World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wood Badge


Wood Badge

Wood Badge
Wood Badge beads on top of the 1st Gilwell Scout Group neckerchief.
Country All
Founded 1919
Founder Baden-Powell
Awarded for Completion of leadership training
Membership > 100,000

Wood Badge is a 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 £7000 to purchase Gilwell Park in 1919 plus an additional £3000 for improvements to the house that was on the estate. 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.


  • Scout leader training course 1
    • History 1.1
    • Modern curriculum 1.2
    • Ticket 1.3
    • On completion 1.4
  • Insignia 2
    • Woggle 2.1
    • Beads 2.2
      • Significance of additional beads 2.2.1
    • 1st Gilwell Scout Group neckerchief 2.3
    • Axe and Log 2.4
    • Other symbols 2.5
  • International training centers and trainers 3
    • Great Britain 3.1
    • Australia 3.2
    • Austria 3.3
    • Finland 3.4
    • France 3.5
    • The Netherlands 3.6
    • Ireland 3.7
    • Israel 3.8
    • United States of America 3.9
    • Philippines 3.10
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Scout leader training course


First Wood Badge training at Gilwell Park

Soon after founding the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell saw the need for leader training. Early Scoutmaster training camps were held in London and Yorkshire. Baden-Powell wanted practical training 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.[1][2][3] Gilwell Park, just outside of London, was purchased specifically to provide a venue for the course and the Opening Ceremonies were held on July 26, 1919. Francis Gidney, the first Camp Chief at Gilwell Park, conducted the first Wood Badge course there from September 8–19, 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.[4]

Modern curriculum

The main goals of a Wood Badge course are to:[5][6][7]

  • Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in the corporate world and leading governmental 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 programmes 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 the 1st Gilwell Scout group or Gilwell Scout Troop 1 (the latter name is used in the Boy Scouts of America and some other countries). In the Boy Scouts of America, they are also 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.[8]


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 [9]

On completion

After completion of the Wood Badge course, participants are awarded the insignia in a Wood Badge bead ceremony.[10] They receive automatic membership in 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group or Gilwell Troop 1. These leaders are henceforth called Gilwellians or Wood Badgers. It is estimated that worldwide over 100,000 Scouters have completed their Wood Badge training.[11] The 1st Gilwell Scout Group meets annually during the first weekend in September at Gilwell Park for the Gilwell Reunion.[12] Gilwell Reunions are also held in other places, often on that same weekend.


Wood Badge neckerchief, beads, and woggle

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 Gilwell 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.[2][3] In some countries, Wood Badge training is divided into more than one part and the Gilwell woggle is given for completion of Wood Badge Part I.


King Dinuzulu, wearing what is perhaps the necklace from which the original Wood Badge beads came

The beads were first presented at the initial leadership course in September 1919 at Gilwell Park.

The origins of Wood Badge beads can be traced back to 1888, when Baden-Powell was on a military campaign in Zululand (now part of South Africa). He pursued Dinuzulu, son of Cetshwayo, a Zulu king, for some time, but never managed to catch up with him. Dinuzulu was said to have had a 12-foot (4 m)-long necklace with more than a thousand acacia beads.[13] Baden-Powell is claimed to have found the necklace when he came to Dinuzulu's deserted mountain stronghold.[3][14] Such necklaces were known as iziQu in Zulu and were presented to brave warrior leaders.[15] Other sources suggest that what Baden-Powell actually found were a Zulu girl's marriage dowry beads.

Much later, Baden-Powell sought a distinctive award for the participants in the first Gilwell course. He constructed the first award using two beads from the necklace he had recovered, and threaded them onto a leather thong given by an elderly South African in Mafeking, calling it the Wood Badge.[1][2][3]

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 he or she has mastered the skills taught to him or her during training.[3]

Significance 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 each Assistant Leader Trainer (Wood Badge staff) and two additional beads are awarded to each Leader Trainer (Wood Badge course directors), for a total of four.[3]

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.[3] William Hillcourt is one person who wore five beads.

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.[3]

Number of beads Worn by
2 Wood Badge recipient
3 Deputy Gilwell Course Leader
4 Gilwell Course Leader
5 Deputy Camp Chief of Gilwell Park (one per country)
6 Camp Chief of Gilwell Park; Chief Scout of the World

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 cotton or wool twill with a taupe face and red back; a patch of Clan MacLaren tartan is affixed near the point.[16] 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.[3][13][17]

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 often worn with the Gilwell woggle.[2][3]

Axe and Log

The totem of Gilwell Park, the axe and log, has come to represent Wood Badge

The axe 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 axe blades masked for safety by being buried in a log. Seeing this, Gidney chose the axe and log as the totem of Gilwell Park.[18]

Other symbols

A kudu horn

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.[12]

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.[13][19] 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.[3]

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.[20]


Other sites providing Wood Badge training have taken the Gilwell name. 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.[21] The Diploma of Leadership, like all Australian VET qualifications, is recognized throughout Australia by both government and private industry.[22] From 2009 this will no longer be an enforced requirement, rather an optional extra that Leaders and Rovers may undertake.


