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Wood Badge For The 21st Century

Wood Badge is Scouting's premier training course. It's the ultimate leadership training experience designed to meet the leadership needs for all Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing leaders as well as Council and District leaders and Scouting professionals.

Lord Baden-Powell originally designed it so that Scouters could learn, in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting. It is first and foremost, learning by doing.

Wood Badge has evolved into the core leadership skills training course for the BSA. The Wood Badge For The 21st Century course focuses on strengthening every volunteer's ability to work with and lead groups of youth and adults and is less focused on outdoor skills, which are more effectively addressed in other courses.

History of Wood Badge

Baden-Powell took the first steps in the training of Scouters by organizing a series of lectures for Scouters in 1911. He made great strides by devising and instituting Wood Badge Training in 1919. Wood Badge recipients now number more than 100,000 throughout the world.

The object of the Wood Badge course is to demonstrate, as practically as possible, the aims and methods of Scouting. Upon successful completion of the course the participant receives a certificate and the Wood Badge - two wooden beads worn on a leather thong around the neck. These beads replicate the beads found by Baden-Powell during a campaign in Africa in 1888. They belonged to Dinizulu, an African chieftain. In searching for a suitable recognition for those who completed the first course in 1919, Baden-Powell remembered the beads and decided to present a bead to each participant. At that time, the course was called Wood Badge.

The Wood Badge may be worn only with the official field uniform of the BSA. The Scouter to whom it has been awarded may also wear the tan neckerchief with its patch of MacLaren tartan at the back. The Wood Badge neckerchief may only be worn with the accompanying leather neckerchief slide or woggle.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending Wood Badge training, particpants will be able to

  • View Scouting globally, as a family of interrelated, values-based programs that provide age-appropriate activities for youth.
  • Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in corporate America and leading government organizations that are relevant to our values-based movement.
  • Apply the skills they learn from their participation as a member of a successful working team.
  • Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an overall inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission on an ongoing basis.

Cirriculum and Leadership Skills

Wood Badge training consists of two parts - a practical phase and an application phase. The practical phase is conducted as a troop in a camping setting. Here leadership skills can be learned and practiced as part of life in a troop. The application phase happens at the conclusion of the practical phase for a period of not more than 18 months. During both phases of the Wood Badge course five central themes are focused on and developed:

  • Living the Values
  • Bringing the Vision to Life
  • Models for Success
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Leading to Make a Difference

Course Delivery

The practical phase of the Wood Badge course reflects unit meetings and also uses a unit camping activity as its delivery model. During the course the model Boy Scout Troop will serve as the foundation for training purposes. This is done for several reasons.

  • The Boy Scout troop simulation provides a good framework in which to practice leadership skills introduced in the course.
  • Boy Scouting provides a natual bridge between the various programs in Scouting and leaders should understand the importance of transition.
  • It would be difficult, and most likely confusing, to simultaneously model Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and Venturing in one course.

It should be noted that although this foundation is utilized, the course content and leadership principles introduced apply to Scouters in all leadership positions and will provide a common foundation of leadership skills to be used throughout all program areas.

Who May Attend Wood Badge?

Wood Badge is advanced leadership training for adult leaders in all of Boy Scouting’s program areas - Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting and Venturing - as well as Council and District leaders. This includes assistant leaders, committee members, and “just parents” in all areas.

All leaders are encouraged to attend Wood Badge, there is no minimum tenure requirements.

Since it is advanced training, though, there are some important requirements. You must

  1. Be a registered as an adult leader of the Boy Scouts of America, and active in a Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, Varsity team, Venturing crew, or a District or Council position.
  2. Have not previously attended a Wood Badge course.
  3. Have completed basic training for the position you currently hold
  4. Have completed the outdoor skills training programs appropriate to your Scouting position
    Be capable of functioning safely in an outdoor environment and have a BSA Class 3 physical valid through the beginning of the course.

Basic Leader Training Prerequisites

One of the requirements for taking Wood Badge is to complete the basic training requirements for your primary position prior to attending. BSA Basic Training was completely revamped in 2001, read below to see which basic training requirements apply to you.

  • If you took basic training before September, 2001, and have not changed positions since that time, you are qualified for Wood Badge. These courses fulfill the basic training requirements:

    • Cub Scouters - Cub Scout Basic Training
    • Boy Scouters - Scoutmaster Fundamentals
    • Varsity Scouters - Varsity Basic Training or Scoutmaster Fundamentals
    • Venturing Scouters - Venturing Basic Training
    • District or Council Committee - District Committee Training Workshop
    • Unit or District Commissioners - Commissioner Basic Training

  • If you took basic training after September, 2001, or have changed positions after that time, you must take New Leader Essentials plus the Leader Specific Training for your position. Assistant leaders take the same course as the leader. These are the required courses:

    • Tiger Cub Den Leader - Tiger Cub Leader Specific Training
    • Wolf/Bear Den Leader - Den Leader Specific Training
    • Webelos Den Leader - Webelos Leader Specific Training
    • Pack Committee Chair or Member - Pack Committee Leader Specific Training
    • Cubmaster - Cubmaster Leader Specific Training
    • Scoutmaster - Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training
    • Troop Committee Chair or Member - Troop Committee Challenge
    • Varsity Coach - Varsity Leader Specific Training
    • Venturing Advisor - Venturing Leader Specific Training
    • District or Council Committee - District Committee Training Workshop
    • Unit or District Commissioners - Commissioner Basic Training

Outdoor Skills Training

If you are a Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Varsity Coach or Assistant Varsity Coach you must also complete the following training.

  • Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

All participants are encouraged to complete the Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills training before attending Wood Badge, but it is not required.

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