My Wood Badge course

Jayclimber

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#1
I just finished the 1st half of my Wood Badge course! So first, a brief history of Wood Badge!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Badge

The quick version is that after WWI, Lord Baden Powell (the creator of the Scouting movement) saw a need to train a new generation of leaders for the British military and created Wood Badge! Great Britain suffered heavy losses to its adult male population fighting in the war that he saw a need for a new training program for those without prior leadership training to show them (through a combination of historical knowledge, classroom training, and first hand applications in the field) how to properly and successfully lead others. At the same time Scouting had become so successfully that it was also used in the program to train adult leaders for young boys!

All the symbols used throughout the program are related to Baden Powell's experiences in the military from campaigns through African and India.


My reasons for taking the course were to challenge myself in my leadership role within my own family, to build upon my Scouting experience and improve the way I'm able to teach and pass along my knowledge and skills to my boys, and to help be better understand working within a patrol or squad size element to more effectively plan, communicate and carry out projects...

Here is my initial (late night thoughts) on my course!

 

Jayclimber

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#5
So I head out for the second half of the course this Friday morning thru Sunday evening. This is the "outdoor experience" part of the course.

A few things of note... My "Patrol" had some projects to work on before this coming weekend and required getting together twice in the last 10 days to meet for planning. Tonight was the second of these meetings and it allowed us to tie up loose ends for the weekend. So far the differences between the 5 of us in our patrol couldn't be more different. I'm a down to business, take charge kind of person, we have one who likes to wander off topic right away, a young guy who is full of energy and super excited, one who is bogged down by personal issues and is really unsure of themselves, and the fifth is quiet with a level head who always chimes in last with a solid thought process and she has a way of having information on things that no one else does.. She and I get along really well and the young energetic guy is ready and willing to do whatever we throw out to be done. So the group dynamics is interesting. But they group us this way so we get challenged with these group dynamics.

Tonight we laid out a full responsibility list for our patrol for the weekend including flag ceremonies, religious service, meals, cleanup, patrol liaison for communicating with other patrols, quartermaster for securing supplies, patrol leader and asst patrol leader, and so on and so forth. Right away I was chosen for Patrol leader and the gal who thinks like me is the Assistant. The young, energetic guy is our go to for a liaison between patrols and for ceremonies. Cooking is being handles by the guy who wanders off topic but he is a Navy vet who takes direction and can run with it. Plus he likes to cook so it's kinda a natural fit. Folks kinda naturally named who they trusted in these positions and it was interesting to see how quickly it transpired.

The programming for the weekend is being kept hush-hush and I think it's to keep us guessing so mentally there are a lot of unknowns. So this plays on your group planning and being able to roll with what comes up and I think that's an important trait to have in a group. Even the best laid out plans can change at a moment's notice so you need to be able to adapt to the changes. This weekend will be a big test of that.

So anyways, just an update on the coming weekend of the leadership course. So far, the biggest takeaways are thorough planning, information, and communication. They all go together.
 
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Jayclimber

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#9
Rocked today's first field exercises! Was actually told to switch my patrol leader position with someone else in our group because the first two scenarios went "too well" and the instructors commented "we can tell you done this before, switch out so other don't look so bad" lol... Had one ask why we did so well and my patrol quickly said "because we trust in each other"!

Also got all my ticket items approved for my projects on the first submission effort! That's was a big relief.

We did a flag retiring ceremony this evening and it was incredibly touching! Quite a few wet eyes in the group!
 

Jayclimber

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#14

Jayclimber

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#16
And you eat like kings as well!
If I didn’t know better I might think LV was lurking and feeding you on the sly.
Lol... I did summon my inner LV when planning out meals for the weekend!

Friday lunch:
-Flat bread with venison trail bologna and cheese with chips
Friday dinner:
-Chicken Alfredo with bacon on top of linguine with garlic bread (we finished 3rd out of 8 in our cooking competition with this meal)
Saturday Breakfast:
-Egg, ham, and bacon English muffin sandwiches w/bourbon flavored coffee
Saturday lunch:
-charcuterie board with venison trail bologna, uncurered peppered salami, chorizo trail sausage with sharp cheddar and swiss cheeses with misc crackers
Saturday dinner:
-pan seared venison beef tips, battered and fried lake Erie walleye with left over cheeses and crackers with peach cobbler for dessert.
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Sunday Breakfast:
-oatmeal and fruit with bourbon flavored coffee

The cooking and eating were nice in a backcountry setting.
 

Jayclimber

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#17
So where to begin with this...

Let me start by saying that when I signed up for this course I was honestly expecting something a little different and at the end of the first 3 days I was excited but a little let down on the content. It felt too slow and detached from the "leadership" training I was looking and hoping for. But it all came together on the final morning and I had that moment where, for me at least, that it all hit me like a ton of bricks! We had a discussion on "Servant Leadership" and the importance of dedicating yourself to a noble cause more important than oneself (Scouts, family, faith, Country, etc) and the magnitude of rising to the occasion to do what you believe in. It was a powerful presentation done in a little log Chapel in the woods and I was overcome with emotions. The guy behind me (one of the instructors) leaned over and said to me "you think this is something, wait a few hours, it gets better". And he was right!

I realized during the final day the importance of the role I play in raising and reaching my Scouts AND the role in going to play in recruiting and training new leaders. This is my course to follow. My final project (ticket) that I have 18 months to complete is all about creating a sustainable leadership program for new leaders to help bring back the traditional values and lost skills in scouting. This project is of my choosing and I'm going to design it, implement it, and hopefully use it to change the tide of things at this level. This is how I'm going to fight the battle!

There were many things I took so much from but I also saw how the left is infiltrating scouting with their ideas and the trend it is starting. I saw it thru presentations and discussions and its scary how deep it has gotten. But I take this (as did many others on the course) as a valuable source of information to use to our advantage. More on this later though!

I did alot of networking with several guys there, lots of veterans, and several good ole boys! The Vets in the course were outstanding! Several Marines, couple Navy guys, a few Army vets, and a handful from the Air Force and Coast Guard. They were all great and I found us hanging out in the evening's in some solid discussions (similar to many we have here)!

Some final pictures from the weekend!

Flag burning ceremony of retired flags flown at US bases from around the world. This was incredibly moving.
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Last night out and I challenged the guys in my patrol to sleep under the stars. They did it. Plus I wanted to try out my Plash Palatka as a makeshift bivy with a poncho liner tied to one side of it. Total win for the setup!
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The entire group of instructors and participants! Can you spot me? Hint, I'm near the back row.
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Myself and my fellow den leader for my Scouts! He and I have been friends for over 35 years! He's the one who recruited me for the course (fellow MM too)! He took this course 2 years ago and was one of the instructors this year.
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I wish I had more pictures to share but I just never had many chances for good pictures or to try and chronicle alot of it.

In closing, at the end of the day I got more out of the course than I had planned on and probably got more from it than most of the other participants! I was the recipient of the course's "silver acorn" award! The instructors give it on the final day to the participant who they thought best exemplified leadership through examples set and heart. I kinda cried... Maybe... Just a little... :unsure:

Anyways, thanks for letting me share my experience with you fine folks!
 

240Geezer

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#19
Thanks for sharing Jay. Looks like you had a great experience.
I’ve taken to bringing my worn out flags to the VFW drop box. I used to give them a Viking funeral but I can’t really burn them and give them the proper respect at the same time.