By Joel Zabriskie
Jan 24, 2014

A Testimony of Wood Badge

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It’s been 30 years since I attended BSA’s adult leadership training course called Wood Badge. A very patient counselor in my stake presidency invited me several times over a two year period to participate. As 2nd counselor in the Bishopric, my assignments included stewardship for the youth as well as being the Chartered Organization Representative over Scouting.

Previously I had attended Basic Training and thought I had done my part in being informed of my duties. President Nunley gently suggested I had more to learn. He was right!

The morning arrived for me to leave. As I waited on my front porch that beautiful September morning for one of my ward members to pick me up, I thought, “Why am I going away from my family for a week to spend precious time with people I don’t know? I have so much to do here at home and at my work. But I’ll keep the promise I made to one of my Priesthood leaders.”

What I experienced was life changing. Among many things, I learned solid leadership principles that helped me in my present and future callings, as well as my family and employment responsibilities. I learned some Scout craft skills that helped me on numerous days and nights of camping.  (I still wonder why a sleeping bag is called a “sleeping” bag.)

Being taught Scouting’s patrol methods, I learned the principles and experienced the feelings of quorum brotherhood. It gave me a greater testimony of why the Lord inspired the creation of Priesthood quorums and their value to the men of the Church and their families.

As I look back on that training experience, I am grateful for a loving Priesthood leader who gently encouraged me to attend. I think of the great friendships I have found over the years. Most of all I’m grateful for coming to understand that by learning my duties, I have been empowered to “Do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout law.”

For more information about the history of Wood Badge click here.

Joel Zabriske



Author: Joel Zabriskie | Council Comptroller, Utah National Parks Council

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