Re: Hello and Woodbadge syllabus query
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Thu, 17 Aug 1995 01:11:09 -0400
Vince and Bill,
Maybe I can shed some light on the subject. Bill Hillcourt was the
Scoutmaster of Wood Badge Course 1 in the U.S. Hillcourt was selected
because at the time he was the only national staff member eligible (he
had received his beads in 1939) for the 1948 course. When he recieved
the syllabus from the Boy Scouts International Bureau, he met with Joseph
Thomas (Wood Badge from Canada) and William E. Lawrence, then Director of
of the Boy Scouting Service, to review it for use. They also reviewed the
syllabus from Gilwell Park and several overseas Scout organizations. These
three quickly decided that the course should cover the requirements from
Tenderfoot to First Class, the patrol method, troop organization, and
advanced scoutcraft. They eliminated lectures and extended instruction
putting the emphasis on doing rather than lecturing.
This may be the "alternative Wood Badge" you heard about. In any case in
succeeding courses more emphasis was placed on leadership. From the
beginning the course structure was under evaluation. After the first two
courses there were quite a few who felt that more emphasis needed to be
placed on leadership skills to be able to go back and teach other
Scouters how to better do Scouting.
By the early sixties, it became apparent that local Councils could put on
Wood Badge courses and the BSA Volunteer Training Service developed two
guides - one for the National Courses and one for Council Scoutmaster
Courses. The daytime programs of each focused on Scoutcraft. The
difference was in evening programs. The National Course focused on
Council and District training and the Scoutmaster Course focused on
running a Troop and the patrol method.
>From 1967 to 1972 there was a lot of experimentation with changing the
focus of the course to leadership development. During this time Harcourt
may have developed an alternative course for consideration. The
experiments confirmed the value of leadership development and in 1972
leadership development replaced scoutcraft as the focus of training
during daytime activities.
In 1979 another period of evaluation began and there was concern that
Scoutcraft needed more emphasis. Several course changes were made to
include more scoutcraft training areas. Bill Harcourt may have been
involved in these changes as well.
Over the years BSA has also experimented with canoeing, rafting, and
exploring versions of Wood Badge.
Probably the best source of historical information on Wood Badge is BSA's
A History of Wood Badge in the United States.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
DDC-Training, GW Dist. Nat Capital Area Council mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City