Wood Badge FAQ

Don’t see the question that you have? Contact the course director or a Wood Badge staff member.

What Is Wood Badge?

Wood Badge is the BSA’s premier adult leadership training program. Based on Scouting’s values as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, it teaches contemporary leadership and team development skills in an outdoor setting.

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Why Wood Badge For The 21st Century?

Times have changed since Lord Robert Baden Powell assembled the first Wood Badge course in 1919. Over the years, the teaching methods and instructional tools have been continually updated to meet the needs of contemporary leaders. Wood Badge is only one component of the recent revision of the entire BSA training continuum. Since the resulting changes ensure that adults will be effective in working with and leading groups of youth and adults, it’s clear that what hasn’t changed is the primary focus of Wood Badge: leadership training.

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Why Should I Go To Wood Badge?

Wood Badge helps you become better at working with and leading groups of youth and adults. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and it helps you meet new friends. Every Adult leader should be Wood Badge trained. It strengthens Scout units and promotes a quality program. Here are some comments from recent Wood Badge participants:

“I learned a great deal about myself…”

“I feel the program has given me the tools to make positive changes at my Pack.”

“The experience was beyond words.”

“The leadership information presented. . . was priceless.”

“I learned how important my role is and how much influence I have on the boys and their families.”

“It challenged me to give my best to the Scouting program.”

“I am reminded of the importance of group dynamics in the attempt to work as a team.”

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Who May Attend Wood Badge?

Wood Badge is open to all adult leaders who have completed the basic training requirement for their primary registered position. Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity, and Venturing leaders will benefit equally from attendance. Scout leaders are encouraged to take Wood Badge early in their Scouting experience.

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I’m From Another Council, Can I Attend?

Wood Badge is a BSA national course and therefore can be taken in any council. If the dates or location of the Wood Badge course being offered by your home council are not convenient for you, you are more than welcome to take our course. We have trained Wood Badgers from a number of other councils and we welcome our fellow Scouters as brothers and sisters. All are welcome.

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What Is My Primary Registered Position?

Many adult leaders in Scouting find themselves serving in a variety of roles. A Den Leader might also be serving as a member of the district committee; a Venturing Adviser might also be registered as a merit badge counselor. Many leaders find it helpful to consider which registered position enables them to have the greatest impact on youth in Scouting to determine which is their primary registered position. In most cases, Primary Registration = paid registration (the position listed on your registration card).

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What Is The Basic Training Requirement For My Position?

In general, the basic training requirement is met when a leader takes This Is Scouting and the position specific training for their primary registered position. In addition, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Varsity Coaches and Assistants, and certain other positions require Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills. Basic BSA training is skills-oriented. The emphasis in Wood Badge is on leadership. The focus of “supplemental training” is on advanced skills that require leadership. For further information, please contact your district training team.

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When Should I Attend Wood Badge?

You should attend Wood Badge as soon as possible after completing your basic training. The sooner you attend Wood Badge, the sooner you can begin to apply the leadership skills and techniques you learn in your unit, district or council.

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I’m New To Scouting and My Unit Leader Says It’s Best For Me To Wait a Couple of Years Before I Go To Wood Badge. Why Should I Go Now?

Leaders who complete training early in their Scouting careers are better prepared to serve the youth in their units. In addition, Wood Badge helps new leaders build a framework for their future growth in Scouting. The perspective they gain of Scouting’s aims, programs, and the methods each employs will enable them to determine where they can contribute most effectively and what supplemental training may be needed.

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I Am Only In My Second Year as a Scout Leader and I Was Not a Scout as a Youth. Is My lack of Experience a Concern?

Absolutely not! Wood Badge is about leadership training. It is not a course in Scout skills. Wood Badge will help you understand what Scouting is about and how you can make a real difference by providing you with many important and useful leadership tools. These tools will help you to be more effective as a leader and as a team member.

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I’ve Been A Scoutmaster For Years And Have A Highly Successful Program In My Troop. Why Should I Go To Wood Badge?

