Wood Badge Traditions

Gilwell Field: Baden-Powell held the first Wood Badge course at Gilwell Park near London. To this day, Gilwell is considered the international home of Wood Badge. Wherever on the globe a course takes place, the main assembly area is known as Gilwell Field.

Totem:The totem is a life long signature of the patrol that all members can use as a reminder of their time at Wood Badge. A totem is unique to a particular patrol. It is unlike any other totem, even those for patrols with the same name. All members of the patrol can easily reproduce on their own from memory, without special tools or special artistic talent.

Axe and Log: The axe and log is the totem of Gilwell Park.
Wood Badge Axe and Log

MacLaren TartanMacLaren tartan: In 1919, a Scotsman named W. F. de Bois MacLaren, a district commissioner for Scouting in Scotland, purchased Gilwell Park and presented it to the British Boy Scout Association. He explained that one of his purposes in doing so was “to provide a training ground for the officers of the Scouting movement.” In perpetual appreciation for his generosity to Scouting, Wood Badge adopted the tartan of the MacLaren clan. It is this tartan that appears on the Wood Badge neckerchief.

Wood Badge beads: In 1888 during a military campaign in Africa, Baden-Powell acquired a necklace of wooden beads from the hut of a warrior chief named Dinizulu. Years later at the conclusion of the first Wood Badge course, Baden-Powell gave each course graduate a bead from the necklace. The “Wood Badge” program takes its name from these beads. Since then, more than 100,000 Scouters worldwide have completed Wood Badge courses and can wear replicas of the original wooden beads.

Wood Badge NeckerchiefNeckerchief and woggle: Held in place by a leather woggle, the Wood Badge neckerchief — tan with a patch of MacLaren tartan — may be worn by course graduates. Wood Badge beads, neckerchief, and woggle may be worn only with the official filed uniform of the BSA.

Kudu horn: During his military service in Africa, Baden-Powell observed members of the Matabele tribe blowing on the horn of a kudu to signal to one another. He brought a kudu horn back to England with him, and in the summer of 1907, when he held his first experimental camp on Brownsea Island, Baden-Powell sounded the horn to assemble his campers. The same horn was entrusted to Gilwell park in 1920 for use in Scout training courses. Since that time, the kudu horn has been a symbol of the Wood Badge course throughout the world.
Baden Powell Sounds Kudo Horn

Gilwell Song: The Gilwell Song has been sung by generations of Wood Badge participants — always energetically, but with wildly varying degrees of harmonic success.