Those of you who have been following my blog should know by now that I’ve been involved in volunteerism, particularly in youth groups for many years now. In fact, I’ve been working with young men for nearly all of my adult life. I haven’t always been good at it, but I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, especially in recent years.
Since I started working with young men, I’ve been encouraged to attend a Wood Badge Course through the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I’ve been scheduled to attend on two prior occasions but opted out because….life happens.
A year ago, Super Mom and I were invited by our friend RM, a man I will heretofore refer to as Super Scouter, to once again attend a Wood Badge Course. We committed, not knowing whether or not the third time would in fact be the charm. After all, we had easily managed to avoid actually going to Wood Badge in the past; why would this instance be different?
So as the date crept closer, Super Mom and I began to falter, devising newer and more creative excuses about how we would be able to dodge yet another Wood Badge bullet. But Super Scouter was persistent and when Super Scouter wants something done, Super Scouter generally gets his way. Super Scouter insisted that we would love every minute of it because, as a repeat Camp Director for Wood Badge Courses, Super Scouter had witnessed first hand how Wood Badge had changed the life of adult leaders in the Scouting program which ultimately led to a change in the many lives of youths who were affected by the dedicated and impassioned service of their adult leaders.
As an added incentive, Super Scouter informed us that we were guaranteed to have an incredible time due to the fact that we would be attending camp with an entire troop of youth leaders of Polynesian descent. I have to admit, this was one of the deal breakers for me. Not because I wanted to be around other Polynesians, but because I wanted to see how Polynesians would respond at an adult leadership camp. I did not want to miss this opportunity, and yet the reluctance lingered still.
We wavered in our commitment even as we loaded our gear into our car early Thursday morning to depart for Payson. Would the boys be okay without us? What if something happened to them while we were gone? What if one or both of us was injured while we were away? We thought of every possible excuse to prevent us from attending, but we could never find one sufficient enough to bar us from attending. So reluctantly we made our way into the mountains above Payson.
The moment we arrived on the grounds of the Maple Dell Scout Camp we knew instantly why we could not find a reason to side-step Wood Badge Course this time. We were meant to be there at this moment in time, with this group of people. For two and one half day we learned some of the most inspired instruction from an impressive camp staff about our duties and obligations as adult leaders.
And we had the most incredible time! We still have three more days of instruction and a huge project ahead of us before completing the course and I can’t wait to get back and learn more. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to learn how to serve our youth better and as an added bonus, I’m learning how to be a better dad. It is well invested time in our most valuable investment: our sons!