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Wood Badge at the Summit

  Bela Tahmazian             Officer Outlook

Wood Badge at the Summit

In Scouting, the success of leadership stems from adequate training. It is crucial for the longevity of troops and their members. Luckily, Scouting offers a fun and functional leadership course that cultivates the necessary skills for successful leadership: Wood Badge. It is open to any registered volunteer or professional member of the Scouts BSA programs, age eighteen or older, who has completed the basic training courses for their Scouting position. This course is the best way for Scouters to learn new skills, build lifelong friendships, and rejuvenate engagement in their home units, councils, and lodges.


The most important aspect of Wood Badge is the ability for Scouters to expand their understanding of the Scouting program and bring new ideas to their units and local communities. For example, the training was a life-changing experience for Mr. Ed Rock of Lenape Lodge 8. He became an adult leader in his unit in 2012, serving as the assistant Scoutmaster. In 2015, he joined the Order of the Arrow and served as the lodge adviser in 2021 and 2022. When he heard about the training, he was intrigued by what it had to offer.


“The program always sounded interesting to me, but I was intimidated by how long it would take me to complete the course. However, I knew my troop needed advanced leadership, and I joined the course. This was the best decision I ever made for my unit.”


Mr. Rock’s decision to take Wood Badge was crucial to his unit’s development. At the time, his  troop was small, and no adult before him had taken the course. After spending two weekends at the training with forty other participants, he learned how to see things through the eyes of a Scout, which benefited his unit and lodge.


“Wood Badge taught me to see things from a different perspective and listen more effectively to others. As adults, it is our job to mentor and enable youth leaders, and this course helped show me why this matters. The principle of youth-run, youth-led begins with proper adult leadership and is the only way for units and lodges to thrive.”

Mr. Ed Rock and Woodbadge staff, 2022.
Mr. Ed Rock and Woodbadge staff, 2022


Another crucial aspect of this training is the Wood Badge ticket. After attending the course, participants create a ticket with five different goals, all to be achieved within the next eighteen months. These goals are unique to each home unit and are meant to improve the Scouting experience for its members. For example, after creating his ticket, Mr. Rock had his own idea.


“The most important Scouting ideal, in my mind, is diversity. I wanted my Scouts to know why we wear the World Crest on our uniforms and understand that we are a global community of Scouts. So, as one of my goals, I arranged a Zoom meeting with a Scout troop in Vineland, Canada. Our troops met online and asked questions about our differing programs, uniforms, and meeting areas. Afterward, my Scouts were so grateful to have broadened their horizons.”


While the Wood Badge ticket might look different for each participant, its goal remains the same: to enhance the Scouting program for current and future members. Considering all that the training offers, it is the best for adult members who wish to improve their leadership skills in their units and lodges. Even Mr. Rock, who was once intimidated by the course, encourages all eligible adults to participate.


“I would tell other adult leaders that Wood Badge is the most fun and exciting training I’ve had, both in Scouting and the corporate world. It’s an amazing experience to meet new Scouters and form lifelong bonds centered around service, leadership, and brotherhood. I had such a good time on the course that I remember whistling, ‘Back to Gillwell’ after the first weekend.”


Wood Badge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will train adult Scouters to be successful leaders and role models for their units, district, and council. A five-day course is being held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia from January 15-19. The training will enable Scouters to learn and apply leadership principles while forming connections with others nationwide. Ultimately, the benefits of Wood Badge extend beyond Scouting, as participants find that the experience positively impacts their families, communities, and careers. Click the link here to secure your registration today!