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SctDad

Is Woodbadge Worth it

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There are others who posted here that did not have positive wood badge experiences.

 

Yes I went with a positive attitude, It was at my favorite camp and the weather was beautiful, I knew most of the people and considered many of them friends. I was looking forward to a great time.

 

 

The IOLS course directors loading their patrols with their staff, the screwing around by staff at gillwell. on and on and on and on.....then the collimation of my patrol going home leaving me to haul all the gear out by myself. Yep, the staff were pissed I was still in the campsite hauling gear out near dark, but not a one helped. He was sitting in his golf cart while I struggled with patrol box and dinning fly in the wagon up cardiac hill. He was complaining his dinner was getting cold.

 

the way the tickets were handled......We had some finish in less than 2 months......

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, I think now I'm beginning to understand some of your resentment. Seems to me, based on what you wrote, that the bitterness stems from the people around you, not the course curriculum itself. And i can't say that I blame you. I don't think I would have fond memories of that either.

 

I have no idea how common or uncommon that experience was. I can only speak for my course. Our course staff was professional yet jovial, and my patrol worked as a team on everything from start to finish (even our TG was astonished at how quickly we came together on the first day).

 

 

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Basementdweller,

 

Yes, there are some who have expressed negative feelings towards the course, but they usually fall into two camps. Those who are old course guys who think WB21C just doesn't measure up and those who like you, attended a poorly run course.

 

We are fortunate in that we have been running two courses per year at least since WB21C came out and have it down to a science somewhat. While we always have at the very least, 30% new staff on each course, we have a lot of continuity thru the Council WB committee and former staffers and CD's. We have learned from our mistakes and follow our best practices. The one BSA mandate that we don't follow is the three staff development sessions leading up to a course. Even when the time is managed well, it simply isn't enough time to put the course together to be the best possible experience each staff member has dedicated themselves to put on. There are a lot of hours, blood, sweat and tears put into offering a good course with the best staff possible and well balanced patrols.

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Joining the fray....long time reader first time responder. (3yrs as CM, 3 yrs as SM, 1st ASM at 2010 Jamboree) I found this subject tremendously rewarding. What I read is intelligent and passionate scouters voicing opinions that allowed me personally to think even deeper about the WB21C course and the two that I participated and staffed on, and the one I am staffing this year Sept 2011. I am so very sorry for the scouters who have had bad experiences with the WB21C. I have been blessed to have some enrichening experiences with great participants and staffers from the two courses.(2007 & 2009) The post from 'AvidSM'..."What I can tell you is that the intent of the course is to get you to act on your ideas and how to get others to help you." is pretty much how I felt. Maybe not for others...just speaking for me! Plus my ticket completions were fruitful for my unit. I think 'BadenP' and 'Desertrat77' and 'Basemendweller' and others that feel adverse to the program are good scouters who were either ripped off by their council or area BSA providers; or came away with a different but honest opinion about WB21C. I have no quelms about that. I do not have to even leave my own troop to find a fellow scouter (who I respect alot) feels that WB21C in his words is "deficient". He only took the older version but knows a fair share about the new version. But the cool thing is...his opinion did not detract from my continued interest in staffing again for 2011. I can almost guarantee that on a different scouting venue I could run into 'BadenP' or Dessertrat77 or 'SR540Beaver' or 'SeattlePioneer' and we could talk for hours by the camp fire about the tremendous positives in scouting. What is disheartening is the personal negativity being thrown about in previous posts. I sure appreciated the honesty and passion that scouting brought out in both sides of this discussion. You know...I see this like long ago when I was a kid with my own family. We're at the dinner table...my three brothers, my dad and msyself; and we are arguing about something that could go on forever, such as my dads favorite NFL player versus players of our day...nobody is right or wrong. Next thing you know...we finish eating together and we go out to play football. Only one yelling now is mom because we didn't clean off the table. No animosity...just doing what we all love...TOGETHER! God Bless!

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BaldEagle1,

 

Welcome to the forums and the good input. My only issue with your comments is about your friend from your troop who finds WB21C deficient. Yes, you can compare documentation and draw some conclusions. But to make a true evaluation and compare apples to apples, one must actually experience both to arrive at the best conclusion. I have people I deeply respect too, but I take their opinion with a grain of salt when they opine on something they are evaluating from the outside.

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Agreed. But again, his word of 'deficient' didn't concern me. I lived WB21C. I enjoy the current WB21C for what I get out of it....and what I can share with others at the course. "May your neighbors respect you, troubles neglect you, angels protect you, and your heavens accept you!" A belated Irish toast to all. God Bless!

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Through the process of the course and as a result of it my unit has direct benefit of five projects that I may have thought of, but would likely never taken the time to complete, all for the good of the unit and the boys in it.

 

One of the things that gives it great value is that is not a "have to" course. It is a "want to" course. So, those that take it are motivated to do so in the first place, and then feel a sense of obligation to carry it through to the end. Only a particular type of person will take the course in the first place - those that look for opportunities to learn better ways to serve their units.

