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How soon is too soon for Wood Badge?

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I just finished my BALOO training this past weekend. I'm slated for leader essentials and leader specific as soon as it comes around again in my council. I have taken 10 online classes through BSA too.


While taking BALOO, two if our seven instructors were were in the middle of Wood Badge. Another instructor had finished it 2 years ago and another had finished it before that. Matter of fact, two were Owls and two were Beavers ( Or flat tails as one lovingly called it!)


Nobody had anything bad to say about taking Wood Badge, and did nothing but praise it.


One of the Beaver Patrol students happened to be a retired Army colonel . He said that Wood Badge :


A) Is like the PhD of Scouting....and

B) You really learnmore about yourself than Scouting.


All in all, just the way the four Wood Badger's talked, most of us were very impressed and I myself want to take it.


But here's the thing: I'm not into collecting training or just seeing how many I can take in as short a time as possible. I want to do it right, I want it to count, and I want it to be something that not only helps me, but also helps my pack, and most importantly - helps the boys.


To be blunt, I do not want to bite off more than I can chew, nor do I want to take it too soon. I want to take it when time says it's a good time to take it.


So, I guess my question is: How soon is too soon? How much experience should I have under my belt?

Other than Leaders essentials, leader specific and BALOO , ( online I have Youth Proitection) should I do something else first?


All commenst and theorys are appreciated, but please do not say: "Read your book." If it was that simple, I wouldn't be asking right now. I already read my leader books. If it's in another book, I don't have it!

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Back in the day when you had a CS trainer WB and a BS WB, they did away with the Exploring WB prior to me becoming an adult, you not only had to be completely trained, but have 2 years tenure as an adult, waivable if you were an 18 or 19 y.o. ASM. if memory serves


With WB21C, as soon as you are completely trained, you are good to go. Now I am assuming, and you know what can happen with that ;), you will be a WDL or AWDL next year when you take it, so you will need the following courses


Cub Scout Leader Fast Start Training.


Youth Protection Training.


This is Scouting. You may have taken the older course New Leader Essentials


Webelos den leaders and assistants Specific Leader Training


Now some councils are requiring WDLs and AWDLs to have Webelos Leader Outdoor Training ( or whatever they are calling it now), but they are part of the Mandatory training pilot program. And National is about to combine WLOT and IOLS, and possibly add some Venturing info into the mix, and make a one size fits most, BALOO will still be a separate course.


Yep WB is an experience, and one that i am looking forward to. i've had simialar ones with Brownsea 22 and JLT, and it was FUN!



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Cub Scout Leader Fast Start Training.


Youth Protection Training.


This is Scouting.


Been there - done that!

Taken 10 overall.


I want Wood Badge, but I don't want to rush it!


Kinda like cooking a 200lb pig. 350 degrees for 8 hours. Not 700 @ 4 hrs, not 1400 degrees for 2 hrs. Can't ruch it, just let it take it's time.


But with Wood Badge.. I don't know what the time to take it after other courses are.

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Woodbadge is the bootcamp of scouting with tons of fun added!


I feel it is never too soon to take Woodbadge. I feel Woodbadge should be the first step in Scout Leadership Training because it teaches a leader to become a team player. The same way a scout leader teaches a scout to become a team player.



Also getting the Woodbadge uniform parts will make the scouts pay more attention to you and ask more questions about scouting.


My two cents.

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"I feel it is never too soon to take Woodbadge."


Nope. I'll explain later.


"I feel Woodbadge should be the first step in Scout Leadership Training because it teaches a leader to become a team player. The same way a scout leader teaches a scout to become a team player."


Nope. WB is NOT the first step. The first step would be Fast Start.


With training, the best thing to keep in mind is to take some training, put it into practice, take some more training, put it into practice and repeat.


I think that waiting until about a year before taking WB is best. 9 months at the earliest.


Ideally, taking Fast Start once you've taken on a role (hey, its on-line so you can take it now).


Also, take care of other on-line courses, like This is Scouting, etc.


Hopefully within a couple of months of taking your role, you can take Basic training. Now put that into practice. And then, in 9-12 months think about taking WB.


Never think you're done with training, even with WB. You should be attending Roundtable (if a unit leader). take supplemental training, either local (University of Scouting or the like in your council) or national (Philmont Training Center, etc).




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The most extreme case I have seen was a member of my WB patrol. I was part of a pilot course for 21st Century WB @ Philmont. We got broken up into patrols and were sent off together to become acquainted. Usual chitchat, been SM 12 yrs, been ASM for 8 yrs, etc.

Finally the last patrol member spoke up, "I've been SM for 6 weeks"

I asked what he'd done in Scouting before and he said I've been a Scout Leader for 6 weeks. I said 6 weeks and you're at Wood Badge at Philmont? It's gonna be a little downhill from here. He stated that he was called to be SM for a Troop chartered by his LDS Church. He said he was visited by his Bishop and told he was called to be SM. You will attend SM Fundamentals next weekend. Outdoor tng. in two weeks and Wood Badge at Philmont in 6 weeks. Any questions? He said yeah, what is Wood Badge and what is Philmont? It was explained to him and he was told his employer had cleared the time for him to go.


I stayed in touch with him for a couple of years and it sounded like his Troop was doing well, but have lost touch since and don't know if he is still in Scouting. One of the great things and one of the bad things about being on a National pilot course is the geographic diversity in the course members. We had people from Hawaii to Maryland.


