Reasons To Join

I was given the task to speak to roundtables and other events leading up to course S9-1-12-1. I had to think long and hard about why you should attend a course. Lord Baden-Powell said “every scout deserves a trained leader.” While very true, some people need something more. After asking other scouters why they attended it became clearer to me. I broke it down to three reasons why you should attend a Wood Badge Course.

The first reason to attend Wood Badge is to learn:

Business Leadership Skills

The syllabus for Wood Badge for the 21st Century was written by Ken Blanchard, noted author and management expert. You may know his best selling book, “The One Minute Manager.” If you were to attend one of his weekend seminars you would probably pay thousands of dollars plus travel expenses. Wood Badge gives you the best of his training at a seriously reduced cost. You don’t get Ken Blanchard but you do get the best leaders your council has to offer.

Your unit is much the same as any small business. Good business skills are necessary to make everything go smoothly. I’ve come to find that scouts and co-workers are very similar. You love being with them and working with them but sometimes they make you want to pull your hair out. The skills you will learn will go a long way to managing volunteers, scouts and expectations.

This is business training. There is a good chance your company will let you attend without burning vacation days. There is a chance they may pay your expenses. All you have to do is ask.

The second reason to attend Wood Badge is to learn:

Scout Leadership Skills

Not everyone was a scout growing up and a lot of these parents have been thrown into leadership roles. They may not understand how a unit is supposed to work. Reading the manual only goes so far.

Not everyone is a natural leader. They want the best for their children and they take on the job as leader in the unit. They have been thrown into the fire and they need leadership skills.

During Wood Badge you are placed in patrols that simulate the patrol experience in a scout unit. You work as a team to accomplish tasks. You will learn very quickly what the expectations are for scouts in a boy-led unit.

This training is very important for Cub Scout leaders. You may be a Wolf or Bear leader now but in a year or two the boys become Webelos. Or as I like to think of it, Middle School. This is training ground to learn the skills they will need to be a Boy Scout. When they cross over they will hit the ground running. The skills you learned at Wood Badge will give them a head start.

The third reason to attend Wood Badge is to learn:

Scout Parent Skills

A scout mother told me this, “ I guess the main thing I can say, being a parent of a scout, is that being a part of Wood Badge enabled me to help my son advance, because I learned what would be expected of him as a scout.” That’s what I tell the moms in our troop. If you want to help your son to be a better scout, you need to learn what he will be expected to do and accomplish, and Wood Badge definitely will teach you that.”

You can’t really say it any better than that. Sure you may be a leader and you go to the meetings and you sit on the committee but have you asked yourself, what is it that my son needs to help him advance and get the most out of the program.

I told you three reasons to attend Wood Badge but there is actually a fourth:

It’s Fun!

This is your chance to experience scouting from a scouts perspective. To be in a patrol and have to work together as a team. I’ll never forget the first time I met the men in my patrol. I looked them over and thought “what do I have in common with these guys?” It didn’t take the full day before I knew we would work well together. To this day I enjoy catching up with them and I call on them if I need them.

You will form bonds with the other participants and staffers who come from all areas around the council. Men and women you can call on at a moments notice if you need help or advice. It’s the ultimate support group.

You will become more in touch with the traditions of scouting going all the way back to Lord Baden-Powell. He created Wood Badge over 90 years ago.

In Conclusion

Hopefully one of these reasons has resonated with you or maybe you have a completely different reason. Whatever it is, you owe it to yourself to consider taking a Wood Badge course.

Are you ready to join? Find the signup link and get started.

Yours in Scouting,

Shawn Wright
Scoutmaster/Course Director