Since the establishment of the Scouting Movement in 1907, training has always been one of the core elements in achieving the Scouting Mission.
An avid writer, Sir Robert Baden-Powell had published no less than nine books aimed at young people before “Aids to Scoutmastership” was published in 1919 and that first course commenced. This first Wood Badge training took place at Gilwell Park in England in 1919 and was run by Baden-Powell himself.
BP’s focus was on providing program, through his books, for young people as a priority – adult training came later – in fact 12 years after that first experimental camp on Brownsea Island in 1907 and less than 1 year after the end of World War 1.
At the completion of the course, all participants asked if they could have some token to indicate that they had been trained. At first Baden-Powell improvised by taking two little beads from a string of such beads he had; he threaded them on a bootlace, and hung them around the neck of each Scouter.
Ever since, each Scouter who has successfully completed the advanced training course, receives two similar beads on a leather thong. Known as the Wood Badge beads, they are proudly worn by Scouters to indicate that they are continuing in a tradition handed down from Baden-Powell.
The ‘Axe and Log’ logo refers back to the Camp Chief, Francis Gidney, of Gilwell Park in England in 1920. He needed something to distinguish between Gilwell Park – the outdoor activity centre – and that of the Scouting administrative headquarters. He felt that the ‘Axe and Log’ represented the farm where Gilwell was situated full of many open spaces and trees. This logo came to be strongly associated with Wood Badge leader training and is still used on certificates, flags, and other programme-related items.
Lastly, the axe in the wood reminds those who have completed their Wood Badge that they have committed themselves to be an example of service and loyalty.
2019 marks 100 years of Wood Badge training
This year Scouting around the world is celebrating the Centenary of the Wood Badge, which remains an important tool for shaping the leaders of our Movement.
At the Scouts Association of Malta’s national events team, together with the Training Department, it is planned to hold a special event for all Wood Badge holders within the Malta association.
BP wrote “The Wood Badge will make quite certain that when I am gone, the future leaders of Scouting will really understand what it is all about and what my intentions have been”. Leaders will have the opportunity to reflect upon this and connect with others at this event, which will be incorporated with the annual Wood Badge awarding ceremony, when new leaders currently in their final stages of the course, will be awarded this prestigious honour.
This event is scheduled for Thursday 14th November, 2019, and will follow this tentative programme:
- 6:00 pm – Wood badge Ceremony
- 7:00 pm – Workshops
- 8:00 pm – Get-Together Reception
More details will follow in the coming months. If you’re a Wood Badge holder, you are encouraged to diarise this event in your calendar to join the celebratory events around the world. A special token will be given to all attendees.
REGISTER NOW: http://scout.org.mt/WoodBadgeCentenary.html