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12 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

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

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 disagree)

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.

Hopefully the new 5 year on staff rule will break up the insularity of many Wood Badge Staff groups. Ultimately Wood Badge suffers from trying to be too many things for too many people. A talent staff can overcome it, if they are focused on the right things. Easier said than done.

OA and Wood Badge can suffer from almost the same issues. I think you hit the nail on the head. The element of impenetrability of what those programs actually do, leaves people feeling miffed when they encounter bad apples who are over evangelizing about the program. Both programs have also undergone significant shifts in their operations and organizational missions in the last 20 years or so, watering things down. 

Personally I don't wear anything related to Wood Badge unless the situation calls for it, but I that's the same for any of my regalia. I don't wear my OA sash unless it's relevant, I don't wear my Eagle stuff unless it's relevant. I only wear the knots I earned while a youth member. I don't mind if other people do wear all that stuff, but that's the philosophy I've adopted. It's not to say I'm not proud of those things, but I don't need them to demonstrate my credibility. As people spend time around me in Scouting, they'll find out why I'm credible.  

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16 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

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

Barry

 

10 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Interesting. Any idea why changed?

At one time there were 3 different WB courses: Scoutmaster, Cub Scout Trainer, and Exploring Advisor. Exploring WB was not around when I was a young ASM, just the Cub Scout Trainer and Scoutmaster. Both courses were intense, weeklong courses focusing on a specific program. You had to not only complete the basic training in the program you were in, but also have 2 years of experience AND be invited. The two years tenure was waivable, but you still had to be invited. Most WBers I encountered were cool, but there was some that were cliquish, and had attitudes. Sadly I seen the attitudes more since the changed it in 2000.

The reason they changed it is to make it a "One Size Fits All Programs," which in reality takes away from the program specifics. Also anyone with basic training in their POR can take the course. I have seen folks who had rushed through online training to sign up for WB. I have encountered a few folks who thought they knew it all about Scouting because they went through WB,  but had only been Cub Scout leaders or Scouters for a couple of years.

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48 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Interesting. Any idea why changed?

Yes. National changed their membership policy in 1990 to accept women troop leaders. The unforeseen consequence was the sudden rush of unexperienced troop leaders needing training for a troop leader experience. Wood Badge was at the time an "ADVANCED" Scoutmaster training course designed for EXPERIENCED Scoutmasters who wanted to expand their skills. As an advanced course, the curriculum was heaving into using an idealistic simulator troop environment and culture as well as using scout skills for teaching models. The simulated troop and scout skills were just props for teaching ADVANCED TEACHING SKILLS. Not Troop Leadership skills. Big difference.

You would think that Wood Badge would be the ideal course to for adults with absolutely no scouting experience to learn the scouting program because the participants live as boy scouts for 7 days. BUT, as I said, the course curriculum was an idealistic model for experienced participants, it was not intended as a demonstration for the common troop. However, because the participants didn't have any experience,  they took the course as the idealistic model for their troop, and they went back to duplicate a troop where the adults eat all their meals with the scouts, then did skills trainings all day long and sang songs all night long. As a result, National we getting a lot of negative comments along with a drop in membership.

National realized that if they were going to deal with a large percentage of new adults without a scouting experience, they needed a way to bring them up to speed on the Goals and Aims of the BSA program and give them better initial adult skills. That is what the course started as in 2000. Not sure what it is now, but I don't think it is all that different. I know it certainly isn't a troop leadership course. 

As someone who was asked to work with struggling units while on District, I liked the new WB course because the vast majority of the issues I was dealing with were adults who didn't understand the goals of the program and didn't know how to operate as a team. Scouts skills (at all levels, Cubs Troops, venturing) were not issues causing these units to struggle. Understanding why they were there and working as a team was the number one issue I was dealing with. 

Where National failed with the new WB was they took the WB name and respected reputation to develop the team building course. They should have started with something completely new. Now everybody wants a woggle. Shesh.

Edited by Eagledad
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12 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

As someone who was asked to work with struggling units while on District, I liked the new WB course because the vast majority of the issues I was dealing with were adults who didn't understand the goals of the program and didn't know how to operate as a team. Scouts skills (at all levels, Cubs Troops, vetnuring) were not issues causing these units to struggle. Understanding why they were there and working as a team was the number one issue I was dealing with. 

Where National failed with the new WB was they took the WB name and respected reputation to develop the team building course. They should have started with something completely new. Now everybody wants a woggle. Shesh.

I look at this and don't think failure.

I see that the biggest obstacles to unit health today are organizational.  Packs & Troops that don't put on fun programs, don't recruit parents to help, don't grow to a sustainable size, etc.  Better knowledge of Scout skills would help certainly - but that isn't why packs and troops fold.

