Wood Badge Centennial Update pilot courses announced

Registration is now live for a pair of 2018 national Wood Badge Pilot Courses that precede a 2019 update to the BSA’s premier leadership training program for adults.

The update, known as the Wood Badge Centennial Update, will be released in 2019 for use in 2020 and beyond. It’s timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Wood Badge.

In 1919, Robert Baden-Powell was among the instructors at the first-ever Wood Badge course, held at Gilwell Park in England.

These days, any adult involved in Scouting — Cubmasters and committee members, assistant Scoutmasters and Venturing advisors — is welcome to the six-day training course. The course is typically held over two three-day weekends and gives adults skills that will help them in Scouting, their career and at home.

All Wood Badge training courses are special, life-changing experiences. The Wood Badge Pilot Courses? They’ll offer a unique chance to earn your beads while shaping the future of Wood Badge for those who follow you on Scouting’s trail.

One word of note: These pilot courses are intended to generate feedback about the Wood Badge Centennial Update. Because of that, only Scouters who have not attended any previous Wood Badge course may attend.

When are the Wood Badge Pilot Courses?

There are two Wood Badge Pilot Courses, each offering the 2019 Centennial Update. You can choose either one.

The courses will be staffed by Wood Badge Task Force members who have been working on the Centennial Update for the past two years.

Florida Sea Base: Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, 2018

Participants should arrive on Sunday, Jan. 28. The course will start at 8 a.m. Jan. 29 and conclude around 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 2.

Philmont Training Center: March 25 to 30, 2018

Participants should arrive on Sunday, March 25. The course will start at 8 a.m. March 26 and conclude around 4:30 p.m. on March 30.

How much do the Wood Badge Pilot Courses cost?

Each is $625.

This cost covers program and training materials, all food, participant T‐shirt and cap, and a Wood Badge presentation kit (upon completion of the program). The cost does not include transportation to and from Sea Base or Philmont.

What are the requirements to participate?

  • Registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Completed basic training courses for Scouting position.
  • Be capable of functioning safely outdoors.
  • Complete parts A, B and C of the Annual Health and Medical Record.
  • Have not attended a previous Wood Badge course.

How do I register?

Click here. Email nationaltraining.course@scouting.org with your questions.

Will this ‘poach’ participants from local council courses?

The expectation is that no more than one or two Scouters from any particular council will attend one of these pilot courses.

Volunteers who prefer to take Wood Badge over two weekends instead of one week, or who prefer a course that’s less expensive or closer to home are encouraged to contact their council for more information.

What is the Wood Badge Centennial Update all about?

Think of it like an update — not a rewrite.

It will incorporate volunteer feedback and the latest leadership lessons to give leaders the tools they need to do their Scouting jobs.

After the 2018 pilots, the syllabus will be distributed in fall 2019 at the course director’s conference. All courses held in 2020 and beyond will use the new syllabus.


  1. I took the “old” course in the 1980s, then took a refresher course in the early 2000s that contained much of the “new” material. I was delighted to see the great new ideas and ways to deliver the program. I am eager to see what improvements are in store for the “next” Wood Badge. It will likely be just as wonderful!

  2. It seems to me that if you are piloting a course, you might offer the course without cost to the participants (except for the travel to and from the course). The participants would be expected to provide a significant amount of feedback in return to the “free” course.

    Additionally, proposed changes should be circulated to current Wood Badger for their feedback. Too many changes have been made recently in many areas without getting feedback from (and actually listening to) those of us in the trenches.

  3. If we want to honor the centennial of Wood Badge, we should return to teaching Patrol leadership through Scoutcraft. At an absolute minimum, though, this update should remove Win All You Can from the syllabus.

    • Win All You Can was one of the highlights for me! And the discussion it generated — and subsequent takeaways — were among the most memorable of the course.

    • I have seen Win all you can done by two very different people. I believe that has to be the reason why so many come away with so much discussion And then other are like that’s done what’s next to check off

        • There is nothing improper about red epaulets on “vintage” uniforms. The Insignia Guide does not require a scouter to constantly dash to the scout store (as fun as that may be) following every uniform update.

          Regarding the uniforms without epaulets … definitely a story there. I suspect these scouters work across multiple units … possibly even serving youth in multiple organizations. They probably are worthy of all of our respect and none of your disdain.

      • If this is quiz, they missing the World Crest emblem. and the tricky part, their waggle are leather waggle usually awarded after beading recognition -pair with different neckerchief.

        • Good comment ‘Q’. Older uniforms never go out of style. Most of the scouters that I have known to be uniform ‘nits’ were lacking in other areas of scouting. Not real savvy on in the woods, but good to have around for uniform inspections.

