I just walked in the door from another fantastic Wood badge course. W1-492-13 is now in its application phase and as the participants walked out of camp yesterday I could not help but think about the impact that was about to hit the Scouting world.
53 Scouters took labored steps toward their cars yesterday heading back out into the Scouting world with a new set of tools, a renewed spirit in Scouting and new friendships made.
As the staff gathered to have a final staff meeting the comment was made that like a pebble thrown into a pond causing ripples, we have cast our pebbles into the pond of Scouting and the impact will be endless. Those 53 Scouters will make such a difference within their units, districts, and even the Council. Touching the lives or more Scouts and other Scouters than any single leader can. When we talk about making a difference, I believe that Scouters that have the Wood Badge experience make a the biggest splash!
I love Wood Badge and each time I participate, I learn more. Wood Badge compels me to take seriously the concept of life long learning. This was my second time on staff, and I hope not the last. The first time I staffed Wood Badge, I learned more than I think I learned as a participant. In fact, diving into the syllabus I know that I learned the material which allowed me to make a difference as a Troop Guide. This time I served the Wood Badge course as the Assistant Scoutmaster for Support and Physical Arrangements. Part of the Administrative staff I got to see “the other side” of Wood Badge. I got to see the nuts and bolts that it takes to hold a Wood Badge course together. And I must say that while the troop guides make a hands on impact on the learner, the admin staff set the enviroment for good learning. They coordinate speakers, materials, and facilities and most of all are the guardians of maintaining the standards of the Wood Badge course. Ensuring that the syllabus is followed and the learners have the best opportunity to succeed.
Ok, that’s all logical and expected. It was a great experience to be on the staff in this position.
Here is what I saw that has made a lasting impact on me. Yeah.. on me.
Our Course Director/ Scoutmaster is John Caputo, he is a Scouters Scouter. He is humble and knowledgeable. He is compassionate and strict, he is a great teacher.
Spending the the last 6 months on his staff was special. John’s greatest lesson was passion. John is passionate about Scouting, but more specifically, his passion lies in training. He has been a Trainer in Scouting for “a few years”. His knowledge and commitment to dropping rocks in the pond is not just visible, it’s contagious. I left the Wood Badge staff in 2011 with a renewed committment to my Scouts and the Scouting world as well as being a better father, husband, and friend. I left this years staff with a renewed passion for training, for making my troops leaders better, and with the first draft of my next ticket. A ticket the will focus on my wife.
This is the impact of Wood Badge and I love it. It is such a special part of my life and I am happy.
Have you found passion in your Scouting world?
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Bare with me while I try to collect my thoughts and try to share them in a coherent way…
We just wrapped up the first session of Wood Badge course W1-492-13 and as is the case in or of the Wood Badge experience, there are plenty of opportunities to do some reflection and looking inward at the person that you are.
Learning leadership is just part of the Wood Badge experience and can’t really be placed into action until the leader has made internal commitments to be a better person. Thank goodness we in Scouting have this wonderful set of values that we find in the Scout Law. Assessment tools that are learned and practiced in our quest to find knowledge and self-realization of our strengths and weakness’.
What I am saying is that once again, I have had an opportunity to reflect and take that critical look inside. Couple that with the rest of the fun of Wood Badge and we are on that emotional roller coaster that comes with the experience.
What I am always amazed about is the people. The 53 Scouters that paid, took time off, drove out to the coast, and make the choice to attend Wood Badge are dedicated Scouters in their respective programs. They are enthusiastic about learning how to be better Scouters, husbands and wives, Fathers, Mothers, and employees or employers. The Wood Badge program makes all of those aspects of our lives better.
The amazing part is the dedication that they demonstrate. They are great people.
Last night when I got home the news was filled with the Boston Marathon bombing. Thank God that the damage was relatively small. I am not going to rant and rave about the scum bags that would do something like this. You all know how I feel. Here is what I saw when watching the never-ending coverage. The reactions of the people. You see as the first bomb exploded we saw three groups of people. The first group was those that were injured. The second group was those that ran away from the danger. And the third group were the people who ran to the explosion. What makes people do this?
