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cocomax

Wood Badge - Roses and Thorns

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30 minutes ago, shortridge said:

There have been a couple references in this thread to A-IOLS. Is there an advanced version of that training currently?

I am not aware of one. At least not officially. 

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Once upon a time you, WB was two separate courses, one for Cub Scout Trainers, the other for Boy Scouters. And very briefly there was a 3rd course for Explorer Advisers. I do not know the requirements for the Cub Scout Trainer WB course, but the Boy Scout version required completion of all basic training, a minimum of 2 years tenure in a Boy Scout volunteer position (I am told it could be waived only if you aged out as a youth at 18, so an 18 or 19 year old could do it) and be invited. The folks taking the course were experienced Scouters, and the course was to improve themselves and learn and expand their knowledge to bring back and help train their youth to run things. I admit, I am not a WBer. But I went through BA22, and staffed JLTC, and both are based on WB. In fact one of my JLTC staffers took WB 3 months after staffing JLTC. I was unable to take that course and told him I planned on taking the next one. He told me, "Don't waste your time. Everything we taught at JLT is taught and WB. Only difference between the two courses is the ticket."

When WB21C came out, they combined to the courses and tried to make it "one size fits all." A lot of important program specific material has been left out that is really needed. And I have seen many folks take WB as Cub Scout leaders, and think they know it all when they move up to Boy Scouts.

 

33 minutes ago, malraux said:

Doesn’t powderhorn function as a more advanced outdoor skills course?

Powderhorn was originally designed for Venturing as a way for Venturign advisers to learn hor to help their crews plan and execute HA activities. I do not believe it covers a lot of advanced skills . except whatever  type of mini HA activity is planned.

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Sure - i get the Wood Badge isn't the pinnacle of Scouting  knowledge.  It's a leadership course set in a Scouting context.  It's can provide you tools to be a better Scouter - but they are just that - tools.

I'm 100% in support of an advanced course for Scoutmasters.  That would be wonderful.  A sort of Wood Badge or Powder Horn scale course about being a Scoutmaster.  Scout skills, boy led, patrol method, etc.  That would be an awesome course!

I'm not looking to start up a debate here.  I just think that the volume of negative Wood Badge comments are excessive.

 

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1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

Sure - i get the Wood Badge isn't the pinnacle of Scouting  knowledge.  It's a leadership course set in a Scouting context.  It's can provide you tools to be a better Scouter - but they are just that - tools.

I'm 100% in support of an advanced course for Scoutmasters.  That would be wonderful.  A sort of Wood Badge or Powder Horn scale course about being a Scoutmaster.  Scout skills, boy led, patrol method, etc.  That would be an awesome course!

I'm not looking to start up a debate here.  I just think that the volume of negative Wood Badge comments are excessive.

 

It sounds like a good course for a summer camp to offer for scout masters. 

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9 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I admit, I am not a WBer. But I went through BA22, and staffed JLTC, and both are based on WB. In fact one of my JLTC staffers took WB 3 months after staffing JLTC. I was unable to take that course and told him I planned on taking the next one. He told me, "Don't waste your time. Everything we taught at JLT is taught and WB. Only difference between the two courses is the ticket."

 

I've completed NYLT (2009), and Wood Badge (2015) and also served as adult staff on NYLT(2018). They are incredibly similar courses. Their content is similar. Where they differ (or should if they're done right) is the mindset the participant should be in. NYLT a Scout is supposed to live the life of a scout in a model troop and participate in the activities that challenge them and their patrol. Wood Badge is similar, but it's more about witnessing and participating in how a model troop is run, and the presentations are tied back to how adults can coach youth in leading the troop. Wood Badge in 2015 was a great chance for me to review the things I'd learned at NYLT and how they applied to me as an adult working with youth, instead of the soon to be SPL I was back in 2009. I'm excited to be sharing that experience with another great group of staff and participants in 2019. 

