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1. You ought to be excellent to be a Course Director. But if you become a CD, you are never allowed to have a position of responsibility on a WB staff again. Were there problems with inbreeding? Yes. But this is killing a fly with a nuke. Unreasonably arbitrary and disconnected from any concern about quality. If they were qualified to be CD's, they should be able to serve again in some meaningful capacity.


2. The syllabus was rewritten by BSA to avoid paying royalties to Blanchard and Assoc. More like an exercise in transliteration by those who did not speak the original language. At least some of the rewrite team didn't understand the material. So you have the syllabus saying groups always start out with high morale and low skill/knowledge, which is nonsense and contrary to Tuckman's thesis. You also get opaque material on the perils of being directive (in a volunteer organization, they should stress) followed in a few pages by statements that being directive is the best way to get results you want when it's critical to get results. The overall quality of the syllabus was sharply reduced by the rewrite. This problem is often offset by the quality of the staff, who deliver the correct lessons.


3. Outcome of The Game of Life is dependent on the skill of those who run it -- especially the CTJ session afterwards. Based on my one exposure to "Situational Leadership," Blanchard himself does not debrief or have an absolution session after the Game because, he said, "You probably don't want them in your company." Done improperly, TGOL has destroyed courses. I have been lucky to have seen it done very well each of the two times I have witnessed it.


4. Unqualified Course Directors and/or senior staf: "I just want to get done" is not much of a performance standard.

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Eamonn & Tahawk


Your posts speaks volumes. 99% of all negative WB experiences, IMO, come from a poorly trained or "I don't really give a dam* attitude" staff. Maybe that is another reason I didn't really care for WB21C, aside from certain content I felt was useless to scouting. The staff of my original WB were phenomenal whereas the WB21C staff were so out of their element and knowledge/experience zone that it fell flat on its face.


IMO, any training that results in the participants getting into serious arguments and actual fights with the staff and each other has some serious underlying problems and issues.

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IMO, any training that results in the participants getting into serious arguments and actual fights with the staff and each other has some serious underlying problems and issues.


That's definitely the message I'm taking away from this thread so far. I know you can't really draw a direct comparison between WB and NYLT, but, for all of the problems we've dealt with at my council's NYLT over the years, we have NEVER had any fist fights break out amongst participants or staff. In fact, throughout my experience in Scouting, I've seen what I consider to be very heated arguments, but never anything approaching the level that seems fairly common in WB settings (and, for what its worth, most of the very heated arguments I've had exposure to had in some way involved WB).


My question is whether that's an effect of the course itself, an effect of the culture and traditions associated with the course, or just the failure of what seems to be a disproportionately large number of councils to recruit qualified staff?



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Because the course, inclusive of The Game of Life, has been presented without serious inter-personal problems, such problems are not inherent in the material. However a risk is inherent in any material that may force people to "look in the mirror." That situation should dictate selection of staff solely on the basis of competence.

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Tales and lessons:


Tale #1:


A good friend, in another Patrol, asked me to count the ballots at their permanent patrol selection during the campout weekend. This patrol was so dysfunctional (8 x ueber Type As) they could not agree on a PL. It took 3 rounds of voting, and even then, one dropped the F-bomb as I left.


Tale #2:


Be careful when an idealistic 20 year old encounters grizzled 40-somethings, who are somewhere between realistic and cynical. Our 20 year old tried to press his youthful idealism "Guys, you have to play the game. Be 12 year olds again." We all thought otherwise, and told him so in plain language to his face. He didn't come to the inter-session meetings, didn't bring what he said he would to the campout, just completed weekend 2, and never finished his ticket.


Tale #3:


Like so many, the Game of Life can be a disaster. Plan it. Brainstorm it. Have someone keeping an eye on it. Do not allow it to spin out of control. Breaking faith with other adults is a very bad idea :(

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Following up on Tahawks post, The Game of Life may have its value in another type of setting and training but I think in a training of experienced scouters teaching them the skills to be better scouters it really has no place and very little worth,IMO.


In almost every case where a friend of mine took WB21C there was always a problem or argument centered around that game. In my case I had no problem with the game, even though I thought it a waste of time, but the staff I don't think really understood how to present it well or articulate its relevance to the participants, if indeed there truly was any.

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In the business context addressed by "Situational Leadership" or the Scouting context addressed in Wood Badge, loyalty to organizational norms may be tested.


All Scouters supposedly subscribe to the concept of the Patrol Method where the youth plan and lead the program with adults limited to resource, coaching, and mentoring roles except when safety of fundamental values issues arise.


Fidelity to that Scouting norm seems to be a problem with many Scouters. As a Roundtable Commissioner I polled units present (47) and found that a decided minority allowed Scouts to elect their PL's and a shockingly small minority ( < 25%) allowed Scouts to elect the SPL. The rationalizations for this deliberate departure from Scouting were varied: convenience; better results (as if proficiency in the program skill was the goal); youth "not ready" (after 37 years in one case); kids "not as good [or disciplined or devoted] as they used to be" - and the list went on. The internet is full of troop sites where the "boy led troop" is listed as a "goal." How easily may well-meaning adults be led away from the norms they supposedly support.


Also, we are supposed to be guiding youth to be value-guided. We might want to experience how tempting the world can be.

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I can't recall anything we did in our patrol that could have resulted in a fist fight. High fives, knee slapping, hugs, yes. Fist fighting, no.


If anybody got so upset they left or got into a fist fight I think it says more about their character than it does about the course or the staff.

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Having served as a CD for a course, I've now been put out to pasture!

To be very honest, I'm not sure that I'm now willing to give up the time that goes into Staffing a course.

In the area where I live we have a lot of smaller Councils, who come together as a cluster for Wood Badge.

Back when the new course came along it was hoped that with all the Cub Scouters and others we might be able to pull off presenting two courses a year.

We tried but it just didn't work out. Courses ended up not having enough participants and being canceled.

When we still had the old courses WB was very much an "Old Boys Network."

While I was never the SM or CM for the old courses. It seemed to me that for a Boy Scout course the Home Council selected approx half the Staff. The SPL was selected from the Council who was next on the list and this years SPL was next years SM.

The Home Council also selected a couple of new faces.

After that the SM invited the other Councils to send in their list. Meanwhile more often than not the SM had already contacted a bunch of staff members that he'd worked with before.

I staffed courses where there have been ten guys who in the past had served as SM. Most of them multiple times. Some of these guys hadn't had any dealings with real Scouts in many years.

For the Cub course our District Commish had served on that course in the past, I was District Training Chair. The CM was in Germany (Us being the NE Region) So the selection was left to a few leaders who had served in the past. My first time, I was one of only three new faces, my second time there were no new faces.

I'm happy that these days are behind us.

When I was CD, we only had seven people who had served before.

This was just when the new course came out.

While it maybe suits me not to return to the happy land.

I kinda resent the fact that I can't return.

I do think that I still have a lot to offer and am a long way from being past it? Whatever that might mean.

I have had a couple of invites to come and cook at WB and present maybe a presentation or two. I think this is cheating and doesn't set a good example so I have said thanks but no thanks.



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Just curious.......


The look in the Mirror makes the game of life so controversial. Most do not like what they see.


Like I mentioned before, the looks on the participants faces was priceless during the oath and law portion...... I will say from what I witnessed at woodbadge and the non-sense in my district, a too large a portion of adult scouters do not live the oath and law.....



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Even if that were the case, so what, you are only responsible for yourself, not every other scouter in the BSA. In any organization, government, religion, business,the BSA, etc., there always has been and always will be a certain level of hypocrisy and dishonesty among the membership. That is just human nature, if everyone was perfect the world would be a whole nicer place to live, but unfortunately we are not perfect.


These are also some of the reasons people have a hard time dealing with WB21C, some of its lessons do not really mirror the reality of scouting or even life.

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  • 1 month later...

The Game of Life is an important part of WB. Many people don't like it, but like the name suggests, it is a reflection of real life. A couple of my opinions:


- It is just a game in a training course. There are more significant and bigger conflicts and problems in Scouting waiting for every one of us in real life. Practice - even at facing conflicts and temptations - is a good thing, IMHO.


- "Storming" is a necessary part of team-building. Avoiding or ignoring conflict or papering-over differences just to say we built a good team quickly can lead to bigger problesm down the road.


Just my $0.02.




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  • 1 month later...

the game of life was interesting. During the middle of it my patrol and other patrols "got it", meaning we understood what we had to do to win.... although, if all the patrols agreed to the same thing, we'd all get the same score and it would all be a tie I had to mention, there would be no winner.... But agree we did, and we went on to the end of the game....


It ended rather abruptly, with the SPL almost yelling at us and we felt like we were in trouble for playing the way we did. I didn't like that part, because the way we all played was the expected way to play.... The end, all the fun and games stopped quickly to him lecturing us on right and wrong, etc.... realy felt like we were being scolded....


I, for one, didnt' like TGOL. It doesn't send the right message....


heck, maybe I missed the whole point of the game :-)


Mike B

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