Wearing the Wood Badge
with (Other) Neckerchiefs
You wrote and asked me for clarifiication:
I need clarification on the wearing of Wood Badge regalia because the Insignia Guide isn't clear on this. Can the Wood Badge beads and woggle be worn with a neckerchief other than the Wood Badge neckerchief?
It SHOULD....read on....
Can the beads be worn without the woggle and a different neckerchief?
It MAY...read on...
Bottom line, when it is appropriate to wear the beads - with or without the other parts of the official Wood Badge regalia. I know that the beads can be worn alone with the scout uniform, but never with a t-shirt, but need clarification on the questions above.
Here it is. The source for this information is from two BSA's Volunteer Training Associate Directors; one from 1999; the other from 2009. Both state the same information; the information has not changed since and won't change as you'll read why.
The Wood Badge is the one training accomphishment shared and mutually accepted by all members of the World Organization of Scouting Movements (WOSM). It is designed for wear with a neckerchief and slide (or woggle). In other countries the Wood Badge is typically worn with a unit or national neckerchief or scarf and some sort of holder with very few exceptions.
Wood Badge beads and neckerchief
The Wood Badge was and is designed for wear by those volunteers and professionals here in the United States who have completed both parts of the approved course. It is designed to be a permanent recognition item as an outward symbol of service and training.
The Wood Badge is NEVER worn without the official field uniform of the BSA -- until 1998, it could be worn with a BSA blazer, but when the BSA "mothballed" the blue blazers in 1999, the Wood Badge could no longer be worn with a blazer. The blazer has returned, but still the actual Wood Badge is not permitted to be worn with the blazer; instead a small Wood Badge lapel pin was designed for wear with the dark blue blazer and with street dress attire. Sea Scouters who wish to wear the Wood Badge while above vessels may also opt to wear the small Wood Badge lapel pin centered on the left pocket flap).
Wood Badge lapel pin
It is not worn with a tee-shirt - even a camp or Jamboree tee-shirt. The Wood Badge is also not worn with the "activity uniform shirt" (the open-neck polo shirt)or any of its options.
The Wood Badge is acceptable to be worn correctly with ALL complete uniforms -- the vintage ones (before 1973), the current ones (either the "legacy" khaki-tan or the "Centennial" khaki), the Venturing kelly green or the Exploring spruce green; or the Sea Scout white or blue -- in the same manner.
Here's the rules (again):
- overall, the Wood Badge is intended and designed to be worn with a neckerchief and slide or woggle.
It was not designed to be worn by itself however many volunteers and professionals choose to wear the beads and thong during informal, normal meeting and activity situations and wear a neckerchief and slide/woggle during more formal events and occasions as shown below:
Wearing the Wood Badge by itself (Thanks to Scouter Tee)
- if you are a UNIT SCOUTER or if your District or local Council has an official neckerchief and/or slide, you SHOULD and are ENCOURAGED TO WEAR the Wood Badge with that neckerchief and/or slide. This is especially important for those Scouters who are serving at the unit level and whose Troop or Crew has adopted a neckerchief color(s).
Wearing the Wood Badge with unit/district/council neckerchief. This Scouter is wearing the Wood Badge with the special BSA "SCOUT ME IN" neckerchief, which is permitted.
(During the Wood Badge experience, there is discussion on "keeping the group together" and part of that is "brand identity" -- the idea that your Troop, District, or local Council has a neckerchief color combination different from ALL OTHER Troops in your Council. If your Troop does not have a distinctive neckerchief, it is past time that you ask your Troop's Senior Patrol Leader and members of his Patrol Leaders' Council to decide on a color combination and have *everyone to wear a neckerchief and slide*).
- if you are a NON-UNIT SCOUTER, regardless of position or whether you are a professional or volunteer, you SHOULD and are ENCOURAGED TO WEAR the Wood Badge with the MacLaren tartan neckerchief and Wood Badge woggle. This is the reason why that distinctive neckerchief was created -- so that *non-unit Scouters* may wear a neckerchief with the Wood Badge as strongly recommended. When you become part of a unit, then you should wear *that unit's neckerchief*.
Wearing the Wood Badge by a non-unit Scouter (professional or volunteer)
- wearing the Wood Badge with special neckerchiefs (for instance, the National Eagle Scout Association's white neckerchief; the Eagle Scout blue neckerchief with red and white borders; special Order of the Arrow (OA) lodge, section and regional neckerchiefs; the Kenten cloth neckerchief; National or World Jamboree contingent or official neckerchiefs; international activity or event neckerchiefs; the special "SCOUT ME IN!" handmade neckerchief (as shown below); the red and gold Commissioner neckerchief; and special local Council or camp neckerchiefs) is also highly encouraged and recommended...either with or without the Wood Badge woggle. Again, the idea is that the Wood Badge SHOULD BE WORN WITH A NECKERCHIEF and a "keeper" as it was designed.
Wearing the Wood Badge with a special program/event neckerchief (professional or volunteer) Thanks George Niebling
The Wood Badge should always be displayed IN FRONT OF the neckerchief. If worn formally with pendant-type awards, the Wood Badge should always be displayed in the front of those awards if all possible.
Oh, and just because people ask this a lot: it DOES NOT MATTER which side the "two beads" and the "single bead" is worn on in the case of those Scouters wearing the three-bead necklace. It is completely up to the Scouter, although most Scouters opt to wear the two-beads on their left side as wearing it simply because "it's closest to the heart". There is absolutely NO POLICY, NO INSTRUCTION and NO GUIDANCE other than "tradition" which states this...it has been passed downward from Wood Badge holder to Wood Badge holder. It doesn't matter which side....*smiling*
It does not matter which side the two-beads are on...
Dee wrote as a followup:
Ok, just for clarification. We have a scouter who is also a Commissioner, can the beads be worn with that neckerchief?
Yes, if the neckerchief is one which all Commissioners in your District or Council wear.
(Dee was referring to the BSA Commissioner neckerchief, shown below:)
Hope this helps out...thank you very much for asking me! It's a great question!
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