Wood Badge is Scouting’s premier training course. Baden-Powell designed it so that Scouters could learn, in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting. It is first and foremost, learning by doing. The members of the course are formed into patrols and these into a troop. The entire troop lives in the out-of-doors for a week, camping, cooking their own meals, and practicing Scout skills.
The uniqueness of Scouting is the patrol method. The use of the natural gang of six or eight boys who elect their own leader and plan and carry out many of their own activities is a democracy in microcosm. Here young men learn the give and take of working with people as they must surely do all their lives. Here, too, they are given leadership and learning opportunities which prepare them for their future roles as citizens. It is for this reason that it is so crucial that all adults understand thoroughly the patrol method.
Thus it was that Baden-Powell developed a practical course built around the operation of a troop and its patrols. Yet this is only the most well-known of three parts in the entire Wood Badge experience. The practical course–the week in the out-of-doors–was originally scheduled to follow a “theoretical” part 1, which consisted of answering a series of questions about the aims and methods of the Scouting program. Part 3 then followed the practical course and required a 6-month application period while the Scouter practiced in his home Scouting situation what he had learned in parts 1 and 2. In actual practice, once Wood Badge became available in the United States, the theoretical questions and the application were carried out simultaneously after the practical course was taken.
Each patrol is assigned a ‘critter’ and is required to design a logo containing:
- The assigned Critter
- Each patrol member’s initials (Brad, Darren, John, Pat, Matt, and Scotty)
- Course Name (C-2120)