Wood Badge Course

Meet The Staff


Cheri Blenniss
Senior Patrol Leader 



Cheri is a Cubmaster Ermeritus, T96 Assistant Scoutmaster, T1996 Assistant Scoutmaster and NEIC Commit 2 Be Fit Coordinator bringing fitness merit badges and swimming rank advancement opportunities to the Council. She was also the Scoutmaster for the 2018-2019 Okpik cold weather camping training course.  

Cheri is from Kentucky and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Cytotechnology from the University of Louisville. She lives in Grayslake with her husband Darrell, of 23 years, and has four sons ages 18, 17, 15 and 11. Besides having a passion for Scouting and camping, she is also a certified Jazzercise instructor and is currently a Substitute Teacher for three school districts.  

Cheri has been awarded the North Star District Chairman's Award, P627 Silver Acorn, North Star District Cubmaster of the Year, President's Award, North Star District Award of Merit and is Brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow . This is her sixth Wood Badge Staff experience and is proud to be an Owl!  

Steven Bucksbaum



I am pleased to have the honor of giving back to Scouting by serving on Wood Badge staff. My Scouting career began in Cub Scouts in Grinnell, Iowa. I crossed over to Boy Scouts while still living in Grinnell. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa I continued my Scouting with Order of the Arrow and a Philmont trek with a Council unit (all cooking was over an open fire).  

I returned to Scouting when my sons were Cub Scout age, serving as Treasurer for Pack 1010 in Wilmette. I followed my sons into Boy Scouts as an ASM for Troop 9, Wilmette. My main responsibilities have been to organize the Troop's outdoor program, high adventure programs and to mentor Scouts as they move from Life to Eagle.  

I have served on the National Jamboree staff (2010 & 2017). I attended Okpik (2008) and then served on Okpik staff (2009 & 2010). I attended Wood Badge (C-22-07) as part of the Bob White Patrol. I have two sons, both are Eagle Scouts and both are ASMs (trained) at T9. They are giving back to Scouting by serving on staff at Philmont and Northern Tier.  

Angela Chien
Troop Guide 



I am currently the Aptakisic Training chair, The NEIC Council special Needs Scouting Chair, and The Training chair for Troop 71. I have been active with the BSA for many years holding various positions at the Troop, Pack, and district level.

I have three sons who are all in scouting ages 16, 14, and 11. My oldest son Troy is a life Scout and starting to plan his Eagle Project. My husband Jeff is very active at the Troop Level and loves Scouting. We are a Scouting Family!!

I attended C7-129-15 and truly enjoyed my experience. I met so many wonderful people and learned so much about leadership. I am truly blessed to be on staff with such amazing people this year. Go Buffalo's!!!

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
Troop Guide 



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 13 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 last year for C7-129-18. 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 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!

Chris Fardoux
Course Director - Scoutmaster  



Chris is a Fox and took his practical at Indian Mound Scout Reservation (C-27-05); this is his sixth Wood Badge staff experience. Hed love to see you join us as a participant on course and be part of the fun and great learning!

Chris sincerely loves Scouting and especially his current position as Scoutmaster for Troop 150 in Deerfield; he has been in that role since 2005. He has also been an Assistant Scoutmaster, Den Leader, Webelos Den Leader, and Provisional Scoutmaster at Camp MaKaJaWan. At the 2010, National Scout Jamboree, Chris was Scoutmaster for NEIC Jamboree Troop 1006. In 2013, he was Scoutmaster for troop A122 at the first Jamboree held at The Summit; Chris treasures those experiences as well as visiting with those Scouts at every occasion, especially when they achieve the Eagle rank. Chris has served as an Assistant District Commissioner for Roundtable for a number of years and enjoys working together with other Scouters. He first became a Scout as a Cub with Pack 6 in Wilmette and continued on to become an Eagle Scout in 1976 with Troop 6. Chris served in several Lodge and Chapter youth positions and was very active with the Order of the Arrow. He received the Vigil Honor in 1978 and was honored as Example in 2009. He also served on the Camp MaKaJaWan Aquatics staff and loves to be a part of the best place in the world whenever he can. Chris was honored with the District Award of Merit, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Col. Henry Crown Award, and the Silver Beaver.

Chris loves the outdoors, camping, cycling, music (especially live), tropical fish, gardening, anything to do with aquatics, and sharing Scouting with all. Chris and Evelyn live in Highland Park and are the proud parents of two children, Emily; 31, and Ethan; 26. He has worked in public transit for 36 years and currently serves as Division Manager for Pace North Division in Waukegan. See you at Gilwell!

Anthony Giamis
Troop Guide 



Tony joined Cub Scouting in the third grade in Pack 15 in Saratoga Springs, New York, where his father served as Cubmaster. He earned all of the ranks, including the Arrow of Light, before crossing over to Troop 11. He served as his Troop's SPL for two-and-a-half years while serving in the Council's Baden Powell display troop for exhibitions at regional camporees. In 1983, he became an Ordeal member in the Ta-Own-Ya-Wat-Ha Lodge (#268), which is now part of the Kittan Lodge (#364) from the Twin Rivers Council. He served two summers on staff at Camp Saratoga, as a CIT in aquatics.

Tony rejoined Scouting, when his son joined as a Tiger Cub with Pack 16 in Knoxville, TN. He stepped into leadership the old-fashioned way; he was "voluntold" by the Cub Master that, due to his experience as a Scout, he would be the Tiger Den leader. He liked it and stayed on as the Wolf and Bear leaders until he transitioned to Pack Committee Chair. In 2011, the Giamis family moved to Green Oaks, IL, where he quickly became the Pack 194 Committee Chair. In 2013, he joined the committee for Troop 71. By late 2014, he became the Scoutmaster, where he served the youth until August 2018. These years included: Woodbadge Training (C7-129-14) as a BEAR, OA Brotherhood in 2015, OKPIK training in 2016, Sea Base in 2017, serving as Aptakisic District Scoutmaster for the 2017 National Jamboree, OA Vigil member in 2018, lead a redirected trek in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park when Philmont was on fire in 2018, and another Sea Base in 2019.

Tony has served on the Aptakisic District committee for four years. His focus has been activities and service. One of his passions is supporting science. To this end, he advises and oversees the BSA STEM awards and Mentor approvals for the NEIC. In December, he became the Aptakisic District Chair. This is Tony's first time on staff and he is honored and very excited to be a Troop Guide for this course.

Chris Hersee
Troop Guide 



Chris is a Unit Commissioner with Pack 920 King Arts School, Cubmaster with Pack 904 Dewey School, and Advancement Chair for Troop 916 in Evanston.  

Chris has manned the Air and Water Rockets at Twilight Camp from 2009 to current, as well as providing the activity for the Cub Scout Camporees held in April for the Council. Chris is also involved with the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE (FLL) Robotics being a coach and sponsor at Dewey School for the last three seasons starting a LEGO Club that meets on Fridays after school with other after school activities.  

During Pinewood Derby season Chris and Dan Nishibun hold and supervise Pinewood Derby Car building sessions with several Evanston Packs at St. Nick's and manage several Pinewood Derby Races for multiple packs. Chris was chairman of the 2014 Potawatomi District "Gourmet Ree" camporee, was awarded the District Award of Merit in 2010 and the Silver Beaver in 2016.  

David Kline



David has been involved in scouting for almost 30 years, starting with Pack 27 and then Troop 27 of the Toledo Area Council. While a scout he made it to Philmont and served on staff at the local camp.  

All 5 of his children (including both daughters) have been involved with BSA over the years with 6 family members being in the OA. One year 5 family member's names were on Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan staff paddles. David started off as a Committee Member, Assistant Cubmaster and Webelow Den Leader with Pack 36 and moving on to Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 79. He has served as a Scoutmaster at summer camp for at least 20 weeks. He has served as the District Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, District Committee Member-at-Large, District Outdoor & Camping Vice-Chair and on the NEIC Outdoor Committee. He has been on staff of many District and Council camping and other events.  

David is a proud Antelope of C7-129-15. He has lead Scoutmaster training at summer camp and been involved in other training events. 

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. 

Dan Kublank
ASM Troop Guide 



I am an Eagle Scout (1983) and a Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow (1981).

My current position in Scouting is as an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 71 in Libertyville where my 17 year old son, Noah, is a Life Scout working toward his Eagle. I was honored to receive the District Award of Merit for Aptakisic District in 2018. I was a past camper and staff member of Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan and still work alongside many other volunteers with the Wilderness Engineering Society to keep the camp in shape.

This is my sixth Woodbadge staff experience and I am an Antelope from Woodbadge course C-03-10 so, "Enjoy the View!". I have had the honor to serve the City of Waukegan as a professional Firefighter / Paramedic since 1983 and am a 25 year veteran of the department where I currently hold the rank of Lieutenant. As a side note, Wood Badge is more fun when you attend with a friend so bring one along and get ready for your mountain-top experience. Woodbadge is an exciting experience and it changes lives and challenges everyone to give back to the Scouting program in wonderful and impactful ways. Come and experience the course and see for yourself. I double-dog-dare you to not come out completely changed after experiencing the Wood Badge program.

Ken LaCrosse
Troop Guide 



Ken was a Cub Scout with Pack 1903 in the old 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. 

Other current Scout volunteer positions include: Chartered Organization Rep for Pack 194; Committee Chair for the Crew 4; Aptakisic District Membership committee; NEIC Membership committee; NEIC Catholic committee; NEIC Interfaith committee and merit badge counselor.  

Ken has been awarded the Aptakisic District Square Knot Award, Scouter Key Award, Unit Award of Merit, District Award of Merit and the Catholic Adult Religious Emblem, St. George Award. He lives in Libertyville with his wife, Marilyn, his son who is a Life Scout and his daughter who is working on her Girl Scout Silver Award. Ken became a Buffalo at Wood Badge course C7-129-15. This is his first time on staff and he is very excited to be a Troop Guide. Come join the fun! 

Burt Lowry
Assistant Scoutmaster/Program 



Burt's Wood Badge course was C-47-06 where he became a Bear and this is his sixth time on staff.  

Burt has been involved in Scouting since seeking belt loops as a Cub Scout. Boy Scouts was all about the next campout and talk amongst the adults regarding how dirty Burt would get. There was a short stint with an Explorer Post with the local police department and Burt finished his youth BSA career doing a lot of rappelling as a Varsity Scout. Having filled positions at many different levels, the most enjoyable for Burt are those involving being challenged by the youth to keep up with them (I can still hold my own).  

Currently Burt is serving as an ASM for Troop 190 in Antioch, IL. Burt is an Eagle Scout (that fact being in my resume has helped me obtain a job 2 separate times). His son, Lyle, is an Eagle and served on Cub Camp Staff at Oakarro. His older daughter, Janeal, has been involved with her Venture Crew, earning the Discovery Award, and was on staff at Oakarro & MaKaJaWan. Along with Burt, Janeal has served 4 years on OKPIK staff. Burt's younger daughter, Alanna, is not the camper type, but still caught the scouting bug and served 2 years on Oakarro camp staff. Burt's wife, Kathie, is Burt's biggest fan and never complains about the time and money that goes into his BSA hobbies, and gladly takes care of the camp fire smelling clothes that come home.  

Rick Ryan


Rick completed his practical at Indian Mound Scout Reservation (C-27-05) and is a Fox. This is his sixth Wood Badge staff experience. He was a troop guide for C7-129-11-01, ASM Program for C7-129-12, Scribe for C7-129-13 and ASM Quartermaster for C7-129-14, and Scoutmaster for C7-129-15.

Rick started in Cub Scouting and earned Eagle rank in 1978. He has been involved as an adult since his oldest son became a Tiger in 1998, serving as Den Leader, Cubmaster, Pack and Troop committee member, and most recently as Troop committee chair.


He serves as the Council Advancement Chair, on the District Activities Committee, has been awarded the Silver Beaver, the District Award of Merit and holds the Vigil honor in the Order of the Arrow. Rick has three sons, all Eagle Scouts who have been on Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan staff and are active in the OA

Angela Scott
Troop Guide 



I am privileged to be the Scoutmaster for a newly formed female Scouts BSA unit - Troop 190 - one of the first in the Northeast Illinois Council. I have been a Scouter for the past 12 years and have held positions at the Pack, Troop, and District levels.  

I live in Antioch with my husband John and my two sons - Carson is an Eagle Scout and Cody is a Life Scout. My husband John is the Troop Advancement Coordinator. We love Scouting and being a Scouting Family!!  

I am a Program & Management Assistant for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) onboard Naval Station Great Lakes, and have been amazed at how many Scouters I meet in military and government service. 

I have been awarded the Silver Acorn and two Key Scouter Awards, and hold Brotherhood membership in the Order of the Arrow. I attended both Spring and Winter Powderhorn courses (one season was just not enough for me), and have participated in the OKPIK experience - both as a participant and as a Troop Guide. This is my first year on Wood Badge Staff!! I am a proud BEAR - Wood Badge C7-129-14!! 

Scott Smith
Assistant Scoutmaster - Logistics 



Scott comes from a scouting family now with three generations of Eagle Scouts, six in total incl. his father (1939), two brothers and two sons. He earned his Eagle rank in 1972 while with T515 in Corralitos, CA, part of the Monterey Bay Area Council. Ask him about White Stag.  

He left California in 1979 when hired by American Airlines as a Flight Attendant where he is still employed. While at AA Scott has instructed both initial and recurrent training for Flight Attendants. Scott is currently an ASM with T273 in Vernon Hills and serves on the Aptakisic District Committee. 

He holds the Vigil Honor in the OA and has been awarded the Silver Beaver. In addition to Wood Badge, he has served on staff for both OKPIK and NYLT. Scott is no stranger to high adventure serving as adult advisor on five Philmont treks and has also been to Florida Sea Base and Summit Bechtel Reserve. Scott attended Wood Badge course C-18-09 and this is his sixth time on staff. He is an Eagle!! 

Mary Wadleigh
Troop Guide 



Since I loved Girl Scouting for the 7 years I was able to attend, it's no surprise that I took the opportunity to get back into Scouting when my son joined Cub Scouts. Twenty-plus years later, he is no longer a Scout, but I am! I now serve as a Unit Commissioner to Pack 7 and Troop 9, Cub Roundtable Commissioner for Potawatomi, and on the District Committee. In addition, I manage the craft station Potawatomi Twilight Camp since its inception, and have been on staff for the Cub Family Camporee for several years. (For some reason, I seem to be the go-to for crafts.)  

Honors I have received include Commissioner Arrowhead and Commissioner Key for both Unit and Roundtable. I was elected to Order of the Arrow in 2013, and obtained Brotherhood in 2015. I have also received the District Award of Merit (2007), and Silver Beaver (2013).  

But the award closest to my heart is receiving my Wood Badge beads in 2009 (C-22-07 go Beavers!). I have since served as a Troop Guide and Scribe, and have been on support staff for 10 courses. Every time I have returned to Gilwell, I have learned something new and come to appreciate more and more what a rewarding experience Wood Badge is.  

Doug Wilson



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.



Course Staff(db)
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