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Why take Wood Badge? 25 Scouters state their case

The reviews are in, and Wood Badge gets top grades from your fellow Scouting volunteers.

They say it “made me a better leader,” “helped me turn my troop around” and is “one of the best training experiences I have had.”

One Scouter called it the “second-best decision you’ll make in Scouting.” The first, of course, was getting involved in Scouting in the first place.

Wood Badge is the BSA’s training course for adult leaders, and it’s for new and experienced Scouters alike.

Most councils offer the course at least once a year and hold it over two three-day weekends or one six-day week. You’ll leave as a better Scouter, guaranteed. But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what 25 of your fellow Scouters had to say when asked “Why Wood Badge?”

Why take Wood Badge?

These answers are from our Facebook page. Find more there.

  1. “Wood Badge is one of the best training experiences I have had since becoming involved in Scouting.” – Gary L.
  2. “Take everything you think you know about leadership training, and throw it out the door!” – Jennifer F.
  3. “Wood Badge is not just a Scouting leadership training. It’s life training at its best.” – David D.
  4. “It’s the second-best decision you’ll make in Scouting. The first is getting involved!” – Doug T.
  5. Best training I’ve ever taken! I use the info for both Scouting and in my job as a teacher.” – Erinn O.
  6. “As a Scout, I always wondered where the great adult Scouters came from. Now I know, they’re made at Wood Badge.” – Robert W.
  7. It opens your eyes to all the possibilities that Scouting has for the youth.” – Ben T.
  8. “By taking Wood Badge as a den leader, I now know about the programs my Scouts will join in the future. I can better prepare them to be Boy Scouts and can help their parents understand why we do the things we do in Cub Scouts.” – Ed D.
  9. “It puts the whole of Scouting into perspective.” – Lee T.
  10. “Wood Badge is a lot of fun! I’ve met some great friends during the course.” – Anthony S.
  11. “It … improved my ability to manage work and family balance overall, and made me a better leader.” – Alan S.
  12. “It’s a great way to put yourself in a Scout’s shoes and understand what they experience.” – Francine B.
  13. “As a Cub Scout leader for five years, I really didn’t know much about the patrol system. Taking Wood Badge just as my oldest boy transitioned into Boy Scouts was extremely timely and prepared me to be a valuable adult leader in the troop.” – Kimberly S.
  14. So much takeaway that you will be able to use in the future not only in Scouting but in everyday life.” – Peter L.
  15. “No matter how much you think you know, you will learn much more about Scouting and yourself.” – Carl P.
  16.  “… helped me turn my troop around from an adult-centered to a boy-led troop.” Ron G.
  17. “I was promised leadership training I could use in Scouting and my professional life, along with new lifelong friends. I can say Wood Badge over-delivered.” – Kimberly A.
  18. “Do it. It changes your outlook on how to proceed with Scouting and to make Scouting better.” – Larry B.
  19. “Your Wood Badge experience will take what you already know and file it in your brain for easy organized access.” – Sheila F.
  20. “More importantly, the Scouts themselves will benefit from your decision to accept the challenge of earning your beads.” – Nic C.
  21. “It is money and time well spent.” – Marv H.
  22. You will find things about yourself you never knew before.” – Martin C.
  23. “An excellent training course, even for someone like me, who doesn’t love camping.” – Sue M.
  24. “I was fortunate to take Wood Badge at the same time my wife did. Aside from all of the great things it did for our unit, it also transformed our marriage.” – Lee B.
  25. “It’s the Ph.D. of Scouting, you and your unit will very much benefit from having one or more leader Wood Badge trained.” – Mike B.

Now what?

Matt S. says it best: “The next thing you should do after the first thought of taking Wood Badge is go to your council website and sign up.”

Your turn

Which of the comments above most resonated with you? What reasons for taking Wood Badge can you add? Sound off in the comments below.

Dallas-area Scouters, sign up for ‘Wood Badge 117’ at Camp Wisdom

I’m serving on staff at S2-571-16-2, known within the Dallas-based Circle Ten Council as Wood Badge 117.

I’ll be your trusty scribe for the course, held April 8-10, 2016, and April 22-24, 2016, at Camp Wisdom. If you live in North Texas or somewhere close, I invite you to sign up and join us for what promises to be a fun, fulfilling course.

Learn more and register here.


Photo by W. Garth Dowling/BSA

75 Comments on Why take Wood Badge? 25 Scouters state their case

  1. Whenever I run across a real boob, it’s a sure thing they’ve been to Wood Badge, where their uselessness and cluelessness have been honed.

    • I don’t understand your negativity. Could you be more specific?

      • It seems from your comment, you have never attended WB or you had a bad experience with a few folks. Don’t judge a program based on a couple bad run ins with people. The majority of us have greatly benefited from the WB experience. It has positively changed my life and I have made many life long true friends. I have staffed 3 courses and it is a great experience and staff and a participant. My best to you J Moody.

      • Certainly: Scouters who won’t allow youth patrols to camp more than a few dozen feet away from each other or adults. Who can’t leave scouts to cook something as simple as spaghetti by themselves. Who do not allow boys to choose their own patrols. Who think adults are supposed to be in patrols. Who do not understand that ASMs are not on committee. Who think 2-deep means that Scouts can’t take a hike by themselves. Wood Badge grads are nice people who either know their business before they go to Wood Badge, or don’t know their business beforehand and still don’t know it when they get out. They’re fetishists obsessed with being in a clique or getting a trinket to hang on their shirts. Wood Badge has absolutely no impact on leadership skills or knowledge of the program. And above all, they’re being robbed of the course cost.

