A Wood Badger?? Sure??
A Wood Badger?? Are you Sure??
(note: the BSA has revised the Wood Badge training program for ALL Scouters
in 1999; new courses have been introduced in 2000. For more information on
Wood Badge in the United States, please go to the unofficial Wood Badge site
located at http://www.woodbadge.org and please honor their copyright over
material placed on that site. Thanks!)
Phiphung asked some GREAT questions about Wood Badge and insignia in general!
He asked two series of questions; here's the first set and following this and some additional
comments, the second set of questions:
1/ How can one tells whether or not a Woodbadge is "real" ? No kidding, but
did any one ever get caught with a set of "fake" beads?
There are two "foolproof ways" to "test" a Wood Badger. The first is to have him or her sing the Wood Badge Song. ANY Wood Badger would be PROUD and HONORED to sing this song, upon command, with a slight bit of embarrassment but a great deal of pride.
The other way is to ask him or her to produce the Wood Badge Course Number in which he or she took Wood Badge. This is a course number, kept on file Nationally, which tells exactly where he or she attended Wood Badge at:
For instance, I attended Boy Scout Wood Badge in course SC-235-5. The SC refers to one of the BSA's Regions (depending on how long ago the person took the course, it could be one of four two-letter (NE, SR, CR, WE), one of six two-letter (NE, SE, EC, NC, SC, WE), one of twelve Roman numbered (I to XII) or a national course (NA).
The number refers to the sequenced number of courses offered within that Region. When the BSA realigned Regions in 1972/73, those numbers started over; and when they did so again in 1993/94, they did so again.
The final number refers to the INDIVIDUAL. I was the fifth "person" registered in that course.
With all of this information, it shouldn't take any time whatsoever to verify it. The numbers are on the Wood Badge card, certificate and if the person is "real", also on parts of items he or she retained from WB.
Cub Scouting, Varsity Scouting and Exploring courses are prefixed by "CS-", "VS-" and "EX-"
Stephen Henning added the following great information:
The only thing that makes a set of Wood Badge beads real, is being worn by
a person who has earned their beads. Some beads are made by staff
members, some are bought from BSA and some are bought from Gilwell Park,
the place in England where the first Wood Badge course was held and is
still a Wood Badge training center. I had the leather wear out on my
first set of beads and they were replaced with a new set. Some people
have several sets so they can be handy when appropriate.
2/ Can my Wood badge (beads and all) be subjected to "re-called" ? If Yes, then under whose authority and what circumstance?
Wood Badge insignia is like all other parts of BSA insignia, Philhung: it remains the "property of the Movement." If a Council Scout Executive (or others acting on his or her behalf and approval) deems it necessary to "take back" any and all BSA insignia from you, he or she may do so and you have little legal recourse. They don't have to have to a "legitamate reason" why....the insigina is a part of the BSA and remains the "legal property" of the BSA.
Now, has this been done?? Only in cases whereby the person was caught as a sex abuser or whereby the person was using the BSA's insignia to mislead or entice youth into illegal or immoral actions. Normally, even if you are asked to leave the BSA, the insignia you have earned or received is yours as "soveiners" and rememberances of those times in which you *were* a member.
The written authority is contained within the BSA's Rules and Regulations and the Charter and Bylaws of the Organization. Excerpts of this policy is written inside every edition of the BSA's Insignia (control) Guide.
3/ The permanent or non-permanent status of 2 Beader, 3 Beader and 4 Beader after it being awarded? And how does one go about getting those Beads in the first place?
Let me answer the second part of the question first.
Participants whom successfully complete both parts of the Wood Badge course (the practical part, which consists of three or four weekends or eight continuous days of training under the auspices of a certified staff and advised by professional staff members) receive the two-bead necklace along with other items during an (we hope) impressive and moving ceremony (ideally) within his or her peers and youth members.
Those asked to serve on a staff of a Wood Badge course, and those completing projects and other personalized requirements in connection with that course, receive a necklace with three beads.
Those asked to serve on several Wood Badge courses, have been appointed by a Council Scout Executive and have completed a Regional Course Directors' course...and have completed projects and other personalized requirements in connection with leading a Wood Badge course, receive a necklace with four beads.
Only one person in the history of the BSA, "Green Bar" Bill Hillcourt, has received a necklace with five beads, the "symbol" of a National Course Director. Again, this is based upon completion of an international course director's course, application of that course, and completion of individual requirements dealing with the course and his role as the BSA's director of training.
