Re: Is Wood Badge Segregated Now?
Mike Walton ("Settummanque)
Tue, 14 Nov 1995 01:52:31 -0600
>We have had verbal news that National is requiring that
>Wood Badge tickets must only be written for the type of
>course attended. That is, a scoutmaster attending varsity
>wood badge must write his ticket to help a varsity unit, not
>his own scout unit. Furthermore cub leaders may attend only
>a cub wood badge.
Andy, it's ALWAYS been that way...it's just being emphasized moreso
now than in the past.
Wood Badge is the ADVANCED training course for Scouters. It comes in
three basic varieties and three other "offshoots":
Cub Scout TRAINERS' Wood Badge, which is designed for those whom are
going to be the trainers/coaches of Cub Scout Leader training courses in
the District or Council or within a Regional Area.
Boy Scout LEADERS' Wood Badge, which is designed for those operating the
Boy Scout Troop Operations Plan (primarily Scoutmasters and Assistants,
Committee Members and Chartered Organizational Representatives, Troop and Unit
Exploring ADVANCED SEMINAR (which is technically NOT a Wood Badge-producing
course, but the course structure and content is 88% identical to the Cub
and Boy Scout Wood Badge course) designed for the Exploring Advisor and
Assistants/Associates, Consultants, Committeemembers and those supporting
the Exploring program on a District/Division, Council or Regional Area basis.
The three offshoots are the Varsity LEADERS' Wood Badge course (conducted in
those Regional Areas with a high concentration of Varsity units...primarily in
the Western Region, and identical to the Boy Scout Leaders' Wood Badge course
with some Varsity material entered); the Exploring Leadership Institute (ELI)
(my personal favorite, conducted again primarily in the Western Region, which
comes closer (94 as opposed to 88% identical content) to the two
"traditional" courses); and the Sea Badge course (for Sea Exploring Skippers
and Mates and those supporting the Sea Exploring program at the
District/Division, Council, Regional Area and Regional basis).
In order to attend a Wood Badge course, a Scouter must be registered in a
position for at least two years, have attended the basic training course
which applies to their present position, and be recommended for attendance
by the District/Division/Council's training chair or Commissioner. For
instance, for attendance at the Varsity Leaders' Wood Badge course, Scouters
should have been a Varsity Leader for at least two years, attended and
completed the Varsity Leader Basic Training course, and have been
recommended by the training chair or the Huddle Commissioner.
Councils have been told for years that the purpose of the courses are NOT to
develop a set of Wood Badgers at the local Council level; it is to
strengthen and further develop the skills of the Scouting unit leaders the
courses are aimed at. However, in the past, Councils have allowed Exploring
leaders to attend Boy Scout Wood Badge courses ("because there's not an
Exploring equal to it"), Cub Scout leaders to attend Cub Scout Trainers'
Wood Badge (the most notable example of this is to allow the District
Commissioner or Assistant Scoutmasters- New Scout Patrol to attend the Cub
course because "we need to know the overall Cub Scouting program"). The
intended GUIDANCE, as discussed here about a year ago as a result of several
of our participants attending courses at Philmont Scout Ranch where the
guidance was announced for the first time, is designed to bring back into
line the "true purpose of the Wood Badge course: to further train and
support the UNIT OPERATION".
This is NOT to say that now your chances of attending a Wood Badge course if
you are NOT in a Troop or working with Cub Scouting above the unit level is
It's just that the EMPHASIS (the "order of merit list", -- the list of
positions that the courses will accept FIRST) will be followed a lot closer
now than in the past.
The personal growth contract, or "ticket", is to be written by the candidate
during the latter two days of the course, although it may be developed at
any time during the course. The "ticket" is to reflect your CURRENT or
ANTICIPATED position within Scouting and how you will use the tools,
techniques and ideas formulated during your Wood Badge experience with that
unit or position. In other words, if you are attending Varsity Wood Badge,
your ticket should reflect your present role as a Varsity leader or your
anticipated position as a Varsity Leader. It makes little sense to use the
skills learned at a Varsity course with an Exploring unit, for instance. (I
used Exploring only because the Varsity and Boy Scouting courses are
extremely close in content.)
>Does anyone know if this rumor is true, or where it can be
The rumor is NOT a rumor. It was first reported here on Scouts-L by those
Scouters attending training sessions at the Philmont Training Center last
summer (summer of 1994) and was debated here in this forum during the month
of August and a part of September. Additionally, your Council's Executive
should have received a Training Support Bulletin back sometime in late
August or during September announcing the new emphasis, and when your Area
Director visited your Council sometime in that fall, he should have had a
session with the entire professional staff announcing the new emphasis
Those whom are involved in training at the local Council are being asked to
emphasize UNIT level training as opposed to "multiunit" or "district" training.
