Wood Badge Course Overview

2017 Wood Badge Course Dates:

Wood Badge #4 (R-C): October 6-8, 2017 & October 20-222, 2017

2018 Wood Badge Course Dates:


Wood Badge is for every Scout leader!  Wood Badge was developed for Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venturing leaders, as well as district and council leaders.  Its focus is on leadership not outdoor skills.

Scouter Leaders must complete the basic training courses and have completed the outdoor skills training appropriate for their Scouting position.

The following information is designed to help provide you with key information about the training.

Wood Badge Course Delivery

The Wood Badge program consists of two phases: the learning experience and the application phase. The learning experience is set in an indoor and an outdoor environment where the course reflects unit meetings and a unit camping activity. The Boy Scout troop simulation provides a framework in which to practice the leadership skills introduced in the course. A natural bridge between the various Scouting programs is modeled.

Wood Badge Objectives
As a result of attending Wood Badge participants will be able to:

  • View Scouting globally, it is a family of interrelated, values-based programs that provide age-appropriate activities for youth
  • Recognize the contemporary leadership concepts utilized in corporate America and leading government organizations that are relevant to our values-based movement
  • Apply the skills they learn from their participation as a member of a successful working team
  • Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an overall inspirational experience that helps provide Scouting with the leadership it needs to accomplish its mission on an ongoing basis

Wood Badge Five Central Themes

The course follows five central themes:

  • Living the Values
  • Bringing the Vision to Life
  • Models for Success
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Leading to Make a Difference


Grand Canyon Council offers several courses throughout the year at different locations.  Courses are scheduled starting on Thursday and ending on Saturday over two weekends.   Or starting on Friday and ending on Sunday over two weekends. The cost of the training is $215 for the six-day five-night course.

Course size is limited to 56 participants, therefore early registration is recommended. A minimum of 30 participants must be registered, with fees fully paid 30 days before the first scheduled date of the course. For more information contact any of the Course Directors.


The phrase ‘working your ticket’ comes from a story attributed to Baden-Powell: Upon completion of a British soldier’s service in India, he had to pay the cost of his ticket home. The most affordable way for a soldier to return was to engineer a progression of assignments that were successively closer to home.

Part of the transformative power of the Wood Badge experience is the effective use of metaphor and tradition to reach both heart and mind. In most Scout associations, “working your ticket” is the culmination of Wood Badge training. Participants apply themselves and their new knowledge and skills to the completion of items designed to strengthen the individual’s leadership and the home unit’s organizational resilience in a project or “ticket”. The ticket consists of specific goals that must be accomplished within a specified time, often 18 months due to the large amount of work involved. Effective tickets require much planning and are approved by the Wood Badge course staff before the course phase ends. Upon completion of the ticket, a participant is said to have earned his way back to Gilwell.

The Wood Badge story has two chapters.

Chapter 1: The experiential course, which takes place over one six-day week or two three-day weekends and includes leadership classes, games, activities and plenty of meaningful conversations.

Chapter 2: The Wood Badge ticket, a series of five projects (completed after Chapter 1) that benefit a Scouter’s home unit and local community. These ticket items extend the reach of Wood Badge well beyond the six-day course. Fifty participants completing five ticket items each means 250 improvements to Scouting. And that’s just from one course.

On completion

After completion of the Wood Badge course, participants are awarded the insignia in a Wood Badge bead ceremony. They receive automatic membership in 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group or Gilwell Troop 1. These leaders are henceforth called Gilwellians or Wood Badgers. It is estimated that worldwide over 100,000 Scouters have completed their Wood Badge training. The 1st Gilwell Scout Group meets annually during the first weekend in September at Gilwell Park for the Gilwell Reunion. Gilwell Reunions are also held in other places, often on that same weekend.


First Wood Badge training at Gilwell Park

Soon after founding the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell saw the need for leader training. Early Scoutmaster training camps were held in London and Yorkshire. Baden-Powell wanted practical training in the outdoors in campsites. World War I delayed the development of leader training, so the first formal Wood Badge course was not offered until 1919. Gilwell Park, just outside of London, was purchased specifically to provide a venue for the course and the Opening Ceremonies were held on July 26, 1919. Francis Gidney, the first Camp Chief at Gilwell Park, conducted the first Wood Badge course there from September 8–19, 1919. It was produced by Percy Everett, the Commissioner of Training, and Baden-Powell himself gave lectures. The course was attended by 18 participants, and other lecturers. After this first course, Wood Badge training continued at Gilwell Park, and it became the home of leadership training in the Scout movement.


1919: First Wood Badge course held at Gilwell Park in England

1936: Gilwell Camp Chief John Skinner Wilson conducts Experimental Scout and Rover Wood Badge courses at Schiff Scout Reservation, New Jersey

1948: First official BSA Wood Badge courses held, one at Schiff and one at Philmont. Scouting legend William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt serves as Scoutmaster at both nine-day courses

1948-1958: Mostly national courses conducted, all run with oversight of the BSA’s Volunteer Training Division

1953-54: A few councils allowed to hold their own courses, including one in Cincinnati in 1953 and one in Washington, D.C., in 1954

1958-72: Two variations of the course exist: a national one for trainers and a sectional one for Scoutmasters, commissioners and other local Scouters. The courses focus exclusively on Scoutcraft skills, the patrol method and requirements a boy would need to earn First Class

1964: The BSA evaluates leadership skills offered in a junior leader-training course from the Monterey Bay Council, Calif., called White Stag

1967-72: The BSA conducts experimental courses that add leadership skills to Wood Badge

1973-2002: All Boy Scout Wood Badge courses held nationwide move to leadership development format and away from Scoutcraft

1974: First weekend courses held (previous courses take place over consecutive days)

1976: First women attend Boy Scout Wood Badge

1976-1999: Cub Trainer Wood Badge courses held nationwide

1997: Discussions begin to revise Wood Badge and offer one course for all programs

2000: Two pilot Wood Badge for the 21st Century courses held — one at the Florida Sea Base and one at Philmont

2002-today: BSA requires that all courses and councils teach the course