Are we there yet?

When I was a kid, before there were TV’s in cars or iPod’s with earphones, traveling from Richmond to my Dad’s hometown in Rutland, Vermont seemed to take an excruciatingly long time. I loved my grandfather and his home on the side of a mountain outside town. There were so many great things to do that were so different from things we did at home. I had a bunch of older cousins, who taught me a bunch of life lessons some of which I can talk about (and others I probably shouldn’t.) I was always very excited to be going and ready to be there, so I often asked “Are we there yet?” along the way. The standard answer was “Not quite yet.” After the first time, I learned that “How much farther?” was not a question I wanted to ask because it usually involved a lesson in map reading or a lengthy lecture about something I didn’t really want to know.

For me, the interim between Weekend 1 and Weekend 2 is kind of like that trip to Vermont. “Are we there yet?” “Not quite yet.”
(but I don’t want to know how much farther. It may remind me how much I have left to do to get ready!)

We’ll see you soon!

David Anderson, Scribe

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Will Your Ticket be Meaningful?

As you begin to think through your ticket items you may begin to ask yourself “does this really mean anything?” The answer is yes it does! History shows us that you will most assuredly come up with items that will benefit and change your unit right now. Some items may take a bit longer to see the effects and some may actually set up a successful change both now and into the future. What you won’t know until much later is how far reaching a change can become….even if you did not expect or intend it to happen that way.

When I wrote my own ticket in SR501 (2002), I centered all of the items on ways of improving basic scouting skills in a troop with very young, inexperienced Scouts. One of my items was to improve cooking skills. I set about organizing a series of outdoor cooking classes for six of our youth. They would learn how to plan better meals, cook those meals using differing methods for their parents and other leaders, and in turn, pass the knowledge gained to the other boys. At the end of the classes, I presented each of these young men with a cook book I had created for them.

The idea was a huge success and immediately the boys no longer feasted on hot dogs and Pop Tarts while camping. Instead, good food, cooked well, filled their hungry bellies. Many years have passed and the boys in our troop continue to use this resource. It has also been passed to other troops via the boys themselves and through our Troop’s website.

About a year ago, I happened to run into a couple of young scouts and one of their dads in a Food Lion one Friday afternoon. They were obviously in a panic and running out of time. I introduced myself to them as a Scout Leader and offered my assistance. One of the boys told me they were leaving for a camping trip in a couple of hours and that he was responsible for making a Dutch Oven desert for the patrol cooking competition. He said his Senior Patrol Leader had given each patrol a copy of this really good cookbook and that they were going to make Everett Winn’s Peach Cobbler. He asked me if I had ever seen the book and did I know how to make a cobbler. He was amazed to find out that yes, I did know how to make this desert, and that I was the author of the book in his hand.

What struck me as I left these boys was that they were probably 1st year scouts or about 12 years old. They would have been toddlers at best when the cookbook was created and Scouting was far from a thought in their developing minds. They were also members of a Troop that I was unaware of. So, something that was so much fun to put together years ago had spread around and was standing the test of time. It was still fulfilling the intended purpose of my ticket item…help young scouts learn to cook better. I still get a grin on my face when I think about that.

Wood Badge can be magical!
Craig Britt

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Psychic Smitty

It’s time for Psychic Smitty where I read your mind, find a feeling/question and give you an answer.

Your Feeling/Question: “Wow that was awesome!!! That was some of the best training I have ever received. There were so many parts to it that I can’t pick out just one thing that made it…great. I still can’t believe the first weekend is over – it went by so fast. I can’t wait until the next weekend, but there’s just so much to do to prepare. I just want weekend two to go as good as weekend one.”

*Psychic Smitty Answer: You are not alone in your feelings of how good the weekend went – we all felt it. That didn’t happen by accident. There were many hours of planning and preparation to make it all happen. It wasn’t just one person either. The entire staff put everything they had into every hour (before and during). Each staff member had specific responsibilities, a team that supported them and an environment that ensured success. Over the next three weeks your patrol has the opportunity to do the same. You have been given everything you need to make the next weekend even more successful than the last. Remember communication, teamwork and leadership.

*DISCLAIMER: All answers provided are not necessarily endorsed by BSA, Wood Badge, Staff, or any sane person.

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Outdoor Experience Tips from the Health Officer

The Staff is looking forward to continuing Wood Badge training with the upcoming Outdoor Experience portion of the course. I wanted to share some health tips to ensure that we have the best possible event.

Remember that hydration is one of the most important ways to avoid heat related injury. Maintaining proper hydration and fluid volume allows appropriate cooling through perspiration and prevents heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you and use it.

John Blackmore gave a great talk about the conservation project that will be done during the second weekend and John Hankins shared some of the details of that activity. As John B. outlined, the first step is planning and preparation. Since this will involve working in a wooded environment there is potential exposure to poison ivy. Take a moment before that activity to review what poison ivy looks like. Urushiol oil resin in leaves and stems of this plant produces a contact dermatitis that can be uncomfortable. To avoid skin contact wear long sleeve shirt, long pants and gloves. The oil on clothing can result in the same exposure so be sure to put exposed clothes in a plastic bag after use for later washing. If you do have a skin contact warm, soapy water will remove the oil and reduce the chance of a reaction. Poison Ivy cannot be spread by exposure to weeping blisters. Only from exposure to the oil. Finally, if you do find yourself with a break out a topical drying agent (calamine lotion) or anti itch cream (1% hydrocortisone) may be helpful to reduce the itching. You might consider adding one or both of these items to your personal first aid kit. Blisters should be treated as any skin abrasion, cleaned with soap and water and kept clean.

