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Is Wood Badge over as we know it?


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#41 wrhatfield

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Posted 05 June 2002 - 07:34 PM

As for the old Wood Badge course, from what I remember (I took it in 1985) we arrived at the camp and were told to find our campsite. We were given a piece of paper with compass readings on it and the number of feet to the campsite. Upon arriving we met our coach and were told that we are new scouts and to choose a patrol leader. At that point the rest of the course was an example of how a troop is run. We went to patrol meetings and watched how they were run. We did a number of outdoor skills - cooking, following instructions, being a leader by coping with certain problems (like planning how to get over an imaginary electric fence and then doing it) building a patrol flag and table totems. We went to classes on planing menues , first aid, learned how to identify our resources and how to use them. The patrol leader went to meetings on how to run a patrol meeting.Most of the things we did were leading up to the final day when we cooked a feast so a lot of the patrol meeting focused on what we were to cook and how we came up with the menu. Our campsite was judged everyday on different things as we competed with the other patrols in who had the best campsite. This being the case, we had to look in the field book and scoutbook to find ideas on things to build so our campsite would be the best. All the time we did this we wrote our tickets as to what we wanted to do when we got out of the couse. We even had to have patrol meetings during the week as our course was every other weekend for 3 weekends. These meetings basically focused on what we needed to do to improve our campsite. Overall we learned about how to work with people we did not know. We had to join forces with a group of people we did not know, learning about who knew what and who didn't. I really enjoyed the course then and still use a lot of the skills that we learned, mostly how to indentify skills in people and to use those skills to benefit the person in being a better person. But as far as how to teach boys how to lead, that is something I don't think you can do. You can show them, but if the boy or man is not interested, no amount of show and tell is going to work. I have seen a number of boys who have the talent to be leaders but are not interested in being leaders and I've seen other boys that are interested in being a leader and they are the ones that try to plan campouts and teach the scout skills you have taught them. Yes, you have to teach them because if your boy leaders are like mine you have to share them with church, 4-h, school, athletic summer and school,and any other things they or their parents would like to see them in. This being the case, I have a different group just about every week and again this boy is going to see how fast he can go to earn his Eagle and be out of here so he can do somthing else.So as far as a method, there is no Method.You just have to get in there and just do it for the boys sake. Reading every book you can find to help make each meeting fun, having Senior patrol meetings with your PL's and letting them know what you expect of them is the only way your boys will learn.
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#42 dan

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Posted 06 June 2002 - 04:46 PM

After reading the above post, I have decided that it will be impossible to get everyone using the same book for the BSA! If Scoutmaster fundamentals nor Wood Badge teaches the patrol method/boy run troop, I really do not see how we will ever be on the same page. I have taken Scoutmaster fundamentals, and I am scheduled for Wood Badge in July. I was really hoping it would really push the patrol method. I have came to the conclusion that the only way to learn the patrol method is by reading and learning it the hard way. How very dishearting!
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#43 Bob White

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 12:22 AM

dan, Do not judge Wood Badge by one person's experience. Talk to people you know who have been to WB. Granted the new course is different form last year, but last year was a little different from 5 years ago, and so on back through the evolution of the course. I took my first Wood Badge in 1980 and have served on numerous staffs. The courses I have been to were very little like the one that wrhatfield describes. I think you will find Wood Badge for the 21st Century to be an excellent experience. Remember what you get out of it depends partly on the attitude you bring into it. (and yes you will get an opportunity to experience the patrol method. have fun, learn lots, Bob White
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#44 Bob White

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 12:22 AM

(This message has been edited by Bob White)
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#45 thwatson

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 09:04 AM

On my first note, I tried to get across that Wood Badge for the 21st Century was well worth attending, even though it wasn't what I was anticipating. I did get more than my money's worth, and I definitely recommend it to all Scouters. With that said, I still am an advocate for an advanced class where Scoutmasters and ASM's learn the details of how to train and facilitate boys in running their troop effectively. One step beyond Scoutmaster Fundamentals. Much of the problems in our troop are due to not knowing what and how to do routine tasks. Training the boys is a constant issue. The statement that how to do this is all in the "Scoutmaster's Handbook" as a reason for not having such a course could just as easily be mis-applied to the new Woodbadge course. If you want 95% of the content, read Blanchard's "The One Minute Manager" and "The Scoutmaster's Handbook." But you would be missing a tremendous opportunity if you did. Some things are better experienced than read. So, I still advocate an advanced Scoutmaster course, possibly not as an alternate to Woodbadge. (Although an old timer in our council feels that the new course should have been called something different, like "Leadership for the 21st Century"). So to all who are debating about attending "Woodbadge for the 21st Century", go for it. It is well worth your time. But, if someone is offering an "Advanced Scoutmasters" course next year, please let me know.
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#46 OldGreyEagle

