Training

Adult volunteers are provided with training opportunities appropriate to their Scouting role in the form of training courses, mentoring, and on-the-job training.

A Part I course is a weekend-long training event for new adults in Scouting which will prepare you to be an assistant Scouter. You will learn about the Scout Method, which is the educational system developed by Scouting founder Baden-Powell. This will help you to better understand our Scouting programs and help you develop skills and confidence as a member of our team. Topics include fundamental principles of Scouting, brief history, overview of program sections and their programs, promise and law, program planning, use of the outdoors, ceremonies, games, badges, characteristics of young people, discipline, and safety. The weekend is also an opportunity for Scouting fellowship, networking, and camaraderie around the campfire. Upon completion, you are eligible to wear the Gilwell woggle as part of your uniform.

After completing a Part I course and a having served as a Scouter for at least several months, you are eligible to attend a Part II course. This is an extended course which goes more deeply into Scouting qualifying you to be the key Scouter in a section. Upon completion, you are eligible to wear two Gilwell beads as part of your uniform. (There are two levels of trainer qualification recognized with three and four beads.)

In addition to program training, Scouters take skills training in specific areas such as first aid, water safety, canoeing, outdoor skills, etc.

History

In 1919, Lord Baden-Powell felt that Scouters who completed a training course should receive recognition. Originally, he envisaged that those who passed should wear an ornamental tassel on their Scout hats but instead the alternative of two small beads attached to lacing on the hat or to a coat buttonhole was instituted and designated the Wood Badge. Very soon, the wearing of beads on the hat was discontinued and instead they were strung on a leather thong or bootlace around the neck, a tradition that continues to this day.

The first Wood Badges were made from beads taken from a necklace that had belonged to a Zulu chief named Dinizulu, which B-P had found during his time in the Zululand in 1888. On state occasions, Dinizulu would wear a necklace 12 feet long, containing, approximately 1,000 beads made from South African Acacia yellow wood. This wood has a soft central pith, which makes it easy for a rawhide lace to be threaded through from end to end and this is how the 1,000 beads were arranged. The beads themselves ranged in size from tiny emblems to others 4 inches in length. The necklace was a badge conferred on royalty and outstanding warriors.

When B-P was looking for some token to award to people who went through the training course he remembered the Dinizulu necklace and the leather thong given to him by an elderly African at Mafeking. He took two of the smaller beads and threaded them onto the thong and called it the Wood Badge. The first sets of beads issued were all from the original necklace but the supply soon ran short. So one exercise on the early courses was to be given one original Acacia bead and be told to carve the other from hornbeam or beech in their spare time. Again, in the early days Wood Badge participants received one bead on taking the practical course at Gilwell and received a second bead on completing the theoretical part (answers to questions) and a certain length of in service training.