        • H. David Pendleton // December 8, 2015 at 6:51 am //

          That may be your experience, but my troop keeps the adults as far as possible away from the troop. I have seen it as much of 350 yards, but it depends on the size of the camping area. Our adults never get involved with a patrol’s business. The SM/ASM gives guidance to the SPL who enacts it. All other adults do not step in unless it is for health & welfare.

          Evidently, you need to find a different troop or change the way your current troop operates.

      • bob zetelski // December 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm // Reply

        If I made a one huge mistake in my 45 years as a registered Scout Leader, it was waiting until I had 38 years in before I took WB. I should have found time to take it early and been the leader I could have been all that time. A HUGE mistake for anyone not to take WB. I really just don’t understand how anyone could make the above classless comment. I’m a DC and can tell when I walk in at a unit visit that there are WB trained leaders present. Its like a light bulb being on or off. I truly dread thinking about what the unit looks like in the above. Just how does he know what it is SUPPOSED to look like without WB? Osmosis? Dumb Luck? Ego? I admit, I just don’t get the nastiness in the comment.

        • I think your question is a sad commentary on the groupthink mentality of WB “how does he know what it is SUPPOSED to look like without WB? Osmosis? Dumb Luck? Ego?” The idea that a person needs to go to BSA’s “pinnacle” training to understand the program? Completely backwards. The answer is simple: I have a brain and a passion; everything about the program is available in the literature. Scout HB; Leader HB; guides to Adv., Safe Scouting, and Insignia; Baden-Powell’s writings; Bill Hillcourt’s writings; Scouting Magazine.
          Meanwhile, everything I have seen in WB grads over the past 20 years -shows- me that it is a waste of time. The nastiness? You’re right, I should be morecourteous, but don’t be puzzled, it’s the result of watching incompetent WBers across 20 years and multiple units, and of the unfounded haughtiness of people like you who believe that anyone who hasn’t been to WB lives in complete ignorance. What a joke. Maybe you were ignorant until you went to WB; WB had nothing to do with that. I do more for the youth in my program every 2 months than every WB ticket that these well-meaning but deluded trainees fool around with, and I know that because I couldn’t even tell you what they’ve done for their tickets, and neither can the youth. It is simply a waste of time, money, adult resources, an excuse to neglect the quality of basic training—it’s a waste, and its results are waste. There are competent leaders who go, and if they enjoy it I’m glad for it, but they aren’t transformed. Incompetent leaders aren’t transformed, they are simply confirmed in their ignorance; I have met SMs with beads who have never read the SM handbook; WB-trained Advancement Chairs who have never read the Guide to Advancement. Legions of WBers who cannot abide the chaos of the Patrol System. WB SMs who condense youth leadership training down to a 45-minute lecture just as their WB has been condense down to 2 weekends, and they get the same results in their youth leaders that I observe in them: confusion, ignorance, false confidence, incompetence. But they’ve been to WB! That’s all they need. It’s an unfortunate nastiness birthed from observation. I appreciate the mentality of those who go to WB, I have no respect for the course or its results.

        • H. David Pendleton // December 11, 2015 at 7:08 am //

          First, Mr. Moody look at the Scout Oath & Law and see if your postings in any way align with them. Second, I’ll put my Wood Badge Ticket items against your “two months” of activities any time. I do not think that WB is the be-all, end-all for Scouting. WB didn’t teach me much about leadership because my 30+ years associated with the military did that. I have also read every manual out there even though I’m not a Scoutmaster. I’ve taken almost every on-line training course there is and have been to PTC twice (and I’ve only been a Scouter for 8 years).

          My ticket items were written for a Pack as I was a Den Leader at the time. (1) I wrote a step-by-step manual for every major activity the Pack did including a timeline when the items needed to be completed, what equipment was needed, and what requirements for each rank could be completed at the activity (that is now obsolete due to the new program). (2) I research over 600 places in the local area to complete requirements & produced a spreadsheet with address, phone number, cost, website, email, etc. as well as what activities could be done at each location. I have supplied this to over 100 Scouters in the local area through University of Scouting. (3) For my diversity item, I offered my den the opportunity to earn their Disabilities Awareness pin by bring in two ASL interpreters & then visited the local Museum for the Deaf. Almost every Scout earned it. (4) I provided a special evening for the parents to discuss summer camp opportunities (Day, Bear, Webelos) and increased participation in camp by 100% the next summer over the previous summer. (5) I wanted to increase parental and outside adult involvement in my den and brought in over 20 guest speakers/instructors including local state government representatives, engineers, architects, school principal, disabled youth, etc.

          I had 3 ticket items that did not pass muster with my counselor because they did not support the Pack, but did them anyway. I joined the District Round Table staff and for over 3 years plan the Cub Scout Round Table program increasing average attendance by 100% over that time. I joined the council’s International Committee and now am one of their sub-committtee chairs where I plan, organized, and executed the International Area for the Scouting 500 where over 14,000 Scouts & Scouters attended. I even got the Japanese government to fund most of it since we were pushing the 2015 World Jamboree in Japan. I planned and organized a semi-annual Merit Badge event at the National World War I Museum bringing in a half-dozen other MB counselors for the American Heritage MB. It has been full (24 Scouts) almost every time with a Wait List.

