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Things You Need to Know About Wood Badge

Aug 17, 2007
Ever heard of Wood Badge? Yes, it's a scouting thing. And Yes! You get a Wood Badge if you finish it.

Training course. Wood Badge is a training course for Scouters. If and when they finish the course, they would receive a wood badge certificate, a small neckerchief, a leather slide, and two small wooden beads on a leather thong.

Founder of the Wood Badge. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, directed the first course in 1919. He gave each of the participants one of the beads which he had captured from the African chieftain Dinizulu. That's where the name developed because its symbol was literally a badge of wood.

Wood Badge is scouting's premier training course. Baden-Powell designed it so that Scouters could learn, in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting.

It is first and foremost, learning by doing. Leading by following. The members of the course are formed into patrols and these into a troop. The entire troop lives in the out-of-doors for a week, camping, cooking their own meals, and practicing Scout skills.

The uniqueness of Scouting is the patrol method. They use the natural gang of six or eight boys who elect their own leader and plan and carry out many of their own activities. This little group right here is a great example of how societies work given their tasks on a daily basis.

Here young men learn the give and take of working with people as they must surely do all their lives. Here, too, they are given leadership and learning opportunities which prepare them for their future roles as citizens.

Yet this is only the most well known of three parts in the entire Wood Badge experience.

The practical course--the week in the out-of-doors--was originally scheduled to follow a "theoretical" part 1, which consisted of answering a series of questions about the aims and methods of the Scouting program.

Part 3 then followed the practical course and required a 6-month application period while the Scouter practiced in his home Scouting situation what he had learned in parts 1 and 2.

In actual practice, once Wood Badge became available in the United States, the theoretical questions and the application were carried out simultaneously after the practical course was taken.

But Wood Badge is more than just mechanical course work. Wood Badge is the embodiment of Scouting spirit. Like many intense training experiences, it has always relied on a busy schedule forcing the participants to work together, to organize and to develop an enthusiasm and team spirit to accomplish the tasks and challenges placed before them.

The Wood Badge course brings out a deep dedication among its participants. It also inculcates the spirit of brotherhood and fellowship. After all, this program was designed in the context of Scouting ideals and service to young people.

The common goal of the movement and the program for the young people has definitely encouraged grown men and women to endure the 16-hour days required by a program that runs from early morning to late at night.

Wood Badge is then, a great force for world brotherhood, for though it uses the local traditions in each country, it emphasizes the international aspects of the movement and the heritage of Baden-Powell.
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James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
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