In October of 1995 my son, Bill, decided that he finally wanted to do Boy Scouting. At the time his age was such that he entered Cub Scouts as a second year Webelo. I was asked to serve as the Webelos Den Leader, and with only a 1 day course under my belt, I took on that challenge.
I had 6 scouts in my den and by the end of the year 5 of them earned the highest award that a Cub Scout can earn, the Arrow of Light. Of those 5, 3 Webelos accomplished this task in 1 year! I am still really proud of my Webelos because they worked very hard to accomplish those quite lofty goals in the short time that they did.
One particular Scout, a first year Webelo, decided to stay in the Pack for another year and try for the "20 Pins" Award. There are 20 award pins that a Webelo can earn, they need 8 for Arrow of Light. This Scout earned those pins that he was not able to get the first year and was given a special award for his efforts! By that time I had moved up to Boy Scouts with my son, but this Webelo asked me to come back and stand with him for his 20 pin ceremony. I was extremely honored by his request, and did so for him.
Having moved to Boy Scouts in June of 1996, I undertook the task of becoming fully trained as a Scouter (the generic title for all adult leaders regardless of actual job in the troop). I attended Scoutmastership Fundamentals (Adult Leader Training in our District) in October of that year and finished my course just 2 weeks before Linda and I got married.
In January of 1998 I received an invitation to attend the N.E. Georgia Council's Woodbadge course (offered only every other year) at Scoutland on Lake Lanier. The course is held in May and consists of 3 weekends at the camp with a lot of work in between. This training is intense and VERY focused on the functioning of a troop and how to be a successful leader to the Scouts. At the end of this practical training, you compose a "ticket" consisting of 9 to 12 items that help you practice the skills you learned at camp. The ticket is broken into 3 parts; Service to others, Service to my Troop, and Self improvement. You have 24 months from the end of the practical training to finish your ticket, or you will have to re-take the entire course. This year (Dec. 1999), I submitted my ticket to my coach/counselor as complete with a request to get my beads at a troop family banquet on February 7, 2000. The day before the Boy Scouts of America turns 90 years old!
Well it is now January 19, 2000 and tonight I contacted my Woodbadge coach/counselor. The news is that I WILL receive my beads on Monday February 7, 2000 and officially become a member of the Woodbadge family of Scouting. My course designation is SR-233, for you Scouting types. This is the culmination of not quite 2 years of rather intense work following my practical training for Woodbadge in May of 1998. Only a Scouter will understand this, but the work is really just starting. From this moment forward, I must ALWAYS strive to use these skills that I have worked so very hard to learn and practice over the last 20 months. I must always set the example for the Scouts, and all young adults, by constantly practicing what I have learned on this journey.
As stated above, I did indeed receive my beads at our Troop family banquet on Monday Feb. 7, 2000! My family and some special guests, in addition to all the boys and their families from the troop, were there for the occasion. The sense of accomplishment when my counselor read what I did to earn my beads was quite astounding even for me to hear! I can truly say that getting beaded was one of the proudest moments of my life. It ranks right up there with getting married and the day my son was born. I hope that my sharing of my proud moment with the other Scouters in our troop will encourage them to take the challenge of Woodbadge and make a committment to Scouting. I also hope that by earning my beads, I can do more to help influence and guide the Scouts in my care to be better citizens and instill in them the values that I cherish from my days as a Boy Scout, and as a Scouter today.