          This all happened because of going to WB and building my vision. If you have done all that in 2 months with your Troop, you must have the best Troop in the world. And if that is the case, my hat is off to you.

    • Bryan Wendell // December 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm // Reply

      You are incorrect.

      • You are a salesman.

        • Bryan Wendell // December 8, 2015 at 2:52 pm //

          If the product is Wood Badge, then yes, I am a salesman. As are thousands of Wood Badgers out there.

        • J Moody, if you’re this nasty all the time then you’re providing the youth you serve with precisely the wrong example to follow. Perhaps you need a refresher on the Scout Oath and Law.

    • I am not a salesman, so maybe you’ll be less likely to discount my opposition to your thesis.

      When I or my fellow scouters guided youth to lead, it’s been folks without WB who’ve criticized us and WB-ers who’ve stood by us.

      On a recent campout, much of my efforts were spent shooing parents away from their boys. (“Yes, Jake can lead them through the thicket on his own.” “No, Johnny doesn’t need you to tell him how to make grilled cheese sandwiches.” “I’ve eaten plenty of burnt toast, seconds please.”) None of them, besides myself, earned a brown+tartan neckerchief.

      I’m not saying 5 days of adult training would have helped any of them. I’m just saying that when I’ve seen the helicopter behavior you describe, it’s been from folks who haven’t earned those beads.

      • Nahila Nakne // December 8, 2015 at 11:17 am // Reply

        With all do respect, I’ve seen three beaders act like helicopter parents.

        If memory serves, BP created WB with the intent that leaders enhance necessary outoor skills needed for troops to have an effective outdoor program. It took what they are suppose to know, and kick it up a notch so to speak. Especially since Scouting was a brand new program. Leaders needed to see how Scouting was suppose to be, and live it.

        IMHO, WB is not for everyone. There are some who have “been there, done that.” As someone stated, for NYLT grads, WB is 99.9999% identical. I know when I staffed JLTC back in the day, one of my fellow staffers who took WB 2 months after JLTC told me “Don’t waste your time. Everything we taught at JLTC is covered in WB. Wait until you are out of Scouting for a while and you need a refresher.”

        And it seems WB21C is more focused on leadership training, and less on Outing. Some folk are inundated with various leadership training courses with their careers.

        So again WB may not be for everyone.

        And I know some folks who did the pre-WB21C courses are not happy with the treatment they have received by fellow WBers. They have felt like pariahs and ostracized. Making folks who want to help staff give up their WB regalia they spent up to 2 earns earning because it is not the current course is not a way to treat volunteers.

    • Wood Badge is like any other form of education. You will meet people that graduated at the bottom of their class but are still doctors and lawyers and such.
      WB is taught on several levels and your takeaway from it depends on your acceptance level.
      Wood badge is not a personality transplant program, if you go in a jerk you may still come out a jerk. ( Jerks are clearly identified at the end of day two)
      BUT
      For those that struggle to do the right thing and could use some help and demonstration on how to go about leading a unit in whatever their capacity is, then Wood Badge is the place to start.

    • J Moody, I’ve read down through your thread (okay, maybe only part way) and I can understand your viewpoint. Wood Badge may not correct the flaws of those that are “doing it wrong”. Maybe that’s why YOU need to attend WB. I learned as much, if not more, from a select few students in WB as I did from the instructors. I’d like to think I imparted the same experiences upon those I came in contact with.

  2. Unfortunately, there is a very small segment in Scouting that really never or will get it!

  3. Most councils offer Wood Badge every 2 years because it is a 2 year time commitment for the staff. Staff development starts 6-9 months before the course and ticket counselors are committed for 16 months after. If you are ever called to serve jump at the chance! It is as big a personal growth experience to serve on staff as it was to get your beads!

    • Seriously? Our council has four courses every year, one at Philmont.

      • The Commissioner // April 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm // Reply

        My Woodbadge course was in 1991 and 9 ticket items along with entire week in the wilderness. At that the council I was with had WB every two years. I staffed for one WB course and the experience was great.
        I was ask to be on another staff of WB from different council, however I was told that had to retake WB again to become Staff member on the 21st Century WoodBadge. I politely said NO if my Woodbadge course in 1991 was not good enough for the course director
        I find that many Woodbadgers in council become very out of tune with their units and would rather play Woodbadge Staff twice year.
        My position in scouting is as District Commissioner and many occasions many of the newly beaded leaders have no clue how to properly run a unit. Some new Woodbadgers have not yet completed : Leader Specific Training or Outdoor Leader training also.
        Woodbadge should not be market twice a year just to make some Council Executive look good.

  4. Do we have official BSA Miniskirts?

    • I want one LOL

    • Their called Kilts…

  5. I have avoided Wood Badge due to the heavy time commitment. In our council, you arrive at 7 am on Fri and leave at 7P on Sunday, for two weekends a month apart. Plus you meet with your patrol outside of training and work you ticket. Who has time to do this if your troop is active? We camp every month, so if I have 1-2 leaders that go on this then the troop is really in a bind. A few come back as notably better leaders, but most are unchanged.

    • The hardest part for me was indeed the time away from my crew.

      On the flip side, I met some great people, one of whom was willing to be my go-to female adult for winter backpacking trips combining our two crews.

