Re: Leadership Skills on WWW (long)
Lewis P. Orans (LewisO@AOL.COM)
Wed, 11 Oct 1995 22:57:57 -0400
In a message dated 95-10-11 13:04:43 EDT, Utah Cox writes:
>As pointed out by Doug Gentry, there is nothing secret in Scouting and no
>reason not to distribute the WB leadership skills to the public. Reading
>them will never replace "living" them in a Wood Badge course.
>From my point of view I can affirm 2 out of three.
1. There is - or should be - nothing secret in Scouting.
3. Reading the skills of leadership can never replace "living" them in a
Wood Badge Course.
I cannot agree with the statement "there is ... no reason not to distribute
the WB leadership skills to the public." I can think of three reasons not to
publish to the public (and secrecy is not one of them).
1. The material is copyright by the BSA. Brad Templeton's excellent web
pages -- http://www.clari.net/brad/copymyths.html -- Steve Elias's web pages
"Copyrights in Cyberspace" -- http://www.benedict.com/copynolo.htm -- and
Designlinks reprint of information of copyrights --
http://designlonk.com/DL_WEB_files/US_Copyright -- provide a good deal of
insight on this issue. It seems clear that the BSA has the right to approve
publication of what is "their" materials. Quoting without attribution is not
the answer. If you wish to reprint BSA materials online, you really should
get permission from the National Office.
The often quoted policy "it's OK to reproduce the materials for use in
Scouting ..." and similar statements should be balanced against three facts.
-- The net and other public forums are not purely "within Scouting"
-- The National Councils desire not to publish information on the Internet
and other online services as outlined in the Chief Scout Executives letter
quoted in the US Scouting Project web pages.
-- The desire of the BSA to limit the general distribution of Wood Badge
training materials as indicated in the limitations on availability and
distribution. (i.e. The Staff Guide must be ordered directly from the Boy
Scout Division at the National Office, the Administrative Guide through
National Supply -- and they may only be ordered by the local Council, not
individual Scouts or Scouters.
Notwithstanding any disagreement with National's approach to this matter, it
seems apparent that they have the right to withold permission to publish the
Wood Badge materials. Disagreement does not give us the right to discard the
I would like to make another comment on secrecy. I agree with Doug Gentry
that there is nothing secret in Scouting. However, we do respect the
"mystery" of the ceremonies of the Order of the Arrow. While any parent can
inquire and be informed, I would be most surprised to see a Scouter publish
the Ordeal, Brotherhood or Vigil Ceremony. We are requested to accept this
privacy regarding OA ceremonial. It seems that most accept this.
It would seem that we might respect the preferences of the key volunteers and
professionals in Boy Scout training and not publish the Wood Badge materials.
In addition, as Scouters, we should respect the the rights and the
copyrights of the BSA.
Baden-Powell had to deal with these disagreements from the early days of
Scouting. In Aids to Scoutmastership (1920) he spoke of "Loyalty to the
Movement" and of what a leader might do if he disagrees with the powers that
"Where a man cannot conscientiously take the line required, his one manly
course is to put it straight to his Commissioner or to Headquarters, and if
we cannot meet his views, then to leave the work. He goes into it in the
first place with his eyes open, and it is scarcely fair if afterwards,
because he finds the details do not suit him, he complains that it is the
fault of the Executive."
While dated, the point is still valid. When we accept the duties of
leadership as Scouters, we do accept some of the obligations in membership in
the Movement. In some cases this means we may disagree, but will need to
respect the rights and views of the local council or the national
organization. This does not mean we cannot disagree. Indeed, change is most
often facilitated by disagreement, open argument, etc. But, as leaders in
the organization, we should respect the rights of the organization to define
the program and determine the methods of training and the distribution of
It should be noted that more than the Wood Badge materials are safeguarded by
National. Wood Badge is one of the few instances in Scouting where national
standards are supplemented by required certification. Councils may run Wood
Badge Courses only with the permission of the Region (the geographic
extension of the National Office). Scouters must be approved to serve on
Staff and in order to conduct a course the Course Director (Scoutmaster) must
attend a regional Wood Badge Conference. We seem to accept these
requirements without much question.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City