The multi-District, or shall we refer to it as the “Greater Alabama Council” Baloo and IOLS course this weekend was an epic training experience. The design of the staff was deliberately engineered to pool veteran trainers and new Wood Badge participants working on their “Ticket,” and we were very fortunate to have been able to recruit two good friends and dynamic female Scout Leaders, Wanda Ellenberger (Vulcan District) and Elaine Brown (Shelby District), to run the overnight course on the ground. Ladies and gentleman, Wanda and Elaine nailed it and the thank you messages from the participants are rolling in!

The Baloo and IOLS courses are introductory in nature and are required by Scouts BSA of registered adult volunteers assuming the responsibilities of leading outdoor, overnight adventures. This double header was featured at Camp Tekakwitha, Springville, AL, which is owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Alabama. The heat was oppressive, but it didn’t even dint the courage and commitment of both staff and participants.

Last evening during the campfire program being orchestrated by David Rice, I had inadvertently chosen the best seat in the house while trying to bounce back from my own heat exhaustion sitting about 20’ behind and above the campfire ring of about 50 staff and participants. As the performances progressed and the songs and laughter continued, I slowly recovered while viewing a timeless tradition of Scouting’s most favored activity at the end of a good day. The skies were crystal clear and a brilliant shooting star streaked across the eastern horizon, with an illuminated cross on the opposite shoreline, all while glowing embers rose to the heavens above. This, my friends, inspired me to pull myself together and to follow through with reading an inspirational writing that Bill Cather, Scoutmaster Emiratis, asked me to read at the campfire. That, coupled with acknowledging the courage and commitment that everyone was pouring into the weekend, and most importantly our youth’s future, was a very appropriate way to show respect to Bill for his lifelong Scouting service and to wrap up a very fine day.

Happy Trails,
Steve Ray
Vulcan District Training Chair 
Baloo/IOLS 9/7-9/8/19 SM

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