Stoddard, Thomas C. (stoddatc@WESTINGHOUSE.COM)
Tue, 15 Sep 1998 10:36:29 -0400
Read with interest the posts from Mssrs Hewitt and Begin regarding offering
Wood Badge to non-scouters. Scary, though, that this was exactly what was
mentioned by our National Training Committee Chairman at Philmont during one
of the training center conferences this past summer (which I attended, and
have the comment in my notes).
They indicated an acknowledgement of scope "creep" over the last couple
revisions of the training syllabi. More stuff being pushed down into
Scoutmaster (or Scout Leader) Fundamentals which used to be taught at Wood
Badge. They felt this was right because they feel the need to put as much
into the unit leaders' hands as soon as they could, like throwing mud
against a wall, and hoping more of it would stick. Which left them in the
admitted quandry, "Whence Wood Badge?"
There is a task team currently meeting with the objective of revising Wood
Badge syllabus, updating with latest management philosophies, etc. They are
to pilot a course at Philmont in the Spring of 1999, and have four pilot
courses (one in each region) take place Fall of 1999. With the experience
base gleaned from the pilots, the new revision would be finalied and
unveiled for all courses offered in the year 2000. (New Wood Badge for the
new Millenium!) And, indeed, the comment was made that when it emerged, it
might be a product which BSA would feel worthwhile to offer outside
corporations to fill a leadership training niche. The issues presented
could be resolved, in my view. One idea, for example, offering a "stipend"
for the staff, and budgeting this in as part of the course fee, making them
effectively "paraprofessionals", could suddenly, in my view, resolve many of
the "conflicts" which otherwise would prevent them from staffing the course.
Issues of uniforming, and certifications, accoutrements, insignia and the
like, similarly, may not need to follow BSA standard, but effective
substitutes could be made to create the same outcome in terms of
team-building and personal leadership development.
This is not such a far-fetched idea. One that has already been expressed,
and may even be in the pipeline now. Anybody know Dan Maxfield, or that
Stolowitz fellow from Chief Seattle Council? These are two I know are on
this Wood Badge task team I speak of. Would be interesting to ask someone of
that committee where the Wood Badge revision currently stands....
> I have one other caution about Wood Badge training for non-Scouters.
> If we start letting people outside of Scouting take Wood Badge, are we
> for the time when some Council decides to open up a course to Corporate
> It's been stated many times that this is the best team building, problem
> solving, leadership and "executive training" class going and that "my
> paid many thousands of $$$ to send us through something no where near as
> effective," in the past.
> I don't want to see this excellent course turned into a non-Scouter
> just because a Council somewhere decided they can make a buck running a
> for executives. If you think they can't, don't kid yourself. Many, MANY
> companies spend dozens of thousands of dollars on courses like this each
> Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
> ...I doubt this will happen, or if it does, it won't catch on. The reason
> 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.
..... They volunteer their time to help share their experience with others
A LOT of time is put in by the staff to make an outstanding course.
> 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.
> 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
> 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.
> I feel this is a system of checks and balances that keeps the BSA from
> trying to export this training outside the BSA.
> Yours in Scouting,
> Scott A. Begin
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City