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cocomax

Wood Badge - Roses and Thorns

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At the last Camp-o-ree campfire I went to we had all the Wood Badge folks take the stage and sing 5 or so Wood Badge songs that none of the scouts know and most of the Wood Badge folks did not remember too well ether, then they gave out an award to a Wood Badge person, who then gave a 5 minute or so speech,  and then gave we all got a 10 minute or so Wood Badge recruitment talk.  All the boys and scouters were as quiet as could be and let them have their time. After all that most the Wood Badge folks then returned to their seats, but 15 or so stayed up front and moved just off stage. . .  and had a little reunion meet up, with loud laughter, jokes, loud talking, for them the campfire was over and it was time for fun and reconnecting with old friends . . .

. . . only problem was it was time for the OA Call Out Ceremony. . .  while the 3 flutes were playing off in the distance we all treated to the loud laughter and shenanigans of the Wood Badge crew up fount, they continued to be loud through out the OA Ceremony, making it very hard to even hear the names being called.  .  .

     It really took the air out of the OA Ceremony,  it was quite sad really.

     The boys notice things like this.         

Edited by cocomax
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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Not all WBers are horrible. I've worked with many great ones over the years.

Then why do folks keep referring to WB'ers as a group - like they're all the same?  The WB'ers ruined this, the WB'ers ruined that.  Look at the WB'ers - they're messing stuff up again.

It just feels like whatever personal frustration folks have grown into a sort of thing where "real scouters get to make fun of the WB'ers."

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2 minutes ago, cocomax said:

At the last Camp-o-ree campfire I went to we had all the Wood Badge folks take the stage and sing 5 or so Wood Badge songs that none of the scouts know and most of the Wood Badge folks did not remember too well ether, then they gave out an award to a Wood Badge person, who then gave a 5 minute or so speech,  and then gave we all got a 10 minute or so Wood Badge recruitment talk.  All the boys and scouters were as quiet as could be and let them have their time. After all that most the Wood Badge folks then returned to their seats, but 15 or so stayed up front and moved just off stage. . .  and had a little reunion meet up, with loud laughter, jokes, loud talking, for them the campfire was over and it was time for fun and reconnecting with old friends . . .

. . . only problem was it was time for the OA Call Out Ceremony. . .  while the 3 flutes were playing off in the distance we all treated to the loud laughter and shenanigans of the Wood Badge crew up fount, they continued to be loud through out the OA Ceremony, making it very hard to even hear the names being called.  .  .

     It really took the air out of the OA Ceremony,  it was quite sad really.

     The boys notice things like this.         

Clearly that was inappropriate and wrong.  Scouters make bad choices all the time.

Reminds me of a time we took our Cub Pack to the Council Cuboree.  The OA folks decided that it would be great to have an hour long OA drumming demonstration at the evening Cuboree campfire.  So, 6 guys came out and drummed for an hour in front of 600 participants. Needless to say our pack lasted 15 minutes.  We did enjoy great sport that night back at the campsite "Hey Bob - are they still going?  Yep".  Classic. 

OA Call Out Ceremonies around here are kinda like that too.  Ok, we have a great Camporee campfire and then at the end and spend 15 minutes tapping out new OA members.  It's great fun for the new OA members.  The younger guys or the ones that don't get elected are often bored to tears.

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27 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Then why do folks keep referring to WB'ers as a group - like they're all the same?  The WB'ers ruined this, the WB'ers ruined that.  Look at the WB'ers - they're messing stuff up again.

It just feels like whatever personal frustration folks have grown into a sort of thing where "real scouters get to make fun of the WB'ers."

Same reason folks refer to new Scouters (in their estimation anyone less than 20+ years of experience) as a group who's ruining the patrol method.  The same reason they refer to women scouters as a group who want to turn Scouting into Family Camp.

I guess it's a combination of ease of convenience and small-mindedness.

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11 hours 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.

Parkman, I understand how it can seem that the ridicule level is higher than deserved.  But I can truthfully say the WB communities I've seen over the decades (several councils) have more than earned the criticism.

It's not that it's an accepted practice so much as a frank assessment of how many WBers collectively act.    Their condescending attitudes aside, when a group within the BSA feels it's their right to hijack any public event--camporee campfires, courts of honor for scouts, roundtables, etc.--to spend up to 45 minutes presenting a set of beads, that's the clincher.  In front of a listless and often incredulous audience, the WBers sally forth with endless stories, critter songs, mutual-admiration, inside jokes and such, completely tone-deaf to how their actions are being perceived.

Whether it's beading ceremonies, or the pushy sales presentations, or anything else discussed here, I consider it valid feedback.  For good or ill.  The WB community would be miles ahead if they tailored actions and attitudes accordingly.  But no.  Since the feedback comes from the Great Unwashed Non-Beaded Folks, it is discounted and ignored.   Darn shame, because if the WB community a) toned down the braggadocio, and b) ditched the power point death march and focused on outdoor adventure (hiking, cooking, camping instead of sitting in a mess hall or at a picnic table), WB courses would have waiting lists of folks wanting to join.  The ball is strictly in WB's court.

Edited by desertrat77
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35 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

Same reason folks refer to new Scouters (in their estimation anyone less than 20+ years of experience) as a group who's ruining the patrol method.  The same reason they refer to women scouters as a group who want to turn Scouting into Family Camp.

I guess it's a combination of ease of convenience and small-mindedness.

There is definitely some irony in this response.

Barry

 

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Sentinel947, well said, and I for one would welcome your expanded thoughts on the subject.

To briefly comment on one of your points:  "Treating other Wood Badgers poorly"--when WB for the Twenty First Century was launched, I was surprised when I read that previously beaded scouters would, in some cases, have to go back through WB.  Their previous WB training and years of service to scouting weren't good enough--they had to go through WB again to receive the WB21 material.  Though I'm an outsider, this struck me as a sign of disrespect.  "You are qualified--oh, actually, nope, you gotta go through WB again."  Just my perception, but it seemed disrespectful to those senior scouters.

Edited by desertrat77
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1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

Sentinel947, well said, and I for one would welcome your expanded thoughts on the subject.

To briefly comment on one of your points:  "Treating other Wood Badgers poorly"--when WB for the Twenty First Century was launched, I was surprised when I read that previously beaded scouters would, in some cases, have to go back through WB.  Their previous WB training and years of service to scouting weren't good enough--they had to go through WB again to receive the WB21 material.  Though I'm an outsider, this struck me as a sign of disrespect.  "You are qualified--oh, actually, nope, you gotta go through WB again."  Just my perception, but it seemed disrespectful to those senior scouters.

One thing I'm trying to think about, when did the outrageous promotions and beading ceremonies start? While the attitudes were around pre- WB21C, i don't remember the beading ceremonies, taking over of campfires, etc until after WB21C came out.

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5 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

Darn shame, because if the WB community a) toned down the braggadocio, and b) ditched the power point death march and focused on outdoor adventure (hiking, cooking, camping instead of sitting in a mess hall or at a picnic table), WB courses would have waiting lists of folks wanting to join. 

Thankfully, PowerPoint did not exist when I went to Wood Badge (kinda cause personal computers did not exist yet either) and there were a lot  of outdoor skills in the course.  We were in a primitive section of the council camp for a full week, and any comforts we had in our patrol site we had because we made them.

As for the lengthy beading ceremonies we see at occasional Roundtables, they did not exist either.  When I completed my ticket, I met with my mentor who gave me the beads, woggle, neckerchief, and certificate.  I still have an old black & white photo of the very brief (only about 1 minute) presentation by that same mentor a year later of my third bead.

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@Sentinel947 I think that's a very good collection of the frustrations that I am reading about Wood Badge.  I fully agree - feedback is a gift.  I can't say that I see the same things, but I'm certainly fine in accepting everyone's word that they happen.  I think that our national Wood Badge leaders should be thinking about and learning from this perception.  I think Wood Badge should take the high road here.

I think a big part of being a leader is in modeling the behavior you'd hope to see in others.  So, as a Wood Badge community, lets listen, learn, and change.  These things are currently all in the spirit of the Wood Badge material.  Let's leverage them and grow.  I keep coming back to the idea that it would serve Wood Badge well if the course focused some time and energy on the idea of being an Ambassador for Scouting. Underscore that often it's not what you do, but how you do it that is remembered.

While I understand the frustration, it still feels off to me that as Scouters we justify these sorts of generalizations and criticisms of Wood Badgers as a whole.  Why is it okay for the Scouter community to treat an entire community with disdain like this?  I guess I don't understand how in an organization that is so modeled on values and leadership, it's considered OK simply because "they've earned it."

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I do think there’s an issue where the worst cases stand out. If a 60 person class has 90% of the people have simple fast beading ceremony, the 6 who don’t will still stand out. 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

@Sentinel947 I think that's a very good collection of the frustrations that I am reading about Wood Badge.  I fully agree - feedback is a gift.  I can't say that I see the same things, but I'm certainly fine in accepting everyone's word that they happen.  I think that our national Wood Badge leaders should be thinking about and learning from this perception.  I think Wood Badge should take the high road here.

I think a big part of being a leader is in modeling the behavior you'd hope to see in others.  So, as a Wood Badge community, lets listen, learn, and change.  These things are currently all in the spirit of the Wood Badge material.  Let's leverage them and grow.  I keep coming back to the idea that it would serve Wood Badge well if the course focused some time and energy on the idea of being an Ambassador for Scouting. Underscore that often it's not what you do, but how you do it that is remembered.

While I understand the frustration, it still feels off to me that as Scouters we justify these sorts of generalizations and criticisms of Wood Badgers as a whole.  Why is it okay for the Scouter community to treat an entire community with disdain like this?  I guess I don't understand how in an organization that is so modeled on values and leadership, it's considered OK simply because "they've earned it."

Yea. Again, a lot of this are local situations, so it's hard to pull hard data on this kind of thing. 

As for general criticisms, I've learned to not take it personally. I try to look at where people's opinions come from, and take them as a challenge for my own conduct, and an opportunity to effect things I can control. Maybe there are misconceptions I can correct. 

I come back to religion as a similar parallel to Scouting, and Wood Badge in general. Like proselyting a religion, we're trying to sell folks on an idea and program of self improvement and growth. If the messenger is flawed, the message, however good, will not received well. Looking at my religion, Roman Catholicism as an example, look at the many spineless bureaucrats and outright predators wearing the cardinals cassock, the church has been closing off the hearts and minds to many of the salvation possible through Jesus Christ. Not because the message is bad, but because the messengers do not inspire confidence in the listener. Even when there are faithful, pious and good clergy and laity, we cannot separate ourselves in the public perception from the shameful and evil behavior of our coreligionists. To use Scouting as example, I have an acquaintance through a mutual friend that jokingly calls me a pedophile anytime I mention Scouting. That's his perception of Scouting. How does one fix that sort of thing? 

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@Sentinel947, thanks again for your insights.   I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us.  

I wish that WB communities throughout the BSA would follow your example.  Alas, many do not, and actively encourage the behaviors you are trying to modify.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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