Wood Badge is one of those experiences that’s hard to explain, but you can never forget. It’s just one of those culminating moments where you feel like you are in the right place at the right time.
You then spend weeks or months working on your tickets to finally earn your two notched wood beads on a leather cord. It may not sound like much to a pre-Wood Badger, but I still get a little jilt of pride when I lay those beads over my Scout uniform.
Most of us come home from Wood Badge with a new fire for Scouting and for helping the youth around us. It motivates us to be better leaders in Scouting, work and at home. As if you have reached a new plain of understanding the world around you, you just want to do more!
Wood Badge is certainly not the end of a Scouting life, but a beginning, so what can we do after Wood Badge to keep that fire alive?
Get Others to Wood Badge
The hardest part about Wood Badge is coming home. Now that you know what you can do to make your Scouting program better, the problem lies in actually making it happen. It’s not easy to make any changes without the support of your Scouting team (committee chair, Scoutmaster, COR, parents, etc.). So, if they don’t “get it” like you do, you’re left on a personal uphill climb.
So, here’s my suggestion: get them to Wood Badge! No need to force them into it, but perhaps telling them about Wood Badge will help. That’s part of why we have a Wood Badge beading ceremony–to inspire others to want to go and find their own fire.
Serve on Staff
The only thing better than going to Wood Badge is serving on staff. In fact, another great way of getting others to Wood Badge is to invite them to a course that you’re helping to staff.
Many Wood Badgers will serve on staff over and over again because it’s a different experience depending on which role you take on. Whether it’s a patrol leader, Scoutmaster, or quartermaster, you will get more out of Wood Badge every time. Plus, Scouting is all about passing on knowledge to the “next generation.”
Make a New Goal
Though I’m very proud of my completed tickets, I know my work is never done when it comes to providing a great Scouting program for the youth I serve. If you’re the goal-setting type, I would suggest writing a new set of goals to keep you focused.
Remember the principles of creating Wood Badge tickets, and that a good goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
While Wood Badge is often touted as the end-all be-all of Scout training, there are more training options that are similarly helpful and inspiring. For example, many councils offer a University of Scouting experience. Also, you could attend one of the great courses at the Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, New Mexico.
Let’s all make a decision to remember our Wood Badge experience and keep our Scouting spirit alive. Wood Badge is not where great Scouters go to retire but to make a difference in the lives of our youth.
Did you have a life-changing experience at Wood Badge? What would you do to keep the Scouting spirit burning? Let us know in the comments below.