The beads are "permanent" in the sense only that once you receive the three-bead necklace (as I've done), you don't "lose it" by not participating in subsequent training events or courses. To be honest, some Scouters don't have the time, and other Scouters are "locked out" from gaining the fourth bead due to the "politics" of the local Council, which may favor one individual over others. However, many local Councils have a sort of "order of merit list" whereby the most senior three-beaders get a "shot " at serving as Course Director normally within ten years.
And others, like myself, choose NOT to serve as a Course Director (a lot of fun but a lot MORE work!!!)
added to this part with the following:
2-beads earned for completing Wood Badge. 3-beads earned for serving as
an assistant course director(staff) which is a 2-year appointment
(technically, at the end of the 2-years you should then wear 2 beads).
4-beads signifies a certified Course Director (Scoutmaster/Cubmaster)
and is a permanent appointment.
4/ How many "type" of Wood badge courses, and what is the difference ?
The BSA officially has only TWO Wood Badge courses: one for Boy Scouters and those dealing directly with Boy Scout operations and one for Cub Scout Trainers and Coaches. The BSA has developed a Varsity Wood Badge course, but as far as I'm aware, the first courses by Region have NOT been conducted.
The BSA officially had FIVE experimental Exploring Wood Badge courses; three in the 50s and two in the 70s. Those taking part in the courses in the 70s got "gipyted" because the BSA turned around and stated since there was no "trained executive" present during the course, that the courses did NOT count (even though certificates and beads were later awarded). Two of the old six Regions later converted those holders to the Exploring Leadership Institute (ELI) program; the others still keep accounting but has a "star" next to their names and the BSA developed a National Exploring Instructor course in its stead.
The difference between all of those courses are the development of youth or adults and how it's done. For the most part, with very little "translation" in names and titles, one could take a Boy Scout Wood Badge course and apply it to managing Exploring, Venturing, or Varsity Boy Scout programming too.
5/ If I already have one set of Beads, can I re-take more than one Woodbadge Course in my Scouting life?
Yes, you may. I have. It is not recommended wearing more than one set of beads, but that's up to you. Normally, however, a Council would NOT permit you to take Cub Scout Trainer's Wood Badge unless you're actually going to be in a position at the Council level in which you will be using those skills learned. The same goes for the Boy Scout Wood Badge course. The BSA and local Councils have cracked down a lot on "straphangers" attending courses "just because I'll be using those skills if I hang around long enough". The intent of Wood Badge training (and it's Exploring equals) is to provide a level of ADVANCED training geared to those adults PRESENTLY INVOLVED in that operation.
6/ Who have the final say in all matters regarding Woodbadge in the BSA?
The National Director of Training at the BSA's National Office; within each Region, the Regional Director of Operations serves as Associate Director of Training for that Region. As far as your local Council, as in all matters dealing with operations, your Council Scout Executive has the final word on whether or not Wood Badge would be offered, the approval of those participating and serving as staff members or consultants, and the location and funding of the courses.
Stephen Henning added the following important information:
Wood Badge training is administered by the BSA National Training Committee
and regional Training Committees.
7/ Does the World Scouting organization have anything to do with Woodbadge?
Yes. Wood Badge is the ONLY training course common to ALL Scouters whom are part of the World Organization of Scouting Movements (WOSM). The course syallbi and other materials have to be approved by a national person (the National Director of Training) who has the WOSM's permission to conduct Wood Badge training in the USA.
I've been a part of Wood Badge courses in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, Philhung, and the courses are remarkably similar in scope and natiure to the BSA's.
In many countries, Wood Badge is done in a two-tired scope...during tier one, you receive what we in the BSA would call "basic training" and with the completion and application, would receive one bead. The second tier is what we call "advanced training " and after this second tier, does the person receive the certificate, second bead and card which "certifies" him or her as a "fully trained" Scouter.
However, Stephen Henning disagreed a bit and provided this bit of information I left out:
Not really. The first course was held by Baden-Powell and has served as
an example for Wood Badge courses around the world. However, each
association is autonomous and answers to their own directors. Courses
vary considerably in content and purpose. Some are aimed at Scouting
skills, some at leadership skills, and some at training skills.
Hope these answers help you out....there's more information on Wood Badge in the USA from Keith Tilley's great Wood Badge site!!
Finally, Wood Badge is TWO WORDS.
