Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts

Friday, April 2, 2021

End of an Era

After more than a Decade, My Wood Badge Adventure Comes to an End

A couple of years back, in 2019, I shared how I was named the Course Director for a special training program within Scouting. I’ve been an adult leader in Scouting since 2005 and went through the training program myself as a participant in 2010. That program coupled together with Scouting in general, along with numerous roles that I’ve had within the movement has definitely helped me break out of my shell more than anything I’ve ever done in my life, and has served me well as a business owner, too. For the extremely shy little boy in preschool who would hide under the table, many who knew me then wouldn’t recognize who I’ve become, pretty much thanks to Scouting. I’m still introverted, yes, but absolutely know how to “turn it on” and become an outgoing “quasi-extrovert” when I need to be...so much so that several people in Scouting have been shocked to learn that I really am an introvert and nowhere as outgoing as I portray in those settings.

After several times of being on staff, in 2017 I was asked and given the opportunity to serve in the backup role for 2018 and then for 2019 as the Course Director for the Fall Wood Badge course in my Scouting council. For my friends and family who have never been part of Scouting or perhaps have but have never been through the course, Wood Badge is the highest level of adult leadership training available. The course’s roots go back over 100 years to 1919 when the founder of Scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powel determined that youth need adult leaders to be trained to better help mentor and guide them in their journey. The course has gone on through time to be the premier training course in Scouting the world over, with it taking place in each country where Scouting can be found.

The course I led was scheduled during the actual 100th anniversary of the program, with our 2nd day taking place on what was the 1st day of that original course in England back in 1919, which was a thrill to be leading a true Centennial course, and not just one during the 100th anniversary year.

The course itself is a highly respected program that many industries and employers, including the military, often emulate, but ours is much more interactive, engaging, and fun as we move throughout the course timeline between indoor and outdoor activities. The session that I would oversee was a 6-day development program filled with classroom-style, small group breakouts, and plenty of outdoor situations where our participants would immerse themselves in topics such as “Living the Values”, “Bringing the Vision to Life”, “Models for Success”, “Tools of the Trade”, and “Leading to Make a Difference”. Each of the assorted modules that make up these central themes are so much more than just Scouting related – we teach and impart LEADERSHIP, in a Scouting setting drawing the history and tradition of the movement, but the skills taught and received transcend Scouting and are very applicable in their jobs, homes, families, and other volunteer settings they are involved with. (All of these skills have made me a better business person through the years, so I'm grateful professionally for the experience as well!)

When asked to serve as a Course Director you are given one opportunity to make it successful. No less than 30 days prior to the start of the course you must achieve a minimum attendance of 30 participants, with a maximum of 48 unless by necessity you are granted an extension waiver for 56. The staff rallied to the full course goal that I had set, and by golly, we sold out the course needing that extension waiver. It was granted and we sold out again…with a waiting list! That was so exciting. But as things always happen, we had some cancelations prior to the start, but thanks to that waiting list, we still ended up having a full course by Day 1. 48 participants.


During the course itself, we’re actively together for 6-days over two 3-day weekends, and then at the end of the 6 days, we send the participants away back into the world, with “homework”. They have to create a “Ticket” of 5 Goals that they write during the 6-days and then are given 18 months to complete those goals. As with anything in life, some are quicker than others, but in the end, our goal was for all of them to complete what they started in writing those goals. Over the 18 months which just ended a few days ago, some made some slight revisions to their goals due to covid realities, and some revised a goal or two entirely as their situation in Scouting evolved from when they were on course. But at the end of the 18-months, these amazing individuals gave me an incredible gift, in that ALL 48 of them successfully completed their Tickets.

Much like the rank of Eagle for the youth in the Scouting program, adults who participate in Wood Badge don’t always complete. For the youth, there’s something like 8% of the youth who actually achieve the rank of Eagle. For the adults in Wood Badge, it’s a comparable number but probably less as once they leave the “safety” of the course environment…life gets back in the way and often hits hard. Time management can be a detriment for many participants as they often put off the necessary work to get their goals accomplished. Sometimes their life situation faces upheaval through death in the family, divorce, job loss, or other things. Sometimes people’s priorities change and they just don’t see the need or benefit of finishing.


To have a course full of 48 participants that achieved 100% Ticket completion feels really good. I’m very proud of all of the time and dedication that the entire staff put into making this an experience that each participant wanted to be successful at. It is a joy now that I am on the “other side” of this course to know that every single one of them succeeded in their goal quest, which will serve as a wonderful foundation for their future adventures in Scouting and beyond. What they have done through their goals will have a ripple effect, benefitting generations of youth yet to come.

Well done, ADVENTURERS! I’m so proud of all 64 participants and staff alike!!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

An Adventure I Will NEVER Forget

One of the proudest moments in my 40's came last year as I was officially awarded my Course Director beads and woggle in front of family and dear friends, and then got to have the extreme pleasure of serving together with an incredible staff to bring the 100th Anniversary Wood Badge leadership training course to our Council in 2019. We had a full, sold-out course, and over half of our participants so far have completed their homework, working their Tickets successfully...and the rest are well on their way to completion. They have 6 more months of working time, so nearly half of my 50th year will still be part of Wood Badge. If there was a way to continue on that journey, I'd love to do it, but once Course Director, my time is done.

It was a WONDERFUL experience going from a participant at 39, through all the years of staffing, and then serving as Course Director from 48-50. Wood Badge was a big part of my life throughout the entire decade of my 40's. Looking back, making the decision to attend that course back in 2010 was the best choice I could have made, and what an honor it was to be able to serve so many participants through the years under excellent mentoring and tutelage from 8 fine Course Directors before me. It was such a thrill to have all of them participate in some way at our celebratory dinner, in the course itself, and in supporting ways along the way, as well as with a couple of other great former Course Directors who helped us out in the kitchen! What a blessing it was to me to be part of it all and to be able to lead an exemplary staff. It truly was an ADVENTURE that I will never forget.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wood Badge Means So Much To Me

I have been so blessed and honored to serve on the staff for the fall Wood Badge courses here in the Crossroads of America Council for each of the past 5 years. This past weekend wrapped up the second of the two weekends, and like every single course before, was bittersweet to come to the end of the practical part of the course as our participants move on to work on their individual Ticket goals. Like every year it was long, tiring, and at times difficult to press on type of volunteer work... but at the same time it was oh-so-sweet and rewarding. Seeing so many a-ha moments in the eyes and faces of our participants; so many people going from insecurity to confidence; from "I'm not sure about this" to "I got this". It was fabulous in so, so many ways. I look forward to watching each of our participants work to complete their Tickets and earn their beads and cheering them on over the next up to 18 months.
Leadership lessons in a fun setting, filled with great people all along the way. As the course photographer (among other roles), I just wasn't in very many of the pictures taken, but here are just a few moments with some very special guys and gals that I was privileged to serve with on this amazing course, C6-160-16-2. For all of my Central Indiana Scouting friends who have not yet experienced a Wood Badge course - I highly recommend you register for one of the courses in 2017 - you will absolutely not regret it. #leadershiplessonsforlife #BSA #WoodBadge #ScoutNation #BacktoGilwell It's been a fun, fun ride.