Wood Badge II
Weekend one of Wood Badge was quite an experience. We arrived at Camp Shands early on Friday morning, with no concrete idea of how the weekend was going to shape up. After checking in with the staff, we were formed into Webelos Dens. Webelos is (yes that’s singular and plural) the final rank that a 4th-5th grade boy will go through as a Cub Scout, and this morning there’s 50 grown men and women starting their scouting weekend at that rank. There’s a total of 6 people in my Den including myself, although we did have one leave the course on Sunday. We’re all from the north Florida and we’ve never met before today. We spent the first half of the day in classes and activities preparing us for our “cross over” to Boy Scouts at lunch.
I could go into every detail of the weekend’s activities, but reading about it would probably be quite boring. It was truly one of those things that has to be experienced first hand, so instead I wanted to talk about what I took away from the experience.
Many of the activities were designed to make these small groups of people, who are now called Patrols (I’m in the Bear patrol), into functioning units. We began the process of planning both individual goals and goals for our Patrol. We spent a good deal of our Patrol time planning our second weekend which will be an outdoor experience similar to a Troop campout. The Patrol Method is one of the core methods that Scouting uses to teach the aims of the program.
Patrols are the building blocks of a Boy Scout troop. A patrol is a small group of boys who are similar in age, development, and interests. Working together as a team, patrol members share the responsibility for the patrol’s success. They gain confidence by serving in positions of patrol leadership. All patrol members enjoy the friendship, sense of belonging, and achievements of the patrol and of each of its members. – From http://www.scouting.org
Many of the other activities taught us about effective communication, conflict resolution, diversity and planning. Although I’ve been through several management and leadership courses, the material and activities that were delivered to us this weekend had more effect on me than I’d bargained for. We experienced how a Boy Scout Troop is run from the perspective of the boys who are running it. But that’s not to say that we were treated like 14-year-old boys, the program is tailored to adults.
I came home with a far greater appreciation for the Scouting program as a whole and for the Scouts themselves, and with a head full of goofy songs that I keep whistling out loud. Over the next month, I’ll be meeting with the other members of my patrol to plan out several aspects of our second weekend. Individually, we will be planning what is referred to as our Wood Badge Ticket. The term ticket comes from the necessity for a soldier to carefully plan his final duty stations so that he is close to home when he leaves the service. For us, the ticket is a set of 5 things that we want to accomplish over the next 18 months. The ticket items are designed to improve yourself, your Scout unit, your Scouting district and to leverage diversity in the program.
I’m excited about our second weekend, and can’t wait to continue building on what we’ve started.