      I’ll admit that some of my classmates had to endure a pompus windbag (i.e., myself). But they handled the foibles of this old crow with grace and aplomb.

      I don’t consider the course a be-all-and-end-all of leadership training, In retrospect I do think many adults would be better served by trying to earn rank advancement under the tutelage of the young adult leaders in their units.

    • H. David Pendleton // December 8, 2015 at 6:55 am // Reply

      The ticket items should be related to the Scouter’s position. If done right, your unit should benefit from 5 projects that will help not only the participant but the troop as well. I did WB while being a Den Leader, working on a Master’s degree, teaching Sunday school, volunteering at a local museum, attending 2 children’s other events . . . and yes, working a real job. The only thing that took a hit was my TV viewing time.

      • Yes, it is a nice little motivator to light that fire and get rolling on some things you may have meant to get done for your unit.
        On the flip side, lot’s of scouters are implementing 5 or more creative things a year long before starting this course.

        • H. David Pendleton // December 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm //

          I know as I have never stopped. 3 of my first ticket items didn’t pass muster with my Troop Guide as they were not directly related to my position at the time (Den Leader), but I did them anyway so Scouting got 8 projects out of me. And many more before and since. Just because the 5 ticket items are completed, doesn’t mean to rest on one’s laurels but continue to better the unit & Scouting for everyone.

    • The other problem I have with Wood Badge is that some of the my leaders get really excited about Wood Badge and even go back as staff/assistants; the same leaders aren’t consistent with supporting the troop. For example, they go to Wood Badge every time it is offered, but aren’t dependable to help me out on the majority of camp outs. It seems to me that they really like being with the other adult scout leaders, and don’t care as much about being with the scouts. Kind of misses the point of leadership training.

  6. Richard Stone // December 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm // Reply

    I had my first Wood Badge experience well before the change for the new millennium. And I had a refresher using the new post-millennium content. Very different perspectives, but both were fantastic for learning about how individuals and groups work together and how to be a part of the team or be the leader. Take any Wood Badge that you can. It’s worth it.

    But, as stated above, the real benefit is not the training itself but in sharing the new skills and putting them to work to do Scouting better.

  7. I’m an old Wood Badger and a new Wood Badger. Since the course, when faced with a leadership problem, I ask myself WWWBD? (What Would Wood Badge Do). Every time I’ve been able to think back to the leadership skills taught on the course and have found a framework to work through whatever the issue. It certainly helps to have staffed a few courses to really understand the concepts that are presented.

    • That’s rich. You have to staff the course to gain the understanding the course should have given you.

  8. Tommy Howard // December 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm // Reply

    I’ve been blessed with about 50 years in Scouting. National Jamboree in 1985, Philmont Scout Ranch twice, volunteer and professional training (was a DE for six years) and the best of all of it has been my Wood Badge involvement.
    There is nothing that compares.
    For those who haven’t yet taken Wood Badge, I encourage you to do your boys and yourself a favor.
    Take Wood Badge.

  9. You get out of it what you put in to it. You don’t have to agree with everything that goes on in Wood Badge, or how they do things. That’s fine. But it will at least give you another perspective on how things CAN be done. And it’s an opportunity for learning, which Is the greatest part.

  10. You will get out of Wood Badge what you put into it. If you go in with an attitude of openness to possibilities, you will most likely enjoy the comeraderie, conversation, and sharing your experiences with your patrol mates. If you don’t go in with such an attitude, your experience may not be all that stellar.

    It was good for me and my Troop. Your mileage may vary.

  11. It is, unfortunately, possible to meet folks that have had the “bad” WB experience. It does happen. We are all volunteers, and it is hard to fire folks that have a hard time doing justice to the curriculum .
    Is WB worth it? Absolutely. It empowers one, it gives good training (if the trainers are up to the task), and provides networking, connections, the sharing of experience, and a basis that some more experienced Scouters may lack. Is it necessary for everyone? No, I have to say that there are some who are truly a Scouter’s Scouter without attending WB. But, again, there are some who can benefit, and some that will never need it to be a worthy Scouter.
    Here are the comments we received from our course when we asked “What made WB worth your attending?”
    “REASONS WHY I TOOK WOOD BADGE” or, Why YOU should take Wood Badge)

    *I took away a lot of ideas from everyone else, not just the staff.
    *It reminds me of how much fun Scouting can be.
    *The fellowship.
    *It helps to build leadership in my Troop.
    *My sense of obligation makes me want to payback to Scouting.
    *Self-empowerment. I can do more, because I can.
    *To grow spiritually.
    *It keeps the Pack trainer off my back.
    *It’s my Eagle. To accomplish it as my special project.
    *To hear awesome bugling.
    *To learn leadership skills.
    *A chance to play and camp as an adult.
    *Train to make better project planning.
    *Gives you the BIG picture of Scouting, not just the day to day stuff.
    *Gets you in a Scout Spirit atmosphere.
    *Looking for the “AHA” moments. Found’em.
    *Make the transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout more seamless.
    *Gain in understanding the “other” Scout.
    *I am not alone.
    *Seeking ‘Personal Growth’, it’s not just about the boys and girls, but adults too.
    *It renews your energy for Scouting.
    *Big chance, not just happenstance, to interface with lots of other Scouters.
    *“A raven is like a writing desk”.
    *Supreme networking.
    *Observing excellent exampling of Scout leading..