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 09:43 AM

Bob... "when I took my first Wood Badge..."? How many times have you done it? And faceitiously, if you do it twice, can you wear 4 beads?
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#47 wrhatfield

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 12:38 PM

Hey, Bobwhite I would love to hear how you're course went and anybody else's just to compare one to another. I did not mean to bust Dan's bubble. My course did teach a lot of things, and I had a great time. I have sent a number of ASM's to Wood Badge, all seem to have had the same exprience and they went to different courses. As far as the patrol method, the break down as I see it is: Scoutmaster, Senior Patrol Leader, and the Patrol Leader. It works like this: You the SM consult with the SPL on what you would like to do in your Troop( campout, merit badges that need to be taught, ect); the SPL then holds a patrol leader meeting and explains this to the leaders, also asking for volunteer PL's to help with different aspects of the Troop meeting( the opening, a game (if you do this) , the meat of the meeting( what you decided to do at the PL's meeting), and the closing. After the SPL meeting the PL's are to go to their patrol and explain to them what the next meeting is going to be about and what their job for that meeting is, whether it's teaching a skill, leading the opening, or cleaning up after the meeting. Your job as scoutmaster is to just make sure it stays on course and to lend a hand in what they (the boys) would like to do. Now this dosn't always work out, but this is the jest of it, as they say.
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#48 Bob White

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 01:32 PM

OGE, I have taken Wood Badge 4 times, the last 3 times on staff (there are alot of scouters who have staffed far more often) being on staff isn't much different than being a participant, you go to all the same classes and you write a new ticket every course. I was also a contributing writer to Wood Badge for the 21st Century. (You get a fourth bead when you are a course director. I've had the opportunity but it always came at an inopportune time. However I like your idea of getting them the second time around) ;) I would also recommend reading Kenneth Blanchard's books to enhance your leadership skills. I would add my two favorites "Leadership and the One Minute Manager and for commissioners "The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey". These are excellent reads at about 130 pages each, every page a gem! wrhatfield, As far as my experiences at WB they are very different from yours. As an example, you said "You the SM consult with the SPL on what you would like to do in your Troop". One of the most important things I learned in Wood Badge is it's not my Troop. It is the troop I serve, the troop belongs to the charter organization. The troop does not do what I want, the troop does the activities the boys want. They know the type and purpose of the activties they need to plan because we trained together. The next most important thing I learned in Wood Badge is that as the Scoutmaster I have two primary responsibilities. 1)To train the junior leaders. 2)To know the needs and characteristics of everyone in the troop. I also learned that the better I do the first one, the more time I have to do the second one. We also see the the management flow of the troop differently. Wood Badge taught me this... The patrols know, from the annual plan they made, what the theme of next months program will be. During patrol meetings they get information from their members on what they want to do that month as far as meeting activities, outdoor activities, service projects and troop meeting activities such as ceremonies, games and skill instructions. The Patrol Leader brings those ideas to the monthly Patrol Leaders Council meeting which is chaired by the Senior Patrol Leader. There they pool their ideas, make a written plan and communicate it back to the patrol members. Prior to the troop meetings the Senior Patrol Leader or his assistants contact the Patrol Leaders to make sure they are ready to do their chosen tasks. The Senior Patrol Leader MCs the troop meeting to keep things on schedule. As the Scoutmaster my job is to teach the junior leaders the skills of leadership needed to run their meetings and motivate their groups to work together. At troop meetings I meet with the Senior Patrol Leader a few minutes before the meeting to make sure he has his plan. I meet with him after the meeting to help him evaluate the meeting to make the next one as good or better, and we do a quick review of next weeks meeting. I also give the Scoutmasters Minute at the end of the troop meeting. What am I doing with all that free time? I am watching. I look at each scout and how they are doing. Are they using good leadership skills, good scout skills, are they fitting in, are they following the scout law, are they prepared? I make notes that I use when I train, when I do a SM conference, when I need to counsel a parent or talk to the committee chair. Thats what I learned at Wood Badge along with some outdoor skills 22 years ago. You will see when you look at todays SM Handbook, SM Leader Specific Training, Wood Badge, Patrol Leaders handbook or Senior Patrol Leaders handbook that nothing has changed. That is still the method taught by the BSA. I hope this helps, Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)(This message has been edited by Bob White)
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#49 Bob White

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 01:32 PM

(This message has been edited by Bob White)
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#50 wrhatfield

