Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why go to Gilwell?

I had one of my favorite LDS Scouters asked me the other day why he should go to Wood Badge.  He has tons of experience in Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, Varsity and Venturing.  Here is what I told him:
Thanks for your question.  Wood Badge is............magic.  I know that sounds weird.  I know that sounds lame but there is something about Wood Badge that is just plain simple magic.  I went in October 2009.  They teach the patrol method, they take you though every organization in Scouting minus Varsity, you work in patrols, etc.  You have probably learned everything in some form or fashion with your long and dedicated service to LDS Scouting but to have it so clearly taught in 2 3-day weekends and then to have 18 months to work tickets (miniature Eagle Scout projects) to get your beads, just reminds us why we are in Scouting.  Those tickets usually give back to the Scouting community in some form or fashion.  2 of my tickets were for the District and 3 were for my unit.  I can honestly say that these projects are still giving back today.  The Merit Badge Marathon was one, Varsity Huddle was another.  My Merit Badge Marathon How To Manual has been shared in the Council and has been shared with members in South Texas and Utah.  These tickets cause you to stretch and grow in your experience with Scouting.  Plus Wood Badge is just fun!  It is fun to sing Back to Gilwell, it is fun to make fun of the other animal patrols and talk about who could eat who, it is fun to get resources outside of the LDS Church and meet other Scouters, it is fun to serve as a Patrol Leader at Wood Badge.  With all the resources that go to Wood Badge, you may learn something from another Scouter PLUS you could share your ideas with others.  Maybe going to Wood Badge will teach you a new way of doing something you already do.  I could go on and on.  Wood Badge is for you!  It is the elite training available through the BSA.  Then WB asks you to take the things you could learn and apply them to the tickets.  Take a look at the homework they ask you to do before you go.  It is a self assessment.

There are scholarships available (like most things in Scouting) for Wood Badge if you need one.  All you have to do is ask.  I originally asked for one when I went and then looked for people in the community to sponsor me.  I got the scholarship but then gave it back after my work ended up paying for it.  But then I had to be fully uniformed so there was some money that came out of pocket.  The fact that I had to buy $6 Scout socks made me mad but by the end of the 1st weekend, I got it.

I encourage you to go to Wood Badge 101 with me.  I am staffing.  3 of the Scout leaders from my ward are going.  So there will be a large LDS presence.  I am working on more.  Email the course director if you want another opinion about Wood Badge.  She is a sweet lady that I have only met once but I already love.

Even if you don't go to Wood Badge no one will think less of you especially me!  I don't think our District Training Chair  would ever think less of you but I think she knows how much it will benefit you especially with your current dedication!  Think about this, Circle 10 offers 4 Wood Badge courses a year (one of those is actually at Philmont and people from all over come to attend).  About 70 people attend each course.  So that means that about 280 +/- people get this training each year in our Council.  With 13 counties in our Council and probably 32 Districts in our Council, that means less than 10 people in each District go each year.  Not many take the final leadership training.

If you don't go any time soon, I just ask you to consider going in the future.  One of the bad things about the LDS Church is a Scouter can be released at any time.  Some Scouters have gone to WB and then are released.  How crazy is that?  How awesome would it be to just go for you?  Just something to consider.  Let me know if you have any other questions.
What would you tell him?


Tory said...

My perspective is a little different, since both my course and the one I staffed were 100% LDS, but I would say that it ranks among the most spiritual and meaningful experiences of my life.

I paid my entire course fee myself. Last year I jumped at the chance to pay my staff fee. This year I've volunteered to do it again and I would gladly do it every year. Compared to what is gained from the experience, the cost is nothing.

Even with that, I don't know that anyone can truly convince someone who hasn't gone to go. But once you've gone, you'll understand.

Fishgutts said...

Tory, it is interesting that our Council holds a Sunday observant Wood Badge once a year but isn't completely full of LDS participants. Sad.

I know I will gain more than I give especially when you compare it to money. I just wonder why I have to pay to volunteer my time. I volunteered by time and was charged $10. Probably for food. Yet when I teach Leader Specific, they don't charge me for food. I don't know. This certainly isn't going to stop me from doing things but I wish Scouting were cheaper.