I spent the last 3 days at Fire Mountain Scout Camp near Mt. Vernon, Washington doing advanced Boy Scouts leadership training in a program called Wood Badge. 35 adult Scout leaders from Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturing Scouts were all divided into patrols (Woo Fox Patrol!) and given many challenges and lectures to increase our leadership skills and give us ideas on how to make Scouting even better.
We started off day one joining the Cub Scouts. We played Cub Scout games and our Den Leaders directed everything we did. Eventually we graduated to Boy Scouts and our den became a patrol. Our Den Leader became our Troop Guide. He acted as our advisor and taught several sections of the course. As a patrol we elected a patrol leader, scribe, chaplain's aide, and assistant patrol leader and we rotated through the roles. As the weekend went on our Troop Guide pulled back in increments until the patrol was pretty much doing its own thing while he sat back and nudged us when we needed it. Just like a real Boy Scout Patrol.
We had team building exercises and had to write reports and make plans for a group project and listened to many speakers. Through it all were songs, games, skits, stunts, contests, and the occasional flag thievery by mischievous Foxes.
We began at 7 am and went until 9 pm with only very short breaks. To say it was intense is an understatement. By the time we left late Saturday afternoon we were all exhausted but enthusiasm was high. I somehow managed to injure my shoulder and it has been bugging me all day today. Hopefully that will go away soon.
We go back in October for another 3 day weekend. The difference with this one is that we will be hiking to a campground at the Scout Reservation and will be doing everything as a patrol including our own cooking. We will be running a campfire service and an interfaith worship service.
One of the big aspects of Wood Badge is that each person must complete a major problem, called a ticket sometime in the next 18 months. These projects are supposed to impact the Scouts around us and many consider them on par with some Eagle Scout projects as far as time invested and work completed. It is one of the most challenging parts of the program.
I decided to make Cub Scout Day Camp my ticket. Our outgoing Day Camp Director, Rosina, put over 600 hours into planning and implementing this year's program and since I'm already signed up to do it I figured there was no point putting in a couple hundred hours on a separate project when I could use my ticket to make this year's even better. Thankfully Rosina was able to sit down and help me has out the multiple goals that the Ticket requires. There is still some work to do on these but they are:
1. To complete additional advanced training at BSA National Camp School in March.
2. To implement an overview the "Leave No Trace/Outdoor Ethics" program into the nature study station including training the station leader.
3. To implement the Boy Scout Slogan, "Do a Good Turn Daily" as part of the Citizenship station, including training the station leader.
4. To implement the theme of "Community Service" throughout the Camp, culminating in a "Scouting For Food" food drive for local food banks.
5. To successfully complete the 2014 Silver Lake Day Camp.
This will be a lot of work but I think it will impact a lot of kids (150-200) as well as the community.
So while I am so tired I can barely move, I am excited for the coming months as the second weekend of Wood Badge comes and goes and I move into the Day Camp process.
Before that though, Tuesday is the first Bear Den Meeting of the new year!!!
This is a photo of the Fox patrol's rocket. Ours outflew the other 6 patrols and won most creative use of materials award. It was modeled to look like our totem but most of the decorations were inside the bottle to minimize air resistance in flight.