What’s life like during, and after, Wood Badge?

After spending a week at Circle Ten’s Wood Badge course at Philmont over the summer, I can tell you this: Wood Badge lives up to the hype.

For new Scouters, it’ll jump-start your Scouting career faster than you can say “Be Prepared.” And the many BSA veterans on my course told me it recharged their Scouting batteries more than they ever dreamed.

For one of my five ticket items, I chronicled the lessons learned at my Wood Badge course (WB 102, held at Philmont Scout Ranch) in a series of posts called Wood Badge Wednesdays.

The five-part series is collected here for your edification and entertainment. I hope you enjoy reading these posts even half as much as I enjoyed reliving the Wood Badge magic.

Well, I gotta go! Back to Gilwell, of course!

Vol. 1: Living the Values

Working at the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, it’s easy to feel a little disconnected from the volunteers who read Scouting magazine. That’s why we encourage and appreciate your feedback about what we do — and how we could do it better.

That’s also why it’s vitally important for us to get out into the field as often as possible.

Spending a week with some of the most caring, centered, and driven Scouters I’ve ever met reminded me why I do what I do.

Meeting these awesome Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing leaders rekindled the fire, helped me drink the Kool-Aid, and did every other cliché you can think of.

Read the full post…

Vol. 2: Bringing the Vision to Life

Let’s just say that my Scouting knowledge was put to the test at the weeklong course. In fact, it was our whole patrol’s BSA proficiency on the line, but I spoke up more than I should’ve.

“I work for the BSA,” I thought to myself. “I got this.”

Turns out I was wrong. Three times in a row. Each time I pressed my luck, all I got was another whammy. From that I learned I have a lot to learn — about the BSA, about myself, and about the right way to receive negative feedback.

In that failure, I realized what the staff meant when they had explained the day before that “feedback is a gift.” The feedback wasn’t positive this time, but I learned that responding with defensiveness — my fallback approach — would only cloud my ability to accept the gift of constructive criticism.

Chalk it up as another way Wood Badge changed me for the better.

Read the full post…

Vol. 3: Models for Success

As anyone who’s watched Survivor can attest, grouping a bunch of people together and giving them a name doesn’t make them an effective team.

No, if you want to morph a collection of individuals into a cohesive group, you’ll need good leadership, willing teammates, and ample time.

That was certainly the case for the Owl patrol at the Wood Badge course I took in August at Philmont.

We arrived as strangers and left as lifelong friends.

I know, I know. I could’ve taken that line right out of a Hallmark card. But Wood Badge veterans know this is true: The course offers a better firsthand lesson in effective team development than anything else out there.

Read the full post…

Vol. 4: Tools of the Trade

In Scouting, as in life, change is inevitable.

You’ve got new merit badges, new locations for campouts, new roles in your unit, new health and safety regulations, and more.

That makes change the only fact of life guaranteed to never change. And these days, both in and out of Scouting, change happens at a faster rate than ever before. Resistance is futile, but how you respond to it is entirely up to you.

Let’s say change is a bucking bull; do you: (A) Jump off and run away, (B) Hold on and try to survive, or (C) Grab the horns and steer. In other words, do you resist change, accept it, or lead it?

At Wood Badge, we learned how and why to try the third approach.

Read the full post…

Vol. 5: Leading to Make a Difference

It’s amazing how quickly a whisper turns into a roar.

Take Wood Badge tickets, for example. Each one leaves a lasting legacy, but 50, 500, or even 5,000? That kind of impact reverberates across the Scouting universe for generations.

At my Wood Badge course in August, 50 Scouters each crafted five tickets. That’s 250 boosts to Scouting in North Texas from our course alone.

Some of you might be wondering: What is a Wood Badge ticket? Well, after the six-day course ends, participants aren’t done. To earn those iconic beads, a Wood Badger must complete five projects, called tickets. The tickets allow Scouters to give back to the program and to “realize their personal vision of their role in Scouting.”

That focus on Leaving a Legacy is a huge part of the spirit of Wood Badge.

Read the full post…

Register for Wood Badge

Contact your council to find a course near you.

Or experience the magic of Wood Badge at Philmont. The next course, WB106 (S2-571-13-3), will be held August 19-24, 2013.

Visit the official course Web site to learn more or visit the Circle 10 Campmaster page to register.

17 thoughts on “What’s life like during, and after, Wood Badge?

  1. Bryan, your series has inspired me to finally after almost 10 years in Scouting to go to Wood Badge. Thank you.

  2. I think Wood Badge is a great experience for adults, especially those who were not heavily involved in Scouting as a youth. I recently just earned my ticket. I’m 20 years old, 3 years of camp staff, NLS trained, Eagle Scout with Silver Palm and current Order of the Arrow Lodge Chief. Wood Badge seems to me like a crash course into Scouting, but i had already done that in my 10+ years in the program. I had taken the course in the council and knew a lot of the staff who were running it. I was even told to step back at times because they knew I could already do it. It took a little away from the experience, but I’m still glad I did it. The ticket items were a good reminder of my Eagle Project and the adults who never earned Eagle thought it was challenging and rewarding. If you didn’t grow up as a Scout or it has been a couple of years I greatly recommend it. If you just went through the Scouting program, a lot will be repeated.

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  6. Grrrrrrrrr — I’m a BEAR–Wood Badge Course SR-884 Camp Hobbs Tukabatchee Area Council, 2008. My twin brother Jim was in SE-54, Camp Borine, Jan./Feb. 1975. He’s a Buffalo!

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  10. One week after I completed Wood Badge, and my two senior boys had just completed Brown Sea Double Two (Youth Leadership Course) . I found out the other leader who was suppose to go to camp with us, would not be going. (This was before two deep leadership was the law) I was the only Adult with 42 boys….! I guess you could call it the “Perfect Storm” We were on the same page right from the start. As soon as we got on the bus, we had our first meeting right then and there. They took notes….
    When we arrived at camp, the staffers came up to me and started giving me information, etc. I told them hold on “I’m not running this outfit” I pointed to my SPL and ASPL and said “they are, you tell them what to do. Where did you say our campsite is”. They pointed, and I headed down the trail.” Everything was still fresh in our heads. It was fantastic! I thought of maybe giving up on Scouting before Wood Badge. Well!!! That was 42 years ago.
    Train them, Trust them, Let them lead.

    • Lenny – great post —there are two especially significant statements that you made –

      ‘ “I’m not running this outfit” I pointed to my SPL and ASPL and said “they are, you tell them what to do. “‘ ,
      one that should be on the wall at every troop meeting
      “Train them, Trust them, Let them lead.” –

      it is amazing what Wood Badge does for you – to have a 65 year-old guy driving back from the end of the Wood Badge course alone in his car singing some of the songs with renewed enthusiasm – My 17-year-old grandson, an Eagle in 2012, will be soon aging out and going to school, yet I cannot see myself getting out of Scouting until 6 people carry me out.

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  14. You can also discover things about yourself that you didn’t know. I found a gift for instructing that I would have not known without Wood Badge. Three years later, at our council’s next class, I earned my third bead. Definitely worth it, and I highly recommend anyone who gets the chance to participate as an instructor to take it. You will learn at a whole new level.

  15. I hope you’re kidding about blogging as a ticket goal. Otherwise congratulations on attending. It can change your life (if you let it).

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