Posted 05 June 2002 - 11:46 AM
I would like to enter some observations on Woodbadge for the 21st Century, which I recently took at Camp Chief Little Turtle in the Anthony Wayne Area Council in Indiana. Course C3802 was conducted by Jay Herbrand and staff, and was the best leadership / project management training course I have taken in my 30 years in engineering management. The staff did an excellent job of not only following the curriculum, but of presenting it in an inspirational and informational manner. It easily exceeded my MBA courses in quality of instruction and content. I would highly recommend it to all. Many, if not all, of the unit leaders in our area need and would benefit from the principals and techniques taught in the course. With the broad spectrum of backgrounds in Scouters, many of us could be much more successful in our scouting leadership and in our non-scouting careers by using the techniques taught in the course. It is a tremendous bargan in training.
With that said, it was not what I was looking for, nor what I feel I need most. As others have commented, it focuses on leadership, team building, and project management. What I need to know, and what Scoutmaster Fundamentals (at least the old course I took five years ago) did not cover, was the METHODS of Scouting that I need to teach our scouts so that they can run the troop. I am not talking about the basic structure of the troop like patrols, PLC, etc., nor outdoor skills like backpacking and firebuilding. But things like how best to train Scouts to be a Senior Patrol Leader, Scibe, or Quartermaster. What their job is, and how to do it. How to conduct Junior Leader Training (which like Woodbadge, now focuses on leadership, not what the job is.) How to train the scouts to run an annual planning conference (rather than adults doing it for them). The scouts need be trained not only in leadership theory, but also in what tasks they need to do. I was a scoutmaster for two years before I found out that the scouts should be doing most of these things. Now I am scurrying to get our unit back on track with the program of being Boy Lead. The necessary tasks and how to teach them is what I was looking for, but which was not covered well by the new Wood Badge.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the Method of Scouting, by its nature, teaches leadership if it is followed. With its new emphasis on leadership directly, the BSA may be ignoring the very thing that has been so successful, the Method of Scouting. If it doesn't teach the scouting program, then it leaves the program more and more up to the individual interpretation of the unit leaders. I am always impressed by the sincerity and integrety of my peers in scouting, but their perspectives on what the program should be very widely. I had expected Wood Badge to bring the program or method much more tightly into focus for our group, but that was the one thing that didn't happen. Our ticket items showed a broad diversity of how to implement the scouting program. So in one way, I was greatly disappointed in Woodbadge for the 21st Century.
What I don't know is whether the old Wood Badge Course covered those topics.