There are two primary reasons:

  1. everyone has the capacity to learn new skills and improve upon existing ones. Wood Badge offers experienced, successful leaders an opportunity to become even more effective at working in and leading groups of youth and adults. After completing Wood Badge, they’ll be better prepared to train youth to thrive in the team-oriented environments that will be typical in their futures and to work with younger leaders who are accustomed to those environments.
  2. experienced Scouters help enrich the Wood Badge experience for newer leaders by sharing their expertise and passion for the program.

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Are The Leadership Skills Taught Specific To Scouting?

Although taught in a Scouting context, the skills presented in Wood Badge can be applied universally. Participants have found their Wood Badge training beneficial at work, at home, and in other, non-Scouting volunteer activities.

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I Received My Wood Badge Award After Completing An Earlier Version Of The Course. May I Attend the current Wood Badge?

Yes, with certain conditions. Please contact the course director for additional information.

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What Is The Time Commitment To Complete Wood Badge Training?

The practical (instructional) portion of Wood Badge requires six full days. Attendance of all sessions is required. The course is presented over two three-day weekends. The first weekend begins at 7:30 AM Friday and finishes at 5:30 PM Sunday. The second weekend begins at 7:30 AM Friday and finishes at 4:00 PM on Sunday. Attendance at both weekends is required. The weekend course also requires one or two patrol meetings between the weekend sessions. Additionally you will need some time to develop and write up your goals between the weekend sessions.

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I may need to miss a 1/2 day or full day due to scheduling conflicts. Is that a problem?

Yes. You must attend the entire course, as per BSA National Policy, or you will be dropped from the course. Sorry. The Wood Badge curriculum has been developed in a series of building blocks with each session relating to another or building and expanding on a previous topic. Our days and nights are very full of presentations and activities and it is extremely important that participants be available to participate for all six days. There really is no way to catch-up on any missed material later on.  Consequently, we ask that cell phone calls or other business or personal matters be strictly limited to periodic break times in the course schedule. There will not be time for a participant to leave the camp during the six days. Please contact the Course Director if you have any questions on this issue.

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Is Overnight Camping Required?

Yes. Course participants sleep in tents during the second weekends. During the first weekend, participants will be staying in cabins.  On the second weekend, participants are required to bring their own tent.

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Do I Need any Special Camping Equipment?

On the first weekend participants can stay in a cabin; bring a sleeping bag, flashlight, personal toiletries and a camp chair. On the second weekend participants will be camping together in “patrols.”  Participants will need to bring a tent, sleeping bag, light, and other basic gear.  A detailed list will be provided.

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What About Outdoor Skills?

Even though Wood Badge is taught in an outdoor setting and some camping is required, the need for extensive outdoor skills has been minimized. There will be experienced campers on staff and among the participants; which creates an excellent learning environment for leaders unfamiliar with Scout camping. While not required, leaders are encouraged to attend outdoor skills training appropriate for their primary registered position (Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, BALOO or Webelos Outdoor Leader Training) prior to attending Wood Badge.

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Do I Need to be in Good Physical Condition?

Much of the course is conducted outdoors and some walking on uneven terrain can be expected. Wood Badge also has a few optional activities, some of which may require some physical effort. Otherwise there are no specific fitness requirements. The amount of activity required is similar to that of a Cub Scout activity or troop campout.  Please contact the course director if you have any physical disabilities or special needs.  To copies of a current, completed Annual Health and Medical Record, parts A, B and C needs to be brought to the course.

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What, Exactly, Is Taught At Wood Badge?

Wood Badge course content has always centered around leadership development. Wood Badge focuses on contemporary leadership skills and issues and integrates Scouting’s value-based philosophy. A variety of learning opportunities, including lecture, demonstration, group discussion and hands-on exercises train participants in the basics of listening, communicating, valuing people, team development, situational leadership, problem solving, and managing conflict. While contemporary management concepts are key components of the course, Wood Badge enables their practical application, too. Participants find they are able to apply what they’ve learned immediately in their primary Scouting position. Many participants have found what they’ve learned to be equally valuable in their personal and professional lives, too. And while learning is the focus of Wood Badge, “fun” is also an important component!

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What Is A Wood Badge “Ticket”?

The Ticket is a series of projects or activities each participant creates during the practical (instructional) phase of the course. All elements of the ticket must be completed within 18 months following completion of the practical phase. Typically, a Ticket consists of several goals that, when accomplished, would ensure success in a key element of the participant’s primary scouting position. “Working the Ticket” helps participants apply the skills just learned and strengthen the program in their unit, district and council.

