Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
May 2021
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A pair of wooden beads

In the Scouting movement, the kids’ accomplishments are acknowledged with the award of cloth badges, as they learn stuff, complete challenges, and develop their interests. We leaders get very few badges: just a few identifying tapes and badges to say which troop and district we belong to (which the kids have anyway), and every so often an updated little “number” badge, showing how many years we’ve been crazy enough to stay around for.

There is one significant achievement award for leaders, however, which is curiously titled the Wood Badge even though it does not involve a cloth badge at all. When leaders completes their advanced training they are presented with the Gilwell scarf (grey-pink on the outside for humility, and red inside for warmth of feeling, and bearing a small patch of the McLaren tartan) and a pair of wooden beads on a leather cord (replicas of the beads that Baden Powell used to award to trained leaders, which came from a necklace of the Zulu warrior Dinizulu).

A few weeks ago, my good friend May completed her Wood Badge and I was honoured and humbled when she asked me if I would present her Wood Badge beads. She said some really nice things about how I’d been a role model to her for Scouting leadership … which is ironic because I’ve been feeling very disorganised and unimaginative of late, and have, in fact, been admiring the things that May has been doing.

May is also very creative. She’s the one who did the cool piece of iconography and the mathematical clock that she hid in a geocache. I thought it would be nice to honour her Wood Badge achievement with something creative and personal. I had a piece of Huon pine (a lovely Tasmanian timber that is easily worked with wood carving tools) and so I started carving a little plaque. I also have an engraving tool that I used for some of the finer outlining, to establish some of the boundaries before wielding the chisels and gougers.Β  I was happy with how it turned out (apart from a few little slips where the chisel forgot to stop where it was supposed to!).

On the night of the presentation everything went well: May’s achievement was duly acknowledged and she can now wear her Wood Badge beads, we had a good campfire afterwards (May and I, plus Matthew (my Assistant Scout Leader, who is not far off earning his own Wood Badge (hint hint! πŸ˜‰ )) always enjoy a good singalong), … and May liked the plaque.

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