This summer, it’s ‘Back to Gilwell’ for me

wood-badge-beads“Would you like to serve on Wood Badge staff?”

It was one of the easiest questions I’ve ever been asked.

It sounds sentimental, but the truth is I had never really left Wood Badge, at least in my mind. That made saying “yes” to Debbie Sullivan, course director for the upcoming Wood Badge course this August at Philmont, more of an involuntary reaction than anything else.

I’ll be a troop guide, which means I’ll work directly with a patrol of six or seven Scouters as I guide them through their Wood Badge journey. It’ll be a journey for me, too, as I get a new perspective on the course and see what happens behind the scenes to ensure a life-changing experience for participants.

We tell our Scouts that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and I’m betting that theory applies to Scouters, as well.

Anyone from any council can attend Wood Badge this summer at Philmont, and spots are still available. More information below, but first I wanted to catch you up on my Wood Badge journey. 

Three down, two to go

It’s been 16 weeks since my last installment of Wood Badge Wednesdays, the five-part look back at one of the best weeks of my Scouting career. And six months have passed since I left the Tooth of Time in my rear-view mirror, so it would be natural for some of that Wood Badge magic to evaporate. To counter that, I often flip through my handwritten notes from the course or glance at the patrol totem pinned to my office bulletin board.

I imagine some Wood Badgers reading this are many years removed from their course, and I’d love them to share some ways they keep the magic alive year after year. Please use the comments below to share your techniques.

Over the past six months, I’ve finished three of my five ticket items. The fourth, “teach Journalism merit badge,” is happening this Sunday. I’m looking forward to blending two of my passions — journalism and Scouting — into a class I’m teaching for the first time. My fifth ticket item, “attend a writing conference,” will be completed this April.

That means I’ll have my beads just in time for Debbie’s course this summer. Speaking of …

Wood Badge 106

WB106-logoOn Saturday I attended my first staff development course for Wood Badge S2-571-13-3, known within Circle Ten Council as Wood Badge 106.

I was the least-experienced Scouter in the room, so this was a humbling experience. But what I lack in experience as a volunteer I hope to make up for in effort. I’m anticipating a challenging but rewarding experience.

I’d love for you to be there with us. This Wood Badge course is the only 2013 course held at Philmont Scout Ranch. In 2014 and beyond, other councils within a day’s drive of Philmont will begin offering Wood Badge there, I’m told.

Wood Badge is a magical experience, and Philmont is a magical place. The two combined? I think you get the picture.

The course, held August 19 to 24 at Philmont, is open to any Scouter from any council. At the course last summer, for example, we had participants and staffers from Florida, Colorado, California, and West Virginia.

Learn more about the course and sign up at the Wood Badge 106 website. If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll answer it. Or contact our course director, Debbie Sullivan, by clicking here.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.