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Showing posts with label Wood Badge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wood Badge. 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 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!!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Update to My New Adventure

Previously I shared about having an Etsy shop for some adventure-inspired and Wood Badge-inspired creations. I've moved to a new location through Shopify, and have expanded the selection a little bit, with more new things coming soon (some in production and others just needing to be photographed and uploaded).


Currently, there are two primary collections of goodies - FOR YOUR HOME and MEMORIES OF GILWELL, each with subcategories such as:

  • Coasters to Protect Your Surfaces
  • Ornaments for Your Tree
  • Pillow Shams to Dress Up Your Space
  • Magnets for Your Fridge
  • Adventure (or Gilwell) Inspired Watercolors
  • with more things to come soon


I invite you to take a look by clicking the image below. You might find something you like for yourself, or for someone else special in your life.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

New Adventure Based on My Love of Travel!

As most of you know, during the past decade I have enjoyed sending guests all over the world as a travel agency owner. With the current pandemic and the lack of travel happening, I've gone through 10 years of adventures and have created some fun travel-inspired coasters from images I took (mostly) or from postcards I collected while on the assorted adventures (a few, but mostly my own photography though). I have more adventures and destinations not yet represented, but you have to start somewhere, right? A sampling of the images is displayed below. (I've also coupled these with my love for Wood Badge, and have a few Wood Badge-inspired items as well.)

I've sold a few sets by word of mouth, but have now taken them online have my own little shop. You might have a favorite destination that you enjoyed and would like to bring into your home, or you might find inspiration for a gift for a loved one, or inspiration to plan your next adventure. Either way, I'd love it if you take a look, and if you feel so inclined, to shop small and support our small business in this way.
Thanks for looking, and if you do purchase anything, our family will be very grateful.

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.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Legos & Cookies

Adventures with Legos and cookies today. My awesome staff gave me the Disneyland Main Street Station at the conclusion of our Wood Badge course in September and I finally opened up the packaging to begin this afternoon. I got the engine built for the train today and will build the rest over the next week. I also got the second batch of my favorite Norwegian Christmas cookies made today (the last kind of several types I make). I've been making them for 28 years now since my grandmother died, and have been excited to see Matthew learn how to make a couple of the different varieties this year. Traditions can be cool, especially when they get passed on to the next generation.

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.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lack of Sleep

I'm running on just about 5 hours sleep in the past 3 days.  And no it's not for want of sleep, but rather for there really aren't enough hours in the day! Why is that you wonder?  I'll tell you...  Wood Badge.  I am on staff for a Wood Badge training course, and we have just been going pretty much non-stop since I first arrived here in camp on Friday.  

I went through the Wood Badge course myself as a participant back in 2010, and this year I'm back and on staff as a Troop Guide.  Wood Badge is a leadership training course for adults within the Boy Scouts.  It is the highest level of adult training there is, and has been emulated by many organizations including the U.S. military.  It was an honor and a privilege to serve on this staff with 19 other very esteemed and qualified individuals.  Some who have been on staff of other courses, and others who, like me, this is their first time on staff.  

The energy level is high, both from staff and participants.  There are 49 participants, all eager to complete this the first weekend of the course, and to return back to Gilwell in 4 more weeks when we'll gather again for weekend 2.  Back to where?!?  Back to Gilwell.  Gilwell is in reference to the location of the original Wood Badge training course in 1919 when Lord Robert Baden-Powell first set out to instruct adults on how to be better leaders.  It was held at Gilwell Park near London, England, and since then, is the "tie that binds" all courses together.  Every course held around the world symbolically takes place  at "Gilwell" in honor of BP's vision for what the course is and should be.  

Since that very first course, more than one million participants have gone through the course, but only about 10% worldwide have actually completed it.  Doesn't sound like a very good percentage I know, but given what the course requires of each individual participant, in both time and commitment, it is actually a very good percentage.  Each participant must complete both halves of the two-weekend practical the course - followed by the completion of a "ticket", which is a set of 5 S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based), that must be completed within 18 months from the end of the 2nd weekend.  Similar to a youth in the Scouting program going for the rank of Eagle, who must complete it before his 18th birthday.  Many attempt it, few achieve it.  