I do know that 6 weeks would have been too soon for me. I waited 12 years and regret having delayed it so long. I think as a rule, the old two year wait made a lot of sense.

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I agree with Baden on the two years, but I would give partial credit for time served in the program as a yute. You will get much more out of the course with a little time to marinate in the program.


Especially with no prior scouting experience, I think it takes that long go get a feel for the overall organization of Scouting. If you're just coming in as a Tiger Den Leader, you're doing well go get that job under your belt. Of course it takes a yeart long just to see the full annual program cycle. Another year gives you more perspective on the overall program, pack and maybe council operation.


I would go one step further and say if you haven't take WB as a cub leader, don't try and take it in your first year as a Boy Scout leader either. WB is based, in part, around your primary registration in Scouting. If you are a brand new ASM, take a year to learn the ropes within the troop before WB.


Of course, the training people will argue. They want to fill up their courses.

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That's kind of a tough call. I did WB the summer after my son's bear year. I had been a registered leader for about a year at that point, but mostly on the committee. I stepped up after our pack had a leadership melt down. There were only a couple of adults left to pick up the pieces, and the new Cub master and I agreed to do WB together in an attempt to get the pack onto a better footing.


In many regards, I do not regret that I did WB as early as I did. Had I waited, the pack would not have received any benefit from the training that I received. And the pack did, indeed, need it! Not wanting to boast, but I think the outlook that the CM and I brought back to the pack from our WB experience was the primary reason that pack survived, and thrived.


That's the problem with telling enthusiastic cub leaders to wait until they have more seasoning. Packs would rarely benefit if everyone did that.


On the other hand, (like you, Scoutfish - based on your previous posts) I had little hands-on experience with being a BSA leader other than in the cub program. My knowledge of the bigger BSA picture was limited. Some of what happens in WB was probably lost on me, or didn't have as big an impact for me, as a result.


So a balance must be struck, and ultimately it is hard for those of us on this board to know what that balance should be for you. Do you have a good scouting mentor, someone whose opinion (based on knowing you, your pack, and your council's WB staff) you trust? If so, I'd encourage you to ask that person.


Another thing to ask is: What do you want from WB? If you are looking for specific skills, WB might not be the right program for you at this moment. For me, the most valuable parts of WB were the connections I made with other scouters, and some perspective on how things *can* work. But I know some folks were looking for something tangible and by and large, they were disappointed.


Also be sure you talk with your significant other. WB is a lot of fun, and for some people maybe it is even life-changing, but it is also very time consuming and I know you've mentioned having small children around the house. One thing I noticed is that WB'ers also tend to get tapped for all sorts of other unit, district, and council assignments, which can take over your life if you are not careful. Keep the peace at home, too.





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The sooner the better. Woodbadge gives you an overall view of the entire process of scouting and where

the progression will lead you. Sometimes when we are at a single level of scouting say tigers we get a bit focused

on our level without taking in the bigger picture.


Highly recommend.




I uses to be a Bear

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If I had to pick a time to take it, I'd say two years after starting Boy Scouts. I think Cub Scouters could get a lot out of it, but I'm glad I didn't do it as a Cub Scout leader. Because the entire program was structured around operating as a patrol, the course seemed to have some extra relevance for Boy Scout leaders.

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To be eligible for an invitation to participate in Wood Badge training, Cub Scout leaders must first complete Basic Leader Training. Your pack trainer, Cubmaster, unit commissioner, or council service center can give you more information.


It is the goal of the BSA that every leader attend Wood Badge within two years of registering as an adult leader.


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I had a boy just aged out a couple of weeks ago. He is now an ASM, is currently taking the on-line training, is signed up for BS leader training and is planning on taking WB this summer/fall.


He has been in scouting since Tiger, has AOL and Eagle, works well as ASM (is ASM for Council contingent to Centennial Jambo and will be the scout speaker at the Golden Eagle Council Dinner tomorrow night).


I'd be hard pressed to tell him he can't take WB. By the way, he was held back a year in school, so he'll be finishing up WB class and doing his ticket while a senior in high school.



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Oak has a good point, and the patrol emphasis was something that I think works better for people who have some boy scouting experience (as adults or as youth). I know this was my experience, as someone who had not been involved in boy scouting before I did Wood Badge.


On the other hand, there is a great deal that WB has to offer to improving cub pack programs, and if everyone waits until they are no longer cub leaders to do it, then the cub program reaps none of those benefits.


I don't have handy access to the #s but my recollection is that, of all parts of the BSA, the largest membership area is Cub Scouts. So it would be a shame to set things up in such a way that the leaders of the largest program segment are not involved in one of the best training programs BSA offers.


(As a tangent, one other value of Wood Badge, IMO, is that it cements people's commitment to the BSA movement, beyond their personal involvement in a particular unit. I do not think I would still be involved in, or interested in, scouting after my son finished with Cubs, had it not been for my participation in WB.)



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This is what I love about the BSA's new emphasis on training! They float out the stated goal of promoting Woodbadge for every Scouter within two years, but I have yet to see how they propose to support the change. Some questions that have not been clearly answered (in my opinion):


1) How are districts and councils expected to build their training staffs?


2) How does the BSA intend to counter this notion that Wood Badge is "strictly for the old salts?"


3) How do we intend to build a culture where WB21 is the expected outcome of a Scouter's training curriculum?


There are probably more, but these few should be sufficient to start the discussion.

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