Wood Badge Course
Frequently Asked Questions

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What Is Wood Badge?
Wood Badge is the BSA’s premier adult leadership training program. Based on Scouting’s values as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, it teaches contemporary leadership and team development skills in an outdoor setting.

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Why Wood Badge ?
Times have changed since Lord Robert Baden Powell assembled the first Wood Badge course in 1919. Over the years, the teaching methods and instructional tools have been continually updated to meet the needs of contemporary leaders. 21st Century Wood Badge is only one component of the recent revision of the entire BSA training continuum. Since the resulting changes ensure that adults will be effective in working with and leading groups of youth and adults, it’s clear that what hasn't changed is the primary focus of Wood Badge: leadership training.

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Why Should I Go To Wood Badge?
Wood Badge helps you become better at working with and leading groups of youth and adults. It's fun, it’s rewarding, and it helps you meet new friends. Here are some comments from recent Wood Badge participants:

I learned a great deal about myself...

I feel the program has given me the tools to make positive changes at my Pack.

The experience was beyond words.

The leadership information presented. . . was priceless.

I learned how important my role is and how much influence I have on the boys and their families.

It challenged me to give my best to the Scouting program.

I am reminded of the importance of group dynamics in the attempt to work as a team.

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Who May Attend Wood Badge?
Wood Badge is open to all adult leaders who have completed the basic training requirement for their primary registered position. Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity, Venturing, and Exploring leaders will benefit equally from attendance.

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What Is My Primary Registered Position?
Many adult leaders in Scouting find themselves serving in a variety of roles. A Den Leader might also be serving as a member of the district committee; a Venturing Adviser might also be registered as a merit badge counselor. Many leaders find it helpful to consider which registered position enables them to have the greatest impact on youth in Scouting to determine which is their primary registered position. In most cases, Primary Registration = paid registration (the position listed on your registration card).

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What Is The Basic Training Requirement For My Position?
In general, the basic training requirement is met when a leader attends Youth Protection training, and the Position Specific Training for their primary registered position. In addition, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Varsity Coaches and Assistants, and certain other positions require Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills. Basic BSA training is skills-oriented. The emphasis in Wood Badge is on leadership. The focus of “supplemental training” is on advanced skills that require leadership. For further information, please contact your district training team.

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What Is “Supplemental Training?"
In addition to its progression of structured training, the BSA encourages leaders to take advantage of opportunities for continuous learning and supplemental training within the Scouting organization — roundtables, pow wows, COPE courses, Scouting’s publications, special courses tailored to specific program areas, etc. — and the great variety of possibilities beyond BSA to increase skills. There are no “supplemental training” requirements for Wood Badge, but it’s not surprising to find Scouters who have earned their Wood Badge attending and serving as instructors at a variety of supplemental training opportunities. Through Wood Badge, they’ve come to understand the value of lifelong learning.

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When Should I Attend Wood Badge?
You should attend Wood Badge as soon as possible after completing your basic training. The sooner you attend Wood Badge, the sooner you can begin to apply the leadership skills and techniques you learn in your unit, district or council.

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I’m New To Scouting and My Unit Leader Says It’s Best For Me To Wait a Couple of Years Before I Go To Wood Badge. Why Should I Go Now?
Leaders who complete training early in their Scouting careers are better prepared to serve the youth in their units. In addition, Wood Badge helps new leaders build a framework for their future growth in Scouting. The perspective they gain of Scouting’s aims, programs, and the methods each employs will enable them to determine where they can contribute most effectively and what supplemental training may be needed.

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I’ve Been A Scoutmaster For Years And Have A Highly Successful Program In My Troop. Why Should I Go To Wood Badge?
There are two primary reasons: (1) everyone has the capacity to learn new skills and improve upon existing ones. Wood Badge offers experienced, successful leaders an opportunity to become even more effective at working in and leading groups of youth and adults. After completing Wood Badge, they’ll be better prepared to train youth to thrive in the team-oriented environments that will be typical in their futures and to work with younger leaders who are accustomed to those environments. (2) experienced Scouters help enrich the Wood Badge experience for newer leaders by sharing their expertise and passion for the program.

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Are The Leadership Skills Taught Specific To Scouting?
Although taught in a Scouting context, the skills presented in Wood Badge can be applied universally. Participants have found their Wood Badge training beneficial at work, at home, and in other, non-Scouting volunteer activities.

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I Received My Wood Badge Award After Completing An Earlier Version Of The Course. May I Attend this Wood Badge?
Yes, with certain conditions. Please contact the course director for additional information. The contact information is here.

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What Is The Time Commitment To Complete Wood Badge Training?
The practical (instructional) portion of Wood Badge requires six full days. Attendance of all sessions is required. The course may be presented over two three-day weekends/weekdays or six consecutive days. The majority of  Northeast Illinois Council courses use the weekend format (two three-day weekends or weekdays.) The weekend course also requires one or two patrol meetings between the weekend sessions.

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I may need to miss a 1/2 day or full day due to scheduling conflicts. Is that a problem?
Yes. You must attend the entire course, as per BSA National Policy, or you will be dropped from the course. Sorry.

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Is Overnight Camping Required?
Yes. Course participants sleep in tents provided by the participant. Typically, a total of four nights will be spent in tents during the first and second weekends.

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What About Outdoor Skills?
Even though Wood Badge is taught in an outdoor setting and some camping is required, the need for extensive outdoor skills has been minimized. There will be experienced campers on staff and among the participants; that creates an excellent learning environment for leaders unfamiliar with Scout camping. While not required, leaders are encouraged to attend outdoor skills training appropriate for their primary registered position (Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, BALOO or Webelos Outdoor Leader Training) prior to attending Wood Badge.

