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A Few General Wood Badge Questions

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I'm interested in attending Wood Badge and have a few general questions.

-I'm an experienced (& "trained") Cub Scout Committee Chairperson.  I'm a new Boy Scout troop leader (ASM- membership).    Do I have to declare a specific position when enrolling in Wood Badge?  Is the program the same for Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders?  

-I'm not position "trained" as ASM because IOLS doesn't seem to be offered anywhere in my area in the next several months.  ( I plan to attend IOLS as soon as it is offered).  So I don't actually meet the prerequisites for Wood Badge as an ASM.  I do meet the prerequisites as a Cub Scout leader.   Does it make sense to attend Wood Badge as a Cub Scout Committee Chairperson and complete IOLS at a later date?  Wood Badge is being offered in my area in Aug/Sept and if I don't attend then, I might not be able to do it at all.

-I don't know anyone who has completed Wood Badge so I appreciate any insight you can share.

 

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Wait a year at least, and then go to WB.  Much of WB is about participating as a scout in a troop as it goes about its business  --- going to pretend PLCs, holding different positions like Patrol Leader, Scribe, etc.

Wait to go to Woodbadge until you fully understand how your troop operates now, and then you can compare that to what you see in WB --- which although it's supposed to be ideal sometimes is not.

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Posted (edited)

I would suggest you attend the August course, and if they get picky on "trained for your position" go with your Cub Scout job. 

Waiting will not make you understand what is taught better. It is more likely to have you  give preference to your troop's way of doing things and discount what is being taught. 

GO TO WOOD BADGE NOW. You will gain a lot from it and have greater insight into mentoring youth. 

Then take ItOLS when you can, it could even be a ticket item. Oh and Wood Badge is the same for Cubs, Scouts, and Venturing adults. In fact your patrol will probably have at least one person from each program.

Edited by Chris1
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I agree 100% with @Chris1.  I've both taken Wood Badge and staffed it.  I think taking it in August is a great time.

On your position.  I'd suggest two things:

1) talk with the course registrar and explain the IOLS status.  They may just waive it.

2) If they don't waive IOLS, consider registering as a Commttee Member.  The training for that is all online and you'll be done in a couple of hours.  What you'll find is that they want you to write your ticket for your primary role.  I'm sure some courses are more lax about this than others - but a Committee Member focused on membership will have a lot of similarities with your ASM of membership role.

 

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An imaginary tally in my head of forum opinions of Would Badger would break down like this:

30% liked Wood Badge, thought it was worthwhile, and were glad that they were now part of the cool crowd.

30% were gray.  It was okay.  May have learned a few things.  Did make new friends.

30% thought it was a waste of their time.  Corporate dynamics are fine for adults who have a monetized interest to leverage, but hard to apply to boys when the adults are supposed to be 100 yards away.  Wish they had spent the time with their troop instead.  (Most of this group were either old-time scouters or Eagles in their youth.)

5% hated it and left after the Friday night WAYCW, aka - The Prisoners Dilemma.

5%.....  I forget.

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I disagree 100% with @Chris1. :)

In WB, you will not read the SM handbook. You need to do that ASAP.

In WB, you will not go over the Guide to Safe Scouting ... also need to do that.

Have you taken weather safety and all of the other available online training?

Is your 1st aid training up to date.

Have you attended your Boy Scout breakout sessions at roundtables?

How are you with an axe? The boys will be counting on you to be a good example with sharps.

No wood is harmed in WB (paper doesn't count).

Get your prerequisites done. They are there for a reason.

 WB can wait a year (or two, or three).

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Wood badge, as with any training,  is dependent on the following:

1) The curriculum.  Is it a "school" that teaches what it says it teaches? Scouting, values, yes.  Camp skills, not so much.  Spirit and devotion, yes.  People management, maybe.  Activities ideas, yes. 

2) the Teachers/staff.    You may get Baden Powell in carnate, you may get Bozo Clown .  Can't predict.  Sometimes, the staff are experienced in their topic, sometimes could be better.  Depend on the idea that everyone is dedicated and "Doing their Best". 

3) The attitude of the Attendees.   If you have already had some (a lot?) of management training, you may be bored stiff.  If it is all new, you may have the time of your life.  Go with an open mind and the idea that "any excuse to go camping is good", and you will not go half wrong.  Have fun.  Ask questions. 

4)  Classwork and  Homework .  Get it done. Work together. Reach out to your Patrolmates.  

