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What's the value of Wood Badge???

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My beading was a 5 minute thing. It was with kids, but it was as much about talking about bsa history as wb coolaid. No song or dance or fox party. 

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3 minutes ago, malraux said:

My beading was a 5 minute thing. It was with kids, but it was as much about talking about bsa history as wb coolaid. No song or dance or fox party. 

Good Lord we had one that went 45 minutes at a meeting.  Worst.Meeting.Ever

 

 

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That song, sung at the wrong time, can negatively affect recruitment.

 

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26 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Good Lord we had one that went 45 minutes at a meeting.  Worst.Meeting.Ever

 

 

I'm from Louisiana, we're good at throwing beads out quickly.

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Agreed on the Overhyped comment.  I have taken Woodbadge, Sea Badge, and a ton of other trainings.  Also stafffed and course directed.  If you haven't taken leadership training and scout training it is totally worth it.  If you have taken professional training before, you may find yourself bored during the training.  IMHO, I can do without the acting like a child part of Woodbadge.   I prefer the approach of Seabadge or IOLS which are very practical for those in the training and can be applied directly.  No critters needed.  I don't understand how that part of woodbadge helps us provide a better program for the kids.  Woodbadge many times appears to be about the adults vs. the youth.

My beading was at the end of a COH and 5 minutes,  The best part of it was that there was cake.  My Sea Badge pinning took about 1 minute which was perfect.  

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I wish ya'll could have experienced the more traditional scouting. Not just the adults side, but the boys (youth) side. Our culture has changed a lot and part of what was taken from scouting was the camaraderie of being with a like minded group. There is a romantic sense of standing around a warm smelly smoky fire telling stories while the snow is building up on the tents. The sense of pride for not just working together as a team because that is expected in patrol method, but the sense of being part of a family. For me, the Flaming Arrows was a  home away from home. Where being on the roster for any job was helping the family. KP wasn't a chore, it was serving. Being a flaming Arrow was more than just a header for a group of boys in the troop, it was an honor. The Flaming Arrow cheer, while a little corny, was always yelled loud and proud.

I'm not defending the overhyped Wood Badgers who preach the wonders of the course and pull a song out now and then that has little meaning to everyone else. As an instructor for both the old and new course, I can say todays Wood Badge has kind of lost it's place in program. I am a little surprised by Proteclete's response because being English,  I thought the course at Gilwell was more of the traditional syllabus. Maybe I'm wrong. 

I have stated many times here that I'm concerned for the future of Boy Scouting with the induction of girls because that will pull in so many more adults who don't have the youth experience. Patrol Method for most adults who were scouts as youth will have a completely different meaning than Patrol Method for adult leaders who have to read the definition in a handbook. When I think back on the Flaming Arrows, feelings run through me as I look back on memories. The strong smells of smoke and breakfast casserole as the cook tosses more eggs in the pot sitting on the fire. Seems today that adults struggle to understand how preparation for a simple meal is likely, and most, often the most intense team builder of the day. Throw in a little rain or snow and calls of a couple of crows in the distance, one can almost feel the poetry of the morning. Can the day get any BETTER?  

I to was a Bob White at WB, and that experience was not the Flaming Arrows. But I remember listening to one of my female Bob Whites some 10 years later as she thanked me for making her experience member of the patrol more about a scouting experience, and less about a course where adults participated. "She said, you were so relaxed, and so I became more relaxed. You told lots of jokes and stories and laughed a lot. So I listened and laughed a lot. She said, you and the others members who where scouts made me feel like family. And that is what I took to my troop. I was Bob White, and nobody would ever take that away from me. Ten years later, I now understand that I'm still a Bob White. And there is a little bit of Bob White in the scouts of my troop". Wow, I did all that simply by just doing what I always did as a Flaming Arrow. I just realized that she is also a little of a Flaming Arrow. 

Wood Badge was not a mountain top experience for me. My youth is experience was my mountain top experience. And in truth, I enjoyed being a WB instructor more because I was more able to help adults become better adult leaders. But, for many adults, WB is a new exposure to what they've heard is the romance of scouting. WB is just a course, the participants have to bring the romance.

I know, I took the discussion off subject. Wood Badge is not the course it was 20 years ago. It is not even close to the course it was 30 years ago. And, we won't get into the honor course it was 40 and 50 years ago. But, for the sake of the future of scouting, if those of you who have the experience being a Thunderbird as a youth could bring just a little bit into your WB Bear or Beaver, Patrol so that those adults who never experienced scouts as a youth, can give just a little bit of scouting to their scouts. 

Sadly, scouting has changed a lot in the last 30 years, and it seems will change a lot more. Whatever was good about your experience as a youth, bring it to your experiences as an adult so that youth of the future will experience something truly scouting. 

Barry

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I spoke of this in my thread... but I packed up my stuff during the Blue and Gold Banquet on the first night and went home.

