Back to Gilwell
Or, more specifically, I got to be a Boy Scout again this weekend.
I hope you all at least peeked at the Woodbadge links I’ve been dropping around the past few days. This is the top of the list, highest level training the BSA makes available to its adult staff. I have heard it called “The Eagle for Adults”.
Starting on Saturday morning, I was assigned to a patrol of complete strangers, and we started right off with a Troop Meeting: we met our camp staff, had a Patrol Guide assigned to us, and we started working on a new skill straightaway.
Not unlike the experience of a boy walking into a Scout Troop for the first time. That is intentional; over the years, I’ve been in many training sessions where we break out groups into Patrols of 8 leaders. This is the same “Patrol Method” that was devised by Baden-Powell himself. Why mess with what works, right?
Over the rest of the weekend, we had multiple tasks and challenges thrown at us, patrol competitions, and many sessions of skills instructions and exercises to help us to get to know the members of the Patrol better. More importantly, a lot of the exercises were designed for introspection and to help us answer the questions “Why am I here?” “Why am I a leader? “ And “What do I want to do for future Scouts?”
If you read my blog from a Saturday or two ago, you know I’ve recently held up the mirror for a wee bout of soul-searching.
In any case…we survived the weekend and our Bear Patrol went through the team-building phases of “Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing” and we’ve developed into a tight group. There’s challenges ahead over the next month as we get ready for Weekend II…we’ve got to work on a presentation, have things ready for a campfire, make a Patrol Flag, and actually plan and execute a mid-term camping trip of 3 days and 2 nights.
But Woodbadge is only half-finished at that point. For the next year to 18 months, I’ll be working on my “Ticket”. Deceptively simple, it’s five or more specific tasks designed to strengthen my unit, myself, my leadership and teaching skills, or anything else I can think of. This is what I’ve got myself worked into a frenzy over….but after this weekend I’m feeling much better about it.
In any case…Your Loyal TriSec has had much to ponder these past 72 hours. Woodbadge is described as a “transformative, peak experience in your life” and so far I’m not disappointed.