Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wood Badge

I just returned from a week of camping in the woods.  I attended a Wood Badge course in the mountains above Mt Pleasant, Utah.  I was fortunate to go with my friend Renee.  It was great to have that kind of support!

I have often heard that the Wood Badge experience is life changing.  I don't know if it was that for me, but I definitely learned a lot and am glad that I went.  I was able to go, knowing that Greg had everything under control at home, and that the girls were excited to play with Daddy, Aunt Amy, Aunt Jessica, and Hailey.
 On Monday, Renee picked me up at 5:45 a.m. and we were on the road.  We arrived at Tifie Scout Camp towards the beginning of the check-in process and had a nice little hike from the parking lot to the camp.  Then we had a full day of classes, meeting people, and eating.  Lots of eating--a theme that continued throughout the week.

I love the night sky in the mountains!
Tuesday continued our classes on listening, leadership skills, and team building.

Even though we were in different patrols, Renee and I were able to be tentmates.  It was awesome to be able to process the day every night as we snuggled up in our sleeping bags.

Renee totally rocked her borrowed Cub Scout uniform.

 The highlight of Tuesday was our rocket building competition.  Our troop guide Rob had the best costume.
 The Owl Patrol, hard at work!
counter clockwise from left--Cameron, Julie, James, Barb, and Jake
 Cameron was the major designer.  Our owl rocket did pretty well!
 The view from the patio where we ate all of our meals was beautiful.  We watched a lot of storms roll across the valley.  We only got a little rain ourselves.  Mostly the weather was perfect.

Wednesday morning, as I came back from my 5:30 a.m. shower, there were 6 deer about 25 feet away from me.
 Renee is always good for a picture, especially at an outdoor training meeting.

 James played a prank on a few other patrols, kidnapping their flags when they were left unattended.  Barb sewed some owl eyes on them, and James gave them back at lunch.

 Thursday was filled with more team-building exercises and problem-solving games.
 The men in our patrol moved their tents into the woods as part of the Outdoor Experience.  The women helped.  It was fun to have a patrol site in the woods, and even nicer not to have to pack up all of my things mid-week and move them.

On Friday I realized I hadn't taken very many pictures.  We grabbed some at the morning Gilwell {e.g., flag ceremony} while we all looked spiffy in our official uniforms.
 The Owl Patrol
Cameron, Heather, Julie, Barb, Jake, James, and
Troop Guide Rob
 Our campsite--our tent is the one on the right.
 Panorama showing the lodge under construction (going to be able to cook and feed 500 Scouts at a time when it is done), a pavilion, the meadow where we launched rockets and did other activities, and the the women's and couple's tents.
 My fabulous side of the tent.
 We did a conservation project Friday morning, helping to clean up and install benches in a new amphitheater.  Usually the problem with large service projects is that there are too many people and people often sit around doing nothing, but that didn't really happen here.  Everyone found something to do and kept busy working.

The area to install the benches started as hillside.  The group dug down, leveled, and installed everything by hand.

 I started on the digging crew, but it was too crowded, so I moved to the clean-up crew.  I did some raking with Elise and then helped clear brush and tree limbs

 Our fearless Course Director Ray loved his chain saw.
 Renee was a beast!  A couple of times someone said something to the effect of, "that difficult thing needs to be done--where's Renee?"

 Look at how much they got done in a couple of hours!
 Back at camp, we had a meeting in the chapel.  We, of course, sat on the Owl Bench.
 In the afternoon, we had our Patrol Presentations.  We chose to highlight the Scout Oath, because all branches of Scouting are adopting the same Oath in 2015.  We pantomimed it, had the others guess what we were doing, and put us in the correct order.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
One night while we were FaceTiming, Ellie said, "I'll be right back" and disappeared for a couple of minutes.  I could hear her rustling things around, and she came back with this picture that she had just drawn for me--complete with us and a heart.
Saturday was time for the final presentations of gratitude for the staff.

 We needed to hike to the parking lot to unload our gear from the trailer into our cars.  A Bobwhite gave our little group bad directions, and a 7 minute walk turned into a 45 minute hike, up and down and across the mountain.  I was with some trailblazing professional Scouters from Las Vegas, and we cut our own trail for part of the way.  We could see where we needed to go, but the trail we were on just didn't connect.

It was a beautiful hike.  I loved it!
 After getting the cars all packed, we came back to camp for the last classes in the CFE (Center For Everything).  Ray jimmy rigged the microphone around his neck so he didn't have to hold it.  Because, as you know,  a Scout is prepared for everything.
 Then it was time for our final Gilwell and the closing ceremonies.  Our SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) Cornbread led out.
 And Ray gave the final Scoutmaster's minute.
 Then we hiked back to our cars and headed home.

Even though this has felt like an overshare of pictures and information, I did not really capture the whole Wood Badge experience.  I learned a lot, I set some great goals on my Ticket, and I am excited to implement some the strategies taught along the way.  I wore a Scout uniform all week.  I loved bunking with Renee and being part of the Owl patrol.

And I especially loved coming home.  I beat Greg and the girls home by a couple of minutes, and I loved hearing the garage go up and the girls come bounding in with flowers and a big "SURPRISE!"  I missed my family a lot--this is the longest I have ever been away from any of them (including Greg), where I was the one that went away.

1 comment:

Jeff Brimley said...

Heather I just stumbled across your blog as I was doing research for a couple of wildlife paintings I'm going to be painting of the various Wood Badge patrol animals. Bear first of course, then all the others.

It was great being reminded of all the great fun we had.



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