Posted 12 December 2001 - 10:35 AM
Wood Badge for the 21st Century is an entirely new leadership development course, just introduced this past fall after test courses in some councils over the past two years. This Wood Badge is one course open to all Scouters (our course included one career Scouter). There is no longer a separate Boy Scout Wood Badge and Cub Scout Trainers Wood Badge course. Participants are divided into patrols, and team building through various exercises is part of the tradition. Participants sit through a classroom-type series of sessions covering such topics as managing conflict, developing listening skills, the six steps of effective planning, leading change, and diversity. There are also some outdoor activities, including a conservation project. All the topics are intended to help the participant build a tool kit of skills to help them develop as effective leaders, no matter what their scouting job. The new course does not emphasize outdoor skills, but participants do some patrol camping. Each council or region that sponsors a course has some latitude concerning the extent of the camping experience and how to structure the course. The course staff and participants are organized to represent an idealized troop, with various staff members serving as Scoutmaster, SPL, Troop Committee Chairman, etc., and the participants in patrols. There are many traditions associated with Wood Badge including songs, totems, and the regalia you earn once your ticket is completed. The 21st Century Wood Badge ticket is made up of several goals which you establish for yourself, which the approval of your ticket counselor, to help you develop in the areas of Scout leadership, community involvement and self-development. I guess that's it in a nutshell. There used to be a certain "mystery" involved with Wood Badge. You didn't talk about it, so that participants would discover what Wood Badge is all about when they do it. Frankly, I find this to be "old thinking" and have heard several negative stories from people who really disliked their old Wood Badge experience. Today's Wood Badge emphasizes the sharing of information and, as I said earlier, leadership skills. So I hope this helps you. It's usually a fun experience, a great way to meet new people and share Scouting tales, and, yeah, it's kinda neat to earn your beads and wear them to appropriate occasions.