Re: Green Bar Bill!
Michael Rogero Brown (michaelb@SUNRISE.CSE.FAU.EDU)
Thu, 23 Sep 1993 13:41:00 EDT
> > Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1993 00:34:32 +0100
> > From: Gino Lucrezi <lucrezi@DSIAQ1.ING.UNIVAQ.IT>
> > A side question: I often see Green Bar Bill mentioned, who was he?
> Come on, Gino! How come you don't know William E. Hillcourt, a.k.a.
> Green Bar Bill? 8-) (Just kidding...)
> I think he has been one of the most prominent Scouters ever. Unfortunately,
> he wasn't well know outside the US, or, rather, the BSA. I happened to
> learn about him when, while scouting in the US, I got my copy of the Boy
> Scout Handbook which has been written by him, as every US scout knows. The
> issue I have also features a picture of him in the first page.
Bill wrote the first Patrol Leader Handbook, an edition or two of the
Scoutmaster Handbook (I think), brought Woodbadge to the US (served as first
Gilwell Deputy Camp Chief for the US), created the `Brownsea Double-2'
training for Junior Leaders (a sort of Woodbadge for SPLs & Patrol Leaders),
created the `All Out for Scouting Program', wrote a couple editions of the
Boy Scout Handbook, and lot of other things.
> Getting back to Green Bar Bill, he was a very good and dedicated scouter.
> His nickname came, of course, from the two green bars that B.-P. first
> used as the Patrol Leader's badge. Incidentally, in Italy this is still
> the case (in all of the Assoc., I think), while the BSA dropped them when
> they moved to a more complicated system to make room for the Senior PL,
> the Asst. SPL, the PL and the APL. Further explanations should be asked
> to some active member of the BSA, since I fear that my information may be
> out of date.
Not just out of date, but totally wrong. The BSA has ALWAYS used the 2 bars
for Patrol Leader. In the 70's, the office badge for PLs had a large tenderfoot
badge on 2 silver bars. In 1990, they went back to the older style, so that
the PL patch has 2 green bars again with no tenderfoot emblem on them.
Bill's nickname came from a column he wrote in _Boy`s Life_ called `Green Bar
> I don't have the obituary at hand; off my head I remember that it said that
> Green Bar Bill wasn't actually born in the US (but somewhere like Denmark)
> and that he knew B.-P. before World War II, got very impressed by the
> Scout movement, got his Wood Badge in remote days and then became a Gilwell
> Camp Leader. I think he moved to the US with his family when he was very
> young, and that all his Scout career has been over there. At any rate, he
> was among the first builders of the Scout movement worldwide. His are all
> of the editions of the BSA Handbook, which (I think) first originated from
Bill was born in Denmark. `William Hillcourt' is an anglasided version of
his Danish name. He was a scout in Denmark and got the highest award. He
first met BP at a World Jambo, but the friendship came later.
He was going to be a pharmasist, and was traveling the world when he was
working for the BSA's national office. He got hurt and stayed longer. He
met and made some comments to James West which lead to him writing the
Patrol Leaders handbook and so on.
After he married, he & his wife fixed up a sheep barn on the Schiff Scout
Reservation to live in. There he used a local troop to try out scouting
ideas which he wrote in his column. Later, BP & Lady BP were touring the
world and were visiting with BSA officials. Lady BP was asking the exec's
wives how they help their husbands in their scouting career. Mrs Hillcourt
said she helped Bill type up his columns, try out his scouting ideas etc.
Lady BP was impressed and led her over to BP and said `These are the people
we`ve been hoping to met'. From this sprang the long time friendship of
the Hillcourts & BPs.
> These pages, by the way, have been since taken out from the World Brotherhood
> Edition of Scouting for Boys. This edition has been prepared, once again,
> by Green Bar Bill himself; so, he is the one responsible for the purge.
It was these `World Brotherhood editions' that helped restart Scouting after
WWII. Which is why Bill got the Bronze Wolf award.
> This may sound a little like trivia. I felt, though, that it was worth
> the time remembering a real Scout. Especially since he left us recently.
What`s kind of strange, speaking for myself, is that I missed out on the
thing Bill did. I joined Scouting in the 1975 or so, when the BSA tried to
go `relavent' (over Bill`s protests). Toward the end, Bill`s 9th edition
handbook came out. Much of the JL training stuff Bill came up with has
been modified or whatever.
I`ve always been very annoyed with National's treatment of Bill. I've said
several times that I felt thet Bill should have been named our third Chief
Scout of the BSA. His contributions to the BSA rank up there with Seton,
Beard, West, BP, and few others.
One time when West was introducing Bill to a group of new execs, he said
something like: `Bill has something to say. We may not like it, but we
should listen to what he has to say.' This sentiement is somethign that
too many of the execs now don`t follow.
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