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What are Some Examples of a Wood Badge “Ticket” Goal?

Each ticket goal is personal to the individual so they vary depending on the Scouting position and interests of the participant. In the past some participants have chosen to take training courses and bring what they learned back to their unit, run a series of unit meetings to teach a particular skill, organize unit or district resources, perform an assessment of their unit, organize a special outing for their unit, and many other great goals that help to strengthen the program in their unit, district or council.

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How Much Does It Cost To Attend Wood Badge?

The course fee for the 2014 course is $250, (less than $42 per day) which covers all instructional materials, use of the camp facilities, meals, a course shirt,  and several regalia items.  Payment of your course fee goes directly to supporting the cost for the course. We work hard to keep costs down while providing a quality experience.

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Is There Financial Assistance for Wood Badge?

Payment of the course fee should never be a reason not to take Wood Badge. If you commit to taking Wood Badge we will probably be able to find the financial assistance necessary for your circumstances. First, many Scout units offer to pay for all or a portion of Wood Badge. You should talk to your committee chair to see what funds are available from your unit. Second, many employers realize the value of this training and will agree to pay for part or all of your fees. Third, some civic and other organizations have money available for Wood Badge, including the VFW, the AFL-CIO, and LDS Stakes to name a few.

See the Financial Aid page for more information.

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Are There Discounts Available for Wood Badge?

Other than the Early Bird discount of $25 if paid if full before April 30, 2014.

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Do I Need A Uniform For Wood Badge?

Yes! Participants wear a BSA field uniform during much of the course. If you do not have a uniform and cannot afford one please contact the course director. An activity uniform is worn at designated times and the course fee covers the cost of one activity uniform shirt. Additional activity uniform shirts may worn at your option; any scout-related t-shirt will work fine.  It is recommended that you bring at least two additional activity uniform shirts so that you will be able to wear a fresh shirt each day of the two weekend sessions.

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What Is The Proper Uniform For Wood Badge?

Participants wear the BSA field uniform (some Scouters still call it a “Class A” uniform) for their primary registered position during much of the course. An activity uniform consisting of a scout t-shirt and field uniform pants (long or short) is worn at designated times. The course fee covers the cost of one activity uniform shirt. Additional activity uniform shirts may be purchased at your option. It is recommended that you bring at least two additional activity uniform shirts so that you will be able to wear a fresh shirt on each day of the two weekend sessions.

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What Other Things Will I Need to Bring?

You will need to bring a desire to learn, an ability to have fun and get along with others who share your belief in Scouting, and a commitment to taking what you learn back to apply to your Scouting unit and into your everyday life.

You will need whatever gear and clothing that you might normally need to spend these weekends outdoors. Personal tents are not need the first weekend, as we will be using cabins. Personal tents will be needed for the second weekend. A more detailed list will be provided after you have registered for the Wood Badge course.

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Where Are Wood Badge Courses Held?

The Western Los Angeles County Council Wood Badge training is held at Camp Josepho in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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I Completed A Previous Wood Badge Course (Legacy) Why Should I Consider Attending the current version of Wood Badge?

It’s time for an upgrade! It’s been over 10 years since the legacy Wood Badge was offered. The previous version of Wood Badge was good, this version is different, and more suited to current Scouter needs. It addresses the needs and preferences of current leaders and youth. The Wood Badge material gives brand new and veteran leaders tools to work with parents and families from all generation groups including boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and millennials. Set the example for new leaders. The material offered in Wood Badge  is current leadership skills. It is useful in all areas of your life, including work, place of worship, volunteering at school, family, etc. You will be asked to not wear your beads, neckerchief, and woggle from your previous Wood Badge experience until you have completed your new Wood Badge ticket. The benefits of the current version of the course far outweigh the inconvenience of this requirement. There is no guarantee that you will or will not be the same critter of your previous experience. Scouters may serve on staff of Wood Badge only if they have attended the current Wood Badge or have served a required position on the current Wood Badge. Although attending and completing a Wood Badge course is not a guarantee of being asked to serve on a Wood Badge Staff, it does establish one of the prerequisite requirements.