So the BSA leadership has done a good job with marketing - take something desirable and align it to one of your problems.  Now lots of new leaders are motivated to complete Wood Badge and hopefully along the way improve their organizational skills.  Isn't that a good thing?

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50 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Hopefully the new 5 year on staff rule will break up the insularity of many Wood Badge Staff groups. Ultimately Wood Badge suffers from trying to be too many things for too many people. A talent staff can overcome it, if they are focused on the right things. Easier said than done.

The concept of the 5 year rule is sound - but the choice of 5 years was wrong.  7-9 would have been appropriate.  The implication of the 5 year rule is:

  • You have to serve 1 year as a troop guide
  • You have to serve 1 year as course director
  • You have to serve 1 year as asst. course director.

That means that 3 years of your tenure on the course are spoken for.  That leaves 2 years for other positions.  It is beneficial for a course director to have been in other positions - asst. quartermaster, quartermaster, scribe, ASM logistics, ASM Troop guides, religious coordinator, etc...  What this is going to force council's to do is promote course directors very quickly and the course will end up with less experienced course directors.  That's not to say someone cannot do it that quickly.  However, at a national level we will see  that less experienced course directors will have a negative impact on the quality of the courses.

Push that out a couple of years and I think that would have been about right. A Course Director with 7 years of experience in the program is appropriate.

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3 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I look at this and don't think failure.

I see that the biggest obstacles to unit health today are organizational.  Packs & Troops that don't put on fun programs, don't recruit parents to help, don't grow to a sustainable size, etc.  Better knowledge of Scout skills would help certainly - but that isn't why packs and troops fold.

So the BSA leadership has done a good job with marketing - take something desirable and align it to one of your problems.  Now lots of new leaders are motivated to complete Wood Badge and hopefully along the way improve their organizational skills.  Isn't that a good thing?

No, most folks take the course for the Status, not the skills. The ones who want the skills are the one who are disappointed because skills are taught. And, there isn't a true Troop training course, which seems to be what most participants want.

I think a better Advanced Beginner course could be developed that does a better job developing leader for their roles a team members.

As a staffer, I feel working the Ticket has the most value, but it is not used to it's best advantage because staffs don't understand why it is so effective. I had control of Ticket proposals and counseled participants on how create them. Many staff don't give that effort.

Barry

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3 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

No, most folks take the course for the Status, not the skills. The ones who want the skills are the one who are disappointed because skills are taught. And, there isn't a true Troop training course, which seems to be what most participants want. I think a better Advanced Beginner course could be developed that does a better job developing leader for their roles a team members.

Exactly. In fact, I get the impression from the folks I've seen that isn't the 1-3 year Scouter who takes it (this may just be my district/Council) but the 5-10+ year person who wants in on the club.

Troop Committee training (online and the old Troop Challenge) is a joke. I've had committee members fly through it and still not have a clue what they are suppose to do (position-wise), much less how to be a "leader".

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20 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

No, most folks take the course for the Status, not the skills. The ones who want the skills are the one who are disappointed because skills are taught. And, there isn't a true Troop training course, which seems to be what most participants want.

I think a better Advanced Beginner course could be developed that does a better job developing leader for their roles a team members.

As a staffer, I feel working the Ticket has the most value, but it is not used to it's best advantage because staffs don't understand why it is so effective. I had control of Ticket proposals and counseled participants on how create them. Many staff don't give that effort.

Barry

Isn't a combination of IOLs and Scoutmaster Specific the Troop Training course? What outdoor skills a Scoutmaster needs, and then the philosophy and how to behind the job? 

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2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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".

Except that it's uh... Scouting.  Scouting has all kinds of bling for stuff.  It's just part of the culture of Scouting.  You plop down $250, spend a couple of weekends at camp, and spend a ton of hours working on some projects for your unit.  You get a neckerchief and some beads.  That doesn't seem crazy to me that you get a little bling.

2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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 am neither an OA member nor an Eagle Scout.  I cannot tell you how much I've heard about both.  OA chapters, OA lodges, the OA running campfires, OA tapouts, OA ordeals, OA sashes, OA patches, conclaves, etc.  The requirements to be an OA member as an adult are more exclusive than Wood Badge.  OA is much more of a fraternity than Wood Badge will ever be. 

The Eagles stuff isn't as strong - but there clearly is an assumption that just because someone is an Eagle Scout that they are a superior leader.  I think you described this well.

I suspect that the real issue here is that it's simply become an accepted part of Scouter culture that's a good target.  It makes us all feel better to pick on Wood Badge and the people who take it.  In the process, we end up openly discouraging people from getting some training that could help them along their journey as a volunteer.