This was done as a result of a large number of Scouters leaving our program
without being afforded the opportunity to be trained or the large number of
Scouters still in many of our units that have NEVER been to anything above
an orientation course (and I would venture to state that those orientation
courses were one paragraph: "Hi! This is the book, this is your patch you
wear and here's a listing of all of the boys in your Den. We're doing
training on this date, if you can attend it would help. If you can't, don't
worry about it...this book will get you through it. Don't feel like you're
the Lone Ranger...give this person a call if you have problems. Oh yeah.
Don't forget about Roundtable the first Tuesday night of the month at the
Thanks for volunteering...you'll have a GREAT YEAR with them!" Sound familiar?)
> It has great implications for our council, as we
>have many active scouters and jobs can easily change - I am
>scoutmaster now, but very likely will be a varsity coach one
>day. The effect of such a rule will be to make wood badge harder
>to get to, and less people will want to go.
On the contrary, it will open up courses to those that NEED to be there as
opposed to those that WANT to go there. There's a big need for those
Scoutmasters to get to a Wood Badge course, but because of the large "overhead"
(District leaders, Council leaders, "Scouters that really don't have a job",
and some professionals that needed the course when they were a lot younger
instead of waiting until they are a Field or Program Director to attend a
course (bad personnel management)) they can't get in a course. Scouters
have been complaining for years to their Councils and to National about the
fact that they're been waiting for several years to get into a course. No
sooner than a course is annonunced, it's full (speaking primarily of the Boy
Scout Leaders' Courses. For some reason EVERYONE wants to go to one of those
but mention the Exploring Advanced Seminar, and everyone's eyes glaze
over...see what I mean?).
[short point of order here: Since 1991, Scouters whom are aware of upcoming
Wood Badge, Exploring Advanced Seminar, and Sea Badge courses have been posting
the dates of the course, the location of the course, the name of the
Scoutmaster, Cubmaster or Advisor leading the course, a summary of the
"requirements for attendance" at the course, and information on the cost,
registration and other information ("wear warm clothing. Camp Deep Woods is
VERY cold this time of year!") here on Scouts-L at an attempt to fill their
course with those that need the training. I support the continuation of
doing this because it gives that Scouter out there that feels that "he can't
a Wood Badge course because..." of whatever reason, that now he or she has
alternatives to attendance. You may attend ANY course ANYWHERE as long as you
receive approval for attendance from the director of the course and the Council
Executive or his or her designee (the staff person in charge of training).
You can also get information about all Wood Badge courses offerings in a
Region from your local Council or by asking here. We WANT you to be trained!]
There will STILL be "open slots" that will eventually be filled by those
other Scouters, because in order to "make a course happen", you MUST have at
32 participants for Cub and Scout courses and 16 for Exploring courses. Most
Councils have a problem getting that first 16 to 32....they have to "beat
them bushes" to get qualified Scouters to even THINK about attending! On
the one hand, they want to be there, to "earn" the Wood Badge; on the other
hand, it's another entire week or several more weekends away from the unit,
the family and other things, and many are already "at their max" with the
amount of time spent "playing the game of Scouting". In despiration before
the report is due to the Regional office, many Councils will get "Scouters
off the street" to attend rather than to cancel a course (which doesn't look
good on the professional staff member in charge of training in the Council
and doesn't speak well for the Council to others!)
My *own opinion* (take it for what it's really worth) is that if you attend a
Varsity course, or an Exploring course, or the Cub Scout Trainers' course,
you need to be *one*, in a position or moving to a position where you can
use the training, and *two*, wanting to make an impact by your attendance
and application of the training in that position. Going through everything
just so you can say that "you're a Beaver" and to wear the beads, is not
condusive to the program, to you, or to the Council, which loses money with
each and every course they are given permission to conduct.
> Who could do a
>varsity ticket and still serve his unit as scoutmaster?
Why go to a Varsity Wood Badge course if you're a Scoutmaster? I have attended
the Scout Leaders' Wood Badge course as a Scoutmaster and the Exploring
Seminar as an Exploring Service Team Chair/Commissioner. The two courses
have parts which apply to general leadership in Scouting; but they were designed
for two *distinct* audiences.
Those folks that want to go to Wood Badge as a Scoutmaster need to wait it
out and go to the Wood Badge course *for Scoutmasters*.
>attended varsity wood badge - but the key to wood badge, for me,
>was not the specifics of the varsity program, but the principles
>of building future leaders and individuals of character.
That's true of all of the courses. But you should attend the course which
will benefit you -- and Scouting -- by your APPLICATION of those principles.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
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