Wood Badge Course

Meet The Staff


Steve Chodash
Course Mentor



If you're reading this, it is because you are either signed up or thinking about taking Wood Badge.

I'm impressed. You are actually checking out the website. Not only that but you are reading the staff bios and didn't fall asleep after the first couple. So here's the deal, most of the staff writes the standard stuff: I've been in the program forever. My kid is an Eagle, I'm an Eagle, my brothers are Eagles, my dad was an Eagle Scout and his Scoutmaster was James E. West (bonus points awarded for those of you who Google James E. West). I volunteer for lots of stuff and I've earned lots of awards. I am a good old Antelope, Buffalo, (fill in the blank of another critter). And of course WOOD BADGE IS THE BEST

Not me though. I write the truth. SCOUTING TAKES UP MORE THAN ONE HOUR A WEEK! I used to be just like you, a simple parent with two kids that wanted to join Cub Scouts. Somehow I became a Den Leader. That led to becoming the Cubmaster which became an Assistant Scoutmaster as my boys got older. I took the Wood Badge Class in 2000 then I became the Scoutmaster of my boy's troop and then after my boys graduated from scouting and I thought my volunteering days were over. Since then I became a Unit Commissioner, an Assistant District Commissioner and now I serve as the District Commissioner for the Aptakisic district. I've also been staff on Wood Badge eight times!! The TRUTH is that being a scout leader is a big commitment and a lot of work Taking Wood Badge is also a big commitment and a lot of work. But it is also educational, enlightening, and enabling. It is also a lot of FUN. It will make the "one hour a week" you spend on scouting a whole lot easier.

P.S. I'm a Good Ole Owl

Mark Demsky
Troop Guide



I started in scouting as a youth in the Detroit area, where I was a member of Pack 212 and Troop 212 in Mt. Clemens, MI. I reconnected with scouting when my son Aidan joined Pack 156, and eventually Troop 156 in Glenview. I became an ASM in our Troop in 2010, and have held the position of Committee Chair since 2012. 

With the Troop I have participated in amazing high adventure trips, most notably Philmont, an Okpik trek at Northern Tier, and hiking at Glacier National Park. I have had the honor of experiencing all of the levels of the OA with my son, and I am excited to be a Vigil candidate this summer with Aidan (Vigil 2015/Eagle 2016) as my guide. 

I became a Fox at C7-129-13, and I owe Chris Fardoux and the late Buff Hoffberg for all of the gentle prodding they gave me to make the commitment to take the course. I am thrilled to be asked to be a troop guide for C7-129-19, and I look forward to meeting you all at Gilwell! 

Sabrina Even
ASM Program



I am currently the Crew Advisor for Crew 92 in Antioch, IL and am very active in our Order of the Arrow Lodge. My daughter, Dana has earned the Silver Award and my son, Thomas is an Eagle Scout. I have been active with BSA for 14 years holding various positions in the Pack, Troop and Crew.

I attended C7-129-15 and LOVED my experience. Then had the privilege to be a Troop Guide the last two years for C7-129-18 and C7-129-19. The skills, information and friendships are invaluable. Every youth deserves a trained leader - I truly believe it makes a difference in their experience. Many of the skills that I learned during Wood Badge, I have been able to apply to my day to day and especially in my work. I am very excited and honored to be your Assistant Scoutmaster of Program for the C7-129-20.

I really enjoy seeing these young people grow, have new experiences and become the leaders that an 'on point' scouting program will do whether they are aware and working at it or not. This training is worth the time and commitment to make a better you so you in turn can better serve our youth! Regardless of how long you have been in scouting or not - there is information, skills and resources to gain from this course in a fun environment.

Tony Giamis
ASM Troop Guides



Scouting is strong in my family. My father was my Cubmaster and my mother was my den leader. This was when they had "neighborhood dens" (all ranks under one roof). My wife, Liz, has served as Advancement Chair for both Cubscout and Boy Scout units. She was a member of Wood Badge class C7-129-17 and will be a Troop Guide for C7-129-20 (Yay!). Although I am not an Eagle Scout, our son Zachary (Troop 71) is. He completed his work in the summer of 2018. Our other son, Chris (Troop 71), should be an Eagle Scout by the time Wood Badge 2020 kicks off in August.

