Steve Weston (SRWESTON@AOL.COM)
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 20:40:59 -0400
I couldn't stand it any longer! I've been holding my bandwidth as long as I
can and can hold it no longer. Please bear with me this IS rather long.
I've heard lots of talk about secrecy, the "us against them" attitude between
some participants and some staff members, the "ideal troop", being treated
like boys, etc..
Wood Badge is here to teach leadership skills to ADULT leaders involved with
providing BSA program to the youths of the communities we live in. There
should be no secret about that purpose!
Yes, some things happen during a Wood Badge course to highlight the confusion
and frustration a 11 or 12 year old experiences during his first adventures
in Scouting. This does not give the course's staff the right to give
flippant answers to participants. We've worked hard to train staff members
to be as open as possible with these answers as long as they don't ruin the
discovery experience which sets up a particular leadership skill (discovery
experience? remember effective teaching?). Staff members giving answers
like, "That will be revealed at the proper time," are probably carrying a
chip on their shoulder based on a similar response from a staff member when
they were the participant. These staffers should be counseled (another of
the leadership skills) as soon as possible and carefully evaluated (remember
that one?) for future courses. Back to frustration and confusion; this
should be discussed carefully during the course's summary session and used as
a learning tool by participants as well as future course directors and
Secrecy? Participants will be placed in patrols and will camp in an outdoor
setting for the duration of the course. Each will rely on the skills and
abilities of one another (needs and characteristics? resources?). They will
be exposed to the eleven skills of leadership and have opportunities during
the course to put many of these skills into practice. They will write a
ticket - a road map consisting of specific tasks THEY select to improve their
units and/or personal leadership styles. What's the secret? If we don't
communicate (leadership skill?) accurately, we can't expect potential
participants to make the investment in time and money to participate in a
Wood Badge course!
Secrecy again. There are enough Wood Badge "war stories" out there that the
general scouting public has a fairly detailed idea of what happens during the
course. The course's staff has to work extremely hard to dispel some of
these stories and to provide participants with an experience they will want
to encourage friends to take part in.
In general, Wood Badge staffs can be the course's own WORST enemy. Staff
selection (probably the course director's toughest job) and care during the
staff training process (one of his most important jobs) are important keys to
a successful Wood Badge course.
In parting, let me apologize for monopolizing so much bandwidth. However,
I'm convinced that the leadership skills taught at Wood Badge can and will,
if thought about and used properly, improve the quality of the program we
provide to the boys in our units.
Please e-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org if I have touched a raw nerve
or if anybody is overly compelled to flame me. I used to be a Bear so I have
a tough hide and can take the abuse.
Used to be a Bear (SC-357), ALWAYS be an Eagle, and a Silver Bearer too!
SC-404, SC-448, SR-19, SR-76, SR121, and course director SR-174 spring, 1997
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City