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Hey everybody,

 

I want to pick your brains on scenario going on in my crew. Our Area Venturing President, equivalent to an OA Section Chief, is a member of our crew and recently completed NAYLE this last summer. He'll be turning 18 in May and has expressed interest in the idea of attending Wood Badge.

 

Having formerly staffed Wood Badge, I know 18 year-olds can attend Wood Badge, even if they are not registered as an adult leader in a pack, troop, or team. However, I know his parents are stand-offish to the idea of him attending Wood Badge so young. The course he would like to attend would be next fall.

 

I'm curious about what are thoughts about "adult participants" in Venturing/Sea Scouting attending Wood Badge?

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No problem as far as I'm concerned. Many Area officers do have responsibilities that could benefit from WB's goal setting.

However, he needs to understand that WB is not a two weekend course, it is an 18 month commitment. Not always easy to do with a bunch of life transitions coming down the pike. He should have a chat with his advisor(s) about the pros and cons. (That includes parents' expectations).

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We had an 18 year old girl in my patrol this past year.  She was the area VP for Venturing.  All of her family is in Scouting so I doubt there was any resistance there.   She did fantastic.  She had a full plate: Going to college, venturing responsibilities and her mothers passing was like 2 weeks before WB started.  She definitely has her head on right.  I believe she is about to finish her tickets.  

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I'm for it, but with this caveat.

 

Way back in the day, one of my JLTC staffers, the predecessor to today's NYLT, did just what this Venturer is doing: attend Wood Badge after going through NJLIC (today's NAYLE) and staffing JLTC. When I asked him about taking Wood Badge, he told me " It was a waste of time and money. Everything we learned and taught in JLTC was covered. Wait until you are out of Scouting for a while and need a refresher."

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Given that he has already attended NAYLE (and thus NYLT) I would echo @@Eagle94-A1 comment - he has already seen most of the WB material so he may be bored.  The real benefit to taking WB in my view would be the patrol experience with adults rather than other youth and whatever comes from his ticket.  

 

This young man sounds like a real go-getter.  I think he would have a better experience, and would learn more by staffing NYLT or NAYLE if he can get himself an invitation to do that.  Those positions are usually by-invitation, but just like WB the staff are typically selected from people who have taken the course fairly recently.  Im sure you could figure out who to contact locally and put in a good word for NYLT.  It wouldnt take much to find the course directors for upcoming NAYLE courses at Philmont/SBR/NT/FSB.

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One of my Eagle scouts went immediately on to adult leader training including WB while still in high school.  He aged out early.

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@@4CouncilsScouter, if the young man has done NYLT, NAYLE and has been active in Venturing leadership -- and I assume been active in Ventring for a while -- I am not sure they will get much out of WB. Some councils do a good job of mimicking the patrol method in WB training, and the tickets will be projects that Venturing folks are used to, so there's that small nugget. But if they have any exposure to Boy Scouts and the patrol method, WB will bore them and might even be beneath them. I had an Eagle Scout who went and was bored to tears.

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I personally think it's a wonderful idea. 18-year-olds are often underestimated and looked at as "taller-teens," when in actuality an adventure like this could be loads of fun, especially since he would be interacting with a group composed of people who are likely much older than he is. He can learn from their experience, and frankly they would have a lot to learn from him. I think that if he already wants to go, he has the right attitude, and will make the most of it. Boredom is a choice, so as long as nobody lets him know that that's an option at WB, he'll never think to choose it. You have a willing leader-in-the-making. Give him the tools he wants to become what he clearly wants to be.

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Thanks for the advice,

 

To add some additional insight, the young man has served on summer camp staff the last three years, and, unfortunately, my council only does their NYLT during the middle of summer. This makes NYLT and NAYLE staff difficult to say the least, especially since NAYLE is a two week commitment at any of the high-adventure bases.

 

He's also considering professional Scouting or wildlife management as a career, so I think he wants to be as much of a volunteer as possible befor he has to "step back".

Edited by 4CouncilsScouter

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He's also considering professional Scouting

 

To quote the 9th Doctor, "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"

 

To quote a long time Scouter I respected when I told him I was applying to be a DE, "Have you lost your [expletive deleted] mind? Jesus have mercy on your soul."

 

Being a pro is rough, can be extremely stressful, and is not working with youth. I hope he shadows some pros before entering the profession. And even then, shadowing versus reality is completely different. I shadowed my DE, and it did nto cover nearly enough.

 

Why if you have a good pro, they are worth their weight in gold.

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"He's also considering professional Scouting or wildlife management as a career, so I think he wants to be as much of a volunteer as possible befor[e] he has to 'step back'."  :mellow:


 


He had better talk to lots of people who are AND HAVE BEEN council employees.  Newbies spend years primarily working with adults, not Scouts, and much of that time is spent trying to raise money to meet payroll.  Pay is pitiful.  Hours are long, and many hours are at night and on weekends. Attrition is stunning.  My older council has been unable to fill the positions on its  table of organization because new DEs quite faster than they can be hired and trained - even though the number of positions has been reduced by 40% in four years.  We have 50% vacancies now in our "traditional districts."


 


This is not a new situation - only a worse situation.  Twenty years ago, my district went through three DEs in ten days,  I never even met the one in the middle as she was assigned on Friday and quit on Sunday before the District Meeting at which she was to meet us.  The average tenure 1987-1993 was 31 weeks: the "golden years."

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I don't think he's too worried about the professional Scouting. I know I catch him at council camporees and other Scouting events chatting up professionals like its no one's business. I know he caught the last chief Scout executive at Jambo 2013, and asked him about professional scouting; so, this career has been on his mind for a while.  :)

 

Honestly, I think it'd be good for him to go through it. Especially because he's considering professional scouting pretty seriously. He's been admitted to the State University and is entering as a outdoor program management major this fall.

Edited by 4CouncilsScouter

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I recall the philosophy, political science, art appreciation, theater studies etc. majors at university.  They were so focused on how much they loved the subject matter that they never considered making a living, and Academic Advisers were strictly prohibited from discussing "occupational outcomes" with students.  (This is not a trade school.  Students come here because they love learning." [Why Professor Stoltz et al might lose their places if students thought about such things.])

 

So I think about such things.  I know what happened to some of them.  They followed their loves into decades of poverty.   Some became chronically bitter.  Ennobling poverty is a great theory. The one I know who is best off became a great woodworker at age 40 - with ten years of college, a Phd, and large debts.

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