I started Cub Scouting in the third grade in Saratoga Springs, NY, working my way up to Life rank as a Boy Scout before heading to college. I have been active with BSA for about 12 years as an adult. I stepped into (adult) leadership the old-fashioned way --> I was "voluntold" by my then Cubmaster. He proposed that I give it a try...thus I became the Tiger Den leader. I liked it and stayed on as the Wolf and Bear Den leaders. At that point, I transitioned to Pack Committee Chair for a while then moved to Green Oaks, IL, where Pack 194 had a vacancy in Committee Chair position. I took the role in October 2011 and handed it over when my youngest crossed over in March of 2015.

Concurrent with the work in the Pack, I served on the committee of Troop 71, Libertyville. In October of 2014, I was promoted to Scoutmaster where I stayed until August 2018. I added Crew 711 Advisor duties and joined the Aptakisic District Committee in January of 2016. On the side, I am a member of the Bear patrol of Woodbadge C7-129-14. With the Troop, I have been to Sea Base twice (2017 and 2019), served as Aptakisic District Scoutmaster for the 2017 National Jamboree, lead a redirected trek to Great Smokey Mountain National Park when Philmont was on fire in 2018, and will serve on staff for 2020 NYLT. I became a Vigil member of Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Lodge 40 in 2018. In January 2019, I was elevated to Aptakisic District Chair.

One of my passions is the BSA STEM program. This is an area where we can greatly improve the outlook for our youth using resources within the District and Council. For this program, I review and approve STEM mentor applications and youth SuperNOVA award applications at all levels.

I am honored and very excited to be the ASM for Troop Guides. This is my second time on Wood Badge staff.

Liz Giamis
Troop Guide



Len Gufstafson



I started in Cub Scouts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and where I earned the Arrow of Light. I joined Boy Scouts and attended Camp Napowan in Wisconsin.

I volunteered to be Den Leader for Pack 91 in Grayslake when my son Luke started Cub Scouts. I served as Den Leader for three years before taking position of Pack Committee Chair for another two years. When my son joined Troop 73 I became one of the Assistant Scoutmasters. After three years I took on the position of Scoutmaster. After two years as Scoutmaster, I currently hold the position of Assistant Scoutmaster for the troop.

During my time with the troop we have had amazing experiences because of scouting; a Philmont trek, five weeks of Camp Makajawan, Okpik training and almost 100 nights of camping. My son and I both had the honor of being inducted into the Order of the Arrow as well.

I attended C7-129-15, where our patrol was led by Dan Kublank. Woodbadge training far exceeded my expectations and was a very rewarding experience. I would highly recommend taking the course even if you are not interested in being a scout leader, it's that good! I am very excited to be on staff for the first time for C7-129-20!

I am a proud Antelope, try to keep up!

Patrick Krook



Dan Kublank
Course Director 

Hello my friends, 


I am honored to be chosen to be your Course Director for the 2020 Wood Badge Program. It will be a new course run over five days (not 6) and I promise you will have fun and learn more than you imagined you could. We model a program started by Baden Powell back in 1919 and have honed it over the years to our current mountaintop experience of leadership training.

No matter if you are new in Scouting or an "Old Salt", I truly believe you will find something to take home from Wood Badge that will fire you up for Scouting. Our program guides you from your first day as a Cub Scout all the way through the Scouting program. Don't be the one who says "I should have done this sooner". Believe me when I say that I hear that all the time.

I would like to offer you a challenge.

I challenge each and every one of you to take Wood Badge in 2020 and put a fire back into yourself and back into Scouting.
I challenge you to help change lives in impactful ways.
I challenge you to include diversity and inclusion in your program.
I challenge you to experience what the Wood Badge program has to offer you in Scouting, work life and most importantly, your family life.
I challenge you to Lead by Example and to have 2020 Vision for your future.

What challenge would be complete without this one;    I double-dog-dare you to not come out completely changed after experiencing the 2020 Wood Badge program.

See you at Gilwell!


Dave Kublank



Dave is an Eagle Scout (1983), an OA Vigil Member (2017) and is currently an Assistant District Commissioner for the North Star District. He has been involved in scouting starting as a cub scout in Libertyville IL Pack 60 and then bridged to Troop 60. Dave was a MaKaJaWan staff member in the early 80's, was on the MaKaJaWan Remembrance Committee, the Course Director for the 2017 Winter Powder Horn program, and was an Assistant Scoutmaster for our awesome course director Chris Fardoux. Dave trekked over 100 miles at Philmont in 2009 and is a member of the MaKaJaWan Wilderness Engineering Society. He has held many leadership positions as an Adult from Cubs through Venturing. Dave enjoys spending time with his family, camping, hiking, and especially playing music.  

He holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance playing the saxophone and flute and gigs all around Chicago. He even worked for Mickey Mouse in California. Dave completed his Wood Badge experience on course C-22-08 as a Bear and has been on several Wood Badge staffs as a Troop Guide. He is looking forward to working Logistics/QM to give our participants a tremendous Gilwell experience.  

Dave took his practical at camp OhDaKoTa ( C-22-08)and is a proud ole Bear. 

Bill La Fleur



I was a lifelong Scouter in Chicago and earned Eagle in 1983. I was a District Executive in Chicago right after graduating the University of Illinois and getting married and stayed with the BSA until we moved up to Mundelein.

We have three daughters. I retired from the Illinois Army National Guard as a Major after serving 23 years in 2007. I've been working at Abbott Laboratories since 2002.

In 2008 I went searching for a volunteer position in NEIC finding out I was living in Aptakisic district. I volunteered as a Unit Commissioner. After a few years, I was asked to be the District Commissioner. After 3 years I stepped down and volunteered for the District Committee and Roundtable staff.

Currently, I am the District Training Subcommittee chair and Roundtable Commissioner for Scouts BSA. I attended Wood Badge in 2018 in the Antelope patrol. This is my first year on Wood Badge staff because I just don't think I've given back enough to Scouting and I truly and deeply believe this is the best organization to help our youth to be the best possible adults, leaders and hope for our future.

Ken LaCrosse
ASM Logistics



Ken was a Cub Scout with Pack 1903 in the former Detroit Area Council where he earned the Arrow of Light. He became an adult leader with Pack 194 (Green Oaks) in 2010 when his son joined as a Tiger. He served 1 year as a Tiger Leader, 1 year as a Den Leader and 3 years as Cubmaster. When his son crossed over to Troop 194 (Green Oaks/Libertyville) he joined the Troop Committee as the membership chair. He currently is the Committee Chair for Troop 194. One of his favorite Scouting experiences is the Sea Base Sailing Adventure. Another is Wood Badge of course!

Other current Scout volunteer positions include: Chartered Organization Rep for Pack 194; Aptakisic District Membership committee; NEIC Membership committee; NEIC Catholic committee; NEIC Interfaith committee and merit badge counselor.

He lives in Libertyville with his wife, Marilyn, his son who is a Life Scout and his daughter who has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award. Ken is a Buffalo from Wood Badge course C7-129-15. His first time on staff was as a Troop Guide for course C7-129-19. This year he hopes to "put everything in its proper place" as ASM of Logistics. Come join the fun!

Ed Levin
Troop Guide



Beth Micksch
Asst. Senior Patrol Leader



Beth comes from a scouting family, she has 3 Eagle Scout brothers. She started her own Boy Scout volunteering in 1997 when her oldest son joined Cub Scouts in Virginia. Having two sons nine years apart meant Beth did everything twice at completely separate times, kind of a remedial Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader process. She has served as a Tiger, Cub Scout and Webelos den leader for both of her sons. She is an active member of Troops and Crew 672 currently serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster and as a committee member for the crew. She has made treks to Sea Base, Philmont, attended 2013 Jamboree as a 1st Assistant Scoutmaster and has spent many weeks at Makajawan enjoying the Northwoods.

Currently Beth is serving as the Northeast Illinois Council Commissioner. At the District level, she is a former North Star District Chairman and has chaired the Family Friends of Scouting campaign at both the District and Council level. She has received recognition from her peers receiving the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver in 2015. She was in the C7-129-14 Wood Badge class and is proud to be a member of the Fox Patrol. This will be her third time on Wood Badge staff and she is super excited to welcome all the new participants to the best training ever!

Beth resides in Grayslake with her husband, Steve, and sons Ryan and Jake. Ryan and Jake are both Eagle Scouts. Jake is looking forward to being on staff at Makajawan again this year.

Laura Myerholtz
Troop Guide



Laura is an enthusiastic scouter who is excited that young women are now able to join Scouts BSA. Her time with scouts began when she was part of a Police Explorer program in Wilton, CT. Laura is married to an Eagle Scout, Brian, and they have two kids, Katie (15) and Alex (13), who are both active with scouting.

Laura was a Den Leader for pack 3079 in Chicago, IL, and was also an ASM for Troop 20 in Winnetka, IL. In 2018, Laura was a Woodbadge C7-129-18 course participant and Dan Kublank was her fearless Troop Guide. One of Laura's Woodbadge tickets lead to her helping to found Troop 5g, a linked boy/girl troop, in Wilmette, IL. She's been working with an amazing group of dedicated, young women (including her daughter) who are on-track to be part of BSA's inaugural female Eagle Scout class in October, 2020.

In addition to her BSA activities, Laura volunteers as a Girl Scout leader for her daughter's troop. For the past 20 years, Laura has volunteered with the Red Cross's Disaster Action Team by responding to local and national disasters and providing emergency assistance. Laura is also the lead singer for a folk band, the Meadow Ridge Ramblers. She's known to be a bit of a diva when it comes to campfire singalongs.

She is a proud antelope.

Zach Norton
Troop Guide



I started learning about Scouting on the job in 2015 working in the Scout Shop. Since then, I have worked to learn as much as I can about every level of Scouting so that I can effectively help with the broadest array of topics possible. I am now the Customer Service Specialist for the Council, handling many areas from awards, registration, Eagles, and everything in-between.

I attended C7-129-16 in the Owl patrol led by Dan Kublank. Having been sold on it by several patrol members during my Wood Badge course, I attended the 2018 OKPIK course in the Arctic Bee patrol and am now a Troop Guide for the 2019 OKPIK course's Beluga Whale patrol.

This will be my first year on Wood Badge staff.

Laura Shamberg
Troop Guide



Laura is a proud momma of an Eagle Scout and has been involved since her youngest was a Tiger scout. She has been a Den leader and an Assistant Webelos Den leader and has been active with Troop 671 since 2012.

She is currently the Charter Organization Representative for Troop, Crew and Pack 671, is Co-Chair for Advancements in the troop, and is on the NorthStar District Committee for Advancements. She Has enjoyed several high adventure trips with her son to Philmont, Northern Tier and Sea Base. She has taken Okpik and was on staff for several years afterwards. She enjoys camping and sharing the knowledge she has learned through training with newer parents.

She was a participant of the C7-129-11-01 course, and is a proud Eagle. This will be her third time on staff. She is excited to be part of this course and believes every scout deserves a trained leader.


Doug Wilson
Senior Patrol Leader



Doug earned his Eagle rank in 1982 while with T516 in Centerville, OH. He is the proud dad of a Life Scout (Reid), who is working on his Eagle Project this year! Doug is a Computer Engineer and for the past 25 years has been married to Troop 150's current Troop Committee Chair, his amazing wife Jennifer. He is also the proud father of two smart and beautiful young women at U of I and OSU. He has been running his own software development company in Evanston for almost 20 years.

Doug is currently an ASM with T150 in Deerfield. He is a Brotherhood member of the OA. His BSA training includes Wilderness First Aid and is also OKPIK trained. Doug enjoys camping to a level that doesn't quite seem natural, and he has been leading the high adventure program at T150, with a Boundary Waters Trek in 2017, a Philmont Trek this year, and an Apostle Islands trek planned for 2020!

If that was not enough, he has been working on staff with a dozen impressive scouts as they build the NYLT course at Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan this year! Doug attended Wood Badge course C7-129-15 and this is his second time on staff. He is a scribe this year and dreams of a day when we take Wood Badge paperless. He is, of course, a fox.

Stacey Wolfe
Troop Guide



My name is Stacey Wolfe and I'm so proud to be here this year as a troop guide.

I am a proud mom of 2 scouts. My oldest son is about to cross over to Boys Scouts this March and my youngest is currently a Bear Scout, of which I am his proud den leader. I had some experience with scouting when I was younger as a Brownie and Girl Scout, but as I got older I got out of it. I got interested again in it when my oldest son wanted to join and joined as Tiger.

Currently we are a family of "scouts". My husband is Committee Chair for our Pack, both boys are in scouts and I am a not only a den leader but also Recruiting Chair for our Pack. I had the best opportunity last year to experience Wood Badge: C7-129-18. I actually did it on a fluke. I was recruited by from Troop Guide Angela Chien and my husband.

I actually did this to get over my fears of camping, spiders and to prove to my husband I could do this. Well this turned out to be the best experience ever. Not only did I prove to my husband that I could do this being the girlie girl that I am, but I learned to much, formed wonderful relationships, and learned so much about leadership, scouting, learning and how to be a better person, scout, mom, wife and HR Director.

So much of what is taught in Wood Badge can be used in all facets of life, whether it is in scouts, personal or professionally. I have grown mentally from the experience and am truly grateful. The excitement that I have now about being asked to be a troop guide is something that I am truly honored to be asked to do. I can't stress enough to people how it will change you. Whenever I talk to people about scouts I always mention woodbadge and tell them it is an experience of a life time.

I look forward to being with all of my other Troop Guide and Staff this year at Wood Badge C7-129-20. Tatonka- That's Buffalo talk.



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