I have been lucky enough to have served on multiple courses and to have been a Troop Guide on two of them. Course S9-114 ended not too long ago and the tickets worked by the participants have been making a big difference around our council. The course made quite an impression on Kurt Schultz who wrote some of us a letter and enclosed a picker spindle (more on that later). It was an incredible testament and I asked him if I could share it with you.

Hello Fellow Wood Badgers!

I just wanted to thank you all for making my Wood Badge experience so successful. It is all the support and training from fellow Scouts that really make me feel like I am doing less harm than good for the Scouts!

Stay with me here, I kind of take the long way around here: A few years ago a college friend of mine had some vacation to burn and asked if I would be interested in touring the Mississippi Delta region with him on a Blues pilgrimage. It was on that trip that cotton really began to fascinate me. It really kicked off when we were looking at an old tractor that had been fitted with one of the earliest cotton harvesters. It was really amazing the purchase of a single row harvester could wipe out the lives of dozens of families. But it also amazed me at how complicated they are today and how that technology was developed. I enclosed a nice summary of the history (read the story at LivingHistoryFarm.org) that also sets the stage for why I have enclosed the “spike.”

We as the adult leaders function as the picker spindle helping to harvest all the potential in the Scouts and help to turn it into something useful not only to them, but to society also. The fact that someone noticed the cotton picked easier when it had dew on it or that his grandmother wet her spindle when she was making thread was kind of amazing to me. But more so was the fact they significantly improved the efficiency of the picker by simply adding a slight spritz of water to it is pretty amazing. And probably wouldn’t have been learned in a lab environment. It was his past experience and exposure that led to the efficiency and success.

I see the training BSA and all the volunteers offer as that spritz of water. We probably could be successful just spinning around on our own,but with the knowledge of the previous generations we truly become Sir Baden Powell’s minions.

I hope you all got as much out of the program as I did. These used picker spindles I am sharing with you all are pretty common in cotton country. You can find them embedded in the roads as survey markers and coat pegs in older cotton gins. They also make nice icicle-like Christmas ornaments or interesting paperweights. But they, in whatever form, will always remind me that I am never at my best without gleaning from the knowledge and experience of not only the people who came before me, but also the people I am currently on this journey with.

God’s Peace to you all! Thank you for being such a big part of my Wood Badge experience!

Kurt Schultz
S9-1-14Buffalo.  And proud of it!

Thanks Kurt! That’s what we are doing at Wood Badge Alabama, just being that spritz of water to get others to take Wood Badge and become even more successful scout leaders. If you would like to know more about Wood Badge, look around the site, click on the sign up button. Contact a course director or the next time you see someone with beads hanging around their neck by a leather thong, stop them and ask them why you should attend.