Again, it's just a course.

Edited by ParkMan
expanded the thought

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10 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Isn't a combination of IOLs and Scoutmaster Specific the Troop Training course? What outdoor skills a Scoutmaster needs, and then the philosophy and how to behind the job? 

I would say no.

The SM is required to take

1) IOLS which barely scratches the surface of the skills needed (AND guess what? Is being converted into an online course next week).

2) Hazardous Weather: Online

3) Scoutmaster Training: Online

And the online scoutmaster training is not even mandatory in many councils. I know some are moving to a "100% position trained" policy but I believe they remain the exception, not the rule.

So we now or will in the next week or so people who can be 100% "position trained" Scoutmasters entirely online without having to demonstrate a single step of outdoor skill or interaction with youth.

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11 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

I would say no.

The SM is required to take

1) IOLS which barely scratches the surface of the skills needed (AND guess what? Is being converted into an online course next week).

2) Hazardous Weather: Online

3) Scoutmaster Training: Online

And the online scoutmaster training is not even mandatory in many councils. I know some are moving to a "100% position trained" policy but I believe they remain the exception, not the rule.

So we now or will in the next week or so people who can be 100% "position trained" Scoutmasters entirely online without having to demonstrate a single step of outdoor skill or interaction with youth.

I'm not part of that Facebook group. As a District Training Chair, thus far we've received specific instructions that IOLs and Baloo be in person. 

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38 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

No, most folks take the course for the Status, not the skills.

Respectfully, I don't think this is true.  As a staffer myself, I have met very few participants who signed up because they wanted the status.  Most folks I know won't invest two weekends of their life and a bunch of extra time for "Scouting status".  Most people I know really don't care that much about Scouting that they want some kind of perceived status.  

Most participants I've talked to say pretty much one of two things:

  • I'm a new leader and I thought this would help me be a better leader
  • I'm an experienced leader and people have been telling me for years I should take it.  I had some time this year and so I did.

I'm not naive enough to think that there are not places and times where people do take it for status.  Yet, for every one of those there are probably many more participants that take it for the right reasons.

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36 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Isn't a combination of IOLs and Scoutmaster Specific the Troop Training course? What outdoor skills a Scoutmaster needs, and then the philosophy and how to behind the job? 

This the theory behind the newer WB course, and mine at the time in 2000. But, there are a few unexpected complications that seem to upset the theory.

1. Scouters, even those coming from Packs, are expecting to learn some hands on scouting skills, especially leadership skills.

2. The staffs don't really understand what WB is trying to pass along, so they aren't selling their program very well in their course. 

Just reflect back on all the posts in this thread where WB is called a leadership course. It doesn't matter how much previous training a participant brings to WB, if it is called a Leadership Training course, they expect a leadership training course. AND, even the participants coming from packs believe the training is basically Troop related, if not intended.

Don't get me wrong, I like the intended course, but if it's not presented properly, a lot of unsatisfied participants come out of the course. Maybe what is needed is a train the the WB trainer course. I would love to be on that staff.

Barry

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20 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Respectfully, I don't think this is true.  As a staffer myself, I have met very few participants who signed up because they wanted the status.  Most folks I know won't invest two weekends of their life and a bunch of extra time for "Scouting status".  Most people I know really don't care that much about Scouting that they want some kind of perceived status.  

Most participants I've talked to say pretty much one of two things:

  • I'm a new leader and I thought this would help me be a better leader
  • I'm an experienced leader and people have been telling me for years I should take it.  I had some time this year and so I did.

I'm not naive enough to think that there are not places and times where people do take it for status.  Yet, for every one of those there are probably many more participants that take it for the right reasons.

OK, but I staffed a few courses myself. I counseled a lot of participants for their Tickets and I worked with a lot of adults in my units.

In general scouters are recruited from the day they join. Not like grabbing them and pulling them to a course, but telling them that WB is the final ultimate course. Oh, it doesn't hurt to get the woggle that all the other experienced leaders wear.

And, I can honestly to We will just have to agree to disagree. 

Barry

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43 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

I'm not part of that Facebook group. As a District Training Chair, thus far we've received specific instructions that IOLs and Baloo be in person. 

It's coming. It was announced in that group by someone on the National Committee the same time as virtual ILST/ILSC that virtual IOLS is coming soon/within a week.

I know several councils that did improper/unauthorized virtual IOLS and/or allowed for "testing out" of IOLS due to COVID in the spring. That pissed off the folks a Scouting U. (those left after the purge/layoffs) so this is now coming to allow or authorized virtual IOLS.

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