To be frank, we're fighting an uphill battle here. The reality is new adult leaders do not go straight off to the training. They enter a cub scout pack or boy scout troop, and that is there default experience against which they view any subsequent training. If that adult was a Scout in their youth, than they are also viewing the training through the prism of their own scout experience (for better or for worse.) When I took Scoutmaster Specific Training and IOLs in 2012, I was basically able to teach IOLS (and did help the instructor.) Scoutmaster Fundamentals was a revelation for me, because I realized how much room my troop had for improvement from the adult side of the program. It was a pretty good troop when I was growing up, but it's patrol method was lacking ( and in many ways still is, despite many efforts over the last 6 years.) If a leader is not the Scoutmaster, they are pretty powerless to effect change in a unit, they can only influence through persuasion. Then there is a ton of friction and challenge to getting an organizations adults and scouts to accept a change AND get it to stick. 

Many leaders are going into Boy Scout Troops where the patrol method is only given lip service, and where the Scouts are executing the plans of adults (best case scenario). Worst case it's a camping club with scout advancement run by adults. Even the best training is going to have an uphill battle against that kind of ingrained expectations. In places where training isn't well done, or the trainers aren't strong, knowledgeable, or helpful, I'm not really sure what impact changing the training would have. 

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27 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Many leaders are going into Boy Scout Troops where the patrol method is only given lip service, and where the Scouts are executing the plans of adults (best case scenario). Worst case it's a camping club with scout advancement run by adults. Even the best training is going to have an uphill battle against that kind of ingrained expectations. In places where training isn't well done, or the trainers aren't strong, knowledgeable, or helpful, I'm not really sure what impact changing the training would have. 

I agree completely. That is the situation I am in. When I taught SM specific and IOLs, I went after the best folks I could to help with the courses. I even had youth staff who i know had the KSAs to do the job to show what a Scout is capable of doing if you "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"  And I have folks I see today who are only paying lip service to the patrol method. One troop was nearly annihilated when one of them took over. he told me that "BSA needed to change with the times." Of the 3 NYLT grads he had when he took over as SM, 1 stayed registered to remain in the OA, but never did another thing again with the troop, and 2 transfered to a troop that is a PM troop.

 

Regarding Adults reminiscing about troops of their youth, as I see more and more troops, I realized how lucky I was to have Joe S. as my SM growing up. We were a Youth Led troop. We made mistakes. We had out problems. We were by no means perfect. But we were youth led. SM, and CC for that matter, not only advised and mentored us, but more importantly kept well meaning adults from interfering and ruining the program.

 

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I do not have any problem with the Wood Badge course,  or people taking Wood Badge.  Most my scouter friends took Wood Badge and it was just a training course to them and nothing more.

I have a problem with over the top Wood Badge recruiting that spoils a scout activity.

I have a problem with scout camp fires becoming surprise 45 minute long beading ceremonies.

I have a big problem with the way Wood Badge people haze and insult one another,  it is very un-scout like.
I have a problem with all the critter based sexual innuendo and inside jokes that sound like sexual innuendo that they use in front of the scouts.  

At the last Camp-O-Ree camp fire I went to the Wood Badgers ( a group of around 15)  managed to completely mess things up. . . in a way that I have never seen done before (they upset a lot of boys and scouters).   

The problem is some people treat Wood Badge as something more than a training course, when they really shouldn't.  

     

Edited by cocomax
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2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

  I just think that the volume of negative Wood Badge comments are excessive.

 

I've served in several councils over the years, and in more than a few of those, the WBers were collectively "as described" by the criticisms here in the forum. 

Though I haven't taken WB, I know how to read a syllabus.  And heaven knows, I have been subjected to many a long-winded recitation of every facet of WB courses by graduates.  I can also assess performance.

There is often quite a gap between what WB teaches and how many WBers perform their scouting duties.  Not to mention how they interact (or don't) with non-WBers.

Edited by desertrat77
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1 hour ago, cocomax said:

I do not have any problem with the Wood Badge course,  or people taking Wood Badge.  Most my scouter friends took Wood Badge and it was just a training course to them and nothing more.

Saying "Wood Badge is just another training course" is technically correct - but it misses some of the most important parts of the experience.  Let me see if I can explain.

