Wood Badge (Boy Scouts of America)


Wood Badge (Boy Scouts of America)

Wood Badge was introduced to the United States by Baden-Powell and the first course was held in 1936 at the Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation, the Boy Scouts of America national training center until 1979. [cite web
title = History of Wood Badge in the United States"
url = http://www.woodbadge.org/wbhistus.htm |date=2002 |author= Mike Barnard |accessdate=2008-07-28
]

Course History

Despite this early first course, Wood Badge was not formally adopted in the United States until 1948 under the guidance of Bill Hillcourt who became national Deputy Camp Chief of the United States. [cite web |title = Green Bar Bill Hillcourt's Impact on Wood Badge |url=http://www.woodbadge.org/wbgbbWB.htm |date=2001 |author= Mike Barnard |accessdate=2008-07-28]

From 1948 through 1958, Wood Badge was presented exclusively by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Representatives from local councils were trained to help with the leadership training programs in their respective councils. After 1958, qualified local councils were authorized to provide advanced leadership training to Scoutmasters and other Scout leaders using Wood Badge. Two or more councils may join together to present Wood Badge with regional approval. [cite web
title = The Wood Badge Home Page |url = http://www.pinetreeweb.com/woodbadg.htm |date=2004-05-19 |author= Lew Orans |accessdate=2008-08-01
]

In the 1970s, the National Council's moved its headquarters from North Brunswick, New Jersey to Irving, Texas, the national training center of the Boy Scouts of America is the Philmont Training Center. However, the majority of Wood Badge courses are held throughout the country at local council camps under the auspices of each BSA region.

Course Content

The Wood Badge program has been revised at least three times since the 1960s. During the late 1950’s, the Monterey Bay Area Council learned of an experimental leadership training program called White Stag Leadership Development on the Monterey Peninsula, California, founded by Bela H. Banathy. With the interest and support of the Monterey Bay Area Council executive staff and board, the program was expanded until the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America learned of it. In 1962, the National Council sent some observers and participants who liked what they saw and experienced.

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America modified and adapted the White Stag program, first writing their own syllabus for its adult Wood Badge program.cite web |url=http://pinetreeweb.com/TLD-1974.htm |title=Historical Background of Leadership Development: Troop Leader Development, 1974 |author=Lew Orans |date=1997-04-12 |accessdate=2008-07-22] Modified versions of the White Stag leadership competencies were an essential part of Wood Badge. According to Bánáthy, the National Council's program "The program first was laboratory tested at the Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey and at Philmont in New Mexico in 1967. Following its revision it was field tested in five councils during 1968."cite book
title = Report on a Leadership Development Experiment
author = Bela Banathy
publisher = Monterey Bay Area Council
date = 1964
] [cite web |title=Wood Badge for the 21st Century - Staff Guide |url = http://www.woodbadge.org/BoyScout/wblsskill.htm |author=Mike Barnard |date=2002-11-29 |accessdate=2008-07-28] One of these locations was in Monterey, where Joe St. Clair served as Scoutmaster, Bánáthy was course adviser, and Fran Petersen was Senior Patrol Leader. John Larson, the Boy Scouts of America's National Director of Education, was also present. In a unique application not since reproduced, all attendees were asked to bring their troop to a single week of summer camp, allowing the Wood Badge staff to use the summer camp as an application for Wood Badge. [cite web| url=http://www.whitestag.org/history/founders/white-stag-founders.htm| title=The Four Founder of White Stag|author=Bill Roberts|accessdate=2008-10-05|date=2005] In 1972, the Wood Badge program incorporating the leadership competencies became the official program in the United States.

An experimental Cub Scout Trainer Wood Badge was field tested in 1976. In 1978 it was adopted as the official advanced training program for adult Cub Scout Leaders.cite web
title = Twenty-first Century Wood Badge
url = http://www.scouters.us/wb.html
author = Stephen Henning
date = 2007
accessdate = 2008-08-01
] During 1978, the national council evaluated the Boy Scout Wood Badge program and felt a need to put more emphasis "on the practical aspects of good troop operation." The modified course blended Scoutcraft skills and troop management practices along with scaled-down content about the leadership competencies.cite web
title = History of Wood Badge
url = http://www.scouting.org/Media/FactSheets/02-539.aspx
author = Boy Scouts of America
date = 2008
accessdate = 2008-08-01
]

In 1994, the course content was revised again to add key concepts based on "Ethics in Action" which had been added to Boy Scout training and literature.

In 1998, a new version titled "Wood Badge for the 21st Century" was originally revised to include principles of Situational Leadership,cite web
title = Wood Badge for the Twenty-first Century
url = http://www.woodbadge.org/BoyScout/Y2KWB/Y2KWB_TF1/sld009.htm
author = Mark L. Stolowitz
accessdate = 2008-07-31
date = 1998
] However, the trademark owner of Situational Leadership, the Center for Leadership Studies [cite web|title=Center for Leadership Studies|url=http://www.situational.com] , required the Boy Scouts to pay royalty fees for every Scouter attending Wood Badge nation-wide.cite web
title = Information for Employers Regarding BSA Wood Badge
url = http://www.woodbadge.ws/employer/
author = Eldon L. Lewis
accessdate = 2008-08-01
date = 2004
] The decision was then made to use more generic, non-trademarked language that was free of royalty fees to describe how groups change and evolve. The Wood Badge Task Force chose to emphasize the stages of team development based on the principles described by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 as forming-storming-norming-performing. Thus "Wood Badge for the 21st Century", at one time based on leadership competencies conceived of during the 1960s and 1970s, is 30 years later based on generic group leadership concepts from the 1960s.

The national council has also removed from "Wood Badge for the Twenty-first Century" much of the Boy Scout-specific information from the program. This has allowed the national council to designate Wood Badge as the advanced leadership training program for all branches of Scouting, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scout, Varsity Scouting and Venturing Programs.

References


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