What IS Wood Badge? (Was Re: I used to be a ...?)
(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 20 Mar 1996 23:37:31 -0600
>Ok, I had that same question too, but here is another >one...(forgive me, I
am new to scouting)
>What the heck is "wood badge training"? I have heard this a lot, >but no
one ever says what exactly it entails.
Here's your answer, Evette, copied from an earlier posting on
that very same subject a while back (in December):
Wood Badge is the ADVANCED training course for Scouters. It comes in three
basic varieties and three other "offshoots":
Cub Scout TRAINERS' Wood Badge, which is designed for those whom are going
to be the trainers/coaches of Cub Scout Leader training courses in the
District or Council or within a Regional Area.
Boy Scout LEADERS' Wood Badge, which is designed for those operating the Boy
Scout Troop Operations Plan (primarily Scoutmasters and Assistants,
Committee Members and Chartered Organizational Representatives, Troop and
Exploring ADVANCED SEMINAR (which is technically NOT a Wood Badge-producing
course, but the course structure and content is 88% identical to the Cub and
Boy Scout Wood Badge course) designed for the Exploring Advisor and
Assistants/Associates, Consultants, Committeemembers and those supporting
the Exploring program on a District/Division, Council or Regional Area basis.
The three offshoots are the Varsity LEADERS' Wood Badge course (conducted in
those Regional Areas with a high concentration of Varsity units...primarily
in the Western Region, and identical to the Boy Scout Leaders' Wood Badge
course with some Varsity material entered); the Exploring Leadership
(my personal favorite, conducted again primarily in the Western Region,
which comes closer (94 as opposed to 88% identical content) to the two
"traditional" courses); and the Sea Badge course (for Sea Exploring Skippers
and Mates and those supporting the Sea Exploring program at the
District/Division, Council, Regional Area and Regional basis).
In order to attend a Wood Badge course, a Scouter must be registered in an
adult leadership position, have attended the basic training course which
applies to their present position, and be recommended for attendance by the
District/Division/Council's training chair or Commissioner. For instance,
for attendance at the Varsity Leaders' Wood Badge course, Scouters should
have been a Varsity Leader for some period of time, attended and completed
the Varsity Leader Basic Training course, and have been recommended by the
training chair or the Huddle Commissioner.
During the course, you and up to 47 other Scouters, are placed
within a Pack, Troop, Post/Ship or Team, with the number 1.
You become a member of a Den, Patrol, Crew or Squad (depending on course)and
you learn what it is like to be a member of a Scouting unit, you learn what
makes yourself happy and why the Scouting program is set up the way it is.
This is important, Evette, because after the course is over, you will be
able to perform better as a Scouter in your unit and withing the Scouting
I guarantee it!!
You learn from others -- a carefully selected staff, assisted by outside
assistants and helpers. You learn from your fellow "group" members as
slowly but surely the "group comes together to meet the task provided". You
learn from yourself, as you develop a listing of things that you can do and
teach others to do.
And those things that you need help developing, learning, or in
my case, help with doing (cooking). These become part of your
The personal growth contract, or "ticket", is to be written by the candidate
during the latter two days of the course, although it may be developed at
any time during the course. The "ticket" is to reflect your CURRENT or
ANTICIPATED position within Scouting and how you will use the tools,
techniques and ideas formulated during your Wood Badge experience with that
unit or position. In other words, if you are attending Varsity Wood Badge,
your ticket should reflect your present role as a Varsity leader or your
anticipated position as a Varsity Leader. It makes little sense to use the
skills learned at a Varsity course with an Exploring unit, for instance. (I
used Exploring only because the Varsity and Boy Scouting courses are
extremely close in content.)
Councils have been told for years that the purpose of the courses are NOT to
develop a set of Wood Badgers at the local Council level; it is to
strengthen and further develop the skills of the Scouting unit leaders the
courses are aimed at. The intended GUIDANCE, as discussed here about a year
ago as a result of several of our participants attending courses at Philmont
Scout Ranch where the guidance was announced for the first time, is designed
to bring back into line the "true purpose of the Wood Badge course: to
further train and support the UNIT OPERATION".
