Today is the day my Wood Badge course should have started.
For those who may not be familiar, in order for a Wood Badge course to go forward, there must be a minimum of 30 registered participants by 30 days before the course.
We didn't get 30.
We didn't get 20.
We didn't get 10.
We had 4.
And now, instead of sitting through an inspiring presentation on Values, Mission, and Vision, I am sitting at my computer thinking about what might have been.
In many ways it would be easy to try to lash out and blame other people. And, if I'm being perfectly honest, there are times when those feelings try to come out. But the thing that bothers me the most is the thought that maybe it's my own fault it didn't happen.
I know there are things I probably could have done differently. There are things I didn't do very well. I feel like the entire time I spent as a course director prominently displayed my own weaknesses more than anything else.
People have tried to tell me that it's not my fault, that I did everything I could have. I certainly tried. But still, I wonder. If I had done this differently, or tried that instead, maybe it would have made a difference. Or maybe it wouldn't have. The terrible thing is that I will never really know.
I am disappointed. There were lots of little things that I really wanted to try. From the content of the Gilwell Gazette, to the theme for our Blue and Gold Banquet, to the way we were going to handle the outdoor experience on the second weekend, there were lots of little details that I think would have made our course awesome.
I also feel a little guilty. I spent nearly a year and a half of my life working to make Wood Badge happen, and I have nothing to show for it. I won't be getting a fourth bead. I won't get a certificate that says "Wood Badge Course Director." My course number, burned into my memory, means nothing. And I feel guilty for thinking about these things because I know that conducting a Wood Badge course isn't for me. It's not so I can get another bead to hang around my neck.
Some time last winter I had what I thought was an inspired vision for my course. I had the strongest feeling that gave me a definite picture of future success. I felt like if we could get this course to happen, we would be re-charging, in a sense, the Scouting program in my area. I was certain that participants from my course would be transformed into the next generation of leaders who would continue to carry Scouting (and Wood Badge) forward in my area for the next 10 or 15 years.
But I don't have any participants. I don't have a course to provide training and inspiration to them that will change their lives and the lives of the youth they serve. And I don't know what the future holds.