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Wood Badge

For a nice, brief history of Wood Badge, see The Wood Badge Home Page. (It does say, though, that Wood Badge for the 21st Century was introduced in 2003. Around here, it began in 2001, and Chief Seattle Council first offered it in 2002.)

On the morning of September 19, 1919, Lord Robert Baden-Powell blew a Kudu horn at Gilwell Park on the edge of Epping Forest near London. Thus began the world's first Wood Badge course. Since that day, wherever Wood Badge is held, it is on Gilwell Field. Wood Badge is today offered around the world. Over 100,000 people have attended Wood Badge.

The objective of Wood Badge is to demonstrate the aims of methods of Scouting. Upon completion, a Scouter receives a certificate and two beads, and becomes a permanent member of Troop 1, Gilwell. The two wooden beads replicate the beads found by Baden-Powell during a campaign in Africa in 1888. These belonged to Dinizulu, an African chieftain. In searching for a suitable recognition for the men who completed his first course, Baden-Powell remembered the beads and decided to present a bead to each participant. From then on, the course was called "Wood Badge."

The 21st Century Wood Badge course, which replaced the previous courses in 2001, draws from the best leadership models in America and applies them to training our youth on how to lead. You will live the magic of Scout leadership training as envisioned by the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell.

What? A "New" Wood Badge?

The current Wood Badge is called Wood Badge for the 21st Century. In fact, the version today is somewhat improved from the original 21st Century Wood Badge. Why was it changed from previous versions? Here is some background.

Over four years at the end of the 1990s, Boy Scouts of America undertook the project of bringing Wood Badge training into the 21st Century. So, what's new?

Two of the most important changes in this new Wood Badge from the former Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge are:

It concentrates on unit leadership, not outdoor skills. (Outdoor skills are presented to leaders in their position-specific training.)The course has been developed for ALL leaders in the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing programs, as well as council and district leaders.

The syllabus was somewhat revised again in 2005.

If you are a registered leader in the Boy Scouts of America, this course is for you.

Skills in the "new" Wood Badge are:

  • Values, Mission, and Vision
  • Listening to Learn
  • Communication
  • Inclusiveness
  • Valuing People and Leveraging Diversity
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Stages of Team Development
  • The Leading EDGE/The Teaching EDGE
  • Project Planning
  • Leading Change
  • Decision-Making and Problem-Solving
  • Managing Conflict
  • Self-Assessment
  • Leaving a Legacy

As a result of this exciting training, leaders will be able to:

  • View Scouting globally, as a family of interrelated, values-based programs.
  • Recognize that leadership concepts used in corporate America are relevant to our values-based movement.
  • Apply skills they learn to enhance teamwork within their Scouting unit.
  • Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an overall inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission.