Staff for Wood Badge

How to be on Staff for Wood Badge

Wood Badge Three Beads
Would you like to be on staff for a Wood Badge course and earn a third bead? If so, here is some information for you. (By the way: staff members play different roles on course, but everyone on staff is an Assistant Course Director, except the Course Director.) Wood Badge staff are volunteers who donate their time and energy (and money) to help bring Wood Badge to us.

Why Be On Staff?

The Wood Badge course staff members contribute to the growth of each participant, the strength of all the participants’ units, and the improvement of all those units’ communities. You make a big difference in the lives of many people, even though many of them never know you exist.

Staff members also benefit directly. You grow in leadership and in understanding of Scouting. You make new friends even of people you already know — serving together on Wood Badge creates a deep bond, plus you meet course participants. Moreover, the Wood Badge program is very rich, so every time you staff, you learn more of what it offers.


Staff on a Wood Badge course are among the finest Scouters we have. They understand the program. They set a good example. They are among our best trainers. They are cheerful and they help each other. They must be models of Scouting character and leadership. They must be good presenters.
To serve on a Wood Badge staff a Scout must,

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America and a strong supporter of the local council
  • Have completed a Wood Badge course and received the Wood Badge beads.*
  • Be enthusiastic, open-minded, flexible, people-oriented, and committed to implementing the course in a positive manner.
  • Be a role model who is well-respected by volunteers and professionals.
  • Exemplify the Cub Scout Promise, the Law of the Pack, the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Varsity Scout Pledge, and the Venturing Code.
  • Be approved by the Scout executive and council leadership training committee of the Scouter’s home council and by the area.
  • Demonstrate the ability to train, to counsel, and to perform the specific skills, duties, and responsibilities of an assigned position.
  • Have participated in a Trainer’s EDGE within three years of the appointment.
  • Complete the Annual BSA Health and Medical Record.

*Individuals who served on the staff of a Wood Badge course in a required staff position during the period between July 1, 2001, and December 31, 2006, are exempt from this requirement.

Councils are strengthened when their volunteers serve as Wood Badge staff. The leadership and team-building skills they perfect at Wood Badge will be utilized in many areas of Scouting. The more individuals in a council who have Wood Badge experience, the stronger the council will become.

What Is Expected of Staff

Staffing Wood Badge is a major commitment. It takes a lot of time and heart. Every single staffer is expected to do all these things, enthusiastically and at his or her best:

  • Participate enthusiastically in all the staff development sessions. Usually there is a half-day “orientation” for staff, and then three one-day or day-and-a-half staff developments. These sessions start about four months before course. They may be at the Council office, at the camp where the course will be held, or somewhere else. Usually, parts of the staff will arrange to have additional meetings to work on their parts of the course. Staff also go to camp a few days before the course starts for each session.
  • Prepare your presentations. Wood Badge is the height of training for Scouters, and every session must be the best possible. There is a syllabus so you don’t have to invent the presentation, and indeed you must follow the syllabus, but still you need to prepare diligently and practice.
  • Recruit participants. The more participants attend a course, the more value the Council and the community get from the course. We would like every course to be full. Staff are among the most important recruiters. Each staff member should recruit two or more participants.
  • Costs. There is a staff fee. That covers food, camp insurance, and other things. If this cost would be a problem, talk to the course director about it before you agree to be on staff. Also, staff need to be in full official BSA field uniform, and most staff members find they need more than one uniform on course. Most staffers do incur some other expenses in the preparation or on course.
  • Be a Scout: in general, every staff member is expected to arrive promptly for everything, be prepared, be cheerful, wear uniforms correctly, help every one else, and things like that. It’s a Scouting thing.

How Are Course Directors Chosen?

Our council selection committee includes both volunteers (current or former Wood Badge course directors) and professionals (council advisors). The committee follows a prescribed set of criteria established by the National Council for selecting a course director. Then the recommendations are forwarded for approval. The approval process is in two parts. The first approval is from our council training chair and our council Scout Executive. Then the Area 2 and National offices of Boy Scouts of America must approve the course director.