At the conclusion of the course, you no longer become those "High-Flying
Eagles", or the "Ravishing Ravens" or the "Blue Beavers" or the "Two Dos's"
or the "Pioneer Crew", as you return to your unit to assume your adult
leadership role. Hence, the first line in the song "Back To Gilwell", which
is the official
Wood Badge song, and which several Scouters here have used as
part of their signatures, is the line:
"I used to be a .....(insert name of your patrol, den or crew here)."
You will hum and sing that song several hundred (thousand?!) times
between the end of the practical course and the conclusion of your
"application phase", which can take up to two years in length to
complete. During this time, you are completing those tasks that YOU AGREED
TO COMPLETE during the last two days of your Wood Badge experience, which
you have written and had your CC (course counselor, called different things
in each course) approved.
When you have completed everything on your "ticket", your CC approves the
awarding of the Wood Badge to you, and you receive the Wood Badge necklace,
neckerchief, woggle (neckerchief slide)
and certificate at a suitable ceremony.
Take some time, Evette, to talk with some Wood Badge holders in
your District. They will tell you more about the course than we
all collectively can, and will encourage you to attend one. It's nothing
scary, although some misguided Scouters will try to convince you that "only
the "best Scouters" get to go to Wood Badge". That's not true. There's a
couple more other "urban legends" about the Wood Badge:
* You have to be on the District or Council to go. False, and
National is making that more false than it was ten or fifteen years ago.
The Boy Scout Wood Badge course is designed for the UNIT LEADER and his or
her assistants; the Cub Scout Wood Badge course is designed for those that
want to TRAIN AND COACH other
Cub Scouters (and most of them are unit leaders or leaders within
a Pack); the Exploring Advanced Seminar is for the UNIT LEADER and
his or her Assistants.
* Some kind of "mumbo-jumbo" goes on during the course, because they don't
allow for visitors to the course. False. Because it
is a training course, the syllabus does state that visitors are to be held
to a minimum; but NOWHERE does it state and BSA policy does NOT hold up
anywhere that you cannot come out at dinner or
at breakfast and visit with those from your District or unit for
a short time. Remember that Wood Badge is a TRAINING COURSE and more time
taken from that training detracts from its effectiveness on the persons whom
have paid to attend this event.
* The people that participate pay about $125, which in part pays for the
Course Director and his staff's salaries. False. I can
happily show you cancelled checks and stubs from the five courses
I've attended as a participant or staff member. EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN
THE COURSE, TO INCLUDE PROFESSIONALS AND THE COURSE DIRECTOR (a volunteer,
by the way) PAYS THE SAME AMOUNT TO BE THERE. Period. Nobody gets paid to
put on a Wood Badge course,
and in most cases, the local Council that hosts a Wood Badge course can just
about assure that it will lose some amount of money in their hosting.
* There's nothing special about the Wood Badge other than those that paid
get to wear this nice-looking thing and sing this song.
False. The BEST benefit from Wood Badge attendance is the exchange of
knowledge and the realization of what exactly Baden-Powell had in mind when
he organized the first Scout Troop
and held the first week-long retreat. The second best benefit is a binder,
with your own chicken-scratchings of ideas to try in YOUR OWN UNIT when you
complete the practical part of the course.
Why do you want to try them? BECAUSE YOU HAVE PARTICIPATED IN
THEM AND THEY WERE FUN TO YOU! The third best benefit is the
feeling you get during the course, when after that third successive try in
the rain, you are able to finally start that fire and keep it going so that
everyone else can eat. It's the
feeling you get after hiking for ten miles and finding a place to
set up camp, and after dinner, resting and sleeping. It's the feeling you
get after your Patrol or Crew has beat the PANTS off
the other three or four or five Patrols or Crews in a set of
rather competitive -- SCOUTING -- events.
Those things along are worth the $125 or so by themselves.
There's some other "urban legends", like "white people are the
only ones you see with Wood Badge beads on", or "if you attend the
weekend course, you don't get as much out of it as if you attended the
weeklong course", or "women don't get anything out of Wood Badge because
they don't have anything to base it on...they've never been a Boy Scout
before!" All of those are false.
Ask around, Evette, and don't feel so bad that you didn't know
about Wood Badge. Someone failed to tell you about this great
experience...I'm glad you asked!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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