  12. I took the pre-21st century course in our council’so next to last class using the old syllabus. The class was an exemplary group on both the staff and trainee sides. I urged several of my leaders to attend the next class and their experience was nothing like the one I had. By the way, both were week-long classes. I can’t imagine getting the same experience/benefit with a weekend class.

    Since then, we’ve only had a couple of folks attend. At least in our council, the folks from my class and the one following, were made to feel like dinosaurs by the folks completing the new syllabus. Also even after several of us requested some sort of update on the new course, nothing was forthcoming.

    My personal impression of the new course,is that too much emphasis has shifted to being “politically correct” at the expense of losing our moral compass. It also appears to us old dinosaurs, that the new “ticket” is at best a watered down version of the old 9 point ticket and primarily aimed at making the trainee feel good about him or her self. That’s very likely tainted by my opinion that “politically correct” equates to “brain dead”.

    • I am old and new Wood Badger myself and I completely agree with your assessment except for the reasons for watering down the ticket. I think it’s because they watered down the “boy scout” emphasis for “cub/boy/explorer/venturer” broadness. I found the original course made the difference between a short-term vs life scouter. Youth Leadership and it’s values hit home. The new course…not so much and somewhat useful.

      And, yes, I cringe every time I see a Cub Scout leader with beads on. They don’t get it. They’ll never get it. And that’s a shame and a waste.

      I’m growing Owl and Eagle
      And I can’t Bear no more.
      So I’m getting out of Gilwell
      While I can. 🙂

      • Many scouts spend nearly 1/2 their scouting lives as Cub Scouts. Why wouldn’t you want them to have trained leaders who make the Scouts & their families experience the best possible?

        Is WB the only way? No. I’ve been to almost every training available over the years.

        But, my Pack is better run, better led, communicates better, is broader & more inclusive and has more volunteers because of my participation in Wood Badge. By WB design, my ticket was all about the Pack. I can’t think of any way that the Scouts have been disadvantaged by my having attended. Quite the opposite.

      • T. Scarborough // December 19, 2015 at 12:22 am // Reply

        I have to take exception to your comment about Cub Scouters with beads. Becoming Cubmaster was one of my tickets!! (I still say it shoulda counted for all five! ) No, I wasn’t a novice when I went to WB or took on being CM. My son started as a Wolf and was several years into a troop when I went, so I had a “few” years of Scouting (and leading) under my belt.

        I don’t understand why you would think a Cub Scout leader wouldn’t “get it” and could never “get it”. That’s the whole point of Woodbadge! Yes, troops do things differently from Cubs, but that doesn’t negate what Cubs do. We’re still Boy Scouts. Shoot, we even have the same Oath and Law now! We still camp. We just camp a little closer to home and don’t hike so fast or far. (Thank Goodness!) And having leaders who know how to lead and camp and do things the BSA way is always a good thing, whether it’s a Troop or Pack or Crew.

      • What is it about my Cubmaster emblem/WB beads that elicits such revulsion within you? And what exactly is it that I don’t get and never will? You don’t know me, you don’t know my background, and you presume much.

  13. I’m a ’13 Bobwhite. I wouldn’t recommend WB to anyone, unless they had absolutely zero Scouting experience, and were becoming involved in a Troop.

    I wasn’t able to take WB for my first 10 years, due to work scheduling or family reasons. I would like to be able to have the time I spent returned, to spend with family or our Troop.

    There was nothing offered that I hadn’t seen in other Scout Training sessions. The money I spent would have been better used attending Summer Camp with our Troop.

    The main thing I took from WB is that 4 people are not enough to be a Patrol.

    The other thing I observed is that if you are under 25 and took NYLT, the new WB is little more than a refresher class.

    For ten years, I felt like that one person who didn’t participate in Amway, with the constant pressure to sign up for this great training class. What a disappointment it turned out to be.

    • Nahila Nakne // December 8, 2015 at 6:55 am // Reply

      “The other thing I observed is that if you are under 25 and took NYLT, the new WB is little more than a refresher class.”

      That’s what I’ve been told too. In fact I was told the only difference between the two is the ticket the adults do.

    • H. David Pendleton // December 8, 2015 at 6:58 am // Reply

      4 in a patrol is tough. Our council always has 6-8 in a patrol. We had 58 on the fall course I just staffed & our council does 2 courses a year. I had 8 in my own patrol & still stay in contact with them. The only thing better than taking WB for me was staffing WB. Nothing like having to teach something to become better at it yourself.

      • David, while I agree with your comment on “teaching others”, only the select few get to staff a Wood Badge Course, not every person who attends and completes.

        I would not use “Staffing” as a selling point for anything as long as everyone has the same opportunity.

        • H. David Pendleton // December 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm //

          With 2 courses a year, we need 6-7 new staffers for each so that is 14 new staffers each year for our council. I don’t plan on staffing again anytime soon as I have other irons in the fire. If things change, I may apply to be on staff again but there are few of the non-Troop Guide positions I really want to do. I like the mentoring aspect of being a Troop Guide so hope to get to do that job again if I get to staff again.

          I wasn’t using staffing as a reason to attend WB in the first part. Just making the point that it is just as fun seeing what goes on behind the curtain.

