On July 31, 1948, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt served as Scoutmaster at the first official Wood Badge course in the United States.
Seventy years later, Wood Badge has grown into an essential training experience for adult volunteers. You’ll find proud Wood Badge alumni — myself included — in every council in the country.
Celebrate the 70th anniversary of Wood Badge in the United States with a special award available only in 2018.
The American Wood Badge Alumni 70th Anniversary Service Award can be earned by completing five of the nine requirements listed below. Think of this like a second, easier-to-complete Wood Badge ticket. (The actual Wood Badge ticket is a series of five projects that benefit local Scouting. After the in-person course, Wood Badgers complete these ticket items to receive their beads.)
To receive the 70th Anniversary Service Award, you might participate in a council Wood Badge gathering, volunteer at a BSA training event, donate $7 or $70 to your council’s Wood Badge scholarship fund, or become a member of Scouting Alumni and Friends.
Applications must be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. Award recipients get a commemorative certificate and the special patch seen above.
A brief history of Wood Badge
Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell conducted the first Wood Badge course in 1919 at Gilwell Park in England. Nearly three decades later, the BSA decided its volunteers would benefit from this training, too.
“Green Bar Bill,” the Scouting legend you can read about in detail here, was Scoutmaster for the first two American Wood Badge courses in 1948. Each course was nine days long — three days longer than they are today.
The first was July 31, 1948, at Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey. Twenty-nine men from 12 states showed up to learn about Scout skills, Scoutcraft and pioneering.
The second was Oct. 2, 1948, at Philmont in New Mexico. This time it was 35 men from 19 states in attendance. They gathered at the Villa Philmonte before traveling to Cimarroncito for the actual course.
These Wood Badge courses were conducted by the BSA National Council’s Volunteer Training Division. Councils began conducting their own courses in 1953.
In 1973, the focus of Wood Badge shifted from Scoutcraft to leadership development. In 2000, Wood Badge for the 21st Century debuted to give leaders the latest leadership tools.
American Wood Badge Alumni 70th Anniversary Service Award requirements
Wood Badgers will agree to and work a new ticket. To qualify for the award, individuals must complete five of the following nine requirements during the anniversary year — Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2018.
- Register as member of the Scouting Alumni and Friends, at any level.
- Attend a district, council or national level training course either as a participant or staff member OR serve as staff on a Wood Badge course.
- Participate in a 70th Anniversary celebration in your Council such as a reception, reunion or other special acknowledgement at a Council wide event such as annual recognition or F.O.S. dinner.
- Recruit another individual to attend and volunteer at a Boy Scout training event or Wood Badge service activity.
- Share the values of Wood Badge and Scouting by recruiting an individual to take Wood Badge.
- Promote Wood Badge training at a unit, district, council area, region or national event.
- Contribute $7 or $70 or whatever larger amount you can to an existing council custodial fund for Wood Badge scholarships.
- Solicit another individual to join you in contributing $7 or $70 or whatever larger amount they can to an existing council custodial fund for Wood Badge scholarships.
- Become a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America at the unit, district or Council level. Consider such opportunities for service as: district committee, commissioner, roundtable staff, Alumni or NESA committees and more.
Learn more and download an application
Visit this site to learn more and apply.
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