Explorer Wood Badge (1951-57)

Most scouters are probably aware of Wood Badge, for years an advanced training program for Boy Scout Leaders and Cub Scout Trainers.  What many may not know is that in the 1950s there was a specialized Wood Badge course aimed at Explorer Advisors.  When Explorers became less outdoor oriented in 1959, the relevance of Explorer Wood Badge ended, and so too the program.

Very few Explorer Wood Badge courses were run.  Approximately 2-3 National courses per year were run, for a total of about 30 in all.  The first course was run in July of 1951.  Mike Walton claims on his Insignia website that only 3 official 'experimental' Explorer WB courses were taught in the 50s, which don't quite jib.  Unsure of his source of information.  Courses were run at Schiff Scout Reservation and Philmont Scout Ranch.

These are the course numbers and year of the courses given at Philmont (thanks to George Crowl):
#2 1951
#5, 6 1952
#8 1953
#15 1954
#19, 21 1955
#26, 28 1956
#31, #34 1957

Currently, Wood Badge has been updated to a new syllabus to be relevant for leaders in all the programs of the BSA, and refered to as "Wood Badge for the 21st Century".  For more information, visit the unofficial Wood Badge site here.


EWB was very similar to standard WB.  Some differences were that Explorer WB was more aligned with the then Explorer program, as Boy Scout WB was aligned with Boy Scout Troops.  The Course Director held the position of Advisor.  He second was the Senior Crew Leader.  Learners were organized into crews, which were named after well known mountain men like Jim Bridger, Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, and William Clark rather then using the standard 'birds and beasts' of WB patrols.  Its also important to keep in mind that Wood Badge during this time was aimed at program trainers, NOT unit-level scouters.  Only later in the 70s when you had council-run WB courses was it aimed at unit scouters.

EWB participants were given neckerchiefs in the opposite colors of standard WB participant neckerchiefs.  Standard is a forest green neckerchief with a brown ax and log at the point.  EWB participants got a brown neckerchief with a forest green ax and log.  This is reasonable, as the Explorer uniform is forest green.
Explorer Wood Badge participant neckerchief, plus id badge
EWB would receive the standard Wood Badge beads, woggle, and neckerchief.

Unaware of any literature being produced, apart from course syllabi, which I have never seen.

Updated: 12/05/2002mrb