I saw this over and over again in my Southwest Asian vacation in Iraq. When the shots starts soldiers face the fire and move toward the danger. Yesterday, we saw runners, members of the National Guard, First responders, all heading to the danger. They selflessly give, forgoing their own safety and comfort. They put other people ahead of themselves. They are living the values that we promise in the Oath and Law.
I am proud of these people and thank them.
Now this is going to sound like a stretch… but it is how I feel, so please bare with me here.
I have served on two Wood Badge course’s now as a staff member. The number one thing that I have learned on those two staff’s is that there are terrific people who care so much about Scouting and Scouts that they give and give and yes.. run to the sound of the drum. They are like the first responder that runs to danger. They are dedicated and motivated to help. They take the Oath and Law and apply it in their daily lives and it makes a difference.
Our Course Director is a Scouter that I have looked up to for many years. He has a love for Scouting that shows in everything he does. His passion is contagious. On Thursday night at our staff dinner, he shared something with us just hours before the participants arrived. He shared with us that it had been a long time since he served as a Scoutmaster in a unit. For many years now he has been serving at the District and Council level primarily in a training capacity. We all agree that where the runner meets the road is at the unit level where Scouters and Scouts interact and we teach, train, coach and mentor our youth to achieve the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. John, our Course Director shared this with us. While he has not served at the unit level in a long time do the math on the impact that we make as Staffers at Wood badge. 53 participants, mostly from Packs, Troops, and Crews will be learning from us. By myself I can only impact say 40 boys that are in my unit. Over 10 years or so, I may have a direct impact on a couple hundred Scouts. Imagine though the impact of a Wood Badge staffer. 53 participants will go back to their units and apply what we teach them. Lets go low and say that each of those 53 have 25 Scouts in their unit. That is about average. Over the next 10 years this one Wood Badge class will impact thousands of Scouts. That is far more reaching than I can do myself. Over the next few years, these Scouters will run toward the target… they will run toward the Scouts that need help, coaching, and mentoring. They will put hours upon hours into making Scouting and Scouts better. They will dedicate time, money, energy, and love to our program. This makes me proud to a part of it.
John inspired me to give my best when it was my turn to present course material, lead a song, and participate in a skit. He made me want to give so that others would follow my lead. John runs to the help needed as a trainer. Most of all, he made Scouting better by leading us.
A lot is going on in our world. We need Scouting and we need Scout leaders that run to the boys!
Thank you all that do what you do to make our world just that much better.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
I attended Wood Badge in 2005. I was in my 2nd year as a Scoutmaster and the troop was growing. I had a real strong group of Scouting friends that all encouraged me to get to Wood Badge as soon as possible. These friends of mine were all Wood Badge recipients and what I would call “movers and shakers” in our District. They all were (and are) active participants in their units as well as taking on additional commitments within the District and Council. They are Scouters Scouters. So when the encouragement led to the annual Wood Badge dinner that year, I had to go and see what this was all about.
My wife and I went to the Wood Badge dinner. It was a function where they presented an overview of Wood badge and concluded with a massive beading ceremony. The air was thick with Scouting and I loved it. The people were enthusiastic, friendly, and super active. Needless to say, I was impressed. I told my wife that I think I wanted to go to Wood Badge.. and then they got me. They started the Wood Badge song.
So I went to Wood Badge. WE1-492-1-05 and was fortunate enough to be a Beaver. And a Good ‘ol Beaver too…
We showed up to Camp Clarke on the Oregon coast for our first weekend and I met my patrol mates. We had a Cubmaster, a Committee Chair, an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Sea Scout Skipper, and me. We were supposed to have a 6th member of the patrol, but the other guy did not show up. Either way, the Beavers of our class became a high performance team rather quickly and we became close. I think that if you measure high performance in laughter then we blew the measurement off the chart. We had a great time, learned a lot together, and created a bond of Scouters that to this day maintain an enthusiastic attitude towards Scouting and our units.
