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The History of Woodbadge


Two Wooden Beads
The two wooden beads replicate the beads obtained by Baden-Powell during a campaign in Africa in 1888. These originally belonged to Dinizulu, an African chieftain. In searching for a suitable recognition for the men who completed his first course, Baden-Powell remembered the beads and decided to present a bead to each participant. From then on, the course was called “Wood Badge.”

Wood Badge Comes to the USA
The course first came to the United States in 1936. Held at the Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey, it still had a strong British flavor, complete with menus heavy on foods that had been boiled for several hours. The Americans were less than enthusiastic, and a war intervened.

USA, Take Two
In 1948, a revised American course was offered for the first time at Schiff. It was a major success, in spite of rain on 4 of the 9 days. The first four patrol names, which are animals found all over the US, were introduced – Eagle, Bobwhite, Fox, and Beaver, and the course featured a kudu horn. As the years went by, the course focused on scout craft, how to teach it to boys, and/or how to run training courses. There have been courses for each of the major program areas – Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity, and Exploring.

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