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SctDad

Is Woodbadge Worth it

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Baden P,

 

 

The outdoor leader skills training is required for ALL Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmaster who wish to meet requirements for being "Trained," as I'm sure you know.

 

I took it myself when I returned to Scouting in 2004, and I had been an Scoutmaster from 1982-1987.

 

I think it's a useful effort to give Scout leaders an introduction to the Boy Scout outdoor program and safety rules.

 

So the Outdoor Leadership training is NOT intended for Cub Scout Leaders.

 

But Wood Badge IS intended for Cub Scout Leaders, among others.

 

The Cubmaster of the pack for which I'm Commissioner too WoodBadge and completed his ticket four or five years ago. A part of his ticket was designing a very nice parent handbook for new Cub Scout Families, still in use today.

 

You are welcome to your opinions about how you think Wood Badge should be conducted.

 

But frankly, you don't run the program, and I don't find your arguments persuasive.

 

The idea that Wood Badge is only legitimate if it conforms to what Baden Powel did at Gilwell or what BSA did in 1916 is just silly, in my opinion.

 

And no, I'm not actually a worshiper of Baden Powell in any case. He was a pragmatist and I imagine he would be amused at those who would turn his programs into rituals to be endlessly replicated.

 

However, it's my understanding that his original Wood Badge program aimed to instruct Scoutmasters without much in the way of outdoor skills in the basics of the scoutcraft of the day, and the methods of Scouting. That's what the outdoor leadership program does as well.

 

YOU are welcome to consider it inadequate if you wish. I've staffed on the course and found it quite good myself.

 

(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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SP

 

WOW, who is being arrogant now? Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but don't pretend that you can speak for Powell when you obviously can not. As far as WB21C is concerned I took the course, even though I had completed the prior version, and found it sorely lacking by comparison. I was even asked to staff the next class which I declined telling the director at that time that this was not the kind of training scoutmasters would find all that useful. In addition I added that with all the time and money that WB21C costs and requires of the volunteer the current version, IMO, was a poor investment of their resources. In my WB21C less than half the class ever completed their ticket, many wrote to the SE asking for a refund, which they never got. I have talked with many old time scouters, new scouters, scouting professionals across the country and most are in agreement about the lack of useful information and content. In my own council they only hold a WB course every two or three years due to a lack of participants, and when they do hold one it is never more than 50% filled.

 

SP - when you smell smoke, see flames you don't have to be a firefighter to know you have a problem, well National has been smelling smoke and seeing flames for a while now concerning WB21C and have chosen to ignore the signs.

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Baden P.

 

 

I apologize for using some unfriendly language in my previous post, and I have revised it to eliminate it.

 

Our council has Wood Badge courses in the spring and fall, and they fill up completely fairly rapidly. I haven't heard complaints about the course myself.

 

The Outdoor leadership skill course is what does offer training in Scout skills. The course I took and later helped staff has a lot of highly skilled staffers (I was merely a Patrol Leader when staffing). Perhaps your district or council has a hard time offering quality training ----ours does not.

 

I've been disappointed and unhappy with some Scout training myself. I've used plain language on course evaluation sheets when that has happened.

 

In particular, one course was about teaching methods. It was billed as being required to staff at Wood Badge, and was a two day course. I was very unhappy with it ---- I thought it should be labeled as a class in "How to Do Power Point Presentations."

 

I mention that so that you'll know that I can be unhappy with training too. I can appreciate your frustration with the Wood Badge course.

 

Perhaps we both are on weak ground by trying to invoke the reputation of Baden Powell to support our opinions.

 

 

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A WB21C course must have 30 fully paid participants 30 days out from the course start date or it is cancelled. A full course is 48. If you have less than 50% (24), you can't hold a course. If you are only holding courses every two to three years and less than half the participants

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Lots and lots of threads wrt Wood Badge. For those who are critical of the course, I'm interested in knowing what their expectations are of the course. As others have said, it's purpose is not to serve as an advanced Scoutmaster course.

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SR540

 

You and I both know councils never worry about the rules, this one holds WB with 18-24 participants, the staff are the same old ones. I have not heard of any rule stating 30% must be new staff, even if that were so my council would care less.

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OldGreyEagle writes:

 

It wasn't stopping the runaway horse that confused me, it was having a scout fast enough to catch the runaway horse that has me baffled.

 

What red-blooded American boy would not want to know "how to help in case of a runaway horse"?

 

To find out how well the CSE's anti-Scoutcraft "Be Prepared. For Life" message resonates with Boy Scouts, simply put it to a vote at your next Troop meeting:

 

"You have a choice tonight. Would you rather learn how to stop a runaway horse, or learn how to use the EDGE method to teach the square knot?"

 

My guess is that most of your Boy Scouts would prefer "old-fashioned" 1911 adventure to our 2011 double-chin program. :)

 

When I took Wood Badge, the SPL also used the runaway horse requirement to sneer at Scoutcraft. There seems to be a very high correlation between adults who love office "leadership" theory and the conviction that "21st century boys" hate Scoutcraft as much as they do. What a great Wood Badge Ticket research project, huh?

 

For some reason the runaway horse requirement always reminded me of the 1990s report of a couple of Eagle Scouts who tackled a gunman in a school cafeteria.

 

OldGreyEagle writes:

 

Then there is the way to deal with a "mad" dog. Either kick it in the jaw or "find a stick" and kill it?

 

Again, what red-blooded American boy would not want to know how to kill a rabid dog? The current handbook still presents killing as an option ("Do not kill the animal unless necessary"). The difference is that we no longer offer practical suggestions on how to do it.

 

I used to use my "Scoutmaster Minute" time to read a short passage from one of those "quicksand/alligators/volcanoes" survival books. Back when Scouting was popular with boys, it was based on their natural desire to know what to do in any situation.

 

Boys still find that naturally satisfying, like when their bat connects perfectly with a ball.

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

 

Scuba Diving Merit Badge:

http://inquiry.net/scuba_diving_merit_badge/index.htm

 

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BadenP,

 

You said that you were asked to staff and declined. I've staffed three courses and served as the backup course director on my last course. I've attended two course director development conferences. Woodbadge approval of course directors, staff, participant numbers, etc. is controlled at the regional level and not the council level. The council requests to put on a course, but everything is submitted and approved at the region. At the CDDC, the course directors pledge to offer the course as written and not to deviate from it. That the course is a standard experience across each region and council is an important component and stressed by the BSA. Councils who don't care and decide to do their own thing will find themselves not being approved to hold courses. I suppose it could happen with special approval, but I've never heard of a course being approved without 30 fully paid participants 30 days out. The 30% new staff has been a standard recommendation since the inception of WB21C and is in the course admin guide.

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SR540

 

You answered your own questions. First we all know regional is no more and even when it was around they pretty much rubberstamped councils requests. Since you state 30% new staff is a recommendation, guess what it is not necessary to follow it is there. As far as a council "not getting approval", come on lets get real here when have you ever heard of that happening? It is nice to live in your black and white scouting world SR540 but it has nothing to do with the reality of how scouting is run on either a local or National level, everyone in scouting knows that or should.

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BadenP,

 

Here is what I know. You have what you think based on limited knowledge, and I have what I know from actual experience. I don't know how long ago you were a DE or for how long, but it appears you have been somewhat removed for quite a while. I realize regional is no more, but we are talking about how WB21C has been run in the recent past and not today aren't we? Since I've been close to it as a backup CD just this last year and you declined any involvement, I think I have a better picture of the reality of WB21C. The conducting of a standardized course and the approval of the region down to the council and the pledge by the CD is actually a serious matter to BSA from my personal observations. WB is not run with a wink and a nod anymore. WB21C did away with the good old boy way of doing WB and if/when it does happen, it gets corrected or the council is denied approval to hold a course. I was a Jambo ASM with the Coucil WB Committee Chair and scout with the WB Area Director as he is from our council. Yes, 30% new is a recommendation since there are smaller councils who don't hold many courses and might not be able to hit 30% new. For councils like mine where we hold two courses per year, we can't get away with trying to load the staff with our personal picks. I have the WB Admin guide as a PDF if you'd like me to send it to you.

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JoeBob,

 

Thanks for the link about the ticket! It made up my mind as well. SM this day and time really need skills not introspection.

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SR540

 

My "ACTUAL" experience is even more substantial than your own, trust me I know how things work although everything in your last post may be the way it works in your council. I have been through WB21C five years ago and I was so unimpressed with the poor curriculum and the quality of the mindless wonders the council called WB staff that when I was offered an opportunity to staff WB21C ,TWICE, I said NO both times. You can blow smoke all you want about how National is in control and monitoring all WB21C but it is those same morons at National that has resulted in the quality of WB slipping to the dismal state it currently is in.

 

I am glad you are having such a wonderful time staffing WB21C, but IMO, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem, which is where I envision you are currently. I can tell from your post you already have developed the superior attititude of look at me I'm a WB staff director, the cult mentality. My answer to you is simply Woopee, so what. You are still no better a scouter than anyone else. Enjoy your little power trip.

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Acco, you ask a very fair question--

 

What do I expect from WB?

 

- From WB proponents: just a small touch of humility. And some semblance of acknowledgement for the previous experiences and education of non-WBers.

 

- Truth in advertising. From the link that BadenP forwarded, www.woodbadge.org, it says in part that WB "... is clearly backed by the finest thought and tradition of the founder...." (last para, home page). From my vantage point, when you look at today's WB, I think that's a stretch. WB has evolved to a self-discovery, Management 101 course. The only "traditions" I see are uniforms and flag ceremonies.

