I only took the first 21st Century course in our area, having had 2 others
cancelled out from under me in my home council. But I am hooked, thanks, in
large part, to my troop guide. Thanks, Hugh (even though you are a bear)!!!
To second Hugh's comments, there are ways to deal with issues of
insufficient course directors or staff. The area director is a great
resource. I will also second the concept of pulling in scouters from other
councils, to serve on staff. It gives them experience, and gives the local
staff members a view from the outside. At the recent course director's
conference in Atlanta, issues about the new rules were raised and discussed.
I am not one to exclude anyone who is willing to commit to the time
requirements that being a WB staffer requires. That may be a misstep, but
since the restrictions are there, let's see if we can make them work.
Mark C. Landry
An Ornery Owl from SR-498
Council Training Chair
Southeast Louisiana Council
] On Behalf
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:23 AM
Subject: [Scouter_T] Staffing - Is It a WB Issue or a Council Issue?
I don't know about you, but I have received 27 messages today in my
email box regarding staffing for the 21st Century Wood Badge. A
number of them dealt with some extreme circumstances (i.e. only one
21st Century course in the council since the new design, attending the
traditional course in 1988 and wondering about possibility to serve on
staff, etc.) As Mike Lupton (and I believe someone else) pointed out,
there are avenues to review such extremities through an exemption
process with the Area Coordinator. One would suspect that persons who
have achieved that level of distinction in the current training are
well prepared to handle the effects of the politicization involved in
staffing a course and are also committed to the new training continuum
(like it or not, it is the direction the BSA is taking).
I am a graduate of the traditional BS course which I attended in 1996.
My first WB staff was in 2002 during the first implementation of the
21st Century syllabus in my council when I served as a Troop Guide. I
have to tell you, it would have been easier having been a participant
of the new syllabus. A large part of our staff development was spent
"creating" a new staff coreography that was, I'm guessing, assumed
somewhat in the staff development process of the previous syllabus.
In addition, another large part of the staff development process was
spent introducing and studying the team development concept to all of
us who had only been exposed to the 11 points of leadership version.
If we had been exposed to the principles of the new course previously,
our time could have been better spent on enhancing the experience of
the participants and training in ticket development which might have
enhanced taking the skills learned by participants back to the
Scouting units of the participants (don't get me wrong, I think it was
a tremendously successful course!)
Being a doctoral student in Management, I can tell you that a large
part of the training I receive to prepare me to be teach management on
the collegiate level involves socializing me to the current methods of
teaching and to current management thoughts and principles. As I
progress through my academic career, I will have to be exposed to and
become knowledgeable of new advances in the field. In some way, the
same socialization needs to be involved in the training of BSA
trainers, regardless of the training they are conducting, and these
trainers will have to continue to be current on the training paradigms
of the time.
Yes, there are those who may have attended the previous version of WB
who might easily adapt to the new syllabus, but I would suspect that
exposure to the new syllabus (either through participation or previous
staffing) prepares one to better handle the tasks required of a staff
member in the new course and educate the participants of the course.
One other point regarding the "Good Ole Boy" network that was rampant
in the traditional BS WB course. Its been 4 years since the
introduction of the new syllabus. Also, as someone pointed out, one
of the reasons for the syllabus change was due to the
"uncontrollability" of the old BS course staff. My "somewhat limited"
tenure (been an adult leader for 15 years) has shown me the effect of
leadership generations in the council. I am more than willing to
admit that my council might be an exception (part of the my council's
WB "Good Ole Boy network" has gone on to be a CD for one of the
experimental 21st Century courses, 2 to staff an experimental course,
and 1 to be an Area Coordinator - all can be assumed to be committed
to the learning objectives of the new syllabus.) Maybe its a
perspectival issue, but I see persons being asked on staff for the new
course that wouldn't have even been considered during the last version
(and these persons have done exceptional jobs).
But again my basic suspect, you have to ask yourself whether the
prevalence of the GOB network is due to council leadership. How many
times has your Scout Executive, VP-Program, and Chairman-Training
changed since the 2001 introduction? Change normally advances from
the top. Failure to include new members into a team, as has been
identified from research based off of Tuckman's model of
Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing and as recognized in the 21st
Century WB introduction of diversity as a leadership skill, creates
Groupthink which had long-term detrimental harm on an organization.
If persons occupying these positions are not changing, new generations
are not being incorporated into the council level which will have far
more reaching effects than the staffing of WB. If this is the case, I
would recommend you spending your efforts more on revitalizing the
council as a whole rather than worry who is serving on staff for WB.
Just the $0.02 from a 3-time staffer of the new course.
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