First - It's a shared experience.  A Wood Badge course is two very long three day weekends.  During that time, the participants spend a lot time getting to know each other.  The whole course is structured to encourage that - kinda like the patrol method can for Scouts.  Some of the participants clearly have a "when can I go home and mow my lawn" vibe.  But, many others embrace the experience.  I'll admit - I enjoyed the people I met and their passion, energy, and enthusiasm.  Call me crazy, but I enjoy Scouting and I enjoy getting to know people who enjoy Scouting.   It's very natural to make new friends on a course.  And yes, my two weekends turned into some friendships that I maintain today.

Second - It's a personal accomplishment.  Much of the Wood Badge experience is the time spent working on your ticket.  Sure, some Scouters create simple tickets that are easy to finish.  But, many create tickets that challenge them quite a bit personally.  These are projects that you work on for the better part of 18 months. When I got home from my course, I had absolutely no idea how I'd get mine done.  I put in hundreds of hours working on it.  So yeah, when I got my beads, I felt a pretty significant sense of personal accomplishment.

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1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

I've served in several councils over the years, and in more than a few of those, the WBers were collectively "as described" by the criticisms here in the forum. 

Though I haven't taken WB, I know how to read a syllabus.  And heaven knows, I have been subjected to many a long-winded recitation of every facet of WB courses by graduates.  I can also assess performance.

There is often quite a gap between what WB teaches and how many WBers perform their scouting duties.  Not to mention how they interact (or don't) with non-WBers.

I just get the sense that there's a thing in the Scouter community where it's considered an accepted practice to make fun of Wood Badge and those that have taken it.  I understand that many feel that they are justified in doing it.  It really just seems that somewhere along the way it has grown into something bigger than being rightly frustrated with some Scouters who have taken Wood Badge.

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2 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I just get the sense that there's a thing in the Scouter community where it's considered an accepted practice to make fun of Wood Badge and those that have taken it.  I understand that many feel that they are justified in doing it.  It really just seems that somewhere along the way it has grown into something bigger than being rightly frustrated with some Scouters who have taken Wood Badge.

That may depend on where you live; in my area Wood Badge is promoted, advertised, even glorified ad nauseum, and for those who haven't taken it (myself included), there is often an uncomfortable amount of pressure to do so, as though one isn't a real Scouter until one has their beads. And the number of Scouters around here who do have them is very high; I've nearly been made to feel somewhat guilty at a few events for being as involved in Scouting as I am and yet not having taken the course. Nevertheless, I have never been one to acquiesce to peer pressure generally, and if I end my Scouting days never having taken it, I won't particularly regret it. But MAN - they push it hard here.

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53 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I just get the sense that there's a thing in the Scouter community where it's considered an accepted practice to make fun of Wood Badge and those that have taken it.  I understand that many feel that they are justified in doing it.  It really just seems that somewhere along the way it has grown into something bigger than being rightly frustrated with some Scouters who have taken Wood Badge.

In my experience the only people casting Wood Badge in a very bad light are over zealous self focused Wood Badge folks that lack the self awareness of how they appear to people around them when behaving very badly while thinking they are touting Wood Badge.  The only people that I have seen actually making fun of Wood Badge folks, have been other Wood Badge folks, around here they have a hazing culture.  Wood Badge folks make other Wood Badge folks dance and sing to get back lost items.  I do not find such behavior helpful or amusing. I am not happy this hazing culture has also been imported into NYLT,  by the very same folks and being brought back to the troops by scouts that take NYLT. 

If Wood Badge has grown into something much bigger than just a training program, I would like to know exactly what it is.   I have been told during recruiting pitches that Wood Badge "gave me a life changing vision", "was a religious experience",  "it gave my life purpose and direction", "it was a mountain top experience", "the greatest thing that I have ever done in my life",  and "I got my Eagle".   

People showing such strong and heartfelt devotion to Wood Badge juxtaposed with the harshness, lack of self awareness and unkindness routinely displayed by the very same people leave me wondering what in the world is going on.

When I ask questions I am told that I really need to take Wood Badge to understand and because I have never taken Wood Badge I do not have the moral authority to question anything Wood Badge.      

Edited by cocomax
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I will say that in our council, wood badge is way oversold. Not every person who shows up at a training needs to append a “go to wood badge” to the end of their subject.

I do also wonder how wood badge could be considered a life changing course. Getting married, having kids, or joining the peace corps were life changing experiences for me; wood badge was just a pretty good training course. 

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