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SctDad

Is Woodbadge Worth it

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Will WB make you a superior leader? I doubt it. But I also doubt you can get a concensus on the definition of "leader" here. There will be those who argue leaders are born, not trained, so no training course will make you a better leader.

 

The better question is, will WB make you a better Scouter? I think absolutely so.

 

If you are like most folks and haven't been exposed to a lot of corporate training, you will learn a lot about how to lead an organization. If you have an MBA in management or worked for IBM or Xerox for 25 years, there probably won't be much new in that regard.

 

Regardless, and at the very least, you will come away with a better understanding of the Scout program (okay, the current Scout program). You will also hear some methods, techniques and best practices for running a volunteer organization. You may have been the CEO of GM or the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, but I promise you there are things to learn about running a volunteer troop committee full of over-indulgent parents.

 

Secondly, you will learn how to teach leadership/managment/organizational skills to boys. Granted, this isn't a big deal if you are a Cub leader, but like it or not, agree with it or not, leadership skills are a big part of the current Boy Scout program. While the skills themselves may be as old as humanity, you will learn techniques for teaching these skills to Scout-aged boys. And even if you don't care for acronyms like EDGE or formin', stormin', normin' and performin', they are a common vocabulary within BSA that your boys will see in Troop Leader Training and National Youth Leader Training.

 

You will become really close friends with the other folks in your patrol. You will meet a lot of great dedicated Scouters in your council and make contacts which will help you deliver a better program to your boys. Just sitting around the campfire or crackerbarrel, you talk with other Scout leaders from other units which may do things differently from yours. You'll have an opportunity to learn from their experiences and to share your own.

 

You'll spend a week in the woods (that's probably worth the course fee right there). You get to play Boy Scout for a week; sing silly songs, play games and make fun of the Bobwhite patrol. You will probably come away recharged and enthusiastic about Scouting.

 

You will be required to look at your current position from a new, or at least fresh, point of view and come up with a plan for making it better.

 

Yes, you need to go into this with a good attitude. And no, that's not evidence that Wood Badge is a cult. It means it's like every other similar experience. If you go on vacation with the attitude that everything is overpriced, full of pushy tourists and you'll die of skin cancer, you won't have fun. If you go to WB convinced you've already heard it all, that the staff are all idiots and that Wood Badge has ruined Scouting, you'll have a bad experience there, too.

 

 

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SR540, We all know the old WB will not be back, at least as long as Mazzuca is CSE, but those of us who have been through both versions have some good insights as to what is no longer in the current version that might help scouters much more than the excessive management curriculum in the current version. You said about is it worth it, you answered yes, I would like to ask you based on what criteria, and please don't answer that it is because it is all we currently have available. I still feel that when Mazzuca is out of the picture and we get a competent CSE who truly understands the real nature of what scouting is all about you might just be surprised. If boy scouts continue to dwindle at the present rate then this whole discussion will become moot in less than a decade. Then what rah rah bull will Mazzuca pull on all of us, if he is even still around.

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I agree wholeheartedly with TwoCubdad. Also, don't think of Wood Badge as some pinnacle of Scout training. I really think it should be taken in the second year of a Scouter's "career" right after they've become officially "trained" in their POR.

 

There are many, many, supplemental training courses out there and most are well worth the price. If your bent is more "outdoorsy" as some profess - try OKPIK, Powderhorn, Wilderness Survival. There is also a Philmont pilot program (the name escapes me) that teaches all sorts of high adventure skills (it is a one week course). Our council taught the course a few years ago.

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BadenP,

 

Based on what criteria? That the people taking the course come away satisfied with the what they learned and the experience they had. I know one guy from my old Pack who was in the Air Force and something of a grump butt who wrote a two page evaluation of everything he didn't like in the course. I got to read it and it was mostly petty things over schedules and procedures that he didn't care for. He didn't really complain about the material. Other than him, I have not met a person from the three courses I've staffed who were unhappy with the course. Look, you don't miss something you've never had. There are folks around...and I know plenty of them...who have done both courses and almost to a person they say, "one isn't really better than the other, they are just different". Now, there are some who lament over the old course, but that is just part of human nature. I know people who lament over not having leaded gas or their old 54 chevy. We get that people liked it, but it ain't coming back even after Mazzuca.

 

Interestingly enough, I was digging back thru some old emails today (I'm an email hoarder) and found this email from the Cubmaster of our Pack who staffed the course I took in 2003 along with four other Pack leaders.

 

"Thank you all, for being volunteer Scout Leaders, for being such good volunteer Scout Leaders, and for signing-up to take the best training possible for good volunteer Scout Leaders. I'm speaking of the Wood Badge course coming-up in September.

 

I think all of you know that I took the course under the old syllabus in 2001. It was the last course in our region under the old syllabus. I took that course intentionally because I love tradition and I hate how we sometimes water down things as time goes by. I wanted to be a part of that old tradition and I was concerned about what the new course might be like.

