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Boy Scout Troop 247
(Baltimore, Maryland)
 
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Wood Badge: Advanced Leader Training



As the Scouting Movement exploded in popularity, Baden-Powell recognized the need for adult leader training.   As an experienced Calvary leader, Baden-Powell knew that his men responded best to training when it was delivered to small groups; a technique that emerged as the foundation for Scouting; the "Patrol Method".   

Between 1910 and 1913, adult leader training had taken on many forms, but none of them were as effective as "hands on" training.  In 1914 B-P delivered another breakthrough idea, a correspondence course called "Scouting for Scoutmasters" which was printed and sent out with a new theme each month.  This continued until World War 1 broke out.  

In 1919 as the War concluded, Baden-Powell once again could turn his focus on Scouting for Boys and with it a goal to establish a designated campground to be used specifically as a training ground.   On the outskirts of the Epping forest, W. de Bois Macaren purchased the Gilwell Estate and donated it to the Scouting Movement.   In tribute to Maclaren's contribution, the Maclaren Tartan is the pattern worn by WEBELOS on their neckerchiefs, on the "working" neckerchief for Wood Badge participants, and a patch of the tartan remains on the Wood Badge graduation neckerchief.

Although final sale was not complete, by 1919 enough negotiations had taken place that B-P obtained permission for camping events to take place at Gilwell and B-P moved forward with a full-immersion program for adult scouters to live and embody the Scouting Principals so that they could in turn properly guide and instruct the youth in their charge.   Graduates from the class were to receive something "special" from B-P; a hand-carved bead taken from a necklace that B-P took in victory from Zulu Chief Dinizulu during the Ashanti campaign in 1888.   The graduation certificate was literally a "wood badge";  a wooden bead worn on a leather thong.

Today, Wood Badge stands out as the premier adult leader training for Scouters who take on the role of a patrol member for a full week of camping and Scout living in order to gain an understanding of local and world Scouting efforts and purposes and concludes with "working your ticket", a list of various action items to benefit Scouting.  "Working your ticket" can take as long as (but not longer than) 18 months to complete.

While one may assume that the Wood Badge (today, 2 beads worn on a thong around the neck) is worn by graduates as a sign of completion or achievement, it is not.   For the wearer of the Wood Badge knows they are a reminder that he/she SERVES THE BEADS; the beads do not serve the wearer.    A graduate of Wood Badge knows that his/her role is not to "show off" the beads, but is charged with the solemn oath of living up to the Scouting ideals and legacy that the Wood Badge represents.


Troop 247 currently has 2 Wood Badge recipients;  Mr. Paul Napoli and Mr. Brooks Jones (Eagle Scout).   Both of whom (from different Wood Badge classes) are "Owls" and honorary members of "Troop 1" of Gilwell.   The Owl is one of 8 "critters"  signifying the original patrols that existed at Gillwell.

ASM Jeff Currier (Eagle) is currently taking Woodbadge training and his "critter" is an Electrifying "Eagle".