HISTORY OF WOOD BADGE & GILWELL PARK
THE BEGINNING OF WOOD BADGE
Baden-Powell took the first steps in the training of Scouters by organizing a series of lectures for Scouters in 1911. He made great strides by devising and instituting Wood Badge training in 1919. Wood Badge recipients now number more than 100,000 throughout the world.
The object of the Wood Badge course is to demonstrate as practically as possible the aims and methods of Scouting. Upon successful completion of the course, the participant receives a parchment certificate and the Wood Badge two wooden beads worn on a leather thong around the neck. These beads replicate the beads found by Baden-Powell during a campaign in Africa in 1888. They belonged to Dinizulu, an African chieftain. In searching for a suitable recognition for those who completed the first course in 1919 Baden-Powell remembered the beads and decided to present a bead to each participant. At that time, the course was called “Wood Badge”.
The Wood Badge may be worn only with an official field uniform of the BSA. The Scouter to whom it has been awarded may also wear the tan neckerchief with its patch of Maclaren tartan at the back. The Wood Badge neckerchief may only be worn with the accompanying leather neckerchief slide or woggle.
WOOD BADGE TRAINING GETS A PERMANENT HOME
In 1919 W. F. de Bois Maclaren, a district commissioner in Scotland, purchased Gilwell Park and presented it to The Scout Association of Britain. He wanted to provide a training ground for the officers of the Scouting movement. Consequently, Gilwell Park became the permanent home of Wood Badge training in England and annually welcomes Scouters from around the world.
The ax and log symbol associated with Wood Badge is actually the totem of Gilwell Park. Recently, The Scout Association has announced that it would relocate its headquarters from London to Gilwell Park.
In 1929, at the Third World Jamboree at Birkenhead, England, Sir Baden-Powell was made a baron by his king, and became Lord Baden-Powell of Gil well.