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I Want To Attend Wood Badge! Whom Should I Contact?

You may contact the people listed at the link below: Contact Information

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Is There Any Training Beyond Wood Badge?

Yes! The Philmont Leadership Challenge, has a prerequisite of Wood Badge.

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I Know What My Wood Badge Ticket Will Be. Can I Start Now?

Respectfully, you do not know what your Ticket will be until you attend the course. You will be guided to write a meaningful, effective Ticket which is a major element of the Wood Badge course because it will be greatly affected by what you hear, learn and experience while you are attending the two weekends. Depending on what you plan to do as a result of what you learn, you may need to coordinate your plans with other Scouters, whether they are in your units or on committees that you serve. Until your Wood Badge Ticket is written (during the course) and agreed to with your Troop Guide, you can take no credit for work “towards your Ticket” prior to the practical phase being completed.

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How Do I Get My Wood Badge Beads?

After participating in all three days of both weekend sessions, you will have completed the “practical” phase of Wood Badge training. During these two weekends, and the interim time between them, you will create your own Wood Badge Tickets as mentioned above. You’ve probably seen other Scouters wearing their Wood Badge beads. When you successfully complete your Tickets (the application phase of Wood Badge), members of your Wood Badge staff will present you with your Wood Badge beads, tan neckerchief with the MacLaren tartan “patch”, a leather woggle (neckerchief slide) and a special Wood Badge certificate. These are worldwide symbols that a Scouter has completed Wood Badge training..

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Why Do Some Wood Badgers Have More Than Two Beads?

When you have completed your tickets you are awarded two beads. If you have served on a Wood Badge staff, you will receive a third bead (3 Beader). If you serve as a course director, you receive a fourth bead (4 Beader).

Click here for more information on how to be on staff for Wood Badge.

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What Is Required To Serve On A Wood Badge Staff?

The requirements to serve on a Wood Badge staff are:

  • Attend a Wood Badge course
  • Complete your ticket & receive your beads
  • Attend the Trainers EDGE seminar
  • Have the approval of the Scout Executive
  • Be selected to serve by the Course Director
  • Complete staff development

Additionally, it is very important that you have demonstrated a commitment to the Scouting program, support for the policies, and a desire to share the Scouting Spirit. All of these elements are part of the Course Director’s decision.

Click here for more information on how to be on staff for Wood Badge.

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How will Wood Badge help me?

Wood Badge will teach you leadership skills and techniques in a “living”, hands-on environment, and you will be able to apply all you learn to your Scouting involvement and your personal life. You’ll develop a Ticket, which is a written agreement outlining how you will apply your newly learned skills as you continue your involvement in Scouting. Development of your Ticket is an exercise in goal-setting and includes creating a personal vision and mission statement and outlining individual steps to personal success. Also, Wood Badge is not only for you, Wood Badge trained leaders have a positive impact on the strength of their units and on the quality of program delivered to the Scouts.

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What do I eat?

You’ll be welcomed the first weekend with all meals prepared by our friendly quartermaster staff. During the second weekend, you will be camping with your patrol and cooking your meals as a patrol in your campsite.  Your patrol will purchase food supplies for the second weekend.  A pre-course questionnaire will ask if you have any dietary restrictions, please ensure we know of your needs prior to the course.

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Will I have fun?

Absolutely! At Wood Badge, fun and learning go hand-in hand! If in doubt, just ask any Scouter you see wearing Wood Badge beads if they enjoyed their course.

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What does the course number mean?

Here is the national course numbering system. You do not need to know this, but some people find it interesting.

For 2014, the Wood Badge course number is W4-51-14

  • The W means the course is in the Western Region of Boy Scouts of America.
  • The numeral 4 tells us the course is in Area 4 of the region. (We are in Area 4 of the Western Region of BSA.)
  • The 51 means the course is organized by council #51, which is Western Los Angeles County Council.
  • The 14 tells us the course is in 2014. Perhaps you guessed that one.
  • There may be a 1 or 2 after the year that means the course is the first or second course in that council for that year. The number is usually assigned based on the timing of the course — the first one to be held is 1, the next is 2.

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