      • RED loops no longer represent Boy Scouting, and shouldn’t be worn, but do what you want, it’s a only a “guide”…

        Right from the Guide to Insignia and Awards:

        “Shoulder Loops

        Colored shoulder loops worn on the shoulder epaulets identify the wearer’s current role in Scouting, and must correspond with the badge of office, when one is worn.
        Cub Scouting—blue, No. 677
        Boy Scouting—forest green, No. 64017
        Varsity Scouting—blaze (orange), No. 681
        Venturing—green, No. 678
        Council and district (including chartered organization representative)—silver, No. 680
        National, regional, and area—gold, No. 679

        Custom loops or other colors are not authorized for wear with the BSA uniform.”

  4. It would be nice to have a member from EVERY council in the U.S. get to see this new course and report back to their respective councils.

  5. I see that the requirements include outdoor participation; I am handicapped and walking long distances is impossible for me. Will I be excluded from participation in Wood Badge Pilot Program and any future Wood Badge Training?

    • Contact the Course Director of the course that you are considering to discuss your abilities. In one of the courses for which I was on staff, we had a participant who was blind and restricted to a wheelchair. He completed the course and earned his beads.

    • You should absolutely reach out to the Course Director to share your needs. In our Council, we work to ensure that anyone who wants to attend Wood Badge can do so, regardless of physical handicaps or other concerns. Good luck!

    • Sarah every training accommodates for those with physical challenges. Just talk to your course director about what you need from them to help you get around. No orobs!!!

  6. Is there any discussion of a “remedial” course to bring those of us who have already taken Wood Badge up to date?

  7. Hi Brain W. , Thank for the fine article and the WB info. While the article was great, I think the picture of those “Scouters” are a disgrace to all of us WBs everywhere .. Since uniform is a part of the 08 methods in Scouting program.. How come the leaders in charge of that course allowed those “funny Scouters” to wear “unauthorized” patches all over the places on their BSA uniform?? And why did you choose to post it on this site??? In Scouting, if a WB cannot wear his/her uniform the correct way in the first place (especially during the WB course!!) then what kind of leaders will they be to scouts later?? I do understand that the in your posted picture are participants in one of the Vietnamese “Special” Tung Nguyen WB Course held in the States a few years back… So I wonder .. Is the BSA don’t really care much about how its members – adults and youth- wearing their “official” BSA uniform anymore?? Or.. the BSA has a special rule and/or waiver for any scouters who participate in the Vietnamese “Special” WB Courses?? Would you care to explain so all of us can understand?? Thank you. YiS. An Otetiana BobWhite

    • Perhaps, the course director cared more about who was under the uniform and less about what was on it. WB has been known to be flexible that way. — A Laurel Highlands Crow.

      • Q. Come on Q. .. You know, if you’re a real BSA Scouter, very well that the uniform is a part of Scouting Program since day one.
        Having a leader who cannot wearing a “correct” Scout uniform is an issue that must be solved not an excuse to sweep it under the rug and forget about it.
        If what you said is right, then should we discard the BSA uniform and go with a T-shirt and Gym short instead???
        When a Scout-leader shows up in a “bad” uniform .. there is no way his scouts will do it right either.

        • If by “real”, you mean someone who might march into the woods with his field uniform on when the rest of the troop leaves it at home. Yeah, that’ll be me. I’ve resown a knot when someone noticed I got mine upside down. (Although, I’m not trading in the one that got stitched in the form of a granny!) So, I get attention to detail. But …

          I have seen SPLs do quite well with their uniforms in spite of their SM. In fact, many drawings and photos from the early days of scouting depict scouters in business attire and their scouts fully uniformed.

          There are lots of ways scouts “do it right.” Inspection sheets are simple to operate. I used them when I was an SPL. My scouts looked sharper than the SM and any committee member, and everyone was okay with it. Our adult leaders were as good as gold and everyone knew it.

          More than that. The simple fact is, you might score 90% on inspection, but perfectly develop youth leadership, inspire your adults to volunteer as merit badge counselors, and keep those patrols camping 300′ apart from one another every month.

          Those details are things a picture will never tell you. Although the smiles give me a hint that this stock photo indicates that these scouters got that 8th point working!

  8. To say the Scouters were a “disgrace” to Scouting due to improper uniform is terrible. Since its really about the kids, are they a disgrace when they forget a neckerchief or have their shirts untucked? Those Scouters may well be a treasure to their units and to their scouts. Let’s not judge a book by its cover, or at least try to live by the Oath and Law.

Join the conversation