For those of you that have been to Wood Badge you understand the great training, the lasting friendships, and the spirit of Scouting that comes in every Wood Badge course. You get idea that every Scout deserves a trained leader and that in Wood Badge you are participating in the Advanced Leadership Course of the Boy Scouts of America. You understand the committment that it takes in time and money to seek out the best training and then follow-up that training by spending up to a year and half working a ticket designed to make Scouting better for the youth we serve. You get all of that.
So why should a Scouter go to Wood Badge. Yes, it’s all of the stuff previously stated but it’s a lot more than that.
Why Wood Badge? Well for starters it is the best Scout leader training the BSA has. No matter at which level you serve in Scouting, Wood Badge has something for you. Whether you are the Chief Scout Executive or a Den Leader, Wood Badge will teach you how to provide a great program for our Scouts starting with why we do this thing called Scouting. The Wood Badge experience gives you insight to the World of Scouting, not just your little piece. It reinforces methods and Aims and gets all Scouters on the same sheet of music, and yep, you will be singing a lot!
Wood Badge allows you the much-needed opportunity to step back into the hiking boots of a Scout and be that Scout as he experiences Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and is introduced to Venture Scouts. You get to learn like a Scout learns and in doing so you become a better communicator and teacher. You learn to train and lead using the EDGE method. I think you will find that this method satisfies every learning style and will assist you in sharpening your leadership skills.
Wood Badge sends you back to you unit with a song in your heart, a smile on your face, and a mission to make Scouting better.
The training at Wood Badge will make you a better Scouter, a better Spouse, a better employee when you use the tools taught in the course. It gives you perspective on everything in your life and a method to work you future plans in and out of Scouting. The Wood Badge training is world-class and is used in corporate America and in organizations big and small.
So why Wood Badge? Well, for one thing, it is our direct link to Baden Powell’s training of Scouters. The methods may have been refined, the uniforms certainly are different, and Scouting has changed with the times, but the Wood Badge is the Wood Badge and our history and tradition in Scouting is brought full circle in the Wood Badge experience.
When Baden Powell held the first Scoutmaster Training at Gilwell, he organized the participants into Patrols. This is the foundation of a Boy Scout Troop and BP understood that we learn by doing and do it with our Patrol. During the Wood Badge course the instruction all leads to doing. Within the Patrol, the participants work together to become a high performance team. Once this is realized, the experience can be taken back and applied in the Scouters unit.
Wood Badge has four specific objectives and as a result of attending Wood Badge, participants will be able to:
First, View Scouting globally, as a family of interrelated, values-based programs that provide age-appropriate activities for youth.
Second. Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in corporate America and leading government organizations that are relevant to our values-based movement.
Third, Apply the skills they learn from their participation as a member of a successful working team.
And finally, Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an overall inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission on an ongoing basis.
So Why Wood Badge? Back when I became a new Scouter helping out with my oldest son’s Pack I was invited to go to Wood Badge. I did not give it too much thought, after all, I was just a Cub Scout Den Leader, why do I need more training? Then I became a Cubmaster, and again, an invitation to Wood Badge was extended. A group of Scouters that were (and still are) super active in the District kept encouraging me to go to Wood Badge. They kept telling me that this “Mountain Top” Scouting experience was something that I really needed to attend. And again, I blew it off thinking that everything was going great in the Pack and I really didn’t need more leadership training. In 2004 I became a Scoutmaster, and again the same group of Scouters encouraged me to get to Wood Badge. I went to a Wood Badge dinner in January of 2005. It was a gathering to recognize Wood Badge participants that had completed their tickets and introduce Wood Badge to prospective participants. My wife and I went and enjoyed the evening. The room was filled with the most enthusiastic Scouters I have ever seen. They were from every corner of the council and represented every level of Scouting. Toward the end of the program a Scouter stood in front of the crowd and asked if “There were any Beavers in the house?” At first I thought he was referring to the Oregon State Beavers.. but what happened next sealed the deal for me. About a dozen Scouters stood up and broke out in song, when they were finished, the whole room (well those Scouters with beads on) stood and sang. They all sat down and about another dozen different Scouters stood and sang a verse about Bobwhites.. and so it went till the whole room was singing. The staffers closed out the song and everyone began hugging and shaking hands and there was nothing but smiles and laughter in the room. I sat there with my wife with a big grin on my face. My wife looked at me and said.. “Well… go sign up.” And that night I registered for the next course.
I participated in WE1-492-1-05 and was placed in the Beaver Patrol. I did have a “Mountain Top” experience and took all I learned back to my Troop. In 2009 I was asked to be on Staff. I had to turn it down because I was over extended as not only the Scoutmaster of my Troop, but the Scoutmaster of a Troop heading to the National Jamboree. In late 2010, I was asked again to be on staff for the 2011 course and I immediately said yes. I served as a Troop guide for W1-492-11 and as I have shared with my fellow Troop guides and the mighty Buffalo Patrol, “I had a great experience when I went to Wood Badge, I fell in love with Wood Badge on staff.” Early this year I was asked again to staff a Wood Badge course. And again, I said yes.
The people who attend Wood Badge and those that staff Wood Badge are the greatest Scouters out there. Their dedication to Scouting and the youth we serve is second to none. Their committment to training and making the Scouting organization better is beyond compare.
So Why Wood Badge? Why Not?
If you have been invited to attend Wood Badge, please consider it. You will not regret it. If you are concerned about time and money. Contact your local Wood Badge staff, ask at your next roundtable, there are ways to get you into the next course. The benefits of Wood Badge outweigh the excuses not to go. You are a dedicated Scouter, I know this, because you waste you time reading my blog. SO if you have not been to Wood Badge.. GO! And you will have a great experience. I promise.
If you are a Wood Badger… What’s your Critter? Leave a comment and share your Wood Badge story.
Have a Great Scouting Day!