Look Up


One of the challenges of a scout leader taking a group of new young scouts on a trail hike is to get them to look and listen to all the things around them and not just focus on the trail ahead. The great things found in the out-of-doors are all around us and to see or hear them we must be observant.

When you come to Wood Badge, make sure you take time to look around and observe all that is around you. A Wood Badge course is chocked full of pride and tradition and you are sure to see this if you just look around…and in particular, up. In doing so, you will quickly find a plethora of banners and flags created by those that have participated in courses before you. Look closer and you may see names on these flags that represent many of the staff assembled for your course. Who knows, in some future course, your own banner might be hanging if you are so blessed to be invited to be a staff member.

Looking up at the end of the Dining Hall, you will see a beautiful site and yet another tradition of Wood Badge in the Heart of Virginia Council. Since our first Wood Badge for the 21st Century course, SR501, it has been the tradition to replicate each course’s patch with a stained glass artwork. Each of the eight previous courses is proudly displayed in the high windows and stands to remind us of the legacy of Wood Badge. Look back after the course and you will likely see one for S7-602-12-1.

There are many other special things that you will see and hear in your course. Many of these are extremely subtle and create very special “Ah-Ha” moments that will stay with you for the course and beyond. To receive these gifts, all you need to do is look, and listen.

Craig Britt

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Friendly Advice from our Scribe

Be prepared. That’s our motto and I generally take it pretty seriously. About this time 6 years ago, I was trying to prepare for my first Wood Badge experience in SR-769. Like you, I had heard good things from others who had taken the course before me. I read all the information sent by the course director, Gary Bryant, but was still not really sure what to expect. At that time, there was very little information on the internet about Wood Badge and we were still a few years away from having a website set up for each course. I was, however, pretty clear on the fact that this was a “leadership development” course based on the principles of Scouting. OK, in the absence of better information, I could work with that.

I had taken Buckskin as a Scout, taken organization theory classes, taken and taught leadership skills and experiential education classes in college, and even led 10 day wilderness leadership development experiences. I had attended leadership development seminars and read Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard, both of whom had contributed to the Wood Badge syllabus. I was feeling pretty good, but just in case, I made sure to complete the 20 questions I had been sent and pack everything on the packing list, plus a few extra items just in case. I was confident that I had done everything possible to get ready.

I had, however, so focused on the skills that I was going to learn, that I was totally unprepared for the new relationships that were in my future. I spent the first hours of the course meeting new people and listening to staff members deliver fantastic presentations, but feeling disappointed that I hadn’t been taught anything new yet. It was late on Day 1 when it started to occur to me that I had to open my mind to the fact that, at least for me, being part of developing the team WAS the lesson. Everything covered in the presentations was happening in real time in our team.

I was a day late, but on Day 2, I began to look at each person in new ways… what was important to them, what they wanted from the course, and how to work together. We developed amazing friendships and started to perform well as a team. Over the next few days, I also began to look at myself a bit differently. It took this transformation for me to be able to put together a meaningful ticket. It became easier to define a vision for myself once I got past the “learning” new skills and began to focus on “growing” as a person.

It seems so obvious in hindsight! I look back and laugh at myself, but as I have talked to other participants over the years since, I realize that my approach was not unique. I share this experience in hopes that you a) also get a good chuckle at my expense, and b) approach the course with an open mind and heart so you can relax and enjoy the journey. Spending some time really answering the 20 questions will help get you in the right frame of mind, but don’t stress over the ticket yet as we will spend quite a bit of time on Weekend One to refine your vision and talk about ticket items.

I look forward to getting know each of you!

Dave Anderson, Scribe

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Meet Steve Hutchinson, Troop Guide

Name: Steve “Hutch” Hutchinson

Wood Badge Staff Position: Troop Guide

Wood Badge Patrol Critter: Antelope

Scout Unit: Troop 737, Crew 737

District: Cardinal

Click here to see the full bio for Steve “Hutch” Hutchinson

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…You Might be a Wood Badger!

If your Coat of Arms features a Kudu…

If you think campfire building should be an Olympic sport…

If you have 2 lawn mowers that don’t work and a broken storm door, but a perfectly good Table Totem…

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Meet David Anderson, Scribe

Name: David Anderson

Wood Badge Staff Position: Scribe

Wood Badge Patrol/Critter: Beaver, SR-769

Scout Units: Pack 788, Troop 715, Crew 703

District: Cardinal

Click here to see the full bio for David Anderson

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Meet David Prestia, Assistant Scribe

Name: David Abraham Prestia

Wood Badge Staff Position: Assistant Scribe

Wood Badge Patrol/Critter: Buffalo

Scout Unit: Troop 736

District: Cardinal

Click here to see the full bio for Dave Prestia

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Meet John Magruder, Troop Guide

Name: John C. Magruder

Wood Badge Staff Position: Troop Guide

Wood Badge Patrol/Critter: Fox

Scout Unit: Troop 304

District: Rivers

Click here to see the full bio for John Magruder

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…You Might be a Wood Badger!

If the fountain at your wedding had bug juice…

If your baby’s first words were, “Back to Gilwell” …

If you don’t understand why tuxedos don’t come with neckerchiefs and knee socks…

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Meet Jason Smith, Staff Advisor

Name: Jason Smith

Wood Badge Staff Position: Staff Advisor

Wood Badge Patrol/Critter: Eagle

District: Council Staff

Click here to see the full bio for Jason Smith

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Meet Mark Bernas, Troop Guide

Name: Mark Bernas

Wood Badge Staff Position: Troop Guide

Wood Badge Patrol/Critter: Antelope

Scout Unit: Troop 2815

District: Arrohattoc

Click here to see the full bio for Mark Bernas

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