 

In retrospect, that was a mistake. Even though tradition is a great thing, sometimes things do change for the better. After spending the last 5 months going over the training information and meeting once a month with the other Wood Badger Staffers, I realize the new syllabus is better suited for Scout Leaders. The old syllabus reminded us to use our resources, planning, counseling, representing our group, evaluating, etc. Skills that are important to know.

 

However, the new syllabus is more in tune with the skills it takes to understand our youth, recognising and accepting change, managing conflict, team building, etc. I believe this training delivers the tools that Leaders need to make a positive impact on a youth's life. I'm getting the opportunity to learn all the new tools and help present them to you. After that, we can work together to improve our Pack and leave it in good shape and in the capable hands of XXX and our other leaders.

 

I want you to know and understand that learning this material is important, but it's # 3 on your objective list. It follows the # 2 objective of making new friends, and they both follow the # 1 objective of "HAVE FUN". That's my # 1 task, make it yours, too.

 

I'm real excited about the course and about the 5 of you that have signed-up for it. I appreciate it, and I know our boys will appreciate it, too."

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So SR540 based on your post WB21C is all that we have so lets all make the best of it because nobody will miss what they never had, well I disagree with you 100%. I think that if scouters really had an opportunity to compare the two different courses both in content, purpose, and motivation you would find an overwhelming majority selecting the former one. WB21C was forced down our throats by National for no other reason than to de-emphasize the outdoor part of the boy scout program significantly and replace it with a management workshop that does NOTHING to make a scouter become a better leader or to deliver a better quality program to their units, and there has been no report from National to prove otherwise. In fact the cases of boy scout troop incidents of accidents, deaths, and outdoor property damage has been on a sharp increase for the last 10 years, and the main reason usually given, POORLY TRAINED ADULT LEADERS, many of whom had been through WB21C, makes you kinda wonder.

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BadenP - "So SR540 based on your post WB21C is all that we have so lets all make the best of it because nobody will miss what they never had, well I disagree with you 100%."

 

Making the best of it wasn't exactly what I said. In fact, I posted an example of our former Cubmaster who took the old course and then staffed the new course and believed it better.

 

BadenP - "I think that if scouters really had an opportunity to compare the two different courses both in content, purpose, and motivation you would find an overwhelming majority selecting the former one."

 

My point still is that your scenario isn't going to happen as the old course isn't offered anymore. No one can take it.

 

BadenP - "WB21C was forced down our throats by National for no other reason than to de-emphasize the outdoor part of the boy scout program significantly and replace it with a management workshop that does NOTHING to make a scouter become a better leader or to deliver a better quality program to their units, and there has been no report from National to prove otherwise."

 

You do realize that somewhere, some time and some place there was some one claiming that the beloved old course was shoved down their throats by national because the even older course was better.

 

BadenP - "In fact the cases of boy scout troop incidents of accidents, deaths, and outdoor property damage has been on a sharp increase for the last 10 years, and the main reason usually given, POORLY TRAINED ADULT LEADERS, many of whom had been through WB21C, makes you kinda wonder."

 

At the risk on making some people angry, what I have found in the majority of the cases I've seen or read in the news is that they are LDS troops led by adults appointed to lead whether they want to or not and who don't receive training because their heart isn't in it. The fact that they won't receive ANY training is what makes me wonder. WB had nothing to do with it because they can't take WB without being trained for their positions.

 

One final thought......how do you know that the majority of the adults where scouts have died or been injured are WB trained? I think you dislike WB21C and are blindly making stuff up to shore up your point.

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SR540

There you go putting words in my mouth I never said I disliked WB21C anywhere, what I did say was the majority of the content was irrelevant to the scouting program, to becoming a better scout leader, or preparing you to be able to develop a quality program for your troop. Putting it plain and simple for you WB21C is like giving someone a hammer and telling them to go saw a log with it, it is the wrong tool needed to get the job done.

 

As far as the accident claim is concerned since the largest increase has been the last ten years, as long as WB21C has been around, all those leaders who were WB trained took WB21C where the management skills they learned did nothing to help them recognize and prevent these situations from occurring in the first place. Just think if these same leaders had received more in depth training in wilderness/woodcraft skills as part of WB, how many of these accidents would have been avoided.

 

Addendum:go to,www.woodbadge.com, and read what the original purpose of BP's WB and what was covered in it ,and then on the same site click on the information for WB21C and read the current curriculum for yourself, that should answer all your questions.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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Baden P,

 

>

 

 

I agree that WB had no impact on accident rates. That's not surprising, since it wasn't a purpose of the course. You really acknowledge that in your next sentence:

 

 

 

>

 

 

If pigs had wings, they would fly!

 

 

Disputing WB is good fun, but this particular argument makes no sense in my opinion.

