Troop 1701 Ceremony

Troop 1701 Ceremony

There are already other Wood Badge ceremonies available on the Web.  What’s different about this one?

The Wood Badge ceremony is an outstanding opportunity to promote Scouting aims and values. This version combines the best material from other ceremonies. It’s forte is to succinctly describe the Wood Badge program and explain it in terms both Scouts and their parents can relate to. In 10 minutes it delivers key messages for three groups:

  • To Scouts: Like them (Scouts) leaders earn their ranks through study, hard work, and fun. Learning doesn’t stop when you make Eagle, graduate from high school, etc.  it’s a life-long learning process. Wood Badge to an adult leader is like Eagle to a Scout, the highest rank that can be earned.
  • To Parents: Our Troop is committed to and invests in the highest quality leader training.
  • To Committee Members: Motivates them to consider the next step for themselves, i.e. Fundamentals or Wood Badge.


(Gilwell attired Wood Badger enters with a log and ax and ceremoniously strikes the ax into the log.)

I now declare this Wood Badge Court of Honor open.

Before you is the ax in the log.  This is the Wood Badge symbol and represents the old English freeman.

In feudal times, all property was owned by the wealthy nobles. Men who were bound to the land and owned by a nobleman were known as serfs, who were slaves.  Serfs could gather the scarce wood only from the floor of the forest. It was a crime for the serfs to cut wood from the forests owned by the nobles.

Men who served valiantly in their lord’s army were rewarded by being declared freemen.  Freemen were given the right of loppage, or permission to cut limbs from the nobleman’s trees as high as they could reach with an ax.  An ax carried in a nobleman’s forest became the badge of a freeman, one who had earned the right by service.

The grain of the handle of an ax is straight and true and set square in the eye of the head.  The head has the proper temper, not too soft or too hard, and sharpened to a point of usefulness.  The ax is well balanced and a very efficient tool in the hands of an experienced ax man.

The ax in the log reminds us that those who wear the symbol have allowed their lives to be placed in the hands of God.  They have proven themselves on service to others and walk the straight trail as examples to others.  They have committed themselves to strengthen others through service and example.

What is Wood Badge?

Scouting provides three levels of leader training. Beginning with Fast Start, a series of videotapes, progressing to the Scoutmaster Fundamentals weekend campout, culminating with the Wood Badge curriculum.

Wood Badge consists of two parts. First is a week’s worth of camping to practice scoutcraft and leadership skills. Participants are formed into patrols and these into a troop. (Scouts, this should sound familiar.)

These include map and compass, knots and lashings, cooking, first aid and other skills to the level of depth earned by a First Class Scout.

The uniqueness of Scouting is the patrol method — six or eight boys who elect their own leader, then plan and carry out many of their own activities. Scouts learn the give and take of working with people. They are given leadership and learning opportunities that prepare them for their future roles as citizens. So it is crucial that adult leaders understand thoroughly the patrol method.

The second Part is putting the skills into practice. This is done with a Ticket. The Ticket concept originated in England. After their term of service was complete British soldiers who were stationed overseas had to earn their passage, or ticket home.

Wood Badge uses the Ticket as a contract between the participant and his/her Wood Badge Counselor. Typically their ticket comprises nine or more projects in three areas: The ticket is then divided into three areas, Service to the Troop, Service to the Community (through the Troop) and Personal Growth. Succinctly put, it is their job description for the next two years.

A ticket typically involves several hundred hours of volunteer time. Scouts, think of this like working 3 or 4 Eagle projects. Parents, this is like a college course. In fact, several colleges accept this course for credits. It teaches the same leadership skills or principles which are taught in management training courses offered all
over the world. Several major corporations, including IBM, have made it eligible for tuition reimbursement. It is the highest award that can be earned by an adult leader.

(Invite recipient to podium, tie in some remarks about two or three of their ticket items)


In looking for a suitable recognition for the men who completed the first Wood Badge course in 1919, Lord Baden-Powell found among his old army trophies and souvenirs a necklace of carved wooden beads. He presented each man with one of the beads.  The wooden beads gave the training its name – Wood Badge.

Soon the beads became one of the most highly prized possessions a Scoutmaster could earn.  When the original beads ran out, the training staff whittled others to keep the tradition alive.

The whereabouts of those original beads, so rich in Scouting lore, is unknown. This is because part of the tradition is that each Wood Badge bead is passed on. Remember that when it’s time for these beads to pass from your hands to those of another.

Two tiny wooden beads on a leather thong. It doesn’t sound like an outstanding badge or a mark of distinction, but it is known and respected as such around the globe.

Good intentions count for little until, by the application of ability and determination, they produce results that count. These beads signify that you have the Scouting ‘know-how’.

They are the mark of Scouters who have demonstrated that they are people of character and who are devoted to a cause. Scouters who strive for perfection well knowing that even the best is not enough. Scouters that hold the welfare of others before self: They are awarded to a Scouter not just on what he/she knows but on how they think and act.

(Place the thong and beads around the recipient’s neck.)


England’s Gilwell Park, where the original Wood Badge training was held, is still used by the British Boy Scout Association for leadership training. It has a special place in the hearts of Scouters around the world. The taupe (pink/gray) scarf with a small patch of the MacLaren tartan at the tip symbolizes Gilwell Park.

(Place the neckerchief around the recipient’s neck.)


This is a Turk’s-head neckerchief slide, also called a woggle. The skill used to create it reminds us of the skills learned in the first part of the Wood Badge program. Notice it has neither a beginning nor an end. This symbolizes the never-ending commitment Wood Badge graduates make to serve youth and others.

(Slide the woggle onto the neckerchief.)

The designs on this parchment certificate reminded us of how the skills you learned were applied in the second part of your Wood Badge experience. It symbolizes your Wood Badge Ticket.

(Present the Certificate)

In Closing

You have earned your Ticket. Congratulations on a job well done, and welcome home.

(The Wood Badger removes the ax from the log.)

I declare this Wood Badge Court of Honor closed.

Steve Lagreca, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 1701