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What, Exactly, Is Taught At Wood Badge?
Wood Badge has always fostered leadership development. Wood Badge focuses on contemporary leadership skills and issues and integrates Scouting’s value-based philosophy. A variety of learning opportunities, including lecture, demonstration, group discussion and hands-on exercises train participants in the basics of listening, communicating, valuing people, team development, situational leadership, problem solving, and managing conflict. While contemporary management concepts are key components of the course, Wood Badge enables their practical application, too. Participants find they are able to apply what they’ve learned immediately in their primary Scouting position. Many participants have found what they’ve learned to be equally valuable in their personal and professional lives, too. And while learning is the focus of Wood Badge, fun is an important component!

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What Is A Wood Badge “Ticket”?
The Ticket is a series of projects or activities each participant creates during the practical (instructional) phase of the course. All elements of the ticket must be completed within 18 months following completion of the practical phase. Typically, a Ticket consists of several goals that, when accomplished, would ensure success in a key element of the participant’s primary scouting position. “Working the Ticket” helps participants apply the skills just learned and strengthen the program in their unit, district and council.

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How Much Does It Cost To Attend Wood Badge?
Estimated course fees for weekend courses are $260 to $300. That covers all instructional materials, all food, a course shirt and a course cap. Other “out of pocket” expenses will be photos and other course memorabilia are available for purchase, but their purchase is strictly optional.

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Do I Need A Uniform For Wood Badge?
Yes! Participants wear a BSA field uniform during much of the course. An activity uniform is worn at designated times and the course fee covers the cost of the activity uniform shirt.  If you do not have all of the uniform parts, it may be possible to borrow what you need from a member of your unit.

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What Is The Proper Uniform For Wood Badge?
Participants wear the BSA field (some Scouters call it a “Class A”) uniform for their primary registered position during much of the course. An activity uniform consisting of a Troop 1 shirt and field uniform pants (long or short) is worn at designated times. The course fee covers the cost of the Troop 1 activity uniform shirt. Further details will be provided to participants once they have been enrolled in a specific course.

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Where Are Wood Badge Courses Held?
The Northeast Illinois Council’s Wood Badge training is held at camp Sol R. Crown in Trevor, WI.  The Wood Badge course has been held at various locations in north east Illinois and south east Wisconsin, depending on camp availability and the size of the course.

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I Completed A Previous Wood Badge Course (Legacy) Why Should I Consider Attending this Wood Badge?
It’s time for upgrading and retraining. It’s been over 15 years since the legacy Wood Badge was offered. The previous version of Wood Badge was good, this version is different, more suited to current Scouter needs. It addresses the needs and preferences of current leaders and youth. The Wood Badge material gives brand new and veteran leaders tools to work with parents and families from all generation groups including boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and millennia’s. Set the example for new leaders. The material offered in Wood Badge is current leadership skills. It is useful in all areas of your life, including work, place of worship, volunteering at school, family, etc. You will be asked to not wear your beads, neckerchief, and woggle from your previous Wood Badge experience until you have completed the Wood Badge ticket The benefits of the course far outweigh the inconvenience of this requirement. There is no guarantee that you will or will not be the same critter of your previous experience. Although attending and completing a Wood Badge course is not a guarantee of being asked to serve on a Wood Badge Staff, it does establish one of the prerequisite requirements.

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I Want To Attend Wood Badge! Whom Should I Contact?
You may contact the people listed at the link below:

Contact Information

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Is There Any Training Beyond Wood Badge?
Yes! The Philmont Leadership Challenge, has a prerequisite of Wood Badge.

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What Is A Ticket Counselor?
The "Ticket Counselor" (sometimes called "permanent counselor") is a Wood Badger, who has serve on a current Wood Badge Staff and has been assigned, by the council Wood Badge Coordinator, as counselor to a participant while they are working their ticket.  Usually this will be a staff member from your practical experience.  If you are not from the "host" council, your counselor will be assigned by your council Wood Badge Coordinator or Council Training Chair.

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Why Do Some Wood Badgers Have More Than Two Beads?
When you have completed your ticket you are awarded two beads. If you have served on a Wood Badge staff, you will receive a third bead (3 Beader). If you serve as a course director, you receive a fourth bead (4 Beader).

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What Is Required To Serve On A Wood Badge Staff?
The requirements to serve on a Wood Badge staff are:

Additionally, it is very important that you have demonstrated a commitment to the Scouting program, support for the policies, and a desire to share the Scouting Spirit.  All of these elements are part of the Course Director's decision.

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How will Wood Badge help me?
Wood Badge will teach you outdoor skills and leadership techniques in a ‘living,’ hands-on environment, and you will be able to apply all you learn to your Scouting involvement and your personal life. You’ll develop a Ticket, which is a written agreement outlining how you will apply your newly learned skills as you continue your involvement in Scouting. Development of your Ticket is an exercise in goal-setting and includes creating a personal vision and mission statement and outlining individual steps to personal success.

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What do I eat?
You’ll be welcomed the first weekend with a delectable spread prepared by our friendly quartermaster staff. The following weekend, your patrol will return the favor by hosting Wood Badge staff members in your campsite. If you have any dietary restrictions, please tell your Wood Badge Course Director (or the course health officer) at or before the pre-course meeting, and we’ll be happy to accommodate your needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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Revised: 2017/10/21