Wood Badge

Wood Badge

Wood Badge is a Scouting leadership program and the related award for adult leaders in the programs of Scout associations around the world. Wood Badge courses aim to make Scouters better leaders by teaching advanced leadership skills, and by creating a bond and commitment to the Scout movement. Courses generally have a combined classroom and practical outdoors-based phase followed by a Wood Badge "ticket", also known as the project phase. By "working the ticket", participants put their newly gained experience into practice to attain ticket goals aiding the Scouting movement. The first Wood Badge training was organized by Francis "Skipper" Gidney and lectured at by Robert Baden-Powell and others at Gilwell Park (United Kingdom) in September 1919. Wood Badge training has since spread across the world with international variations.

On completion of the course, participants are awarded the Wood Badge beads to recognize significant achievement in leadership and direct service to young people. The pair of small wooden beads, one on each end of a leather thong (string), is worn around the neck as part of the Scout uniform. The beads are presented together with a taupe neckerchief bearing a tartan patch of the Maclaren clan, honoring William De Bois Maclaren, who donated the funding to purchase Gilwell Park in 1919. The neckerchief with the braided leather woggle (neckerchief slide) denotes the membership of the "1st Gilwell Scout Group" or "Gilwell Troop 1". Recipients of the Wood Badge are known as "Wood Badgers" or "Gilwellians".

cout leader training course


Soon after founding the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell saw the need for leader training. Early Scoutmaster training camps were held in London in 1910, and in Yorkshire in 1911. Baden-Powell wanted his training to be as practical as possible, and that meant holding it in the outdoors in campsites. World War I delayed the development of leader training, so the first formal Wood Badge course was not offered until 1919. Gilwell Park, just outside of London, was purchased specifically to provide a venue for the course and was opened for use on 2 June 1919. Francis Gidney, the first Camp Chief at Gilwell Park, conducted the first Wood Badge course there from 8 September to 19 September 1919. It was produced by Percy Everett, the Commissioner of Training, and Baden-Powell himself gave lectures. The course was attended by 18 participants, and other lecturers. After this first course, Wood Badge training continued at Gilwell Park, and it became the home of leadership training in the Scout movement.cite web | url = http://pinetreeweb.com/woodbadg.htm | title = The Wood Badge Homepage | publisher = Pinetree Web | accessdate = 2006-08-01]

Modern curriculum

The main goals of a Wood Badge course are to:cite web | url = http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/hqdocs/por/2006/3_35.htm#rule_3.34 | title = Rule 3.34: Adult Training Obligations | work = Policy, Organisation and Rules | format= HTML | publisher = The Scout Association | accessdate = 2007-01-24] cite web | last = Barnard | first = Mike | year = 2002 | url = http://www.woodbadge.org/WB21/wb21obj.htm |format= | title = The Objectives of Wood Badge | publisher = Woodbadge.org | accessdate = 2007-01-07] cite web | url = http://www.catvog.org/adultsupport/woodbadge.php | title = Training: The Wood Badge | publisher = CATVOG Scout Area (The Scout Association) | accessdate = 2007-01-21]
* Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in the corporate world and leading government organizations that are relevant to Scouting's values.
* Apply the skills one learns from participating as a member of a successful working team.
* View Scouting globally, as a family of interrelated, values-based programs that provide age-appropriate activities for youth.
* Revitalize the leader's commitment by sharing in an inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission.

Generally, a Wood Badge course consists of classroom work, a series of self-study modules, outdoor training, and the Wood Badge "ticket" or "project". Classroom and outdoor training are often combined and taught together, and occur over one or more weeks or weekends. As part of completing this portion of the course, participants must write their tickets.

The exact curriculum varies from country to country, but the training generally includes both theoretical and experiential learning. All course participants are introduced to "1st Gilwell Scout group" or "Gilwell Scout Troop 1", and assigned to one of the traditional Wood Badge "critter" patrols. Instructors deliver training designed to strengthen the patrols. One-on-one work with an assigned troop guide helps each participant to reflect on what he has learned, so that he can better prepare an individualized "ticket". This part of the training program gives the adult Scouter the opportunity to assume the role of a Scout joining the original "model" troop, to learn firsthand how a troop ideally operates. The locale of all initial training is referred to as "Gilwell Field", no matter its geographical location. [cite book | title = Wood Badge for the 21st Century - Staff Guide | year = 2001 | publisher = Boy Scouts of America]


The phrase 'working your ticket' comes from a story attributed to Baden-Powell: Upon completion of a British soldier's service in India, he had to pay the cost of his ticket home. The most affordable way for a soldier to return was to engineer a progression of assignments that were successively closer to home.

Part of the transformative power of the Wood Badge experience is the effective use of metaphor and tradition to reach both heart and mind. In most Scout associations, "working your ticket" is the culmination of Wood Badge training. Participants apply themselves and their new knowledge and skills to the completion of items designed to strengthen the individual's leadership and the home unit's organizational resilience in a project or "ticket". The ticket consists of specific goals that must be accomplished within a specified time, often 18 months due to the large amount of work involved. Effective tickets require much planning and are approved by the Wood Badge course staff before the course phase ends. Upon completion of the ticket, a participant is said to have earned his way back to Gilwell.cite web | last = Barnard | first = Mike | year = 2003 | url =http://www.woodbadge.org/WB21/wb21ticket.htm | title = What is a Wood Badge Ticket? | publisher = Woodbadge.org | accessdate= 2007-01-07]

On completion

After completion of the Wood Badge course, participants are awarded the insignia in a Wood Badge bead ceremony.cite web | last = Barnard | first = Mike | year = 2002 | url =http://www.woodbadge.org/Ceremonies/wbcere.htm | title = Wood Badge Presentation Ceremonies | publisher = Woodbadge.org| accessdate= 2007-01-07] They receive automatic membership in 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group (called Gilwell Troop 1 in America and other countries). These leaders are henceforth called Wood Badgers or Gilwellians. It is estimated that worldwide over 100,000 Scouters have completed their Wood Badge training. cite web | year = 2007 | url = http://www.scoutingvermont.org/training/woodbadge/woodbadge_invitation_files/woodbadge_invitation.htm| title = Wood Badge - 2007 Letter of Invitation| publisher = Green Mountain Council Boy Scouts of America | accessdate = 2007-01-26] The 1st Gilwell Scout Group meets annually during the first weekend in September at Gilwell Park for the Gilwell Reunion.cite book | last = Rogers | first = Peter | title = Gilwell Park: A Brief History and Guided Tour | year = 1998 | publisher = The Scout Association | location = London, England | language= English |pages = pages 5–46]


Scout leaders who complete the Wood Badge program are recognized with insignia consisting of the Wood Badge beads, 1st Gilwell Group neckerchief and woggle.


The beads, which represent bravery and leadership, were first presented at the initial leadership course in September 1919 at Gilwell Park. The woggle is a two-strand version of a Turk's head knot, which has no beginning and no end, and symbolizes the commitment of a Wood Badger to Scouting.

The origins of Wood Badge can be traced back to 1888, when Baden-Powell was on a military campaign in Zululand (now part of South Africa). He pursued Dinizulu, a Zulu king, for some time, but never managed to catch up with him. Dinizulu had a 12-foot (4 m)-long necklace with more than a thousand acacia beads.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url = http://www.scouting.milestones.btinternet.co.uk/woodbadge.htm| title = The origins of the Wood Badge | format = | work = | publisher = Johnny Walker's Scouting Milestones | accessdate = 2007-01-21] Baden-Powell is said to have found the necklace when he came to Dinizulu's deserted mountain stronghold.cite book|last=Hillcourt|first=William|authorlink=William Hillcourt| year=1964|title=Baden-Powell: The Two Lives of a Hero | publisher = Heinemann | location = London|pages = 358] cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2003 | url =http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/hqdocs/facts/pdfs/fs145001.pdf |format= PDF | title = The Origins of the Wood Badge | format = | work = | publisher = ScoutBase UK| accessdate= 2007-01-04] Such necklaces were known as "iziQu" in Zulu and were presented to brave warrior leaders. cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = | url = http://africanhistory.about.com/library/glossary/bldef-isiQu.htm| title = iziQu | format = | work =African History | publisher = About.com | accessdate = 2007-01-04]

Much later, Baden-Powell searched for a distinctive award for the participants in the first Gilwell course. He constructed the first award using two beads from Dinizulu's necklace, and threaded them onto a leather thong given to him by an elderly South African in Mafikeng, calling it the "Wood Badge".cite web | last = Block | first = Nelson R. | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 1994 | url = http://www.woodbadge.org/founding.htm | title = The Founding of Wood Badge | format = | work = | publisher = Woodbadge.org | accessdate= 2006-07-20] cite web | last = Orans | first = Lewis P. | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2004 | url = http://pinetreeweb.com/woodbadg.htm | title = The Wood Badge Homepage | format = | work = | publisher = Pinetree Web | accessdate = 2006-08-01]

While no official knot exists for tying the two ends of the thong together, the decorative diamond knot has become the most common. When produced, the thong is joined by a simple overhand knot and various region specific traditions have arisen around tying the diamond knot, including: having a fellow course member tie it; having a mentor or course leader tie it; and having the recipient tie it after completing some additional activity that shows they have mastered the skills taught to them during training.

1st Gilwell Scout Group neckerchief

The neckerchief is a universal symbol of Scouting and its Maclaren tartan represents Wood Badge's ties to Gilwell Park. The neckerchief, called a "necker" in British and some Commonwealth Scouting associations, is a standard triangular scarf made of dove-grey cotton (wool is available on special order) that has a patch of Clan MacLaren tartan at the point.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2004| url =http://www.clanmaclarenna.org/CMSNA/home.nsf/7cf3963177286e1586256c5a00489ae2/1242531143eabbbd86256c90007fff88!OpenDocument
title = Clan MacLaren and the Scouting Connection| format = | work = | publisher = Clan Maclaren.org | accessdate = 2007-01-21
] The pattern was adopted in honor of a British Scout commissioner who, as a descendant of the Scottish MacLaren clan, donated money for the Gilwell Park property on which the first Wood Badge program was held.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = | url = http://www.scouting.org/Media/FactSheets/02-539.aspx | title = History of Wood Badge| format = | work = | publisher = Scouting.org | accessdate = 2007-01-05]

Originally, the neckerchief was made entirely of triangular pieces of the tartan, but its expense forced the adoption of the current design. The neckerchief is held together by a tan or brown leather Turk's head knot woggle.

ignificance of additional beads

Additional beads are awarded to Wood Badgers who serve as part of a Wood Badge training team. One additional bead is awarded to "Assistant Leader Trainers" (Wood Badge staff) and two additional beads are awarded to "Leader Trainers" (Wood Badge course directors), for a total of four.

As part of a tradition, five beads may be worn by the "Deputy Camp Chiefs of Gilwell". The Deputy Camp Chiefs are usually the personnel of National Scout Associations in charge of Wood Badge training. The fifth bead symbolizes the Camp Chief's position as an official representative of Gilwell Park, and his or her function in maintaining the global integrity of Wood Badge training.

The founder of the Scouting movement, Robert Baden-Powell, wore six beads, as did Sir Percy Everett, then Deputy Chief Scout and the Chief's right hand. Baden-Powell's beads are on display at Baden-Powell House in London. Everett endowed his six beads to be worn by the Camp Chief of Gilwell as a badge of office. Since that time the wearer of the sixth bead has generally been the director of leader training at Gilwell Park.

Ax and Log

The ax and log logo was conceived by the first Camp Chief, Francis Gidney, in the early 1920s to distinguish Gilwell Park from the Scout Headquarters. Gidney wanted to associate Gilwell Park with the outdoors and Scoutcraft rather than the business or administrative Headquarters offices. Scouters present at the original Wood Badge courses regularly saw ax blades masked for safety by being buried in a log. Seeing this, Gidney chose the ax and log as the totem of Gilwell Park. [cite web | url=http://www.leaderlore.com/axe.html|title=Origins of the Wood Badge Axe|author=Nelson Block, Keith Larson|accessdate= 2008-08-03|date=October/November 1994]

Other symbols

The kudu horn is another Wood Badge symbol. Baden-Powell first encountered the kudu horn at the Battle of Shangani, where he discovered how the Matabele warriors used it to quickly spread a signal of alarm. He used the horn at the first Scout encampment at Brownsea Island in 1907. It is used from the early Wood Badge courses to signal the beginning of the course or an activity, and to inspire Scouters to always do better.

The grass fields at the back of the White House at Gilwell Park are known as the Training Ground and The Orchard, and are where Wood Badge training was held from the early years onward. A large oak, known as the "Gilwell Oak", separates the two fields. The Gilwell Oak symbol is associated with Wood Badge, although the beads for the Wood Badge have never been made of this oak.

Wolf Cub leaders briefly followed a separate training system beginning in 1922, in which they were awarded the "Akela Badge" on completion. The badge was a single fang on a leather thong. Wolf Cub Leader Trainers wore two fangs.cite web | url = http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/history/cubs/ | title = The history of Cubbing in the United Kingdom 1916–present | publisher = ScoutBase UK| accessdate = 2007-01-04] The Akela Badge was discontinued in 1925, and all leaders were awarded the Wood Badge on completion of their training. Very few of the fangs issued as Akela Badges can now be found.

International training centers and trainers

Great Britain

The first Wood Badge training took place on Gilwell Park. The estate continues to provide the service in 2007, for British Scouters of The Scout Association and international participants. Original trainers include Baden-Powell and Gilwell Camp Chiefs Francis Gidney, John Wilson and, until the 1960s, John Thurman.

The Netherlands

Other sites providing Wood Badge training have taken the Gilwell name. Gilwell Ada's Hoeve, Ommen in the Netherlands, was the locale of the first Wood Badge training outside the United Kingdom, held in July 1923 by Scoutmaster Jan Schaap.cite web | url = http://www.kelpin.nl/fred/padvinderskroniek.htm | title = Piet Kroonenbergs Padvinderskroniek | language = Dutch | publisher = Kelpin | accessdate= 2006-06-01] At Gilwell Sint Walrick, Overasselt, the Catholic Scouts had their training. Since approximately 2000, the Dutch Wood Badge training takes place on the Scout campsite "Buitenzorg", Baarn, or outdoors in Belgium or Germany under the name 'Gilwell Training'.


The first Australian Wood Badge courses were held in 1920 after the return of two newly-minted Deputy Camp Chiefs, Charles Hoadley and Mr. Russell at the home of Victorian Scouting, Gilwell Park, Gembrook. In 2003, Scouts Australia established the Scouts Australia Institute of Training, a government-registered National Vocational & Education Training (VET) provider. Under this registration, Scouts Australia awards a "Diploma in Leadership" to those Adult Leaders who complete the Wood Badge training and additional competencies.cite web | url = http://www.scouts.com.au/main.asp?iStoryID=1944 | title = Wood Badge Training Program | publisher = Scouts Australia | accessdate = 2007-01-04] The Diploma of Leadership, like all Australian VET qualifications, is recognized throughout Australia by both government and private industry.cite web | month = August | year = 2006 | url = http://www.coventryscouts.org.uk/sixth%20issue%20-%20November%202006.pdf | title = Training Bulletin: Woodbadge holders | format =PDF | publisher = Scouts Australia | accessdate = 2007-01-12] From 2009 this will no longer be an enforced requirement, rather an optional extra that Leaders and Rovers may undertake.


Wood Badge training in Ireland goes back to the 1st Larch Hill of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland, who conducted Wood Badge courses that emphasized the Catholic approach to Scouting. This emphasis is now disappeared since the formation of Scouting Ireland. Scouters must also hold a valid first aid certificate in order to be presented with the Wood Badge.cite web | url = http://www.scouts.ie/resources/adult-resources/woodbadge-training/ | title = Resources: Adult Resources | publisher = Scouting Ireland | accessdate= 2007-01-04]


In 1992, the Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation established the Israeli National Scouting Center in "Havat Hazofim" - Israel Scouts Ranch.

United States of America

Wood Badge was introduced to America by Baden-Powell and the first course was held in 1936 at the Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation, the Boy Scouts of America national training center until 1979.cite web | last = Barnard | first = Mike | year = 2002 | url = http://www.woodbadge.org/wbhistus.htm |title = History of Wood Badge in the United States | publisher = Woodbadge.org| accessdate= 2007-01-07] Despite this early first course, Wood Badge was not formally adopted in the United States until 1948 under the guidance of Bill Hillcourt who became national Deputy Camp Chief of the United States.cite web | last = Barnard| first = Mike | year = 2001 | url = http://www.woodbadge.org/wbgbbWB.htm | title = Green Bar Bill Hillcourt's Impact on Wood Badge | publisher = Woodbadge.org | accessdate = 2007-01-30] Today the national training center of the Boy Scouts of America is the Philmont Training Center, which hosts a few camps each year. Nearly all Wood Badge courses are held throughout the country at local council camps under the auspices of each BSA region.


Wood Badge was introduced in the Philippines in 1953 with the first course held at Camp Gre-Zar in Quezon City. Today, Wood Badge courses are held at the Philippine Scouting Center for Asia-Pacific Region, Mount Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna. [cite book | last = Boy Scouts of the Philippines | title=Diamond Jubilee Yearbook | publisher = Boy Scouts of the Philippines | year = 1996 | location = Manila | isbn = 971-97169-0-3]


External links

* [http://web.mac.com/tonyoaks/iWeb/WoodBadge/Welcome.html Example ticket]
* [http://www.scouts.com.au/autopage.asp?iMenuID=1206&iShellID=702 Scouts Australia Institute of Training Site]
* [http://www.seascout.org/for_leaders/adult_recognition/adult-seabadge.html Sea Badge]
* [http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/hqdocs/facts/pdfs/fs145001.pdf UK Scout Association fact sheet on Wood Badge history]
* [http://www.woodbadge.org/ Wood Badge-BSA site (unofficial)]

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