Re: Woodbadge Training
Tim Hewitt (thewitt@FAIRCHILDSEMI.COM)
Mon, 14 Sep 1998 07:27:11 -0500
Scott Begin <sbegin@MCS.NET> wrote:
> I doubt this will happen, or if it does, it won't catch on. The reason I
> believe it won't is how Wood Badge training is run. In each Council where
> the course is offered, you have a volunteer staff producing the course,
> often with little more than oversight from the Council Professional Staff.
> These staff are some of the most experienced scouters in the council. They
> volunteer their time to help share their experience with others in the
> council (usually in addition to doing their "regular" scouting job and
> their regular income producing job). What I have seen is A LOT of time is
> put in by the staff to make an outstanding course.
Agreed. The quality of the course is directly dependent on the quality of the
staff. Don't believe that "professional management training" would be run
just like Wood Badge is run today however, and let that convince you it
> If some Scout executive decided to open up the final course positions to
> non scouters (doing so just before the course started to fill the course),
> that would probably be tolerated by the staff, as it gets a full course,
> doesn't deprive scouters needing/wanting the course, and helps the course
> bottom line.
This is a scary compromise in itself. If a course is in danger of closing
because not enough Scouters are signed up, we should be working harder to add
Scouters - not add outsiders. If we are not filling up our top level training
class for Adults, we need to reevaluate our recruiting methods for training
classes. I know that it takes a great deal of time and a huge commitment to
go through Wood Badge, but there should always be a waiting list if we are
selling this training correctly.
> However, I believe that if a Scout Executive (or whatever Professional)
> tried to get the same volunteer staff to put on a course exclusively for
> non scouters, a majority of the staff would find "conflicts" that prevented
> them from joining the staff (there might be a few staffers who would still
> do it for additional experience staffing a course, or for the chance to
> move up the ladder of staff positions quicker). Some scouters plan their
> work/vacation/family life around when they will staff a wood badge course,
> so adding an additional course would probably throw some of that off some
> staffers planning (some people work jobs that they have to plan to be able
> to participate in things like wood badge, even if it is a weekend course).
Here's the rub. If corporations were paying for this training, it would last a
week, it would cost $2500-$3000+ per participant, and the staff would not be
volunteers. I don't know how many experienced Wood Badge staff would be
persuaded to tech this "professional leadership" class, but if it paid say
$1000 plus expenses, I suspect you would not have a problem filling staff
positions. With 24 attendees at $3000 a pop, there would be plenty of money to
pay staff, rent facilities, and still make a good profit for Council.
> Without the staff (or without experience in the staff), the participants
> may not get as much out of the course. Anyone can follow a syllabus. You
> need experience to have participants get the most out of the syllabus.
Agreed. However even a partially successful Wood Badge course - modified to
fit the needs of the corporate customers - would certainly be a possibility;
and it would not take an entire staff of experienced Wood Badge trainers to
put it on. One or two to start - doing so for the greater benefit of Scouting
- after all Councils needs money to thrive, and we need Councils in order to
make the program work for the boys.
> If the SE tried to fill a regularly scheduled course with non scouters
> (without telling the staff), and could pull this off, would probably have a
> much harder time recruiting staff the next time (especially since I see
> heavy recruitment of current course participants for the next course, but
> also when some scouters feel used by the process).
> I feel this is a system of checks and balances that keeps the BSA from
> trying to export this training outside the BSA.
Just keep your eyes open. Don't think small here, think big money, large
scale. I don't expect any SE would try to do this with volunteers, but as the
number of paid staff positions in Councils goes up, and the cost of the
program at the Council level continues to rise, it would not surprise me to
see more Councils "sell" BSA Services to the community in order to raise the
needed money to continue as a business. As we hire more and more SEs who are
professional Scouters from the get-go and not former Scout leaders who decided
to go into professional Scouting to further help the boys, we can expect to
see this gap crossed more and more often.
This is _huge_ business, the BSA, and we need to be sure we are prepared to go
where we need to go in order to continue to pay for more and more
professionals in our Councils. Don't think so? Take a look at the expenses
in your Council, and then listen to the rumor of "Family camping at camp
Washawego - it's just $10 a site for the weekend" and other around-the-edge
money raising campaigns. The slippery slope allows for fringe Scouting
activities first, then simple economics of scale will have the BSA and AAA
running camps every 500 miles all across the nation.
Not a slam, just a somewhat pessimistic observation.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City