Back in January of 2007, I made a commitment to my Young Men's President that I would go through and complete Wood Badge training for the Boy Scouts of America. For those unfamiliar with it, Wood Badge is the highest level of direct training that a leader in the BSA can receive. When you complete Wood Badge, you are considered a "Ph.D. in Scouting".
I signed up for the course, waited eight months for it to begin, went through the process of "on the hill" instruction, then completed five large projects of use to my troop, other units, or council. When I was at Camp Oljato last week, I delivered the last of my ticket items to the camp staff, a large sign that displayed the Philmont Grace (I actually made three of them, but since we were attending Camp Oljato for Summer Camp, I decided that I wanted to make the presentation in person.
Presenting my final item (Philmont Grace plaque) to Camp Oljato Camp Staff
On Tuesday evening, we held our Troop's Homecoming Court of Honor, and in conjunction with that, my Scoutmaster from my course, my Senior Patrol Leader, my Troop Guide, my Patrol Leader, and some other friends that are Wood Badge recipients came out to honor me and my completing my deliverables for Wood Badge.
Jim Fuller, WE3-55-07 course Scoutmaster, opens the Wood Badge portion of the Court of Honor.
Carmen Fuller, WE3-55-07 Senior Patrol Leader, presents me with my Wood Badge Beads.
Keith Blackey, Redwood District Chairman, presents me with my MacLaren Tartan.
Don Larson, WE3-55-07 Troop Guide for the Buffalo Patrol, presents me with my certificate of completion for the Wood Badge course.
No Buffalo Patrol member's beading is complete without donning the famous 'Royal Order of Water Buffalo's" Grand Poohbah cap (LOL!)
It was a great experience and one I will treasure always. What was also nice was that Chris (i.e. the aforementioned Young Men's President) was also able to participate in the ceremony; it felt good to have him be part of it, considering he was the final push I needed to get in and finally do it.
To other scout leaders out there, if you have ever considered doing Wood Badge, I would strongly encourage you to do so. It's a great Scout training, to be sure, but it's also a tremendous *life* training, too. There's so much that is applicable to everyday living that I's dare say one could not help improving their personal lives immeasurably for having gone through it.