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“I’ve worked with great groups and

dysfunctional groups,” she says. “I was never able to understand why some worked and some didn’t. Wood Badge really helps me connect the dots.”

THE WOOD BADGE formula started with a master plan (or is it evil plan?) sharpened in 2000 by Zaccara and his colleagues on the Wood Badge task force. They decided to force patrols to that second stage of team development (storming) by adding pressure points. This usually results in a thunderclap of disagreements and frustration among otherwise friendly and courteous Scouters. During the 2012 Philmont course,

most of the storming happens during a critical moment on Day Two. But it could really happen anytime. Consider the ingredients. These adults are thrown into a high-pressure situation in a new location with unfa- miliar people and an interrupted sleep schedule. Storming is inevitable. It sounds sadistic, but there’s a

point: Without some storming, you’ll never have a high-performing team. And Wood Badge is a safe environ- ment in which to storm because staff members are trained to recognize this stage and bring in the umbrella if

things get out of hand. “They get into storming fairly

quickly,” Zaccara says. “But the last couple of days are purposely lighter so they can digest and really understand what they’ve been through and what they were experiencing. The environ- ment that’s created forces them to live the experience and challenges early.” On the final day at Philmont, participants gather for a slideshow of photos from the course. These teams, now in the performing stage, settle in at the same patrol tables where they formed, stormed and normed days earlier. As the slideshow reaches its emotional apex, some of the same Scouters hit hardest by storming are the first to reach for the box of tissues. By the final photo, there’s not a dry eye in the place. The participants have reached their

emotional apex, and they’ll take this passion home with them. “This is a course that you can use everywhere else in your life,” Zaccara says. “It makes you a better leader and a better communicator. It’s something you can bring to your church and your family. It makes you think about the things you do, how you do them and why.” After all, Zaccara says: “Leaders aren’t hatched; they’re trained.” ¿

We’d try to explain in detail what’s happening in the pictures above, but we don’t want to spoil the fun for when you take Wood Badge. Suffice it to say you’re in for a treat, whether singing, cheering, hiking or participating in team- development games. Staffers Bill Hemenway and Grace Davidson (opposite page, upper left) lead the Fox Patrol in song. Staff member Gary Scott (opposite page, lower left) proves that being nutty can still have a point. The troop guides (opposite page, second from left) cheer on their patrols with a top-quality pyramid and later in the week reveal their true critter identity at an evening campfire. We won’t tell you the critter of troop guide Jacquelyn Core (middle top), but we can say she’s not an Owl. The Beaver Patrol (middle bottom) uses its mealtime to enjoy Philmont’s stunning views. The Buffalo (second from right, top) and Beaver (second from right, bottom) patrols show that team-building can happen inside or out. And getting to hike at Philmont? That’s something to smile about for Bear Patrol member Ram Venkataraman.


The Wood Badge story has two chapters. CHAPTER 1: The experiential course, which

takes place over one six-day week or two three-day weekends and includes leadership classes, games, activities and plenty of meaningful conversations. CHAPTER 2: The Wood Badge ticket, a series of

five projects (completed after Chapter 1) that benefit a Scouter’s home unit and local community. These ticket items extend the reach of Wood Badge well beyond the six-day course. Fifty participants complet- ing five ticket items each means 250 improvements to Scouting. And that’s just from one course.


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