I did not see the value in "being a Cub Scout".  I did not see the value in small group discussions and playing asinine games to reinforce something we just talked about.  I did not see the value in hanging around for two more days of the same.

I was a Cub Scout, I know what that is like.  I was a Boy Scout, I know what is like.  Just get the material on leadership and explain the why and how and cut me loose.  Maybe keep snacks available to graze on during the day.  Don't stretch what can be done in a day out to three days and tell me I am getting a good deal.

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Alas, a training course for a minimum of thirty trainees on "leadership," is hard to limit  only to topics helpful to every single trainee.

A training course is not better than the staff, end especially its leadership.  So not every Wood Badge course is the same experience, contrary to BSA's impossible goal of dead-level uniformity in experience.  (Not to mention that each trainee's experience is a lens through which he or she views that course,  making BSA's stated goal even more impossible.)

I attended many "continuing legal education, " as well as Scouting training courses, and have taught at dozens in both fields.  My modest goal,  as a trainee, was to add something each time to my competency as an attorney or a Scouter, respectively.  You applied a more stringent standard, as is your right.  It's your time and your money.  More general training courses, on topics as wide as "leadership" would not seem to be a good match for you.  Perhaps self-guided instruction is your best route to add anything to what you already know.   Some have found it to be so.

As a trainer, I hoped to teach and also to learn.  "My" last patrol of Wood Badge "participants " ( silly label)  included two ladies - never in any BSA program except for one year as a Den Leader; two men  who were never in any BSA program (one White and 27; one Black and 54); and two Eagle Scouts who had never been Cubs and had been out of Scouting for over a decade (one White and 60 ; one Black and 30).  As is my want, I asked them all to contribute what they could on the theory that the seven if us, collectively, had something to share.  (Pretty silly to try to present on rope work alone with a veteran firefighter who teaches rope work at an academy in the class.)  As a student, I think I have taken away something useful from every course I have taken and think that, as a teacher, I have learned some things from trainees in every course that I have staffed.

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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TL;DR The value of Wood Badge varies based on your background and experience, primarily with leadership/management skills and techniques but also with Scoutcraft and the Patrol Method

Before I retired from Scouting, I saw a vast change in the adults involved in the program. When I first became a Scouter (after graduation from college, commissioning in the USAF, and completing initial job training), most of the adults I saw had prior experience with Scouting (in many cases, LONG prior experience as Scouts and Scouters).  By the time I left, I would say over half the adults involved had little (only as Cubs) to no experience with Scouting.  Many had no real experience with leadership or management although many had good organizational skills.

When I first jumped in as a new Scouter as the troop's Advancement Chair, I had very little information on the function.  I ran it as I perceived advancement worked as a Scout (about 5.5 years, Scout to Eagle) but I functioned more as an ASM because of my background and the troop's needs.  When we got another adult with no Scouting background, I transitioned to ASM and then to SM at the TC's request when the SM left abruptly.  I continued as SM until I orders compelled me to move, at which point I found another troop and resumed as ASM again. I continued as an ASM at 2 other troops on other military moves until I returned to the city and council where I had started my adult Scouting.  At this point, I actually chose my home based on proximity to my old troop and got involved with it again as an ASM.

I took Scoutmaster Fundamentals midway through the moves after roughly 8 years as an ASM or SM and found it to be essentially a quick run through a Scout's journey to First Class with some additional information on resources available to the SM/ASM.

By the time I was induced to go to Wood Badge, I had 3 years as a Cub, 5.5 as a Scout, about 15 as a Scouter, not to mention my active duty service.  I had been actively involved with Roundtables and even worked with Council as a member of the Shooting Sports Committee and helping with Camporees/University of Scouting courses (as an instructor) so I already had a good understanding of the Council's structure and personalities as well as the leaders at other troops.  I asked for a syllabus and discussed it with instructors but could never find any additional value added.  A number of the instructors already knew me from Wood Badge and other activities and knew my background.  When I asked what they thought I would get from it, the only things I could get from them were 1) the right to wear "beads" and 2) my contribution to help others in their classes.  Not one of them could come up with any personal growth or extended contacts I might get from the classes.

In my opinion, demanding that someone with my background take Wood Badge was as silly as National demanding an Eagle Scout with 3 years working as an ASM to take IOLS.  On the other hand, much of the training would be valuable for the many parents who had little to no experience with Scouting.  I would have preferred it have the structure of decades past where SMF taught fundamentals of leadership, Scoutcraft, and Patrol Method and WB was more of an advanced course -- but very very few Scouters had my kind of background.  In today's parlance, "it wasn't meant for you."

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15 minutes ago, HICO_Eagle said:

In my opinion, demanding that someone with my background take Wood Badge was as silly as National demanding an Eagle Scout with 3 years working as an ASM to take IOLS.  