5)   In Wood Badge, you will be asked to design your own "Homework" , your Tickets.   Be prepared (!) to name some possible projects in YOUR OWN REGISTERED AREA.   This was a surprise to me, as I was then registered as an ASM in my son's Troop, but I helped a lot in Cub Scout Day Camp.  Can't do Cub things !   So, I ended up registering as a Commissioner. Commissioners can work in ANY  Scout area !.  

 

Good luck and have fun.....   See you on the trail.  

 

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11 hours ago, JoeBob said:

An imaginary tally in my head of forum opinions of Would Badger would break down like this:

30% liked Wood Badge, thought it was worthwhile, and were glad that they were now part of the cool crowd.

30% were gray.  It was okay.  May have learned a few things.  Did make new friends.

30% thought it was a waste of their time.  Corporate dynamics are fine for adults who have a monetized interest to leverage, but hard to apply to boys when the adults are supposed to be 100 yards away.  Wish they had spent the time with their troop instead.  (Most of this group were either old-time scouters or Eagles in their youth.)

5% hated it and left after the Friday night WAYCW, aka - The Prisoners Dilemma.

5%.....  I forget.

I'm all those people in my head as well. :) 

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1.   The program is the same for all participants.

2.  Go to Wood Badge this year.   Get your online trainings done and I don't think anyone will harass you about the position specific stuff. 

Have a great time - woo!!!

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I found Wood Badge useful in that it helped contextualize a lot of the smaller elements of scouting into how they fit into the larger program. As a den leader, its useful to have the scout led patrol method process of Scouts BSA demonstrated explicitly. It also came at the right time for me/my pack as we are the point of having a decent number of cubs, a fair amount of leaders, but not a lot of direction on where we are headed. At least at my course, the real value was seeing the exemplar troop function. The management theory-ese got a bit meh at times, and I would have preferred a bit more scout craft teaching over yet another analysis of forming, storming, etc.

The course cares about your role because they like to make the patrols as broadly experienced as possible, or at least that's how mine worked. They do also want your ticket to pertain to your main role, so you might want to talk to the course director about it.

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Posted (edited)

Wood Badge is intended for participants to understand where they fit in the program and planning to develop skills for that fit. Wood Badge is not a skills development course. It’s very good at helping leaders build a plan for their scouting future, provided the staff is good at guiding in seeing that future. Many staffs don’t understand the intention of Wood Badge and instead just play their staffing part for the fun of being on staff.

Personally I think Wood Badge is better fitted torward adults in cub scouts looking at a long future in scouting. If you have a plan like ASM, then I think your time is better training for ASM. if you aren’t sure, probably a year of just hanging out at meetings and camp outs will help you out.

I do believe Wood Badge is a good course for committee member, especially committee chairs. Not because it teaches committee skills, but because it teaches how to see the vision of the program and build teams toward that vision. It is the Committee Chairman, not the Scoutmaster or Cub Master, who should have the program vision and recruit and train the unit leaders toward the vision. 

But as I said, Wood Badge is only as good as the staffs that run them. And that is hard to measure. That is why I think so many participants have a low opinion of the course.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Go now. I just did the Centennial WB Pilot Course at Philmont this March. My classmates were from  Cub, Scout, and  District positions.  The curriculum and program was the same for everyone. The first 1/2 day's lessons are presented in a Cub Scout theme, but  the instruction applied to everyone. Once you get there, no one cares what your position is at home, or the number of square knots you do not posses.  I'm a Cub Scouter and my experience at WB was positive and helpful. It allows me to be an informed and influential member of the committee.

I was told the new curriculum shifts more of the instructional duties to the troop guide in the patrol setting, and the "game of life" is gone. The "management & Leadership" theory, while familiar, was also highly contextualized to scouting and working with youth.  The best part of the experience is being able to casually discuss your unit's challenges and get sound advice back from your classmates. Show up well rested, bring enough clothes changes, and you'll be fine. No need for long meditations beforehand. New ideas will start clicking in your head once the presentations begin.

We also had folks writing ticket items across multiple scouter disciplines: cubs & scouts, cubs & district. Hopefully the common sense leveraged at my pilot course will find it way to into the update courses in 2019.

Fortunately, our course did not get all juvenile and fetishy about their patrol mascots...this to me is the scourge of some wood badge graduates: the scouters come back and talk more about their patrol  identity than they do about their tickets and how these improved their units.  

Who the hell cares about what "animal" you were, after the course?  

Edited by WRW_57
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8 hours ago, WRW_57 said:

The best part of the experience is being able to casually discuss your unit's challenges and get sound advice back from your classmates.

The best class I’ve ever been in at University of Scouting was one where the instructor didn’t show up. This is what we wound up doing. 

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