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2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

I've never done WB, but any program that is so poorly run that it results in grown adults being brought to tears should be evaluated and examined. That sounds horrible.

Did you (or she?) leave any comment to review of the course? "Feedback is a gift".

She called the course director I think last night.  Apparently the Patrol Guide allowed some members of the Patrol take over and plan the meeting in between the two weeks and left her out of the conversation.  Patrol Guide is supposed to have them revisit the meeting and he needs to be leading the effort.

 

One thing I have found from some Wood Badge people, certainly not all, but some.  Feedback is only a gift if its the feed back they want to hear.  If not, then you didn't give it a chance, you didnt try hard enough. you should leave the program, etc..  All of Wood Badge folks really need to sit down and have a refresher on the points of the Scout Law.

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3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

I've never done WB, but any program that is so poorly run that it results in grown adults being brought to tears should be evaluated and examined. That sounds horrible.

Did you (or she?) leave any comment to review of the course? "Feedback is a gift".

"results"?   Complex factors in her life got her to that state, most beyond the control of a training course staff.  Some people are simply more emotionally vulnerable than others.  Routine life is harder for them, and they need friends who can shelter them from day-to-day stress, like competitive candy throwing or singing in "public."   They find it hard to engage in unfamiliar activities amidst strangers.  She was possibly "talked into" attending against her instincts. The lady mentioned needed to just leave if her patrol mates and TG could not help her successfully cope.   I have never seen the gate locked. 

Kids pushed into sports by parents or peers against their preferences are another population that often is miserable, and the joy of other participants only makes it worse for those who don't really want to be there.  As a "field" umpire in high school baseball, i have looked in towards the "plate" and seen kids at bat who close their eyes on each pitch.  Clearly, they didn't want to be there, but dad wanted them to "play."  i coached a little league team with one bright member who threw up before every game, and the parents knew it.  (But Bill Russell did the same before each Celtics game - or so he wrote.)

The WB Course once had "The Game of Life" that, poorly managed by staff, caused anger and frustration.  Evaluations surfaced that problem and led to reform.

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Like anything, quality is a reflection of the leader. In this case the course director. Our council takes pride in putting out good courses, but they each very depending on the course director. Engineering groups tend to struggle with good managers because good hard working engineers are promoted in to leadership positions of which they aren’t trained. WB as the same situation, a hard worker earns their way up to course director, but just isnt very good at it.

The ASM of Troop Guides is responsible for training the troop guides. That job usually goes to someone on their way up to course director.

Barry

 

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Great examples - please keep them coming.

27 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

She called the course director I think last night.  Apparently the Patrol Guide allowed some members of the Patrol take over and plan the meeting in between the two weeks and left her out of the conversation.  Patrol Guide is supposed to have them revisit the meeting and he needs to be leading the effort.

Respectfully, I'd submit that it is the job of the patrol leader on day 3 to organize the timing of that meeting.  The troop guide should work with the patrol leader to verify that everyone can attend.  Sounds like the patrol leader didn't do their job correctly. 

It's not the job of the troop guide to lead anything - the troop guide is a guide.  In fact, by design our troop guide didn't even come to our meeting between the two weekends. 

33 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

One thing I have found from some Wood Badge people, certainly not all, but some.  Feedback is only a gift if its the feed back they want to hear.  If not, then you didn't give it a chance, you didnt try hard enough. you should leave the program, etc..  All of Wood Badge folks really need to sit down and have a refresher on the points of the Scout Law.

Good feedback - I think there is always room to work in more reminders about servant leadership and how to embrace feedback.  It wasn't until well after my course completed that I began to appreciate what it meant by "feedback is a gift."  Receiving feedback is essential to me accomplishing my goals.  Even negative feedback is critical to understanding how others perceive what I am trying to do.  I should want to know how others are perceiving what I am doing.

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1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

"results"?   Complex factors in her life got her to that state, most beyond the control of a training course staff.  Some people are simply more emotionally vulnerable than others.  Routine life is harder for them, and they need friends who can shelter them from day-to-day stress, like competitive candy throwing or singing in "public."   They find it hard to engage in unfamiliar activities amidst strangers.  She was possibly "talked into" attending against her instincts. The lady mentioned needed to just leave if her patrol mates and TG could not help her successfully cope.   I have never seen the gate locked. 

I do have to wonder how attentive the troop guide was in this case.  When I was a troop guide, it was impressed upon us just how important it was to be aware of the engagement level of each of the participants.   Are they learning, are they frustrated, are they having a good experience, etc.?  Is someone naturally a quiet person or is something going on that they've pulled back?  We always really internalized the idea that we wanted to do everything we could to maximize what people took away from the course.  In the interest of living the servant leadership model, we did it quietly, gladly, and to the best of our abilities. 

