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Saturday, February 16, 2013

What I Should Have Said

We all have those, "what I wish I'd said" moments. Mine last week happened when I was doing my unit commissioner duty, visiting another pack's committee meeting.

This summer's Wood Badge course came up. I did not expect anyone would be jumping at the chance to go, all of them being women and Cub Scouters, but when one of them started giving those same excuses, I had to counter her arguments.

"But that's not for us; it's for the men. I mean, we just do Cub Scouts. They don't go camping."

"Nope, it's for us too," I told her. "I'm going."

The conversation went on, but later, as I thought it over, that is where I think I could have said more. It occurs to me now that she was probably thinking, since this training is a week long camping experience, that it is all about learning camping skills. I wish I had mentioned that outdoor skills may be part of it (having not been, I do not know for sure, but I am assuming that since that is what IOLS, OWLS, and BALOO are for, that is not the main point of Wood Badge), but the focus is leadership and cooperation.

I forget sometimes that most people think of Scouting as learning scoutcraft skills, and that is it. I wish I had taken this as an opportunity to point out that what Scouting is really about is teaching leadership and self-reliance. It is about spirituality and citizenship as much as it is about life skills. I cannot think of any better way to teach all those things to young men than sticking them out in the wilderness for a week, where they have to eat the meals that they planned, prepared, cooked and cleaned up after themselves. They have to rely on themselves and each other for many things; food is just one example.

It is not my impression that Wood Badge is a survival course, but I can see where someome might think that. Hopefully, next time I can do a better job dispelling the notion.

1 comment:

Eric the Half-bee said...

Tell her that it's a leadership course that will help her in working with her Pack, family, Sunday School Class, co-workers, etc. Classes include communicating effectively, teaching effectively, understanding the purpose of Scouting, and building and working with a team of like (or un-like) -minded people. It's about building relationships and solving problems, then taking all that knowledge back to your life and making yourself a better leader, in any organization. Above all, it's about Character, Fitness and Citizenship, and how Scouting, in all its forms, aims to build those three things. It's also a great place to exchange ideas on what works, how FiG and Cub Scouts work together, and best (or worst) practices. In a way, it's all about Learn-Act-Share, to steal a Duty to God phrase. I went about two years ago, and there were [GASP] women on my course, both taking it and teaching it.