 

 

 

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SP

 

First of all go to the website in my last post and read the two sections I referenced before you continue with your erroneous assumptions. As a matter of fact it would be a rather simple process for National to revise WB21C curriculum to include the more useful and practical topics of the former WB and scale way back the irrelevant management topics in the current WB. The truth of the matter is that Mazzuca and National's current MO is to downplay the outdoor emphasis/skills part of boy scout program, which Mazzuca freely admits, and turn the Boy Scouts into some kind of generic YMCA type of club. That issue alone is very much worth arguing about and should be a very important concern to every scout leader and boy scout, and former scouter/scout in the BSA today. If all of us leaders just sit back and do nothing instead of voicing our concerns to Mazzuca/National, the result will be the continued erosion of the heart and soul of what makes the Boy Scouts unique and special, namely the outdoor program.

 

The only scout leaders I can see supporting Mazzuca are those couch potato SM's who think true camping can only be done with a Winnebago and car camping. Both of these trends are on the upswing because SM training no longer gives practical and indepth experiences with woodcraft skills. Untrained leaders=lazy leaders=increasing accidents.

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BP --

 

Do you have any data to back up the "sharp increase" in accidents and deaths?

 

Not being argumentative, but curious.

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I resisted taking Woodbadge for many years, as I observed a lousy leader who went through the course, disrupted our troop in the quest for beads, and promptly disappeared after he was done. I also heard many of the same arguements that some folks on the board posted for not attending.

 

Upon taking over as SM of my son's troop, our Assistant Council Executive suggested I take the course. I decided to go for it and keep an open mind. Even through I have been in corporations for many years and had been exposed to a lot of the concepts, I though the course was worth the investment in time and money. It helped reinforce some things, made me look at some things differently, and I met a lot of great scouters.

 

Bottom line; will it make a bad leader a good leader- No. However, you'll get out of the course what you put into the course.

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Sorry Baden P,

 

I'm not a worshiper of Baden Powel's. He was a pragmatist. When he saw something that needed to be done, he did it.

 

 

Outdoor Leadership Skill Training is required for SM training, and it contains a good deal of training on safety related issues.

 

Just as an example, the course I took was presented by a very able Scouter who demonstrated the "contact" method of splitting wood. Before that I had sneered at that --- "the way lawyers chop wood." After practicing it I found it pretty practical and a good deal safer than the methods I had commonly used.

 

The outdoor leader skills training is a suitable venue to teach Scouting safety --- in particular because everyone choosing to be "Trained" will be exposed to impiortant aspects of safety training.

 

If you made Wood Badge the venue for such safety training, only a small number would be exposed to it.

 

While the Outdoor Leadership skills trainings is not a comprehensive safety program, it's a good introduction, and a suitable place for such training.

 

When I took Wood Badge in 1985, we lived as a patrol while camping for a week. I don't recall that safety training was an object of the instruction, but it was something people has a chance to learn about "on the job" while camping.

 

So no, I don't think Wood Badge is a suitable venue for such training. Wood Badge has other purposes.

 

The Outdoor Leadership Skills Training IS the suitable venue for that kind of training. Indeed, it aims to perform the function of Baden Powel's original Wood Badge course by training Scout leaders in outdoor skills. The course in our district does that overthree long days if my memory is correct. They do a fine job of doing as much as they can during that time.

 

 

So I suggest that Baden Powel's original Wood Badge course is replicated in the outdoors skills training course while the Wood Badge course we know and love today has a quite different purpose, which goes above and beyond what Baden Powel planned for his Wood Badge course.

 

 

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SP

 

Gee now you claim to know about what Baden Powell intended with his WB for all of us, tell me do you talk to him regularly or are you more likely just giving your own opinion. I bet you did not even look at the website I referenced or if you did you seem to have missed the point, just as you seem to be doing in this discussion. OLS by the way is an extremely watered down training to serve the needs of cub leaders as well as the rest of us. So no OLS is not an adequate replacement. Since you have made my point with the last sentence of your own post as to the purpose of WB21C today compared to pre WB21C classes your whole argument loses credibility. National radically changed WB from what it has always been to a bunch of irrelevant management techniques which serves little purpose in developing and delivery of a quality program to your troop. Seattle Pioneer, what you personally think the purpose or content of the course should be is as irrelevant and as incorrect as your argument.

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Baden P - Thanks for the link. I followed it to:

 

http://www.woodbadge.org/ticket.html

 

After reading that, any second thoughts about my ever attending WB21C are GONE! I am not a Woodbadger. In fact, I'll do BSA a favor and stay away. Stercus Tauri!

 

 

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Joe Bob, that ticket link is the topper. I'll press on without beads.

I now understand why folks say they'll work their ticket if they can.

And the old WB course folks are expected to jump thru these hoops again to "upgrade" their previous training? National has some incredible hubris.

PS I can clearly see what Kudu has been saying about White Stag's influence--management theorists' dream!(This message has been edited by Desertrat77)

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