Re: Outdoor Trainings
- I certainly don't want to be accused of "hammering" on Marshall
Creighton and his DE, or anyone else who has commented on the various
outdoor trainings, but I would certainly disagree regarding the
interchangeability of OWL and OLS.
The notion that "higher" training supercedes "lower" is spurious. A
PhD is "higher" than a BA, but no doctoral curriculum addresses the
"well-roundedness" of a basic undergraduate degree. In similar fashion,
OLS is emphatically NOT just a more advanced form of OWL training.
There are THREE important components to the OWL training; (1)
familiarity with basic camping and simple outdoor skills, (2)
outdoor-related Webelos Activity Badges, and (3) presenting these
materials to 4th and 5th grade boys, accompanied by a parent, in
age-appropriate ways. OLS offers a Webelos Leader (1) far more camping
and outdoor skills than they need to implement the Webelos camping
program, with no guidance as to what's permitted or even suitable
specifically for Webelos, (2) nothing about the outdoor activity badges,
and (3) program methods (e.g. no parents, Patrol method, boy
planning/leadership) that are alien to the Webelos level of our program.
As Packs are encouraged to do more family camping, under the
supervision of BALOO-trained leadership, there will be less need to
emphasize real basic camping information in OWL as time goes on. But the
ways of implementing Pack, Webelos Den and Boy Scout camping are going to
remain distinct, as they should be --- the needs and capabilities of the
boys involved are different. Most OLS trainers are very experienced BOY
SCOUT leaders, who may have little or no familiarity with the Webelos
program as it is presently set up.
Training is also about QUALITY programing for the boys. OWL should
also encourage and meet the needs of leaders who want to do more that
just read up on an activity badge and throw together a program. Our OWL
sessions on the outdoor Activity Badges cover the basics, to be sure, but
emphasize local resources --- the geology of the area, programs offered
by nearby municipal, State and National Parks, Museums, and naturalist
organizations that might enrich the Webelos Den's experiences. That's
not part of the OLS curriculum either.
Again, the timing, tempo and character of implementing changes to
the training program at the National level has muddled things for most of
us. I think it's really important that we keep the fundamental
differences among Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts and Boy Scouts ever before
us as we carry on our training programs.
"I used to be a Buffalo"
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