Got my first two beads at C-19-96; my Dad, who used to be an Owl, put them around my neck. Got my third as a Troop Guide at C-19-02. I trained as SPL for a course in '05 that got cancelled, so we're trying again.
Well, I got my first two beads in the previous course and got my third in the new one. I liked both courses. I'm more of an outdoors type of guy and so I liked that aspect of the previous course better. Apparently the BSA found that it was more important to pass along the ideals/methods than outdoor skills and also got a lot of feedback that people no longer responded well to getting sandbagged as an instructional method (at least, that was the perception). Me, I thought it added a little spice. They've really turned it more into a management course, although it's still obviously BSA training. I still think that every unit leader should take it.