Re: WB invitations
or blackeagle ("Settummanque)
Mon, 10 Aug 1992 18:10:04 -0400
Unfortunately, there seems to be a "hidden -agenda" that local councils use to
determine if you are to attend a Woodbadge course, no matter what your
service or background is. I have talked with lots of volunteers that have
waited for the invite letter and nhever got one (and won't be invited).
Many councils did away with the "invitation letters" about ten years back w
when a local Council in the Southeast Region was"accused of keeping certain
volunteers from attending the course " (The council is not the important
thing here; the idea that voluteers and/or professionals can "select and
choose" is the factor. As one key volunteer told me about five years back,
"it helped up to create full Troops when we know that they will show up!"
(I secretly threw him the middle finger benid his back).
The problem has and always will be "how do we insure that we have a FULL
TROOP (40 participants) or PACK (48 participants), and at the same time
BREAK EVEN (all BSA courses must at least break even so that the budget can
be justified by a local Council. Woodbadsge courses are expernsive to run,
no matter where it it is held!) AND MAKE NATIONAL/REGIONAL HAPPY?"
Most Councils work with neighboring Councils in order to keep costs down and
to insrue that the course is full. If the Council is not a large Class 1
Council, then then burden is placed on that poor course director and the
professional staff advisor. They must "beat them bushes" to get participants
to attend the corse. IT helps a lot that more than two people are doing the bush
The cost of the course is another limiting factor. The reason why BSA does not
realize large number of black Scouters with the beads is because of the cost
of the course PLUS the uniforming that must be pruchaced and worn during the cou
se. This is also a limiting factor in the number of rural Scouters attending
as well. BSA Urban/Rural Field Service tried to look at ways that rural/urban
Scouts can attednd a modified version of the course, but wwas quickly shot
down by several "red jackets", because even though the content of the course is
the exact same, the uniforms are one part of the program and without it ,
it becomes another business development course (I agreed there...).
Finally, because of the first two points, Councils try and pick those that
will "increase the visabilty of the Council" (read: "make more money for
the local Council") by their participation. They realize that the Woodbadge
course is an highly emotional and self-centered program of instruction and
those that benefit from it will immeidately go out and have a higher
understanding (and can relate better to the idea that "this must continue
and this is why I need your money")
(this is reason uno why professionals are keyed into this course from the satrt
start....and why I try to get as many Woodbadge-trained Scouters to assist
me with raising monies locally!)
So, what do we do about this "injustice"??? BE PROACTIVE!!!!!!
A commissioner that is NOT out there id'ing leaders to attend a course is NOT
a commissioner...that is part of the job description (right Kathie?).
Likewise, as Troye has stated, if you haven't been asked to attend a course,
and you feel that you are qualified, then you have better talk with your
District Executive or District Commissioner. Keep it up...even when they tell
you "I know you want to go, but there'sonly so many that can go from ...."
Insist that the Council budge a set amount from the operations and training
budget to allow a "representavtive third" of the Council to attend. The
mere utterance of "representative third" (33 percent of your , my , all Councils
MUST be representative of the racial/ethnic makeup of that Council!) (BSA
Policy!!). If your Council cannot do that, exercise a little pressure because
there are several rural/intercity scouters that DO want to attend and cannot!
Also, something I have used elsewhere that can be of use here is that a
Troop or District choose to "sponser" the Scouters from a intercity or rural
unit as far as training is concerned. This allows the Scouters from a
particular unit the opporunity to trainin and also gives a sense of "this is
where our FOS/SME monies is going toward!"
Woodbadge is the highest level of training for our volunteers and the
professionals that support them. We should be trying to encounage ALL of
our Scouters that are eligbel to attend to be there and "work their ticket".
By selecting who comes and who don't for the "bottom line", we are cheating
the program of additional resources and ourselves from the breadth or
experience and knowledge that these Scouters...whereever they come from or
whatever the "position patch" says..have given and continue to geive to Scoution
give to Scouting!
Settummanque@Sorry about the typos...I am almost an entire country away from..
National Exploring Instructor
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City