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When I read the first post at first I was unaware that this was started back in 2009. Thankfully I figured that out before I sent them a PM. It is interesting that the first post is somewhat in agreement with the last one by Cyclops. The first post seemed angry that the game was doing some kind of disservice to the spirit of competition and therefore to the basis of the business world.

And then, years later, Cyclops seems to have had a similar impression.

 

I can see how this impression can be had. But as with all of these kinds of things, such conclusions are extensions or interpretations that seem unique to each person. There's nothing wrong with that but if someone has a different impression, that, by itsself doesn't negate the impressions of others. They're just different.

 

So I make this statement in the hopes that this discussion (and my presence in it) doesn't eventually (as Stosh suggested) get moved to that 'other' place (that I'm supposed to stop harping about, sorry).

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The concept and execution of this game saddened and upset me when I commenced WB about a year ago.  The same holds true today.  In fact it makes me think we need to completely reconsider the purpose of WB, although I will comment principally on the game that is this thread's intended topic.

 

For background:  I am approaching 30 total years of youth and adult Scout service, completed Sea Badge 20 years ago, and recently retired from the military.  So this is not my first rodeo.  

 

Regarding the game:  I think it is not worth the risk to administer what amounts to a psychological experiment run by people who generally don't have the expertise to deal with or properly debrief the thorny issues that participants in this forum indicate arise not infrequently during the course of this game. The syllabus that I was able to find online said that some participants would sink to the depths of despair.  

 

What makes BSA think it's a good idea to create a situation that they predict will do that, and what makes them think that all of their many trainers will uniformly be equipped to manage that very negative outcome?  

 

Beyond the intended self-scrutiny, at least in the instance of my class, our staff believed that all groups had to go through Tuckman's Form-Storm-Norm-Perform stages of group development--and that "The Game of Life" would force us through an accelerated storm phase.  And, further, that all patrols required equal storming pressure.  A quick look at references on this theory reveals that the storm phase is supposed to be closely managed by a knowledgeable team leader, and they counsel caution and team support--and even suggest using part of the form phase to establish group values or ground rules and to warn the group that storming is a natural stage in group maturation and likely to be encountered.

 

In my class, our gameshow host acted as if he were a drill instructor:  yelling the rules, aggressively advancing on people selectively and shouting them down--once when he was yelling at someone near me, he was shouting with such force that I was hit with his flying saliva.  I understood exactly what was going on, and my team and I behaved cooperatively at every turn.  Yet, I found it so repugnant that they were setting up some of our more enthusiastic classmates to lie, that I walked out of the game.

 

So, you see that for me, my "depths of despair" moment did not come upon realizing that under pressure I can exhibit duplicitous behavior, rather its basis was that I realized that BSA in general--and our staff in particular--believe that many of the Scouters who come to WB will lie and stab other people in the back at the drop of a hat.  The net result is that I, with a heretofore lifelong love of Scouting, have developed a strong distrust of the BSA training system from national all the way to my council and district.  

 

Further, relationships among some people in my district and council--the kind of people who care enough about Scouting to go to WB, attend roundtables, run Cub Scout day camps, etc.--are now permanently marred because a few people don't know if they can ever again fully trust a few others.

 

As to the rest of the course:

  • My patrol mates are awesome.
  • There were a few new games that were fun.
  • The guy who played B-P at our campfire was awesome.
  • The first half of the course with management theory death-by-powerpoint was an inelegant rehash of things I've seen many times before.

WB seems to have been designed by committee--or to be a sort of reverse engineering derived from the old story of the blind men and the elephant:  Is WB supposed to be a tree, a snake, a fan...?  If we can carefully refocus on what the macro mission of Scouting is, then step it down to the unit level, then to the role of adults in that unit, I think we will have a clearer picture of what we need WB to be, and therefore how it should be refocused. 

 

See you on the trail!

Blaze

 

Thanks and welcome to the forums.

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Yeah, I am really puzzled by the whole event. After the 1st 3 day course one of the facilitators posted on the Woodbage Facebook page "What a great weekend we all had"

 

Then I posted "I wish I had the same experience" and that was all, after that I saw my post was deleted and I was removed from the group.

 

Had that happened to me, I'd have been on the phone to the Council SE, demanding a meeting with the SM, my TG and the Scribe at the Council Offices, with the SE.

 

The Scribe has no right to do either of those.  Friendly, Courteous, Kind?

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@ John, Yeah, real puzzled here. The group I know in scouting in my area are people I would trust with anything, The Woodbadge Staff, well, lets just leave it at that. This experience sucked!

 

I deal with customer complaints face to face. Not by deleting them.

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Every time I consider taking WB I venture in to this part of the forum, read and come away with the realization (or should I say, validation) it would be a colossal waste of time. There's already too much nonsense in scouting. Thanks for helping to confirm my suspicions and saving me countless hours of torture. ;)

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Every time I consider taking WB I venture in to this part of the forum, read and come away with the realization (or should I say, validation) it would be a colossal waste of time. There's already too much nonsense in scouting. Thanks for helping to confirm my suspicions and saving me countless hours of torture. ;)

I'd be careful with that assumption. People who have a bad experience with something are always louder than people who are happy and satisfied. That doesn't mean people who had a bad experience aren't justified in that feeling. 

 

"I thought about having my kid be a boy scout, but my friends kid didn't really like Cub Scouts, so I'm glad we didn't waste countless hours of torture." Right or naw? 

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I'd be careful with that assumption. People who have a bad experience with something are always louder than people who are happy and satisfied. That doesn't mean people who had a bad experience aren't justified in that feeling. 

 

"I thought about having my kid be a boy scout, but my friends kid didn't really like Cub Scouts, so I'm glad we didn't waste countless hours of torture." Right or naw? 

 

When I combine what I read (both sides) and my experience with the WB'ers in my area, my feelings and conclusions are more than validated. I keep an open mind and try to revisit the issue every few years, but continue to see my conclusion re-validated.

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Although I related a negative experience at WB surrounding this game, I *would* recommend WB for certain people and for particular reasons:  

  • Relatively new or inexperienced Scouters can gain an appreciation of the different parts of the BSA and establish networking and mentor contacts.  
  • Those who were not experienced Boy Scouts--and are or will be Boy Scout leaders--may benefit from the quasi-patrol method approach via the organization scheme for the WB students.  
  • Those who do not have team leadership experience and training in the corporate world or the Armed Forces may gain knowledge in this area.  

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Although I related a negative experience at WB surrounding this game, I *would* recommend WB for certain people and for particular reasons:  

  • Those who do not have team leadership experience and training in the corporate world or the Armed Forces may gain knowledge in this area.  

 

This one caught my eye. Really? Care to offer more detail?

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Although I related a negative experience at WB surrounding this game, I *would* recommend WB for certain people and for particular reasons:  

  • Relatively new or inexperienced Scouters can gain an appreciation of the different parts of the BSA and establish networking and mentor contacts.  
  • Those who were not experienced Boy Scouts--and are or will be Boy Scout leaders--may benefit from the quasi-patrol method approach via the organization scheme for the WB students.  
  • Those who do not have team leadership experience and training in the corporate world or the Armed Forces may gain knowledge in this area.  

 

 

Wouldn't this be a bit more effective if it were taught in the basic leadership training given to all new leaders?  Why do they get basic training only to have to come back at an even greater expense to get the "real" training?

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This one caught my eye. Really? Care to offer more detail?

 

My overall premise is that someone who has already had corporate-style leadership training in the private sector or the military (really, many other governmental setting could apply) will gain very little from this part of the syllabus.  It is acknowledged in WB literature that WB aspires to deliver leadership training of the sort presented by corporations and government agencies.  Before attending WB myself, I had representatives from WB staffs in two different councils tell me that WB was the equivalent of this type of training--"just like you'd get for thousands of $$$ if you worked for XYZ corp."  During the course of a military career I was introduced to Tuckman's Storming-Forming-Norming-Performing model of group development.  I was aware of it and discussed it with other leaders as it pertained to real-time situations throughout my career.  Further I led teams and units of varying sizes, many times in highly-stressful, life-threatening situations.  I would be amazed if my experience is atypical.

 

Therefore, if one believes that the corporate leadership approach and the Tuckman model help a Scouter deliver a better program for our youth:

  • I believe that most people with corporate or military leadership training and experience will already have been trained in material equivalent to this part of the WB syllabus.
  • I suspect that most people without this experience stand to learn information new to them regarding the Tuckman model, etc, thus my assertion that they "*MAY gain knowledge in this area" (emphasis added).

 

I think a leader of longstanding experience in different settings, or one highly skeptical of management theory--or of the capability of his or her local WB staff effectively to inculcate these theories, would be a poor candidate for WB.  My intent is to strip away the WB aura of mystery in order to help people who would benefit from the training decide to attend.  

 

I hope that is sufficient detail, but am happy to elaborate or further discuss. 

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This is what I got out of Woodbadge, 

 

cost =200.00 (ish, prices vary)

50.00 for food and supplies, 150.00 donation to the council

3 days of diversity training

Basic Patrol methods (same as IOLS, I actually got more out of IOLS than Woodbadge)

Days 4-5-6 mixed troop/patrol activities and more diversity training

 

Then you get to work your tickets, what are tickets?

Tickets are usually benefits to the council or other organizations.

 

(so pay money to volunteer to work tickets, LOL)

 

Here is a link to the syllabus and you can get an idea of what to expect.

