In 1919, Lord Baden-Powell felt that 'Scout Officers' (as they were then called) who completed a training course, should receive some form of 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 button hole 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 considered sacred, being the 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, drilled them through the centre, 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.
Courses listed below are available from National Council or Training Team Coordinator:
* Introduction for Groups * Woodbeads Part 1 Course * Woodbeads Part 2 Week 1 * Woodbeads Part 2 Week 2 * Stainsby Application * Honors & Awards Book * Range Master Procedure Book