 

Lest anyone think it was all roses, I had a patrol who never quite made it through the storming phase (we ALL finished!), I was basically stalled for over a year because of an uncooperative Scoutmaster when I completed my "classroom" work, I took on major summer camp duties for the two summers after my "classroom" work, and it rained a big part of the time. I wouldn't change a thing ... learned and grew through it all.

 

The expression on the face of one of our Eagle Scouts when he learned about doing 5 tickets to "earn my rank", well ... it was priceless :-)

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Not all tickets are created equal. It really depends on how your TG interprets the guidelines. Had a couple of ours finish theirs in a couple of months. I still have 6 months or more to go on mine.

 

I doubt that most tickets are the equivalent of 5 eagle projects.

 

Excuse me, but as an adult an Eagle project is a pretty simple thing to accomplish. While it is nice to impress the boys, don't pat your back too hard.

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True, they aren't all created equal. I sure can't help it if there are people who want to do the minimum. And I wouldn't minimize most of the Eagle projects I've seen to claim they'd be easy to complete as an adult. Some are pretty cheezy, for sure, but many are pretty impressive projects. While I don't believe any of mine ranked up there with rebuilding a sod house or laying out a memorial plaza or others done by boys I know, I know I worked pretty durn hard at them - and didn't have a team to supervise - did 'er all myself. So, pass the splint, cuz my arm might be hurtin' any minute now. ;-)

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In the end, a ticket is a personal contract between a participant and his own sense of self. We can't completely understand what might challenge a person beyond their own expectations, and the ticket will be personal to them. The written guidelines for ticket writing are loosely interpreted. When I served as Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop Guide and gave the Values, Mission and Vision presentation, I let the Scoutmaster lead me to his vision of what he wanted the troop to understand. The opinion differed greatly from the year before!

 

It's a double-edged sword to leave ticket writing guidelines loosely written.

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We currently have an open and active thread by the username singlemom about her sons first campout which did not go as well as expected. We have plenty of people telling her that not all BSA is as her son experienced but her experience is hers and she will look at it from her perspective.

 

The Wood Badge experience is the same. It's personal and it can only be viewed by each individual in their own unique perspective. If a person has a bad Wood Badge experience, it doesn't mean Wood Badge is bad or the entire process is flawed any more that having a bad first campout experience means the BSA is bad or the entire program is flawed.

 

Mileage varies

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OGE

 

My beef is multi tiered.

 

First, the good old boys at the district used the lack of wood badge as a factor in denying my request to put on district activities. Now they say the district doesn't have the resources to put on the event.

 

The behavior of the wood badge staff on my course. The Games at gilwell.......The SPL's son's attending the course causing our patrol problems.... The IOLS course directors loading their patrols with their course members and the clichish behavior. The uneven handedness of the TG on the tickets......The fact we could not keep on schedule......The hours standing at gilwell listening to the announcement song over and over and over again.

 

Yes your right, my major beef isn't with the course content it was on delivery and the fact my district made it a obstacle for the program I wanted to provide the districts cubs.

 

I imagine had I not already attended NYLT training 20 years ago, Brown Sea, at a long ago sold scout camp it may have been better. I am guessing my experience would have been more positive had I not already had 16 years of scouting under my belt. Our council has an outstanding IOLS program, IMHO surpasses Woodbadge for content and relevance. I bonded with that Patrol much more so than wood badge patrol, we still get together for coffee a couple times a year and I consider them friends. I was expecting that.....not so much.

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After reading all the posts here and after some reflection let me just add these points. First if I had never taken the prior WB course before WB21C I would probably would have a very different outlook. Second if the staff of my WB21C had been better prepared and competent in delivery of the curricula I probably would have felt differently about the course, especially since the staff in my first WB course were nothing short of phenomenal. I still wish there was more scoutcraft/patrol method experiences in WB21C but there isn't for reasons only National knows.

 

Bottom line, talk to others who have taken WB21C in your council and find out how they felt about the quality of the staff, if they had a positive experience then go for it because if nothing else the friendships you make in WB will last a long long time. It is still my hope that some future CSE will see the vital importance of including more woodcraft/patrol experiences in the curricula and make those changes before the BSA loses the outdoor emphasis of the program all together. So yes go ahead and take WB21C because it is indeed a unique experience in scouting.

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Hello Basement Dweller,

 

 

>

 

 

My district combines with two others to put on an outstanding Outdoor Leadership Program for Scoutmasters and Webelos Leaders.

 

Most of the Scout skills presented I was familiar with, but there were a number of things I learned from. In particular, I remember being sort of contemtuous of the "contact method" of chopping wood. I called it "the way lawyers would chop wood!"

 

When I tried it during the IOLS course, I found it pretty effective and considerably safer. So an ol' dog learned a new trick.

 

They also had examples of a powerful candle lit "graduation" ceremony. Wow! I had been overlooking the power of ceremonies for YEARS!

 

I went back and was a patrol guide for two later rounds of this training.

 

This was mostly organized by a crew of old timey Scouters who were real Xperts in what they taught. It was a good example of how the competence of the leaders can make a huge difference in the quality of the program delivered.

 

 

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