  14. Marion Edwards // December 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    It is unfortunate to read so many negative comments about Woodbadge. After taking the course I had a new outlook about scouting and what we as adults are supposed to do to ensure that the youth experience the fullness of scouting. I have also had an opportunity to staff two Woodbadge courses. Both times I was blessed to work with persons who believed in the program. Woodbadge training is only as good as the staff providing it. I am a true believer that Scouting is only as good as the adults who administer the program the correct way. Our pack and troop encourage training for all adults. We just this past week beaded two of our troop committee members. As far as time commitments I have found that people find the time for those things that concern them the most..

  15. I am pre 21st Century Woodbadge scouter. W4-45-91 and proud Eagle.
    My only real concern is that if I want to be on staff for Woodbadge now I would have retake Woodbadge again. Apparently new Woodbadgers staff don’t want to recognize pre 21st Woodbadge scouters and their accomplishments with 9 ticket items rather than the 5 now required.
    I feel they (Woodbadge staff) are missing what knowledge I could contribute to the Woodbadge course. I am not going to retake Woodbadge just to be on staff.
    Woodbadge is great tool for unit management and should be considered for all unit leaders to provide their unit the best leaders.
    Note: Qualifications for the 1991 course was 2 years of unit leadership, completion of basic training and be ask by the course director ( Scoutmaster).

  16. Any discussion on Wood Badge brings many view points….

    I have completed both the Leadership Skills and current course formats, nearly 25 yrs apart; still prefer the former for its overall applications….

    Why does it seem to me Wood Badge is offered more often TODAY than prior to 2000 or in the late 80’s when I first was exposed to “Critter mania”….

    As for Ph.D. of Scouting, ask any REAL Ph.D. holder and one will asked about a thesis; since Wood Badge does not have one, even with those Tickets, the two are not comparable, therefore NOT EQUIVALENT… My Master thesis was more involved than the typical Wood Badge ticket scenario….

    What the BSA needs today is SOLID, BASIC Training for ALL Leaders for their registered position to help their Units and members grow & expand in all potential. Look at how “watered-down” all basic Leader training courses are these days compared to the year 2000 and the later quarter of the 20th century…..

    Unless most leaders in any given Unit have been exposed to the same training, as a previous poster stated, “drank the same Kool-Aid*”, then these leaders will not have had the same training experience to better/best serve their Units.

    There are other “pinnacle” Training course in the BSA continuum, such as National Leadership Seminar & National Lodge Adviser Training within the Order of the Arrow program, a well-run Cub Scout Leader Powwow &/or University of Scouting &/or the Philmont Training Center curriculum to name a few advanced training programs aside from Wood Badge.

  17. Craig@pack118 // December 8, 2015 at 7:54 am // Reply

    It’s the time commitment that keeps me away from woodbadge. It’s one thing to tell my wife im going camping for the weekend as long as I’m taking the boys with me. It’s something completely different to tell her I’m going out to have fun while she has to be a single parent for the weekend twice.

    I understand the need for the time commitment to cover the material and I don’t suggest watering the requirements down to an online course or something of that nature. Maybe the curriculum should be increased by one weekend to include a spa session for spouses where the woodbadge candidates take care of the family.

  18. Those who have never taken Wood Badge should know that it no longer covers outdoor or other practical Scout skills, such as first aid.

    • I had to explain to my wife that no actual wood was being harmed in the implementation of the course!

      • Except for the log getting an axe planted in it on day 1 😉

  19. I completed Wood Badge at Philmont in 1998. From what I’ve learned about the present WB course, the current experience has been “dumbed down” quite a bit from the course in which I participated. In my opinion, the BSA could do a lot better than the current WB course.

    For leaders in active troops which offer high adventure each year, I believe Powderhorn is a much better and more useful experience than Wood Badge. Unfortunately, the BSA doesn’t seem to offer Powderhorn as often or “push” it as much as Wood Badge. To me, this is very sad!

    Do I recommend Wood Badge for other Scouters? Yes, but I don’t recommend it as a high priority unless the person can participate in a week-long course.

    BTW, from what I know, the Circle Ten Council is the only council which still offers a week-long Wood Badge course at Philmont.

  20. Andrew Curtin // December 8, 2015 at 10:49 am // Reply

    Many scouters in my unit have taken Wood Badge. Most of them have said they had a lot of fun and benefitted from the program. While I don’t necessarily see an immediate change in the individual participants, it does seem that the training has benefitted our troop as a whole.

    I have been invited several times to attend Wood Badge. My council offers this course over two three-day weekends, one of which is Columbus Day. For me to attend, I would need to sacrifice three days’ pay (holiday is double time for me) in addition to $250 for the course. Time off from work is difficult to get and comes on a completely unpaid basis. While I gladly give lots of my time and money to scouting, I just cannot put this much into more training.

    I have repeatedly asked when the Council might offer this course during non-work days and have been told absolutely, “never.” So unfortunately that is also my answer when asked when I will take Wood Badge.

    • “”I would need to sacrifice three days’ pay”” I sympathize, had that concern myself. But wait, you might explain to your boss the “management skills” training of WB. It has been accepted by colleges for academic credit toward Management/HR degrees. Perhaps with that knowledge, the boss might contribute some “Administrative” paid leave for you. Has been known to happen. He/she will get back a better employee.
      Also, there is “scholarship” money often available, but you have to look and ask. check (if you are a member ) with your union, or your church or your local service club (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc. ) for financial help.
      Despite it’s sometimes poor reputation, Woodbadge can be a worthy activity to pursue.

      • Nahila Nakne // December 9, 2015 at 11:00 am // Reply

        WB21C can no longer be allowed for continuing ed purposes like the old course. I asked about that when it came out.