There was a second set of questions leading up to a link to a site which isn't up presently.
I'm posting the site only because it was contained in the original posting which generated this page and its contents:
Phiphung asked a series of followups to the Wood Badge questions he asked; he
asked me privately about some of these so I'll copy my posting to him reference
those answers here for the general audience:
Here goes round two:
1/ Where can I get a hold on all (Wood Badge related) reference
There's four sources I've drew answers from, two of which are "publically
The BSA Insignia (Control) Guide is a booklet which explains the BSA's insignia
policies and where and how to wear various insignia.
The BSA Charter and Bylaws is the source document on which the Insignia Guide
was written from.
Both of those items are available through your local Council.
The other two items are restricted to those using them in connection with their
role or jobs.
The BSA Administration Manual (which will be rolled up soon into the Scout
Executive's Manual) is a binder full of the BSA's admin policies and procedures
and is only available to professionals. Someone in your Council should be
willing to share a copy of it with you to provide backup to the answers I gave
The Wood Badge Administration Manual is another binder full of the background
and information necessary to run and manage a Wood Badge course. That's where
you'll find the BSA's policies and background on two, three and four-bead Wood
This binder is available through whomever serves as your Councils's
professional advisor on training and Wood Badge.
There's a publicly available "History of the Wood Badge" which is sold by the
BSA and through Scouter.com which has much of the information in there that's found in the Admin manuals and in the Charter and Bylaws. Its
a very deeply researched book and has the "stamp of approval" of the BSA.
Everything else I drew upon my own experiences as a Wood Badger, staffer and
former BSA National committeemember.
2/ Is there an official "Expiration date" for a 3 Beader? What about 4
As someone else posted here, the "official" turnover date for staffers is two
years after the completion of your "ticket" for that course; in "reality", many
of us never go by that "turnover date" and we have continued to wear our
three-bead necklaces years after our completion of the Wood Badge staff
Four-beaders (Course Directors) don't expire as far as I'm aware.
3/ Is there a written policy on number of course one can or cannot take?
Let me distinguish here between "number of courses" and "participation in
number of courses".
I've taken part as a staffer or consultant (Troop Commitee member) in fourteen
Boy Scout Wood Badge courses since 1983.
I've only participated in one Wood Badge course as a participant and two Wood
Badge courses as a staffer.
A person can (and there's several Scouters here and elsewhere whom have) served
as a staffer or consultant to as many Wood Badge courses as their pocketbooks,
spouses, and personal interest lie -- and as many as they have approval from
the local Council to do so.
Like I stated above, I've assisted with the development of a couple hundred
Scouters through 14 Wood Badge courses.
However, one can ONLY take the Wood Badge course ONCE as a Boy Scouter and ONCE as a Cub Scouter. After that time, they serve at the pleasure of the Course
Director and Scout Executive (or his or her representative) on the staff of a
4/ If, for some unknown reasons, no "resource" is readily available for
me to purchase or obtain, can anyone of you forward me a copy? I'll remburse
all related expenses with no question ask, Scout honor.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; I don't have
a real name listed and neither does AOL's member directory.
5/ I'll bet this is the FIRST in the whole wide Scouting world and it will
blow your mind. If your Scouters want a good debate on the "Ripley's
possibility" of a REAL "faked" Wood Badger (not 1, not 2, not >even 3 but a 4
Beader!), plus an Official "Phantom" Scouting Association (WoW?), please go
Tripod reports that the site's down.
Here's the exact wording:
"Unable to open http://members.tripod.de/swissHDVN/. The site reports that the
item you requested could not be found."
The site is registered to Tripod in Germany, so it could have been deleted by the individual being "outted" or the Tripod gateway was down when I tried it.
Please accept my appreciations for all letters you wrote, details you
mentioned and informations you freely gave, on BSA Wood Badge.
Why shouldn't we, Philhung?? I don't know about the other Wood Badgers here,
but I'm rather PROUD of what I did and whom I worked with as I "worked my
tickets." as an Exploring leader and later as a Boy Scouter.
There's no "secret" there...we Wood Badgers are glad to explain what the
advanced training course in the USA is all about and how we got to wear the
special items which identify us as Wood Badgers.
Those Scouters that choose to "mask it in secrecy" are doing the entire program
a disservice because we WANT trained leaders in the BSA and the best way to
find and get those trained leaders is to let them know what's there for them to
Thanks for asking me!!
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