While it is certainly possible that she hid it very well, I do have to wonder if signs from her were just missed.   But - it is also certainly possible that she simply hid it well too.  Despite the effort expended, we were people too and sometimes we missed things.  No staff is perfect.

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I am not sure if proud is the word I am looking for, but I am proud to say I have moved on from this experience.  I will not attempt WB again.  I have however presented my 5 "ticket" ideas to my CC and he is supportive of them.  So, I will proceed with that process.  I have also started looking for other avenues of training.

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  1. Pack Dining Canopy
  2. Take First Aid CPR/AED course
  3. Develop Pack Den Chief Program (implementation was not going to be included because cant depend on others to follow through)
  4. Create Pack Handbook for Parents
  5. Create campaign to help educate the public that girls are welcome to join, are encouraged to join and have joined.   Use photos of our Scouts doing things, talk to Kyrstana's girls, and create something.
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On 10/9/2020 at 11:38 PM, 5thGenTexan said:

Packed up my stuff and came home tonight while everyone was crossing the bridge the first night.

It was not fun at all today, in fact it was mentally draining.  Its not that there was alot of information, it was just a bad experience.  My personality type does not favor being a WB participant.  

I am so sorry that it wasn’t a good experience for you.  I feel bad now for the cheerleading that I did before you headed out.  While I wasn’t always having fun and did periodically roll my eyes at portions of the proceedings, I did find the overall experience a positive one (though having gone through both weekends now, I felt like I got more out of Weekend 1 than Weekend 2).  

It also sounds like I had the benefit both of a patrol that clicked (to the point that some of them were rolling their eyes at the same time I was) and also a much better staffed/run effort.  Our troop guide was extremely good, such that I felt like I got a lot out of the small group discussions — and we did do the introductions and getting to know each other stuff very early.  And our food was great too, in spite of some of the restrictions that were put on the proceedings as part of COVID management. 

1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

"results"?   Complex factors in her life got her to that state, most beyond the control of a training course staff.  Some people are simply more emotionally vulnerable than others.  Routine life is harder for them, and they need friends who can shelter them from day-to-day stress, like competitive candy throwing or singing in "public."   They find it hard to engage in unfamiliar activities amidst strangers.  She was possibly "talked into" attending against her instincts. The lady mentioned needed to just leave if her patrol mates and TG could not help her successfully cope.   I have never seen the gate locked. 

 

Having just gone through the process myself, I would respectfully push back on this view, largely because I think that treating something like Woodbadge as a survival of the fittest exercise isn’t in the interest of the BSA.  

The sample of people who go to Woodbadge is a group of people who are interested enough in Scouting to spend a nontrivial amount of money and time doing something to try to enable themselves to be better contributors to BSA.  Complex factors in all of their lives go them to that state, but also to a willingness to invest in BSA.  And so creating a process that “weeds out” a measurable percentage of them and risks them leaving not just feeling bad about the experience but potentially disenchanted with the whole organization seems like a poor outcome for BSA.

It also isn’t entirely fair to put this on individuals who might have “gone against their instincts” to participate.  Having just gone through the decision process to participate myself, my suspicion is that no one really knows what to expect since it isn’t like there is complete transparency about what you are “getting into” (yes, there are some syllabi that have been posted on line, but there are also lots of people who say not to look at them, to go into the experience without expectation, etc.).  It also makes sense that it is hard to clearly describe to people what it is, since (as others have said in this thread) it is somewhat of a mix of things trying to be many things to many different audiences simultaneously.  

Woodbadge also includes some elements that are designed to rub participants the wrong way — e.g., the point of some of the “competitive” exercises wasn’t what my patrol mates and I thought at the time, and so we got rather exasperated during the process at some points.  Using that sort of thing as a teaching tool increases the burden on the staff and troop guides a lot... since the benefit of those sorts of exercises is bringing that experience back to a lesson where the exasperation becomes appreciation for how well the activity taught something that would have otherwise been  difficult to communicate.  If the “after portion” can’t bring it around to that point and the exercise just leaves everyone ticked off, then it’s done more harm than good.  (In my view, some of the exercises at WB did that better than others).  

So I wouldn’t settle for an explanation that someone who left WB disenchanted or unhappy to this level wasn’t good enough or shouldn’t have been there in the first place, even acknowledging that not every activity can ever please everyone.  Unless there are a lot of troops and packs with a serious surplus of engaged adult volunteers out there that I am not aware of, I don’t think I would settle for a program that is supposed to strengthen, energize and then cement enthusiastic volunteers to the organization for the minimum of the next 18 months instead resulting in giving people a hard shove away from BSA...

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I've never done WB and any interest in it died the first time I watched a bunch of grown adults sing that kooky song at a COH that led to two of our newly crossed over scout families immediately pulling their scouts out, lol.  

However, I've known a lot of people who have gone through the training and are just great people and seem to have gotten something out of it. I think the point is it isn't for everyone and a weekend or two of training doesn't a leader make. Sometimes it only makes bad leaders worse because now they have a badge. While I didn't ever do Wood Badge,  I and another person did do someone else's ticket for them without realizing it so I think I at least qualify for a Wood Chip. 

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18 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

One thing I have found from some Wood Badge people, certainly not all, but some.  Feedback is only a gift if its the feed back they want to hear.  If not, then you didn't give it a chance, you didnt try hard enough. you should leave the program, etc..  All of Wood Badge folks really need to sit down and have a refresher on the points of the Scout Law.

I've ran into those critters. I've also ran into critters who believed if you aren't wearing beads, you don't  know squat. I found it interesting that when i suggested something, it was ignored. When my beaded friend suggested the same thing, it was brilliant. 

Focus on your scouts. Do what is best for them. Don't worry about anyone else. 

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I've ran into those critters. I've also ran into critters who believed if you aren't wearing beads, you don't  know squat. I found it interesting that when i suggested something, it was ignored. When my beaded friend suggested the same thing, it was brilliant. 

I'd just remind us all that Wood Badge is nothing more than a leadership development program.  A Scouter pays their money to attend, the complete the course, they work their ticket, and they receive their beads.  There is no board of review and there is no test for membership.  No one checks your ethics on the way to the beading.  No one looks to see if you're a saint or a jerk.  Completing your Wood Badge makes you no better as a Scouter or  person that anything else - it just hopefully provides some tools that let you be more effective.  Similarly, completing your Wood Badge doesn't make you a pompas wind bag either.  I have a hunch that the people who flaunt their beads are simply just arrogant people who like to do that kind of thing - if it wasn't Wood Badge it would be something different.

In a program that really has too little training for it's volunteers, I'm glad that Wood Badge exists.  I'd love to see other, similar programs for different roles in Scouting.  An advanced Scoutmaster course for example.

It's just a class folks.

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21 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'd just remind us all that Wood Badge is nothing more than a leadership development program. 

Except, it isn't. I've taken lots of leadership development programs. None involve or include open displays of proof of completion (beads) after the fact. None include semi-constant references to the same. Even when the beads are not visible, other things are (jackets, neckerchiefs, etc.) And the main function of post-WB seems to be encouraging everyone to "go to WB".

Knots on the chest don't invoke a spirit of belonging to the "club". At worst they are indications you've been around awhile and/or have certain training in position. Whatever.

This also is not like University of Scouting of Commissioners Colleges which while they do have in certain physical indicators (badges, strips, etc.) don't carry around the "club" vibe.

WB is created like a "fraternity". It can be (I say can be) like a horrible version of OA; a secret club within BSA. That's not a slight on OA.

But then there's

Quote

Completing your Wood Badge makes you no better as a Scouter or  person that anything else

True, but there's a "bad apples" problem. I've seen it. A small, but not insignificant, percent of WB treat it as that fraternity element. There "us" "real" Scouters who know the True Way (?) and those non-WB amateurs.

I've seen more antipathy towards WB than anything else in Scouting when it comes to Scouters.

You were OA as a kid? Cool.

You were an Eagle? Cool (I will say, just as an aside, being an Eagle Scout does NOT mean you'd make a good committee member or ASM, but it makes it easier. I think "he was an Eagle" has too much weight when it comes to "do they know how to run a committee", but I digress)

WB is either looked on as "meh" (at best) or open hostility.

I've been asked to do WB. I've been tempted to. But I honestly feel as if I'd alienate more people than anything. If I took it, I'd probably hide my beads.

Edited by CynicalScouter

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18 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

In a program that really has too little training for it's volunteers, I'm glad that Wood Badge exists.  I'd love to see other, similar programs for different roles in Scouting.  An advanced Scoutmaster course for example.

 

LOL, WB used to be an advanced Scooutmaster course until 2000. :blink:

WB is a designed team building course for all Scouters from Cubs to Venturing.  But because of it's legacy, most participants and staffers think of it as Troop Leadership course and are greatly disappointed.

Personally, I believe the value of the course is in the working the Ticket because that requires the participants to think what they want to do and then create a plan to do it. The rest of the course agenda is filler to have an excuse for serving frozen cheese burritos. 

Barry

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6 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

LOL, WB used to be an advanced Scooutmaster course until 2000. 

Interesting. Any idea why changed?

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