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 09:28 PM

All right Mr Bob White I KNOW it is not MY Troop I am SORRY that I did not pick my words wisely. As for being a country boy I do not have the ability to explain myself as well as you. Now when it comes to running a Troop I generally do as you say. My statement on how the leadership is suppose to run a troop was just a outline of how to do it. I was not trying to give a class on the way to run a troop meeting but just a outline, whch you obviously did not understand. Your example was very good and I commend you on your ablity to make yourself a little clearer than I.
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#51 Bob White

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 09:50 PM

wrhatfield, That is the big obstacle of bulletin boards, it's one dimensional. We only know what we read and it is often difficult to determine intention. I'm glad you did not mean to write "your troop". I am confused as to how our understanding of the methods ar similar however. Your outline is opposite of mine. You have the activities and assignments flowing from the Scoutmaster to the patrol members as opposed to flowing from the patrol members down to the Senior Patrol Leader. Which method did you mean to say you learned at Wood Badge? Bob
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#52 wrhatfield

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 10:49 PM

Ok here I go. I hope I can get it right this time. At my wood badge, from what I remember, when we went to the patrol leader meeting the SPL ran the meeting. He gave us ideas;It seemed to me that these ideas were things he wanted us to do at each meeting. He did ask questions and we responded to his ideas, but in the end it was what he wanted to do. As far as our troop meetings I try to talk to the different patrols along with the SPL trying to let him get a feel as to what each patrol would like to do. Then we sit down and talk about the different things the patrols would like to do, allowing the SPL to come up with an agenda to bring to the Patrol Leaders' meeting to discuss their(PL) plans for the next several meetings . At this point I allow them to do their thing as they say and I as they say in Wood Badge I sit in my rocking chair. If they need help in explaining something or just to ask a question I am there to help. I really try to let them run the meeting. I hope this clarifies things a little. If not, I guess I just don't know how, to.
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#53 OldGreyEagle

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 11:32 PM

Every year when we get our new scouts, at one of their first meetings, I do a scoutmaster minute (or 2-3) on the meaning of the word stewardship. I ask who's troop is it, who owns it. I eventually get around to its the church's troop, the members of the troop are just stewards, taking care of the troop during our time there and its every member's reponsibility, adult or scout to leave the troop better than we found it. The boys run the troop, the adults provide support, but we only care for the troop, its not really ours. Then I compare that with humans being stewards of the planet, we dont own it, we just live here, same as the troop, we dont own it, we just hang out here.
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#54 wrhatfield

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 11:51 PM

Hello Gray Eagle, Very nicely put; I hope you don't mind if I use it as one of my Scoutmaster minutes?
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#55 Dan Williamson

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 12:12 PM

At the risk of stirring some pots.....BSLBT was woefully inadequate on how to run the admin part of a Scout troop, spent scant seconds on planning, and didn't touch discipline, causing my (mentioned elsewhere) "voyage of discovery". Please don't come back with "it's a boy run troop", "parents or the Committee are in charge of discipline" and "just follow the scout law". I've heard all that....got it. I'm usually real interested in reality and many here seem to water down the reality of the Scoutmaster's role. Since I never complain without offering my services I have volunteered to help with the training. But I have to tell you when I started talking about adding some stuff to BSLBT that was more useful and adjusting other things I was told the program came from National and is not to be tampered with. Sounds like the proverbial cop out to me. So do I need to run my recommendations up to National? ANYWAY...I am looking forward to attending Woodbadge this month...hope it lives up to the advertisements.
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#56 OldGreyEagle

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 12:28 PM

"hope it lives up to the advertisements." Amen brother...
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#57 wrhatfield

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 09:42 PM

I'll second that! Some of the programs don't consider as Dan said" the real world" when it comes to traning the Scoutmaster.
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#58 Bob White

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 12:48 AM

Dan, It is kind of you to offer your time to help train leaders. But unless you intend to present the current training syllabus you are not helping. Remember that Scoutmaster /Asst Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training (BSBLT is a program from over 15 years ago)is not the end of the road for leader training and cannot be all things to all people. It is important that all our leaders begin with a common set of information. Scoutmaster Leader Specific accomplishes that goal. I really don't understand what you mean by real world. Having presented the new syllabus about 6 times now I'm pretty familiar with its contents and find it all to be "real world" as long as you are talking about the real world of troop scouting. Keep in mind that the scouting program is unique among all the youth organizations and operates as no other. But the program taught in Leader Specific Training is the scouting program. As far as the administrative portion of troop operation not being covered you are for the most part correct. the reason beoing that troop administration is the job of the committee chair and committee not the scoutmaster. Troop administartion is covered in The troop committee training Troop Committee Challenge. As far as having the training cover disipline, here a few points to consider. 1)As a new leader if one of the things you are hoping to learn is how to discipline other peoples children perhaps this is not the organization for you. 2)There are far more useful and important things you need to know that this should not be high on your list. 3)Before you learn how to discipline you need to know how to understand the scouts you serve, how to encourage, motivate, teach, reward and develop. 4) No adult leader has ever been remembered (in a positive way) because of their fine ability to discipline. The "real world" of scouting is in the training syllabus. The challenge those of us who train have is getting people to accept the fact that it is the scouting methods that make real scouting possible. Bob White Stirring the pot is fine as long as you stick to the recipe.(This message has been edited by Bob White)
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#59 Dan Williamson