  21. Wood Badge, like any other Scout training, is for volunteers by volunteers. Go prepared, you get back what you put in. Ask good questions. Your mileage may vary. ETC.

    The major, overwhelming advantage to Wood Badge – it is generally the first training that is taken that *requires* that the participants do something to pass. With no long term memory, you can check the box with on-line training. You can snooze through LST and IOLS, pass and be credited. But you walk away with five value added tasks that contribute to Scouting, that must be completed to check the box on Wood Badge.

    Other trainings and events offer other tests and challenges – HAT, Powderhorn, Philmont for example, but these are challenges that the Sierra Club or the LNT center could also offer, and are mostly personal tests of knowledge or strength.

    That’s its power. An individual or a group may “get it” or not, but everyone should learn something about getting a job done, volunteering and working with volunteers in the BSA.

    • Bryan Wendell // December 8, 2015 at 11:51 am // Reply

      Well said!

  22. Wood badge course broading leaders knowledge and skills to train scouts and to those that are not scouts; prepared his or her self for life time experience.

  23. Nothing says you have to take WB in your home council. Find a course that fits your schedule. Google is your friend.

    NYLT and WB do teach the same skills, but for different target audiences.

    Personally, my biggest disappointment with the current WB is that there is nothing on how to train youth.

    • Because WB trains adults to take over a unit—there’s no need to train youth leaders.

      • My personal experience: when a committee member tried to override some of our youths’ decisions (rather sound and tasty ones at that), a WB-trained scouter who they trusted would correct them. It happened on multiple occasions — saving me a lot of conflict.

        The broad strokes with which you would like to paint simply don’t apply everywhere.

        • The Commissioner // April 12, 2016 at 11:13 pm //

          I find your experience very interesting. As Unit Commissioner I had to instruct a Woodbadge Course director/ Scoutmaster that ASM cannot be on Board of Review for advancement. This Woodbadger should have known this…..yet he is 21st Century Woodbadger.

      • J Moody, you must have taken a course that did not follow the curriculum. Wood Badge teaches the opposite, and the intent is for he adults to experience the program as “youth” so they can go back to their unit and practice the patrol method the right way.

        Training does not instantly create new people. We only get out what we put in, and we must have an open mind to enable any absorption of new insights that can make us better. There will always be bad examples, and it sounds like you’ve had a bad experience.

        Wood Badge can be a great experience to help shift a leader’s paradigm, and of course some folks only away with just a cool neckerchief and some beeds. Because people are involved, it’s not the perfect end all be all…but it can absolutely result in benefits to the youth program.

  24. On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law… There are many thousands of leaders who, while not perfect, are trying to live by this oath and encourage the youth they serve to do the same. For those above who seem to have forgotten, the Scout Law includes: trustworthy, courteous and kind. While everyone in this country is still allowed to have their own opinion, those above spewing their judgmental attitudes, negativity and criticism obviously have some significant issues which appears to include these values. There is absolutely no place for this negativity and criticism anywhere in Scouting.

    Baden-Powell intended Wood Badge to be a means of strengthening and preserving the Scouting movement in every country of the world. Your negative experiences while unfortunate are not the what the large majority of what Wood Badge participants experience and in no way negates the positive influence Wood Badge has had on thousands of Scouting leaders and youth.

    If you truly have these ill feelings toward Scouting and Wood Badge, why continue to be involved in Scouting? If you are not involved in Scouting, why post these hateful comments?
    I would respectfully encourage you to check yourself and your motivation for posting these comments as they are not consistent with the Scout Law. The world has enough negativity already. Scouting should be a safe haven from that negativity and criticism. You don’t have to agree, door is open and you are free to leave. Scouting needs leaders who strive to be a positive influence on youth by teaching and by living by the Scout Oath and ALL of the points of the Scout Law ALL of the time.

    • The Commissioner // April 12, 2016 at 11:21 pm // Reply

      My question is:,Why is the percentage of trained leaders for all scouting nationally is approximately 35% and 65% of all leaders are not trained. Does that 65% believe in the Scout Oath and laws.
      Woodbadge is not the ultimate in scout leader training it’s merely one phase. So don’t criticze other leaders because they disagree with your high standards.

  25. If you are part of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council, our 2016 Wood Badge W4-33-16 is in May! Contact me if you are interested.

  26. My Eagle Scout is aging out of the troop in a few weeks. He’s also in our crew and wants to earn the Summit Award. He’s also a Vigil Arrowman.

    For various reasons, he could not do NYLT and so now cannot do NAYLE. He has, however, done OA’s NLS.

    So to earn Summit, NLS counts as one of his tranings. There is no Kodiak Challenge in our Council. So his only real option is Wood Badge. BTW, he plans on being a lifelong scouter. He’ll transition from a JASM to an ASM in the troop.

    Does anyone here have input on an 18-20 year old doing WB? One other pickle is that he cannot attend in our council as he’s a college senior and would miss 2 or 4 days of class (spring is Fri-Sun, fall is Thur-Sat for LDS). But there’s a week-long out-of-district course that he could attend right before heading back to school in the fall.

    Thoughts?

    • If your son really wants to do, then out of council would be great. I am a believer in that Scouting is not seperated by Councils, and everyone is welcome. Look at what the World jamborees do for Scouting and the movement. If it held right before he is heading back to school, much better for him because he can take what he learned and apply it right away.

