-something and the instructors (all ladies) still come up to me and call me by name when I run into them at Council functions. They also ran the PowWows and CS roundtables and I actually looked forward to going every month and filling up my bead necklace. They were fantastic instructors and had an enthusiasm that you don't see in the "youngsters" coming up. I think they were the last of the "Den Mother" generation.

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Back in the day....

I participated and staffed the Cub Trainer Wood Badge.


While of course it is wrong to generalize.

I have found that Cub Scouter's do tend to have a lot more fun than Boy Scouter's.

The course was a Regional course and very few Cub Scouter's participated. In part because it was aimed at people involved in Training.

In part because the "Life-span" of a Cub Scouter isn't that long. Most of the participants had made up their mind that Cub Scouting was their thing and it was where they were going to stay.

I really don't want to upset anyone!

But I never really felt that the course was a "Wood Badge Course". At least not as I knew Wood Badge at that time.

I know that I had a lot of fun. (Maybe because the females outnumbered the males?)

I know I learned a lot as a participant and I think serving as a staff member did a lot to make me a better presenter.

Sure we kept the critter names, we slept in tents, we had a feast (B&G Banquet) The camp fires were really outstanding.

But for what we were trying to do we might have been better off staying in a local hotel.

I think because the Ticket was only to do with training and the fact that the staff came from all over the Region (On the course I staffed the CM came from Germany.) That the ticket was a lot more difficult, with no local support.

The presentations by the Staff were fantastic. I worked on mine for nearly two years!!

But I fear that they didn't take into account what happens in the real world.

Soon after the course I staffed I was asked to cover some Cub Scout leader training for the District I serve.

I arrived at the Church hall early on the Saturday morning loaded down with all of my stuff.

At that time the videos were all on VHS cassettes. I had bought a 27 inch TV/VCR combo unit.

I had checked that it worked, that the remote worked and I brought extra extension cords.

I never thought that the church would have only two pin outlets!!

I had to rush home and hunt all over the house for the couple that I'd put in a safe place.


When I was asked to be CD for the new WB course, I was fortunate to have 3 ladies who had taken the Cub Scout course serve on staff for me.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I took 21st Century Wood Badge in 2005. While emb021 said the purpose is to learn leadership skills that can be applied to your program, I would add more specifically that the purpose is to pass the leadership skills you learn to the youth you serve.


I'm serving on NYLT staff for the first time this summer and have been in training for that. Can't wait to see how things turn out but the experience so far is really illustrating to me what the purpose of Wood Badge really is.


(This message has been edited by MarkS)

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How many of you think the Scout HB you used as a youth is better than the Scout HB of today? I'd wager many of you.


How many of you think today's Eagle projects are watered down compared the one you did? Again, probably many.


How many of you think today's training doesn't hold a candle to the training you experienced (I'm especially thinking of WB21C compared to the "old WB", and TLT compared to JLT and earlier courses)? Several of you?


I was never a Boy Scout (and thus am not an Eagle). I never taught JLT, only TLT. My only experience with the Boy Scout HB is the current one my son uses. I went through WB21C not the old course. So I have no basis for comparison.


But I do know that some have a tendency to view the old through rose-colored glasses and are unwilling to give the new a chance. I say let's give the new stuff a chance, and not write it off simply because it is new and unlike that which you've previously experienced.

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I do think we can and in my case have allowed allowed ourselves to think that what we once had is better than what we have.

I get my leg pulled a lot about being English and drinking tea.

Fact is that the Irish have always drunk more tea than the English.

With both my parents being Irish we drunk a heck of a lot of tea at home.

No soda-pop for us, but tea with every meal and pots of tea made several times a day as well.

When I moved across the pond, being offered a cup of water with a tea bag floating inside was, to my mind just wrong.

I quit drinking tea.

Just about everyone who knows me when they make a trip to England or Ireland brings me back a big box of tea bags. They sit around until someone from England or Ireland visits and I make them tea (In a teapot!)

I don't join them.

When I visit England or Ireland, so as not to make a fuss I do drink tea with anyone who is making a pot.

As soon as I return to the USA,my tea drinking is put on hold.

Even though the tea I use is from England, I'm using a tea-pot I brought from England and I make the tea the same way as I did at home, somehow I have come up with the idea that the tea is not as good.

If that's not daffy? I don't know what is?

As for training's there are parts from every training that stand out and I'm saddened that are not there any more.

There are some parts in the new trainings that I wonder why is that there?

When the 21st Century course came along, I staffed a course the first year the course was available. The CD had stacked the staff with a large group of people who had earned their fourth bead. Most spend a lot of time trying to compare the old with the new. This got in the way of why they were there.

They were there to present the material as it was in the syllabus.

Trainers do a big disservice to the participants when they allow their personal feelings to get in the way of the reason why they are at a course.

As for the people who go on about how much better the old course was. Very few have taken the new course. So even if some of what they say might be valid, I'm left wondering how they know so much or do they just love hearing themselves?


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