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Wood Badge for the 21st Century has been developed for Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout and Venturing Leaders, as well as council and district leaders. The course content and leadership principles introduced apply to Scouters in all leadership positions and will provide a common foundation of leadership skills to be used throughout all program areas.

On the morning of September 8, 1919, a 61 year-old retired general of the British Army stepped out into the center of a clearing at Gilwell Park, in Epping Forest, outside London, England. He raised to his lips the horn of a Greater Kudu, one of the largest of African antelopes.

BSA Training
He blew a long sharp blast. Nineteen men dressed in short pants and knee socks, their shirt-sleeves rolled up, assembled by patrols for the first Scoutmasters’ training camp held at Gilwell. The camp was designed and guided by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the World Scouting Movement. Wood Badge Beads

When they had finished their training together, Baden-Powell gave each man a simple wooden bead from a necklace he had found in a Zulu chieftain’s deserted hut when on campaign in South Africa in 1888. The Scoutmasters’ training course was a great success and continued to be held year-after-year. At the end of each course the wooden beads were used to recognize the completion of training. When the original beads ran out, new ones were whittled to maintain the tradition established by Baden-Powell. Because of these beads, the course came to be known as the Wood Badge Course. It continues to this day in England and around the world as the advanced training course for leaders in Scouting.


Wood Badge has five Central Themes:

The themes that follow encapsulate the course content of Wood Badge for the Twenty-First Century.


1)  Living the Values
—Values, mission, and vision
—Aims and methods

2)  Bringing the Vision to Life
—Listening to learn
—Giving and receiving feedback
—Valuing people and leveraging diversity
—Coaching and mentoring

3)  Models for Success
—Team development model
—Situational Leadership

4) Tools of the Trade
—Project planning and problem solving
—Managing conflict
—Assessing team performance
—Managing change
—Celebrating team success

5)  Leading to Make a Difference
—Leaving a legacy
—Learning the greatest leadership secret


Wood Badge Log and Ax

To attend a Wood Badge course, you must:
  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America. (There is no minimum tenure required.)

  • Have not previously attended a Wood Badge course.

  • Have completed the basic training courses for your Scouting position:

    • Fast Start Training

    • New Leader Essentials for all leaders.

    • Position Specific Training for all leaders.

    • The appropriate training course(s) taken prior to the 2001 training curriculum change are still valid for this requirement.

  • Have completed the outdoor skills training programs appropriate for your Scouting position.

    • B.A.L.O.O. Training for Cub Scout Leaders.

    • Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills for Boy Scout Leaders and Venturing Leaders

    • Scoutmaster Fundamentals is valid for this requirement if taken in 2001 or earlier.

  • Be capable of functioning safely in an outdoor environment. Successful completion of the BSA Class 3 physical is required for all participants.


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