      You get out of WB what you put in. I am working on my tickets right now, and many of my fellow ASMs have said I am a totally different person all around. I was negative outside of Scouts and really close to clinical depression. Now, after spending those two weekends with fellow Scouters, I have made life long friends, turned my life around and now look to pursuing the many other offereings that Scouting has.

  27. While I’m not completely up on all the new training syllabus of W.B., I attended W.B. years back under the old system which had the concept of , showing and teaching scouters the wonderful simplicity that is the patrol system and how to use the system to take back to their units , so they could reinforce the idea that B.P. started with a boy ran program, with the adults standing off to one side and be there to give them guidance and advice as the boys needed and asked for it. A lot of this I got as a young boy scout in a troop many many years ago where we not only were led by our patrol leaders, but they did most all the training. The adult leaders stood back and let us run our troop .Of course, way back then, our patrols could take overnight patrol hikes without adults having to be there. A “kinder gentler time” perhaps, but all those lessons served well, all through a military career, a law enforcement career and 40 odd years of scout leader volunteer career from unit to council volunteer, and all the extra training has been fun, interesting and informative, but no training and knowledge doe one much good without a small dose of common sense.

  28. thapelo lerulelo // March 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm // Reply

    Woodbadge changed my perspective of scouting and shaped me as a leader. It earned me the respect of those looking up on me.

  29. Every Scout Deserves a Trained Leader

    From the BSA Website: “We believe that every Scout deserves a trained leader. We want to make sure that you understand how Scouting works and that you’re properly equipped to deliver a fun and fulfilling program to our youth. The Boy Scouts of America provides a wealth of training opportunities at every level of Scouting. Whether you’re a first time Cub leader or a high adventure veteran, there’s a training course for you. Continual learning is a key to the success of our programs.”

    Things I’ve Heard (objections to training):

    – “I’ve done all the training, I did Train the Trainer and I don’t need to go to some class taught by someone who has no idea about what Scouting is really about.”
    – “I’m not going to go play Boy Scout for the weekend with a bunch of adults, I’d rather spend my time to take my boys on a campout.”
    – “I just went to ITOLS (overnight training) to see how much they would get wrong. It was a complete waste of my time.”

    I’m sure many of you have listened to these types of objections. You may have had a grizzled old scoutmaster bend your ear about the good-old-days of scouting, before women and when campouts were run more like a boot camp, complete with yelling, push-ups, and gold-brick awards. We’ve all encountered the adult leader who simply doesn’t believe in training, and some can produce some pretty convincing rationale.

    My Response: I’ve been asking the question, “How do we address these objections, how do we help folks to realize the value of BSA training?” We understand that trained leaders result in a better program and ultimately in better served youth. I am hopeful that the following will help you to understand my thoughts on the long-term benefits of BSA training and will help you to carry your own message forward.

    Interactions with fellow Scouters (adult leaders).

    – Get to know new people. Build your network. Find new opportunities.
    – Connect with people who are working through the same challenges as you.
    – Share your ideas and your knowledge. Make scouting better for everyone.
    – Give cheerful service, volunteer as staff, give back to scouting.

    Make training interactive.

    – We know we have to go to some trainings for recharter, why not engage?
    – Share your knowledge as appropriate, engage in the discussion.
    – Invite others from your unit to attend, training is better with old friends.
    – Look for key take-aways, things to bring back to your home unit.
    – Act as though you will have to present this class to the next group.
    – You may just learn something new that will raise your game.

    Remember why you’re doing this.

    – It’s not for you, nor is it about you.
    – Check your ego at the door and show up ready to serve.
    – You are part of something bigger, an international movement.
    – You can make the world a better place by helping our youth to excel.

    Would you train your staff without training your management?

    – SPEAK the SAME LANGUAGE: Woodbadge and NYLT trained Troops will have common terms and tools to deliver a quality program.

    EVERY SCOUT DESERVES A TRAINED LEADER
    Be that Trained Leader

  30. I’ve just completed my first weekend of Wood Badge. In my patrol we have a Cub Scouter (me), a district Scouter, and several Boy Scouters, all with different amount of experience. I have the least experience with 3 years, 2 as a leader and one as a Tiger parent. While I knew I lot of book learning about Scouts going into it, I learned a lot about the patrol method this past weekend and will learn even more at our next weekend.

  31. Took woodbadge several years ago because my son, now SM, asked me to. Big mistake, should have taken it 30 years ago when I would have gotten something out of it. Best thing I can say is I made some new friends. Prior woodbadge courses focused on scout skills and challenging tasks, now it focuses on troop operations similar to the corporate programs I took at GE. I would take TMT but that was disbanded in our council because it took away from woodbadge. I wore the neckerchief at the closing and put it to pasture with other items that mean nothing to me in scouting. I even went back to assist in the kitchen thinking I probably had a bad session but nothing was different. The staff had gone their separate ways and most would never work another woodbadge to a point we had to skip the next woodbadge due to lack of staff. “You can win all” created heated sessions and hostile once when I went back. For those new to scouting this may be the best program ever, but to those long in scouting it is a waste of time. If you, like me have avoided woodbadge training for 30 years I say don’t bother. I have experienced a great many enjoyable moments in scouting but the best is seeing a smile on a scout that he learned from me that did not come out of woodbadge. Like the election check out the candidate and make your own choice.

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