Monday, November 14, 2011

Wrapping up Woodbadge

My time as a Troop Guide for Woodbadge Course 1017 officially came to a close a couple of weeks ago. In some ways it seems like eons ago since the actual course and in some ways it seems just like yesterday. I am proud to have had the great privilege to be the Troop Guide for the Owl Patrol and to have seen them grow together as a team during the course. Next, I saw the Owls put their learning into practice through the implementation of their goals (Tickets).

In my non- Scouting life I am a Human Resource Development manager (training) for Sprint. I therefore speak from many years of training experience when I say that Woodbadge is a leadership development course on par or better than any course you will find in corporate America. I wish that during my tenure as a leadership trainer I would have had at my disposal courses that teach theory(weekend one), practice application(weekend two) and then had the participants show effective use of the training out in the real world(Tickets) with accountability for successful completion. Scouters get all of this and more with Woodbadge.

I wonder if any other non-profit organization has as great and effective training as does the Boy Scouts of America. We are fortunate indeed.

It is my hope that the Owls and others of SR 1017 will take the many lessons from Woodbadge and will continue to apply them in practice to benefit Scouting, their family, and their professional life. I know as a Troop guide, I personally took away experiences that have helped me grow. Truly life is a process of continual learning.

Good Luck Owls and all the participants of SR 1017. Thank you for taking such a commitment for to improve your effectiveness as Scout volunteers and as mentors to the next generation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

They did it!

Wow they did it! Our Scouts participating in the hiking merit badge hiked 20 miles last week. This was their final hiking requirement for the merit badge and last Philmont urban training hike before moving on to winter stair climbing.

As we walked I thought back to the first 5 mile hike we did way back in summer. I know at that time the thought of going a full 20 in a single day seemed a little far-fetched. Heck I have run several marathons but the idea of walking that far seemed crazy and painful in my mind. There is power in youthful exuberance and the guys had so much fun on all the hikes that the time seemed to fly by. I especially enjoyed the variety of locations around OKC and Edmond they chose for us to walk. It was not very many years ago that walking these trails would have been impossible since they did not even exist.

I was shocked really to read in a Philmont Advisor guide “Rangers that we talked to say that, based on their experience, 80% of the adult advisors coming to Philmont are not adequately prepared for the physical demands of the backcountry and that 50% of the adult advisors had not exercised at all prior to their arrival at Philmont.” Ouch!

I know from my own miserable experience as a youth at Philmont that being physically prepared is a key to actually having fun. I was not in the right shape as a kid at Philmont and my memories now are mostly of blisters and pain on the trail. Our Scouts and adults will be ready.

Perhaps my favorite part of the hike was the look on the faces of folks we passed by as they stared at this group of 14 crazy folks walking with packs on through OKC. I guess it is pretty unusual to see youth hiking 10 -20 miles starting at 6AM. There were also the whoo hoos! from people that would yell “go Scouts!” or people that would say, “You guys must be Scouts!”. Kind of good to know that even out of uniform they can be recognizable by the community is such a positive way.

Now it is time to move on to stage two of the fitness training plan. Hiking stairs at a downtown high rise building. Now that is going to be hard. (well and a lot of fun I am sure)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Final Philmont 10 mile training hike...

Yesterday was our final 10 mile hike and next up is the super challenge of a 20 miler on Sunday. The hike this week around was a little more scenic thanks to some time on a short trail through a local wildlife refuge. All of our hikes have been urban walks on paved paths prior to this and it was kind of nice to get some dirt on our boots for a change. Trails for these hikes would be ideal of course but her in our part of the state we would be looking at a long drive to find such a thing. We are fortunate at least to have a wide variety of walking trails available.

Overall this 10 mile hike experience has been a good one. The boys have taken the lead on each of them with the adults hanging a few steps back. Next week is going to be a big challenge with a 20 miler. I have run marathons and done other distance events but walking 20 miles is something new and finishing this is going to be an accomplishment for everyone.

After we complete the hike, the boys will move on to winter training which will be walking up and down stairs at a building downtown. Whew that is going to fun too! We have backpacking campout weekends set for the spring in various location and there is no doubt that these guys will be as prepared as possible for a great experience when they take that first step on the trail at Philmont in July 2012.