By Community Submission
Dec 06, 2014

Wood Badge History Timeline

gilwell park

Gilwell Park, England home of the first Wood Badge Course

Gilwell park

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

woodbadge_photo1973-2002: 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

Ken Davis


Author: Kenneth P. Davis | Wood Badge Scouter from. Alexandria, Va.

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2 thoughts on “Wood Badge History Timeline

  1. AvatarClay Campbell

    After having my father’s beads placed around my neck this past weekend, I’ve managed to find his certificate dated February 19, 1968. Is it at all possible to find out his first course number (he served on staff and had three beads) and patrol? All of this was in the old Region One (six New England states) in the late sixties and early seventies. I can provide a registration number from his original cetificate if this would be helpful. Thank you for any help you might be able to render. Y.I.S., Clay Campbell, Western Colorado Council.

  2. AvatarClay Campbell

    Need help trying to find information of past Wood Badge course in Region One in 1967. Y.I.S., Clay Campbell, Western Colorado Council.


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