Another part of the project will involve use of tools and equipment. If you are not experienced with certain items or are uncomfortable with them I’m sure you can find a task that doesn’t require their use. There will plenty of things to do that only require carrying or dragging debris. This is not the time to try to learn how to use a sharp implement or cutting blade. We want to minimize risk of injury.

Because of the mild winter it is expected mosquitos and ticks will be in higher that usual populations. Bring repellant to minimize bites and stings. Check for ticks and remove promptly.

Camp Brady Saunders is a beautiful facility and the springtime is a great time to enjoy what it has to offer. The camp is well maintained but the roads are not paved and trails are not sidewalks. Be sure your footwear is in good condition and supports the foot and ankle. Use a walking stick or pole of you need additional support. Visually monitor the trail ahead to avoid stumbles.

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Course Photographs

Photos are being posted daily to our photo Sharing Site at smugmug. You can get directly to our folder here.

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Words of Wisdom from the ASM for Troop Guides

I was a Participant of Wood Badge Course SR604. I had no idea what to expect as the only person involved with our troop with Wood Badge experience had gone through the course many years earlier, what is now known as the Legacy Course. Once I had arrived for the Course start, I became so immersed in the activities of the day that time flew by.

There are many learning experiences that I continue to use in Scouting and other areas of my life that I either learned at Wood Badge or they were reinforced and I recommitted to using the knowledge.

Aside from the knowledge gained, one of the best results of my Wood Badge experience is that my Scouting family has grown so much larger. It is so great to run in to other Scouters that were a part of SR604 that I didn’t have time to get to know then, but now we have time to discuss that great experience.

I, too, am looking forward to this Course, and am sure that it will be one of your best Scouting memories.


Rey Hallion – ASM for Troop Guides

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What to Expect when you’re expecting Wood Badge… Troop Guide Chris Leech

Ever since my wife and I discovered our first child was due on October 22, she has been glued to a book called “What to Expect when you’re Expecting”. This book has provided her with a wealth of information, so I figured I would provide you with the Wood badge version of this book.

“Expect for the time to fly by”
You will be having so much fun, you will not believe how quickly the time will go by
“Expect to learn a lot not only from the course, but the people around you”
You and your fellow participants come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are in Boy Scouts, others Cub Scouts or Venturing. Some have been involved in Scouting for a number of years, others are just starting out. The staff is just as diverse as the participants. Expect to learn a lot from the people around you, not just what is being presented.
“Expect a different approach to Geometry”
You’ll just have to trust me on this one
“Expect a new perspective on Scouting and Life”
The Wood Badge course will give you a wealth of information that can be used not only in the Scouting world, but also in your everyday lives. Take advantage of this so you can get even more out of this wonderful experience
“Expect Friendships that will last a life time”
You will have the opportunity to work alongside Scouters that you may have otherwise never met if it wasn’t for Wood Badge. Great friendships have been created here in Wood Badge. Cherish this opportunity.
“Expect to Be amazed”
This staff has been working feverishly to give you the best experience possible. You will not be disappointed.

I look forward to meeting all of you Friday morning.

Yours in the Green & Tan,

Chris Leech
Troop Guide

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Warm Words… from Troop Guide Shawn Coffey

I would like to extend a warm hello, and welcome to all the Wood Badge participants. You are getting ready to take part in one of the most exciting and beneficial training courses that Scouting has to offer. Not only will you be learning strong leadership skills, and gaining knowledge to last you a lifetime, but you will also be forming friendships that will last a lifetime. To this day I still have a special bond with those that went through SR677, the course I went through as a participant. This will be my 2nd time as a staff member, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had for the world. I know there will be moments when you will seem to be anxious about the course, but it will be more than worth the time you are putting into this fantastic training program. Speaking of time… I also want to thank all of you for giving up your personal time. The commitment you have made to better your units will be the reward to all the hard work. For now, take a deep breath, SMILE, and get ready for a fantastic experience! We are all looking forward to your enthusiasm next week.

Until then!
Shawn Coffey

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Shhh…It’s a Secret!

Let me tell you a secret. Please don’t tattle on me, but I’m going to give you a sneak-peak at Wood Badge.

There is an essential skill you must acquire if you want to be an effective leader and it’s a central topic of the first weekend. With only that much information a Scouter might guess fire building, having a loud voice, or a good memory. Not close, but here are more clues:

Next clue: It can’t be done alone and can take many forms. You might now wonder if the secret is: musical harmony or throwing a party? Perhaps, but let’s be more specific.

If I tell you that songs, a phone call, an angry look, and a pat on the back are all examples of this skill, can you now guess correctly? In fact, I’m doing it right now and you are participating.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the secret skill of effective leaders is the ability to communicate well. Communication takes at least two people, doesn’t it? Becoming great at it takes focus and practice. During the six days of Wood Badge, you will learn the basics of communication and have many opportunities to put this skill to work.

I’m looking forward to communicating with each of you very soon – in person.

Mark Larson
Course Director

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Friendly Reminders…

We’re now less than 2 weeks away… Just a reminder that our Health Officer, needs your Medical Forms and our Scribe, needs your (high resolution, please) photos!

See you soon!
Lowrey and Dave

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