Tonight I am headed back to Gilwell. I'm going over tonight so I can be on-site to help set up first thing Wednesday morning. Participants arrive for the start of Wood Badge on Thursday. I can't believe it's really here already!
I am feeling quite a mix of emotions, and for some reason I feel the need to write them out. Perhaps I just need to try to make sense of them all.
First, I am really, really excited. I absolutely loved my Wood Badge course two years ago. It was one of the best and most uplifting/spiritual experiences of my life. I can't explain why, but it was. So, I am excited to return to that.
At the same time, I'm pretty nervous. Going as a staff member is a little different from going as a participant. Then I didn't know what to expect. This time I do. But now I am also partly responsible for making this a fantastic experience for the participants. As a troop guide, I will be presenting several lessons to my patrol (especially the first weekend). I've spent quite a bit of time getting them ready and practicing. I think I'm prepared, but still I wonder what I'm missing. I worry that I won't teach them as well as they should be done.
In addition to the lessons, I will likely be the go-to person for my patrol for any questions about nearly everything. From the schedule, to their responsibilities, to their tickets. Possibly more I can't anticipate. I worry that I won't be able to answer everything, that I won't be the guide they will need.
I also worry about the social aspect of the course. I've never been a very social person. I don't make friends easily. I make conversation even less easily. And yet I feel as if I need to be outgoing and sociable. I need to be friendly and cheerful--everything a Scout should be. I hope I can do that. I need to let go of my inhibitions and not be afraid to have fun, to speak up, to be outgoing. But I worry that when I get in that big crowd that I'll withdraw inside myself and make a mess of things. It's happened before. There's a good chance I'll let it happen again. At the same time, I can see the possibility that this course will bring me new friends and acquaintances that I will treasure, and I look forward to that. I want that association that comes through shared interests and experiences. Like I said before, my Wood Badge course was one of the best experiences of my life, and I expect this one to be just as good.
And then I wonder if I have packed everything I need. I'm sure I'll forget something. Will it be something personal I can make do without for a few days? Will it be something for one of my lessons? What is it? I'm sure I'll be okay. I hope. At least I'm not in charge of food. That could be a disaster.
I will also miss my wife. I joked with her that I'll miss her when I have the time. I know I'll be busy and will not always be thinking about what she needs. But I also know that any quiet moments to myself will bring my thoughts around to her. And I know she will miss me. It will be especially hard for her to have me away for so long, and that pains me. I want her to have everything, but I won't be able to be there for her. But she is supportive and loving and wants me to go. I will get to see her tomorrow night for our staff dinner and beading ceremony where they will present a third bead to the staff.
I'm excited. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I'm also nervous. But, whatever happens, I'll be back at Gilwell. And that is good.