The first Wood Badge training in Austria was held September 8 to 17, 1922, near Vienna; it was led by Scoutmaster Miegl [23]


Alfons Åkerman gave the first eight Wood Badge courses and was from 1927 to 1935 the first Deputy Camp Chief. In lieu of Gilwell training, the Finnish Scouts have a "Kolmiapila-Gilwell" (Trefoil-Gilwell), combining aspects of both girls' and boys' advanced leadership training.[24]


The first Wood Badge training in France was held Easter 1923 by Père Sevin in Chamarande.[25]

The Netherlands

Gilwell Leiderscursus, The Netherlands July 9–21, 1923

The first Wood Badge training in the Netherlands was held in July 1923 by Scoutmaster Baarn, or outdoors in Belgium or Germany under the name 'Gilwell Training'.[26]


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.[27]


The first Wood Badge training in Israel was held in April 1963 by John Thurman and took place at the Israeli Scout Ranch, together with 20 participants, Jews, Arabs and Druze. Since the first training, every Wood Badge course run by the Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation is a mutual event for all different religions and organizations in Scouting.

United States of America

Four American Wood Badgers with insignia

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.[28] 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.[29] 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 Novaliches, Quezon City. Today, Wood Badge courses are held at the Philippine Scouting Center for the Asia-Pacific Region, at the foothills of Mount Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna province.[30]


  1. ^ a b Block, Nelson R. (1994). "The Founding of Wood Badge". Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Orans, Lewis P. (2004). "The Wood Badge Homepage". Pinetree Web. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Origins of the Wood Badge" (PDF). ScoutBase UK. 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  4. ^ "The Wood Badge Homepage". Pinetree Web. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Rule 3.34: Adult Training Obligations". Policy, Organisation and Rules. The Scout Association. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  6. ^ Barnard, Mike (2002). "The Objectives of Wood Badge". Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  7. ^ "Training: The Wood Badge". CATVOG Scout Area (The Scout Association). Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  8. ^ Wood Badge for the 21st Century – Staff Guide. Boy Scouts of America. 2001. 
  9. ^ Barnard, Mike (2003). "What is a Wood Badge Ticket?". Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  10. ^ Barnard, Mike (2002). "Wood Badge Presentation Ceremonies". Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  11. ^ "History of Wood Badge". Green Mountain Council Boy Scouts of America. 2007. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  12. ^ a b Rogers, Peter (1998). Gilwell Park: A Brief History and Guided Tour. London, England:  
  13. ^ a b c "The origins of the Wood Badge". Johnny Walker's Scouting Milestones. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  14. ^  
  15. ^ "iziQu". African History. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  16. ^ "Clan MacLaren and the Scouting Connection". Clan 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  17. ^ "History of Wood Badge". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  18. ^ Block, Nelson; Larson, Keith (October–November 1994). "Origins of the Wood Badge Axe". Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  19. ^ "The history of Cubbing in the United Kingdom 1916–present". ScoutBase UK. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  20. ^ Walker, Johnny (2006). "Gidney, Francis 'Skipper'. 1890–1928". Scouting Personalities. Johnny Walker's Scouting Milestones. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  21. ^ "Wood Badge Training Program". Scouts Australia. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  22. ^ "Training Bulletin: Woodbadge holders" (PDF). Scouts Australia. August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  23. ^ "Jamboree Symposium of World-wide Scouting" 9. January 1923. p. 137. 
  24. ^ "History". Partio Scout. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  25. ^ "Chamarande". Honneur au Scoutisme (in French). Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  26. ^ "Cursusvarianten". Gilwell een wereldcurcus (in Dutch). Scouting Nederland. Archived from the original on March 10, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  27. ^ "Resources: Adult Resources". Scouting Ireland. Archived from the original on 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  28. ^ Barnard, Mike (2002). "History of Wood Badge in the United States". Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  29. ^ Barnard, Mike (2001). "Green Bar Bill Hillcourt's Impact on Wood Badge". Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  30. ^ Diamond Jubilee Yearbook. Manila: Boy Scouts of the Philippines. 1996.  

External links

  • Scouts Australia Institute of Training Site
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.