The weekend, for me, began Friday morning, and it's been pretty much non-stop since I arrived in camp.  The participants are excited to be here, and I've been excited to be working with the 5 men and 1 woman in the patrol that I am guiding and mentoring through the course.  I'm tired - exhausted in all honesty - but so happy to be on this staff.  When I was young I never even considered being a teacher as a profession but in the 1990's I enjoyed being a corporate trainer back when I worked for a large international company, but never really enjoyed the large classroom-setting sessions that I taught.  But this course, and each of the other classes that I have taught within Scouts, has really been a terrific experience.  I certainly have a large respect for those men and women who dedicate their lives to educating.  Even in this short weekend, I have a much better appreciation for those who teach whose working day doesn't end just because the bell rings, but rather just continues as there are papers to read or grade, lessons to plan, and on and on and on.  For us it is similar, except there aren't papers to grade... the participants are released to their free time, and we keep going well into the night.  Tiring yes, but oh so worth it.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Busy Week!

Another busy week has just passed by, and here we are, facing a new very full week.  So full, that I wasn’t even able to get to writing this until late Monday night… usually I write it over the weekend to post Monday morning. 

I spent my weekend in the woods at a Scouting event.  Specifically a Firecrafter event.  Firecrafter is a Fraternal Honor organization within the state of Indiana for the Boy Scouts.  It’s a really neat organization that I’ve been a part of for the past two years, and I always enjoy going to the different events.  The high ideals of the organization (friendship, leadership and service) all come into play in so many different ways throughout the weekend event.  The activities are fun, the hours are long, the memories are lasting.  I never get much sleep on these outings, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Needless to say, when I got home late Sunday afternoon, my mind was not on writing something for stopher’s stuff, especially since I wanted to watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics!  Now that that’s completed, I can’t wait for the winter games in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.   

Next weekend will be another Scouting event, although that one will take up not just Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but also Monday.  It will be filled with Wood Badge training – the highest level of training an adult can get within the Boy Scouts - though I’m not going to receive training, rather to help provide the training.  I’m on staff.  I completed my own course in Wood Badge in 2010, and completed my ticket (or project) in early 2011.  It was an honor to be asked to be a member of the staff, and I’m looking forward to seeing it “from the other side” this time around.  Watching the participants as they arrive, and then working with a group of them throughout the two different weekend events and all that they need to do to complete their ticket, is something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  I love teaching and mentoring people, and this is a great way to give of my talents and time. 

So here we are once again looking at the start of school.  My kids are both excited and not-so-excited about it beginning once again. However moving back into the regular routine that the school schedule brings will be nice for all of us.  It was strange to my wife and I when we first came to Indiana for school to begin in the middle of August, but we’re very much used to it now.  Growing up in Southern California, our schools didn’t begin until early September – either the day or two after Labor Day, or even the week following Labor Day – so yes, mid-August was a bit strange at first. 

All in all, extremely busy weeks of late.  Here are just a couple of things that I wanted to share from the goings-on in the Disneysphere.   Old news to the various blogs and websites, but I’ll mention them anyway. 

Construction on Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire area is progressing nicely.  This new area replaces the long-standing (since 1956) Carnation Plaza Gardens.  Personally it was a sad day when the closure was announced (that’s where I got my start at Disneyland).  But the concept models, shown here, look really nice.  It will be strange seeing a bit of Fantasyland OUTSIDE the castle by the hub, but at least the imagineers have done a really nice job with the theming.  This new princess meet & greet area will no doubt be popular when it opens in early 2013. 

Construction on the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland is definitely progressing well.  The Grand Opening date of December 6th was set, which will officially debut the new attraction Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid; new restaurants Be Our Guest and Gaston's Tavern; new shop Bonjour! Village Gifts, and meet and greet locations Enchanted Tales with Belle and Ariel’s Grotto.   Add all of these to the already open Storybook Circus water-play area and the twin Dumbo the Flying Elephant spinners, and the soon to open Pete’s Circus meet and greet area, and you can see there are some very exciting things going on at Walt Disney World.  The final new attraction in the New Fantasyland project Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open in 2013, and with the new princess meet and greet area inside the now removed Snow White's Scary Adventures building will complete the massive undertaking of New Fantasyland.  

Alright, that’s about it for now.  As Mickey likes to say, see ya real soon!

Until next time,