Wood Badge Timeline

1919: First Wood Badge course held at Gilwell Park in England

1936: Gilwell Camp Chief John Skinner Wilson conducts Experimental Scout and Rover Wood Badge courses at Schiff Scout Reservation, New Jersey

1948: First official BSA Wood Badge courses held, one at Schiff and one at Philmont. Scouting legend William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt serves as Scoutmaster at both nine-day courses

1948-1958: Mostly national courses conducted, all run with oversight of the BSA’s Volunteer Training Division

1953-54: A few councils allowed to hold their own courses, including one in Cincinnati in 1953 and one in Washington, D.C., in 1954

1958-72: Two variations of the course exist: a national one for trainers and a sectional one for Scoutmasters, commissioners and other local Scouters. The courses focus exclusively on Scoutcraft skills, the patrol method and requirements a boy would need to earn First Class

1964: The BSA evaluates leadership skills offered in a junior leader-training course from the Monterey Bay Council, Calif., called White Stag

1967-72: The BSA conducts experimental courses that add leadership skills to Wood Badge

1973-2002: All Boy Scout Wood Badge courses held nationwide move to leadership development format and away from Scoutcraft

1974: First weekend courses held (previous courses take place over consecutive days)

1976: First women attend Boy Scout Wood Badge

1976-1999: Cub Trainer Wood Badge courses held nationwide

1997: Discussions begin to revise Wood Badge and offer one course for all programs

2000: Two pilot Wood Badge for the 21st Century courses held — one at the Florida Sea Base and one at Philmont

2002-today: BSA requires that all courses and councils teach the course

2002: The first Greater Alabama Council Wood Badge for the 21st Century Course is held at Camp Sequoyah. Scoutmaster Tom Willis leads SR-479.

2019: Scouting celebrates the centennial of the first Wood Badge course held at Gilwell Park in England

2020: The syllabus gets updated and after two years of pilot courses, the first full courses are rolled out in 2020

— Courtesy of Ken Davis
Scouting Magazine, Why Wood Badge?