Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I was at WB Staff-Development last weekend, and heard many of the stories from others that had problems during the Forming, Storming, Norming, and Preforming part of the course.


Now from within my Patrol, and due to all of the work done during the course, didn't really see any of the problems going on in other Patrols. Our Patrol go on, and really never Stormed. But I've heard from others some really crazy stories. Arguments, even fist fights. Even Participants refusing to work their or even write a Ticket.


Now, I ask this, to help me better to understand what I am getting involved in. I know I have to keep my distance from this, and keep my Leadership informed of these matters while on course. But I was wondering if any of you have had any experience with problems during the Patrol Development part of the Course.


BTW, This isn't a Course bashing thread. Just a thread to help me gain knowledge in this part to help me better to understand these problems from the course.


Thanks in advance,



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 56
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I did witness a fist fight in another patrol. I never found out what exactly happened and the course director only said that night that a participant was "removed" from the course.


As far as my patrol...it was basically "formed" when I got there. Four of the six patrol members were from the same LDS Stake and of course had known each other for quite a while. If you have any influence in your course, please make sure it is as diverse as possible. My course director was LDS and when he started to promote the course he went to the Stakes first and I'd say the course was about 50-60% percent LDS. I don't mean this to be "course bashing", but hopefully helpful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My WB horror story is one that I got 2nd hand, but knew it to be true b/c of the results. 2 married folks hooked up during the course. They got caught, and it caused some MAJOR problems for the district during their divorces. Both were on the district committee, and one was also married to a member of the Key 3. You can imagine the headaches we got.


Now my patrol during BA22, the predecessor to JLTC and NYLT, had major problems. In fact the only time during the entire week long course we really worked together as a patrol was when we were forced to by the patrol guides. We had arguments, we had people who didn't want to do their fair share, we had one guy who should NOT have attended the course due to his age, at the time the minimum age and rank was 13 and First Class and he was 12.5 and First Class but got in for political reasons, And he deliberately infected a blister he had so he could get out of the backpacking portion of the training and go home (yes blisters CAN get to the size of a baseball, I...KID...YOU...NOT!), and his share of the patrol gear was not redistributed to the entire patrol, but thrust upon his buddy instead, and I can go on.


My patrol was a nightmare. While the course was awesome, my immediate patrol was horrible. In retrospect part of the problem was how they divided the participants into patrols. It was aged based with the 13 and 14 year olds in some patrols ( with one 12yo) and the 15+ year olds in the rest. When I staffed JLTC a few years later, they divided the patrols a similar way, one patrol of 13yos, 2 patrols of 14-15yos, and one patrol of 16-17yos. That 13yo patrol was just like my patrol in BA22: always late, not working as a patrol, arguing, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the course I took, the major controversy was the "Game of Life"


One patrol was so incensed about it, feeling they had been lied to and set up to look stupid that all were packing to leave. The course director had to do fast talking to keep them in the course and of course before any activity after that one of them would always ask if they were being "set-up"

Link to post
Share on other sites

i have been on two wood badge groups(staff-1) and have assisted with others. The game of life is the event that I most fear the most it has been over 7 years since my first wood badge I still know of scouters who have hurt feelings over that game. The idea is good but I would say but people do not act the way you would think they should all the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our WB course had someone go home after The Game of Life too, but we don't know exactly why. The Course Director, the next morning, confirmed that someone left and then weasel-worded around it. Since it was almost two years ago, I don't really remember what he said.


Eagle92 -- I had a similar experience with BA22, circa 1976. I was in a patrol with a bunch of pains (I'm sure they thought the same about me, but I definitely was not as immature as them). My own SM was the course director, and it was the first time it had run in our council. Our troop had always been run in that Brownsea sort of style, so I should have cruised in the course.


Afterward, I told my SM about my experience. He told me that I'd been placed in that particular patrol because of the maturity level of the others. He'd felt I would be a good influence on the rest. Didn't work out that way, though, and I felt like it was a really lousy week, and told him so. I suppose, though, that was part of *my* learning experience.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to give up too much about the "Game of Life". Better not give away what it's about to others. I was told that one course here had someone who was called by a friend and told what it was all about. The Students all found out from him, so the outcome wasn't the same. I liked the Game of Life, and found it most interesting. Also my Patrol was suffering at first, but seeing what all of the others were doing we just sit back and was in shock with what others were doing. One guy saying one thing and doing another for example. He was due to be on Staff for this course, but couldn't make it. Anyway, I liked the game and see the need for it. I was also told by my Current SM/CD that his First Staff TG job Patrol is still not talking to one another after the course.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My patrol was 240 miles a part making a patrol meeting impossible. between sessions.


We had a patrol stacked with staff members from the same IOLS course who had been schooled in the game of life.


Staff screwed around at gilwell way to much...inside jokes and pranks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a WBer, but a long time NYLT staffer. I have two reactions from reading thus far:


First, I'm relieved, in a weird sort of way, to know that they deal with the same behavior and poor judgement issues in Woodbadge that we see at NYLT.


Second, I don't know anything about the Game of Life, but it seems fairly common for people to get angry to the point that they abandon the rest of the course. Shouldn't that be a sign that there's either something inherently wrong with the curriculum, or at the least they way its implemented in many courses?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fellow Scouters,




I'm glad KC9DDI posted. The game of life is in the course for a reason, but I believe there are different ways of delivering the same lesson.


For the weeklong course, it is the end of day three or midweek. For the more common two weekend courses, it should be Friday night, after Scouters return to their course. The two weekend method, the patrols may have bonded during their home time, participated in patrol activities and even built their patrol presentation. Their motivation may be really high and they believe they are high performing teams, and learned all the tools from Wood Badge in just 2.5 days.


Even in the prior WB for Boy Scout Leaders course, this was the artificial stressor after two and a half days of receiving food issue with a specific written recipe on 5x7 cards (and only 30 minutes to cook), patrols were expected to prepare each meal the way it was described on the recipe cards. That night the patrol would return to their campsite with raw food and no 5x7 recipe card. With six or seven members in the patrol there were probably seven different ways to prepare that meal. (Though I don't remember the specifics of teamwork lesson that night in the prior course.)


It is a good lesson to cover. But the game of life, may turn into a horror story far too often. And I think we all know. BSA wants us to learn the lesson of trust, fairness and everyone can win thru participating in Scouting. But it can be discovered via a different game or exercise.


This is my opinion.

I do enjoy the third night course in NYLT. It is more about ethical choices. It will make a person question how the make a split second ethical decision, but shouldn't have long lasting effects causing fights and departure from the course. I think this specific topic from NYLT should be brought over into WB21C. This topic should deliver the same take away lesson, with similar effects.


As for WB Horror stories. Well that is for another post on another day.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest difference between WB for Boy Scout Leaders and WB21C which created the biggest horror story was how well trained, experienced, and well prepared the staff of the first course was compared to the unprepared, poorly trained, and green staff(only 2 had served on staff before) of the WB21C. Never had a serious fight, a couple of minor arguments maybe, in the first course versus two knock down fist fights, and one staffer being grabbed by the collar and shaken by a participant in WB21C. The main reason seemed to be the greeness of the staff who gave different directions to two participants in the same patrol, and then made no attempt to correct the problem before the bruhahs began.


As Stosh would say, this may not be typical of all WB classes and your mileage may vary!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Basementdweller's post is a bit shy on details. From his accounts, his experience was horrible and it may be a good idea to PM him to get the details on how not to do things.


Maybe then his experience would not have been in vain

Link to post
Share on other sites

The game of life is a huge lesson and in my opinion a long look in the mirror. A large number of scouters have an image of themselves that often isn't accurate, and most are not a generous or caring as they think they are.......


In my session they got the participants all wound up to win. too me it seemed odd for this sort of training.....Your supposed to actually win as opposed to work as a group. Well I looked a little further and figured it out.


then the scout oath and law, the faces were priceless.


Afterwards I had several from the other patrols come over an apologize for not listening to what I had to say.


there were some very mad participants at ours, one guys was carrying on..... he said it was a stupid exercise and that isn't how it really is.. All I asked him was really and how do you deal with people on a daily basis....Suggested now is the time to change some things if he didn't like what he saw.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in 2001 I was CD. We had a guy who was a bit of a nit!

He wanted the Patrol to mark off the boundaries of their Patrol site by having everyone pee the perimeter.

Two of the Patrol were female.

He didn't return the second weekend.

Back in the days when Patrols did all their own cooking. The menu was set.

I was invited to eat with one Patrol on chicken day.

The menu was Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and cabbage.

The chicken was kinda like road-kill cooked on the outside but raw inside, the sweet potatoes were half cooked. I was OK with that but the Patrol had opted to use the cinnamon that was to be used with the sweet potatoes in the cabbage.

Cinnamon flavored cabbage was more than I could manage.


I was staffing another course back when the feast was a big deal.

Back then the Patrol choose what they wanted to cook for the Feast.

This then led into a session about Leading The Group.

The SPL (A Staff Member) Called all the P/L's up and held a PLC meeting while the rest of the Troop sat and watched.

Each Patrol had their preferences of what they wanted to cook, but of course there were duplications and the SPL set about changing things. So it might turn out that the Patrol who said they wanted to cook mashed potatoes ended up cooking lobster!

We had an SPL who went a little to far in fact he went way too far. The participants got very upset and one guy wanted to leave.

My best friend was the SM for the course.

He witnessed what had gone on. He agreed that the SPL was way over the top.

This left him in a big quandary. He had to support the syllabus of the course, which clearly the SPL hadn't, but he had to support the SPL.

So many of the participants were upset and somewhat puzzled that the SM in the end got up and said that this was an example of how NOT to go about it!


I had a problem with the Game Of Life.

The first time I staffed the new course.

For some reason to make up the teams two staff members were asked to join in.

I can't remember why? Or where they were. But these two guys were instrumental in having he Patrol tell lies and do the nasty.

I thought that as Staff Members they needed to set a better example.

I made sure that when I was CD that we had the Scout Law and Oath on big posters all over the outdoor Troop Room.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...