 

- Also from the advertising department: "premier training course...embodiment of scouting spirit...'mountain top experience'...." Well, I take a look at WB themes, and the objectives, and I don't see anything "premier" about it. In fact, it all bears sharp resemblance to Total Quality Management courses from the '90s, and a good many of my supervision/management classes that I took for college and military education courses. Some of these topics are interesting, but none of them came close to "a mountain top experience." And thought of tackling it all again, re-packaged with "scouting spirit" in the camp mess hall for a couple weekends? No thanks.

 

- Action. Adventure. Yes, there are other courses for that. But for BSA's "premier" training course, one mostly sits in a metal chair all day, either in the mess hall, or under a tree, weather permitting. At what point are students introduced to BSA's best selling point--adventure?

 

- No ticket. That's right. I think the ticket is a bug hunt, a giant administrative goat rope, courtesy of the White Stag Leadership gurus. I'll retract that statement if someone can prove that BP or Green Bar Bill had tickets in their WB courses.

 

I guess that sums it up. When WB hits the trail again, gets its hands dirty, has its uniform smelling of campfire smoke, and builds a monkey bridge, I'll take another look. WB isn't supposed to be that? Perhaps it should.

 

As I look back to my scouting days in the '70s, I learned far more about leadership by learning scoutcraft, and then teaching scoutcraft, in the outdoors, than I ever did in a "leadership class." Because when scouts are in the field, they are learning about leadership--they just don't know it. When you sit a scout on a log for a couple hours and talk to him about the 11 principles, etc., that's boredom. When he takes his patrol on a difficult orienteering course, overcomes problems and succeeds? He's learned more about leadership in that 45 mins than any 100 slide powerpoint brief can instill.

 

So there's the split, as I see it. Management 101 in the camp mess hall, or the great outdoors? I'm grabbing my yucca pack and hitting the trail, every time......

 

But really, as others have pointed out, WB theory is simply a reflection of National's priorities. Today, adventure is optional. It's a darn shame.

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Wow, I can't believe all the misinformation and ignorance I'm seeing in this thread.

 

desert,

There are other courses to teach outdoor skills. WB is to teach Scouters how to put together teams to work together, to set goals and achieve them, so your Troop can work with the boys to plan Summer Camp, a trip to Sea Base and a trip to Philmont - all in one summer. WB is to teach you the backroom skills so you CAN deliver a program of adventure to your Scouts. It is a program for adults, not Scouts, teaching you how to work with adults. Looking at many of the threads on this forum, that appears to be a major problem, much more so than any lack of outdoor skills.

 

If you ever serve at the district level, those WB skills come in very handy. District Scouters are always recruiting and building teams, for either Day Camp or Commissioner Service or other events. Outdoor skills are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, but team building skills are worth their weight in gold.

 

During the course I attended in 2004, the only building I set foot in the entire week was the bath house. We never ate in any dining hall or sat in metal chairs. I don't know of any council that puts on more courses per year than ours - we run them spring, summer and fall. The spring and fall courses have waiting lists most of the time. If WB was a waste of time, I don't think we'd be putting people on waiting lists.

 

I can't believe the Ticket has scared some of you away. Hopefully you are already setting goals each year and putting together teams to achieve them. If not, WB will teach you how, and how to do it more efficiently. The Ticket gives you a mechanism to take what you have learned and put it into use. I saw some areas we really needed to improve in our Pack, and I used those as the basis for my Ticket - lack of training, lack of summer program, poor uniforming, lack of participation in district and council events. The Pack was much different, and much more active, after finishing my Ticket.

 

I don't know when the Ticket was introduced to WB but I suspect it was in place when the Boy Scouts of America conducted their first course in 1948 - Bill Hillcourt was the first SM. In one of my WB histories, there is mention of a "practical phase" and an "application phase" for the 1929 course at Gilwell. The term Ticket came from the process of British officers working their way back towards home right before they retired. If an officer was in India when he retired, he had to pay for his transportation back to England. During the last few years of an officer's service, he would start working his Ticket, trying to get assignments closer and closer to home, so that upon retirement, he wouldn't have to pay much to get home. I do know the Ticket was part of the course in 1975, when my dad attended.

 

So BadenP, you take the screen name of Baden-Powell and then have the nerve to call others arrogant for discussing B-P? Now that is rich! And let me get this straight - you worked for the BSA in an entry-level position where your main job was numbers - raising money and starting units - and you know more about WB than someone who has staffed multiple courses? You attended the course and the staff of "mindless wonders" invited you to staff twice - you must have really impressed those "mindless wonders!" I thought you said it was always the good ol' boys staffing, not bringing anyone new in. Did they see you as one of the "mindless wonders, good ol' boys?" As for Mazuca, isn't the BSA adding a fourth national High Adventure Base under his tenure? How many CSE's can claim that happened under their watch?

 

Wood Badge is real simple - if you love Scouting, chances are you will love Wood Badge. You have to take Kudu with a grain of salt - his heart is in the right place, but I think he has stayed down too long. Hey Kudu, when are you going to invite me to go SCUBA diving? Yes, I'm certified - O/W, Adv, Cavern.

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