 

http://www.people.vcu.edu/~albest/woodbadge/Syllabus/511-022_2014WB_StaffGuide_Syllabus.pdf

 

I guess if you are new to scouting (1-2 years) it might be good for you. I have been in scouting for 7 years as a leader. With my previous training in scouting and corporate America I did not take home anything useful.

Edited by Mr Ed T24
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GMRScout, the reason I asked was that years ago my company treated me to a corporate leadership course for a solid week. I was told that the consultant doing the course was paid $800 per hour so I'm hoping that it contained everything that a corporation could want in a leadership course.

And I can't think of very much in that course that I would apply to managing or leading this unit. Most everything I've gained, I've gained from more experienced leaders in this unit and those nearby...and first-hand experience. I'm somewhat skeptical about the benefits available from Woodbadge.

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GMRScout, the reason I asked was that years ago my company treated me to a corporate leadership course for a solid week. I was told that the consultant doing the course was paid $800 per hour so I'm hoping that it contained everything that a corporation could want in a leadership course.

And I can't think of very much in that course that I would apply to managing or leading this unit. Most everything I've gained, I've gained from more experienced leaders in this unit and those nearby...and first-hand experience. I'm somewhat skeptical about the benefits available from Woodbadge.

 

Cyclops, Hopefully I caveated things enough to get my meaning across!  I think there are some specific circumstances under which taking WB could be a good choice for some people.  I want BSA to change WB from a discrete course to a modular training scheme like the UK Scouts (a different thread I started yesterday)--perhaps with a weekend WB capstone course.  If WB can really make a difference, we need to figure out a way everyone can do it.  If most don't take it, what difference does it make to most Scouts, and why do we invest more heavily in it than any other locally-administered course?

 

A few other thoughts:

 

  • In my opinion, the average corporate trainer is likely to be more effective at classroom training than the average BSA trainer.  The BSA is fooling itself if it thinks it is consistently delivering management and leadership classroom training on par with what corporate America and the military deliver.
  • In my opinion, the approach is, in any case, of limited applicability to leading Scouts.  There may be some value for managing adult teams, but, as others have observed, most Scouts probably bounce into storming with regularity, and many patrols can get stuck in a storming loop, so the model is likely of much less use in leading youth--except if adults can take away from WB that some conflict can be good en route to high performance.  
  • We seem to have forgotten that B-P and others established the Patrol Method as the means by which to teach youth leadership and cooperation.  With all of the philosophical content of the course, there was just about nothing on the philosophy of patrols as the functional unit of Scouting.  
  • In fact, the directive hierarchical nature of the "PLC" function in WB illustrates corporate amnesia that troop leadership is labeled functionally with reference to the patrol:  it is called the PLC, not the *troop* council; and the SPL, not the *troop* leader.  The PLC is supposed to gather to push the ideas of their patrol members into the troop's priorities and decision making.  In WB, the SPL is superfluous, and a mouthpiece for the SM who gives direction that cascades down in accordance with the syllabus.  This could prepare WB participants to return to their units ready to exercise adult directive leadership rather than to nurture a Boy-led unit.    
  • My WB patrol mates are truly exceptional people, and they were the best part of the course by a wide margin.  I used to be a Beaver.  Not sure if I still am.
  • Upvote 1

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Courtesy my time in the County Government, I have had lots of leadership training. Specific to my duties, and general. I took courses in college in the psychology of teams, culture of associations, and other sociology and such.  I have "taken" WB and staffed WB, and talked to folks that have done WB in my Council and elsewhere. I even met a man that has a "hobby" of taking WB in many places around the country (he said this one was his 12th when I met him! He just liked comparing them and and camping out in various places. No, he was not a National Staffer)). Does it compare with the other training I have participated in?  Sure, but this was Scout training, which gives it a different feel and point of view. However.....

WB truly depends on the staffing.  The WAYC game not withstanding, it can be very variable.  The syllabus may be "standard", but the way it is done is never the exact same. One Wowser course may be followed in the same council by a sorry I came course.

It can be a time to renew your Scouting Spirit, it can be a time to learn some new techniques or be reminded of old saws. 

One problem is when the Scouters come expecting to be told how to Lead Scouts, when what they are being taught is How to Lead and Work With Other Scouters so They can Let the Scouts Lead Themselves (Patrol Method?)  . Doesn't always happen. 

 Cost?   Well, it should be a bargain, I think, but the length of time does add things up.

Two long weekends of camping (cabins?  platform tents?) , food (I thought we ate very well, and the staff did the cooking for the students!),  materials (lots of handout and books to take home for perusal),  space rental, usage of "things",  souvenirs (yeah, patches, neckers, etc.) it adds up. 

 

It can be considered in light of "Cognitive Dissonance Theory", if you like, but most folks I have had contact with viewed their time as well spent and useful. 

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