In early 2005 I discussed the possibilities of holding a Wood Badge course that could be designated for the Scout leaders in my LDS stake with Doug Muir. He was serving as the Wood Badge Coordinator for the Utah National Parks Council, and had experience doing this with his home stake as well as a few other stakes. He explained the required logistics of such an endeavor, and we made plans to hold a course in July of 2006.
My counsellors, Lynn Bullock and Gordon Glade, were very supportive of this possibility. President Glade, with his assignment for the youth of the stake, shouldered the main responsibility of implementation.
We expanded this to a stake encampment by adding training for the Aaronic Priesthood, including two Timberline courses for 13 year olds, a Varsity All Stars course for the 14 and 15 year olds, and a Kodiak course for those 16 through 18. In addition we held a camp for the 12 year olds who participated in camp activities and merit badge classes.
Working with the council, plans were finalized to conduct these activities in July 2006 at Bacon Park near Roosevelt, Utah. This posed some obstacles to overcome since the camp isn’t as fully developed as other council camps. It required a coordinated effort from stake leaders and council staff.
Even though I had previously served on staff for Wood Badge and Timberline training courses, I chose to visit each of the locations as Stake President. The stake leaders and council staff had planned and prepared all aspects of what was needed. With that trust in place I wanted to express appreciation to all who made the effort and sacrifice to conduct and participate in the training and activities. I also wanted to share a few of my experiences from my Scouting background with the youth of the stake so the values of Scouting could be reinforced.
After the encampment we evaluated all that happened. We determined this should be held every four years so each young man would have this experience at least once during their teenage years. We also planned other improvements and changes.
The future will tell what positive impact this will make in the lives of the youth and leaders. This was a very rewarding experience.
Author: Joel Zabriskie | Comptroller at Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America