Current CourseFAQ*After the Course*Baden PowellCourse HistoryCourse Patches


What Happens When Life Gets in the Way of Scouting?

First, remember that you can change one or more of your ticket goals if necessary. The most common reason for that is that your Scouting position changes. Additionally, sometimes a ticket goal involves more time than it originally seemed, or the goal is no longer necessary, or final approval to complete the goal is taking too long. No matter the cause, if you need or want to change your ticket item(s), contact your Troop Guide ASAP. Your Troop Guide will ask you to submit a revised write-up, complete with “who, what, where…” as well as SMART. Please remember: a change in one or more ticket goals does not change the completion time (a maximum of 18 months after completion of the last day of the Wood Badge Course).

Can I get an extension to the 18-month period?

The Course Director has limited authority to grant an extension to the original 18-month period, for extenuating circumstances. Contact your Troop Guide ASAP if an extension is required.

What if you can’t communicate with your Troop Guide? What if he or she fell off the face of the earth?

Sometimes that happens, and it’s not a problem. Well, not for you, though things may be awkward for the Troop Guide who fell off the face of the earth. Anyway, contact your Course Director, who will assign you another Troop Guide. If you are unable to reach your Course Director, contact the Council Training Chair.

If you move out of the geographic area of the Council before competing your Ticket, your Course Director will work with the Training Chair of your new council to make sure you can still complete your Ticket and receive your beads. Work with your Troop Guide.

How Do I Get My Beads?

When you have determined that you are finished working your Wood Badge Ticket, contact your Troop Guide. Your Troop Guide will talk with you a bit about your Ticket. When you and your Troop Guide agree that you’re done, contact your Course Director to arrange for a Beading Ceremony. It is up to you to arrange a time and place, and to let the Course Director know (well in advance, please). The presentation can be most anything but do not request the Course Director to just mail the beads to you. The ceremony can be at any suitable event – a Pack meeting, Troop Court of Honor, Camporee, District or Council Training Event, District Roundtable, or even a simple campfire. It is up to you to invite family, friends, other members of your Wood Badge Patrol, etc. Your Course Director will also notify other staff members of your ceremony, who will attend as they are able.

Wearing the Wood Badge Beads

After your beads are presented, you wear them only with the field uniform – the main “official” uniform, with the khaki or yellow or green shirt. You do not wear your beads with activity uniforms, t-shirts, or any civilian wear.  (If you are wearing the beads and then decide to take off the field uniform shirt and just wear a t-shirt, you can tuck the beads under the t-shirt so they don’t show but they also don’t get lost.)

You may wear your beads with the Gilwell neckerchief (dove-grey with MacLaren tartan patch) and Turk’s head knot woggle, or with your troop/district/OA neckerchief and slide, or you may wear your beads with no neckerchief.  For formal events, you would typically wear your beads with the Gilwell neckerchief and woggle.

The rules for wearing the Gilwell neckerchief and woggle are more limited. They stay together. You don’t wear the Gilwell neckerchief with a different slide, and you don’t wear the woggle with a different neckerchief.  And if you wear them, you must wear your beads, too.

Wood Badge beads are always worn on a leather thong which is tied in an overhand knot. When worn with a neckerchief, the thong is placed under the shirt collar, followed by the neckerchief; thus the thong is worn under the neckerchief. The beads are then brought in front of the neckerchief and displayed below the woggle. Some Scouters thread the thong through the woggle before placing around the neck. If you cross the beads under the woggle and pull the ends of the neckerchief through loop formed, then the beads will appear immediately under the woggle without shifting.

That’s Not a Word We Use

Wood Badge is (are) TWO words. Both words are capitalized.

The Gilwell Song

The Gilwell Song is always sung with gusto if not much harmony, and always in the same order by patrol, with Beavers first (then Bob White – Eagle – Fox – Owl – Bear – Buffalo – Antelope [and Staff]). Besides the typical eight Wood Badge patrols, you may sometimes have Wood Badgers who were Wolves, Ravens, Explorers, or others. The verse for Explorer Wood Badge is quite different – see your songbook.  Typically members of a patrol will link arms (around shoulders) while singing their verse, then join the other patrols, so that at the end everyone is together.  We do not change the song, and we don’t dance nor clap nor stamp our feet. That’s tempting sometimes, but we don’t.  If there are people present who have not gone to Wood Badge, then the senior patrol leader or other appropriate Scouter might invite them to stand and sing with a friend or family member, or to be inside the circle.

In the Gilwell Song, remember AND. We sing “I used to be a Squirrel [or whatever] AND a good old Squirrel, too.”  Got it?  “And.”

Wood Badge is Not the End

“The Gilwell scarf does not entitle you to consider yourself as a thing apart. Your Troop or District must as much as ever command your first allegiance.” ~ Baden-Powell, in the Headquarters Gazette of October 1923.

Wood Badge is for the rest of your life. Work your Ticket right away, of course. Try to finish within six months or maybe nine. You are allowed to take up to 18 months, but try not to take that long. You know how Scouts have to get Eagle by age 18? Well, you have to finish your Ticket by 18 (months).

Do it;

Do it right;

Do it right now.


Contact your Troop Guide if you have problems, need to change a Ticket goal, or just want to chat.

The lessons you learn at Wood Badge never end. They are with you for the rest of your life.

Random Bits of Wisdom

“Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship,  camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is character – character with a purpose.”

~ Baden-Powell, The Scouter magazine, March 1939

“Stick to your Scout Promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.“

~ Last words of Baden-Powell’s Last Message to Scouts

Plan A is a myth.

~ Anon

“I will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities.”

~ From the Order of the Arrow Obligation

“The Scout Law is the foundation on which the whole of Scout training rests.”

~ Baden-Powell, Aids to Scoutmastership, World Brotherhood edition, 1944

“True leadership is the art of changing a group from what is into what it ought to be.”

~ Jan Greene

“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are we industrious about?”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“Leadership is not about making yourself more powerful. It’s about making people around you more powerful.”

~ Betty Linton

“It is a commonly quoted saying that ‘Only those can lead who have first learned to obey.’ Yes, but like many truisms it has its limits. I prefer also as a leader the man who has learned to lead.”

~ Baden-Powell, Headquarters Gazette,  June 1918

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only that that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

“The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatever unless you realize it is YOUR move.”

~ Dr. Frank Crane

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there.”

~ Variously: Yogi Berra, Lewis Carroll, Cheshire Cat

You have to start from where you are.

~ Anon

I shall be telling this with a sigh, ages and ages hence;

two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by,

and that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost, from The Road Not Taken