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 01:26 PM

Bob White, I fully understand your position and if it weren't for this website and many of your postings I would be further behind than I am. But I have to tell you that from my, admittedly, inexperienced seat most of what you post as answers cover the ideal situations. Sometimes guys like me need to hear some "this works or this doesn't work" type answers and not just the philosophy. Discipline, for example, seems to be a sticking point between us. You suggest that I give up scouting over my desire to discipline other people's children. Not going to happen. I don't have that desire. All I desire to have is a troop where learning can take place. Discipline is part of that. I was hoping to hear about techniques short of dismissal to keep some of the kids from being totally disruptive. When boys are totally disruptive and do not respond to anything, and the parents aren't at the meetings and the parents refuse to believe that thier child is disruptive and the parents refuse to help correct the situation, and the boy leaders are incapable of maintaining order(since they have never been taught anything) then not taking action is not an option....it gets frustrating. Some entity has to maintain order. Yea, I know, the boys should do it...I'm working on that. If my refusal to put up with this behavior makes me a bad leader and unpopular then I guess I'm guilty. The first few months were rough. My situation was maybe unique but maybe others have landed in the same situation. When I was asked to be the Scoutmaster there was no committee, no assistant scoutmasters...only the chairman and he was not trained. The COR was name only and really didn't want to get involved in the problems. The troop was very dysfunctional. Had not issued earned merit badges from last years camp. Didn't go camping. No boy had advanced in 6 months. 6 of 22 attended meetings at all. I took it upon myself to rebuild the troop and in doing so probably violated a lot of BSA rules and methods. But then since nobody bothered to tell me what those were I don't feel bad about it all(Try to get a copy of the BSA rules and bylaws). For example, the basic fact that the Scoutmaster is not a voting member of the committee was unknown to me, not covered in training. Another one of those minor things I stumbled into. Since February I have personally seen to the signing up of 6 Dads as ASMs, personally covered every committee position, established and ran the first board of review in anyone's memory, seen to the replacement of the committee chair (in a nice way), with the help of one Mom rebuilt the committee, recruited new boys and gotten the boys out monthly for camping and summer camp. We are starting to "cook with microwave" and now have a core of 20 fired-up Scouts. The current sylllabus at BSLBT (it's still called that in our district...subtitled SLST)was lacking in some practical aspects(like the above mentioned relationship with the committee). Since I am volunteering to do this I feel it is my DUTY to tell the training chain when I think something could be improved. It is also my DUTY to offer to fix it. It's a character flaw of mine. The trainers had us critique the course. You mean they didn't really want to hear what I had to say? The syllabus will be followed no matter what? Wrong answer. The "recipes" may need to be adjusted occasionally. I am looking forward to Woodbadge and HOPE it lives up to my expectations. I'll report out when I complete it. Again...thanks for your advice on this website. Dan Williamson
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#60 Bob White

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 02:50 PM

Dan, Two things that might help you. 1) Don't wory about how to discipline scouts.Send the disruptive scout home, let his parents discipline him. As you correctly point out, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe learning enviroment. Let the scout return when he agrees to behave in a scout-like manner. That is the scout way to handle things. Other scouts are not responsibible for a boy's behaviour. The boy is. You as SM cannot remove his membership but you can send him home until he agrees to behave. 2) I have been involved in a number of successful scouting units (we have moved a few times due to job transfers) and I have NEVER seen the entire publication of the BSA rules and regulations and have never ever needed to. There is nothing in that publication that will make you a better Scoutmaster, NOTHING! Nothing in there will tell you how to use the patrol method, how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk, how the advancement program works or how to go low impact camping. For unit leaders, the publication you are working so hard to find is the least useful source all of scouting. My recommendation is forget it. Even if you get a copy it's written by lawyers and reads like a foriegn language. Read the Boy Scout handbook, read the SM handbook, Read the Patrol Leader's and SPL's Handbooks. They have the troop program information in them that you need. Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)
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