Since I attended the course I have been a huge cheerleader for Wood Badge. I promote Wood Badge every chance I get and proudly boast the benefits of attending the course. I now have become one of those friends that encourage Scouters to get to Wood Badge. All of the Assistant Scoutmasters in my Troop are Wood Badgers. All of them.
Going to Wood Badge was a life changing experience for me and then in 2010 I was asked to be on the Staff for the 2011 course. I immediately jumped at the chance to staff and I am glad that I did. As much as I liked the Wood Badge course as a participant, I fell in love with Wood Badge as a member of staff. Maybe it was because on staff I actually learned the material in order to teach it. Maybe it was the increased depth of knowledge in really understanding the flow and progression of the course, something that, hind sight being what it is, I seemed to have missed when I was on course. Maybe it was my fellow staff members, the Troop Guides that I got to become friends with and develop those strong bonds with. The rest of the staff that had been there before that really made the experience a wonderful one. I think as long as I live our staff night or “Night 5″ experience is a moment in time that I will cherish for ever.
I was asked a few weeks ago to once again staff a Wood Badge course, not as a Troop Guide this time, but as a member of the Admin staff. What do you suppose the answer was…
So what is the Wood Badge Difference?
As I see it the Wood Badge difference is dedication.
Every Wood badger that I have ever met is dedicated to Scouting. Wood Badge is a direct link to Baden Powell’s training of Scoutmaster’s. I think that this link establishes a Scouting bond in the participant that is lasting. Kind of like being handed down a piece of Scouting history as well as training that not only promotes the original purposes of the Scouting movement, but also current methods to achieve those aims.
Everyone that I have ever met that attended Wood Badge is dedicated to Scouting in one way or the other. Whether they are currently active in Scouting or a Scouting Alumni, the Wood Badge experience is in their heart and they continue to support Scouting. The values, traditions, and impact that Scouting has on our world can be seen in Wood Badgers.
Since I attended Wood Badge I have been able to participate in some cool Wood Badge activities. At the National Meetings in San Diego, I attended a Wood Badge reception. At the reception they held a Beading ceremony for those that attended the course at the Sea Base. It was cool because at the end of the reception and beading ceremony with 100′s of people in the room they started the Wood Badge song. I jumped right up and joined fellow Beavers from around our Scouting world in singing the song. When I looked around the room I saw Scouters that were dedicated to Scouting. They were at the National Meetings of the BSA and they were Wood Badgers.
Last week I attended a meeting for the up coming Program and Training Conference.. used to be Pow Wow or Scouting University.. now it’s all combined to a Super Saturday of training and classes on every subject that Scouting has to offer. The common thread.. the instructors. Wood Badgers. They are all dedicated to making Scouting better, not just in their units, but helping other Scouters make their programs better, offer training to make the Scouter better and make Scouting better. As I sat in the meeting the other night I looked around the room. Beads hanging from a leather thong around every Scouters neck in the room.
The Wood Badge difference is example after example of Wood Badgers that make Scouting what it is. It does not take but a few minutes at your next Round table to see the Wood badge difference. Look at the Scouters that make an impact in their units, in their Districts and of course at the Council level. This dedication to making Scouting better, stronger, and more relevant in our world today is because of Wood Badgers. Understanding that link to today’s Scouter and Baden-Powell. Promoting our mission and dedicated to achieving the aims of Scouting to make the world a better place.. one Scout at a time.
It’s that time of the year where many Wood badgers are being presented their beads. Attending these beading ceremonies reinforces this idea of dedicated leaders. As you watch the Wood Badger with his or her unit, among their friends and families and see the interaction with their Scouts it does not take long to see how dedicated they are to making Scouting the very best it can be for these young men in our program. To see them with their new beads around their necks, sporting the Wood Badge regalia they have become a part of the dedicated link that has lasted since the first Wood badge course in 1912. That is the Wood Badge difference and it will continue to be the difference for ever.
If you have been to Wood Badge… Thank you. If you have not been yet.. go. Make a difference.
Have a Great Scouting Day!