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What is the Wood Badge?

What is the Wood Badge?

On the morning of September 8, 1919, nineteen men dressed in short pants and knee socks, their shirt-sleeves rolled up, assembled for the first Scoutmasters training camp at Gilwell Park. The camp was designed and guided by Baden-Powell. When finished, Baden-Powell gave each man a simple wooden bead from a necklace he had found in a Zulu chieftains 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.

Wood Badge recipients now number more than 100,000 and can be found in all corners of the world.

The Wood Badge is a Scouting program and Award for adults in the Scout associations around the world. The Wood Badge course is designed so that adult Scouters can learn; in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting. On completion, participants are still awarded the beads to recognize the significant achievement in leadership and direct service to young people, and to welcome them to membership of 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group.

Although the program has changed over the years, the essence of the original Wood Badge still remains. Adults use their new, and old, knowledge and skills to complete training which is designed to strengthen the individual and the Scouting they are providing to young people.

My Training Journey

I was never involved with scouts as a child but became a leader through helping as a parent helper when my daughter started.

I and my 2 children are proud of what I have achieved considering I have never camped or done the many things I have learnt through Scouting. I've totally enjoyed my training and met some fabulous people along the way.

I hope to continue my journey for many years to come and hope to see my children achieve their wood badge when they are old enough to.


What My Wood Badge Means to Me

Members of Escouts, one of the UKs online Scout communities, were asked what the Wood Badge means to them today:

When I was snot nosed Cub I was fascinated by my leaders wood badges. I had always promised myself that I would return as an adult when I had kids. I kept in contact with my old leader via Christmas cards and I wrote to tell him I was doing my Wood Badge course. He was thrilled. Around a fortnight later he passed away. That felt like fate, so that makes my Wood Badge special to me. It is a thank you to my old leader for what he did for me. Austin, ASL

I got my Full beads at the age of 22 , a mere 30 years ago. In getting them, apart from the usual, I got frozen on Ben Nevis in the snow; half drowned canoeing in the River Tees and broke five toes at Gilwell when someone dropped a pioneering pole. The beads were hard earned and I wear them with pride. Jonathan Rhodes. SL

The Wood Beads I wear first belonged to a man called Kim Dawson, he was my Dads Scout Master, my first DC. When my dad earnt his Wood Badge, Kim gave him his beads. My dad said I could have the beads, if I completed my Wood Badge. When I completed my training he was true to his word and the informal here you are and left handshake between us was probably more moving than either of us will admit. Shaun, CSL

I am exceedingly proud of mine, awarded just one month after my 18th birthday! I started my training when I took out my Helpers warrant at 16. Katy, CSL

I went to the scout troop I now lead as a cub and scout. There I gained my Chief Scouts Award in the early 1990s. After ten years away from scouting, I wanted to come back to help and support, and maybe inspire young people the way I was all those years ago. For me, gaining my Wood Badge is bringing it full circle. James, ASL

It has been over 30 years since I was first awarded with my wood beads. Since then I have done it again! Although I have completed my training, I am still learning. I learn something new every day.Nigel. ABSL

Your Wood Badge Journey

Gaining your Wood Badge is the start of your journey. For today's Scouters gaining it is a personal achievement and something to be proud of.

For info: Thank you to Escouts and all those who joined in the conversation. If you want to find out more about getting your Wood Badge contact your Training Team, check out the website, or call us here at HQ.

If you have any personal stories you would like to share please email adult.support@scout.org.uk

The Wood Badge Recommendation Form

When an adult in the UK has validated all of the modules necessary to complete their Wood Badge, and when they have agreed the ongoing learning that they will complete in the next year, the recommendation for award of the Wood Badge can be made.

The adult's Training Adviser will inform their County Training Manager that the Wood Badge should be recommended, and the County Training Manager (or Local Training Manager, if the authority has been delegated) recommends to Headquarters that the Wood Badge should be awarded.  Headquarters will then issue the Wood Badge to the appropriate person for it to be presented.

The Wood Badge Recommendation Form is used by County Training Managers to recommend to Headquarters that a Wood Badge should be awarded.  The form must be signed by the appropriate County Training Manager (or Local Training Manager, where the authority has been delegated), and this will be checked before it is processed at Headquarters. 

It can be downloaded for use here.

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Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW