In 1911, four years after Scouting began in Great Britain, Lord Baden Powell began training Scouters through a series of lectures. This led to the first Wood Badge training course for Scoutmasters, held in 1919, at Gilwell Park near London.
In 1936, an experimental Wood Badge course was conducted in the United States at the Schiff Scout Reservation at Mendham, New Jersey. Then, in 1948 the first American Wood Badge course was introduced in the United States as advanced training for Boy Scout leaders. Later the program was extended to include Troop committee members, commissioners and Explorer leaders. Experiments began in the late 1960’s with a leadership development Wood Badge course emphasizing 11 leadership skills or “competencies”. This program was launched in 1972 in support of a major revision of the Boy Scout phase of the program.
In 1978, an evaluation of the Boy Scouts Leader Wood Badge course revealed a need for greater emphasis on the practical aspects of good Troop operation. The result was the development of a course that would provide a blend of Scoutcraft skills and practical Troop operation, mixed with a variety of leadership exercises. In 2001, Wood Badge for the 21st Century was introduced. It was developed for all; Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity, Venturing, Council, and District Leaders; along with professional staff. The Focus is on leadership skills, not outdoor skills. The first part of a Wood Badge course reflects unit meetings, while the second part of the course uses a Troop camping activity as its delivery method.
Wood Badge W6-49-17 will continue this tradition of teaching adult leaders the skills to lead our youth. Wood Badge is a continuation of a proud past with promotion of new leadership training skills for the future. Across the world, Wood Badge brings together in one dynamic course the men and women who serve as mentors for Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Teams, Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships.
As an adult leader or Scouting volunteer, you will benefit greatly from the Wood Badge experience and more importantly, so will your unit and the Scouts you lead.