Could not agree more. The old Scoutmaster Fundamentals Course I took, which is today's SM Specific, IOLS, with a model meeting added, was BORING! The only thing new I learned was  about 30 to 60 minute spent on paperwork, i.e. tour permits, advancement reports, etc. When I had folks who "needed" IOLS, but already had the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the course. I used them for staff. Best example was the 3 Beader who was "untrained" in his current POR because of IOLS. He was an Eagle, Vigil, and Summer Camp Staffer ( I think First Year Camper was on area he staffed), who went to WB as a Cubmaster, and staffed it as an ASM.

Then you got the adults who went through NYLT, or one of the predecessor courses, which covers the same material as WB except the ticket. One JLTC Staffer, who also went through WB, told me it was a waste of his time as he knew everything WB was teaching. The only benefit for him was meeting some new folks and getting to wear the WB regalia when he completed his ticket.

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43 minutes ago, HICO_Eagle said:

In my opinion, demanding that someone with my background take Wood Badge was as silly as National demanding an Eagle Scout with 3 years working as an ASM to take IOLS.

I've found Wood Badge as it is today a pretty good experience for the vast majority of the participants.  Most people I talk to about it seemed to take something away and have had a good experience.  In my experience as a Scouter, I've never witnessed any discrimination because you didn't have your Wood Badge:

  • No demands that anyone take Wood Badge
  • No clubs that require earning Wood Badge to join
  • No limits from volunteering for any district or council activity because you didn't earn your Wood Badge

Perhaps the thing we need to do is really clarify what Wood Badge is, is not, and cut through all the rumors about bad behavior around the courses and by former participants.

Edited by ParkMan
typos

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51 minutes ago, HICO_Eagle said:

TL;DR The value of Wood Badge varies based on your background and experience, primarily with leadership/management skills and techniques but also with Scoutcraft and the Patrol Method

  In today's parlance, "it wasn't meant for you."

 

21 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Could not agree more. The old Scoutmaster Fundamentals Course I took, which is today's SM Specific, IOLS, with a model meeting added, was BORING! The only thing new I learned was  about 30 to 60 minute spent on paperwork, i.e. tour permits, advancement reports, etc. When I had folks who "needed" IOLS, but already had the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the course. I used them for staff. Best example was the 3 Beader who was "untrained" in his current POR because of IOLS. He was an Eagle, Vigil, and Summer Camp Staffer ( I think First Year Camper was on area he staffed), who went to WB as a Cubmaster, and staffed it as an ASM.

Then you got the adults who went through NYLT, or one of the predecessor courses, which covers the same material as WB except the ticket. One JLTC Staffer, who also went through WB, told me it was a waste of his time as he knew everything WB was teaching. The only benefit for him was meeting some new folks and getting to wear the WB regalia when he completed his ticket.

That was my experience with Wood Badge. I had attended NYLT in 2009. Went to Wood Badge in 2015. I had fun, because I enjoyed the time spent with some great people, but the material was still fairly fresh from NYLT. It was helpful in reorienting to "I'm seeing this material from an adult volunteer's perspective, and not an youth's leader perspective. I went into the course with the knowledge that would be the outcome of the course for me, and so I wasn't disappointed by the experience. Wood Badge for me wasn't "life changing", but I had fun and I'm glad I took it. 

IOL was a "waste" of time for me. I ended up helping the instructor teach the skills. Scoutmaster fundamentals was bit more useful, as my Troop was lacking in some key program areas. I took both in 2012. BSA training is one size fits all. Depending on Scouting experience, and professional, academic, or military experience, Wood Badge can end up as just 5 days of social time, some low key camping, and the ticket items. That's ok when the course is advertised in it's proper context, and not hyped up as the best thing ever. 

Wood Badge's sweet spot is Scouters who have been away from the program for a long time, had a substandard or poorly done Scouting experience as a youth (and the roleplaying of a model program has a ton of value here), or are in their first few years of Cub or Boy Scout volunteering. For experienced Scouters who have a solid foundation in the program and "get" the core principles of the program, Wood Badge can only really offer some helpful training and some social engagement with other volunteers. If that experienced Scouter also has a strong background in military leadership, academic study of leadership or corporate management, then Wood Badge's value further diminishes. Not "useless" but not super valuable. 

One of the best Scouters I ever volunteered with never attended Wood Badge. He was my cubmaster growing up, was an ASM in my Troop when I was a Scout, and my tenure as a new ASM overlapped with his for several years. He was an Eagle Scout, had been an ASM as a young adult, then Cubmaster with his sons and friends, then ASM (and basically backup Scoutmaster for about 6 years) for his sons and our troop. He knew the program inside out. He never attended Wood Badge because he rightfully knew it offered little new knowledge for him, and some of the holy wearers of the beads had been snotty to him about him declining to go. "It wasn't meant for him" aptly describes it. 

Edited by Sentinel947

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