Wood Badge 1

Scouts Canada’s Wood Badge Training and Development is sending us down the Rabbithole

As you read this you will be wondering what documents I am referring to and I will put links to all of them at the bottom of the post so you can get them all at the end if you need them.

I have made a couple edits to this post while pouring over Scouts Canada documentation and learning more than I ever wanted to know and wasting so much time that I am more than happy to try to save other volunteers the same by releasing a new WB2 assessment spreadsheet that includes two huge changes… 1. a WB1 assessment summary with the exact same effort on your part and 2. a notes column on the two summary pages to help you track your growth with each skill or leaning objective.  Links are at the bottom of the post

I really am tired of talking about Scouting online.  This month I am volunteering for four different organizations.  I am working on some awesome fun projects.  I am dealing with medication to lower my blood pressure because  192/132 is apparently too high for an old man.  Yet here I am talking about Scouts Canada again.  This will impress nobody at our council level or above.

My biggest problem with writing this, is that I find myself complaining about my favorite thing about our national direction.  I have taken issue to some degree, with virtually everything they have touched, but their track record with training has been the best… except we aren’t allowed to say “training” anymore for some reason.

They introduced a new Wood Badge 2 for Canadian Path (WB2) development system in 2017 and I was absolutely in love with it.  It wasn’t perfect but it was, in my opinion, the most successful project that Scouts Canada had touched since 2010.

Ugliness ensues…

In March of 2019 they brought out a similar program for development of the Wood Badge 1 (WB1) standard.  

Normally I would never take it personal but the training system asks volunteers to find a mentor to assist them with their development.  Once again, I think this is a great idea and loved the implementation with the WB2 program.  I have been helping a long time scouter to achieve his WB2 for a while now.

Another scouter just asked me to assist in his journey down the WB1 path and ugliness ensued.  I am now mentoring two individuals in two different development programs, with conflicting instructions from our national body.

Wood Badge 2

The individual training for the WB2 program that came out two years ago, has his goals set, and he is chasing them at his pace.  We printed out the manual and a spreadsheet for tracking his progress with the 156 learning objectives from 26 trail cards which are broken out of 3 scouting disciplines: Outdoor Skills, Program Facilitation, and Volunteer Support.

The guide that we printed off, and the one I have been using for two years, clearly says that you need to grade yourself on all 156 learning objectives and attain a level 3 on each, which means that you can demonstrate the skills the majority of the time with minimal support.

The goal of Wood Badge II should be to progress to Stage 3: I Can.
~ Scouts Canada’s Wood Badge II Guide

The Guide really doesn’t help you figure out where you are or help you track your progress, but luckily this scouter had downloaded a third-party spreadsheet which took care of most of this.

Clearly this volunteer is on the path and I was excited to help him.

Don’t pay attention to that arrow, it will only confuse you.

Wood Badge 1

I was all excited to sit down and read more about this new Wood Badge 1 (WB1) program when I realized quite quickly, that the same people in Ottawa are in charge of the documentation for this WB1 program as the new BP&P updates.

The problem was that the WB1 Map was making a bunch of claims about the WB2 program that I had never heard before?  Is it possible that WB2 changed while I was using it?  We are clearly aware of Scouts Canada’s failure to communicate changes to the volunteers.  

Nope.  I downloaded the WB2 Guide again and there was zero file change since the version I first downloaded on July 18, 2017.

How do I mentor two people in different programs that conflict with one another?  Why should I be in this position?  How on earth did we get here?

Why would the WB1 guide tell you that WB2 required something that was conflicting with what the WB2 Guide showed? Good question.

Training and Development

Remember how much I loved the new Training and Development Program?  I mean, except for the part where I have to refer to Training and Development without using the word “training” somehow.  Aside from that, recall how much I loved the program we have been working on for the past two years?  I don’t know who did their documentation but it was rather well thought out.  Everything about it was decent… and a huge change from what we were used to.

But now they have someone else on the clock and they dropped the ball.  The clear instructions for WB2 are that a volunteer needs to believe that they are at Stage 3 with every one of the 156 learning objectives.  They can track progress readily on a simple spreadsheet (that will be listed in a future post for download).  Maybe I will put it at the bottom of this post too.  Currently it is only available on the old Western Training Committee site.

Now the WB1 program has a Scouter Development Map which shows 14 skills (from the WB2 Program Facilitation skill) that need to reach either a Stage 2 or 3 on the same grading scale that the WB2 system has been utilizing for the past couple years.  Very intelligent.  Love this!

It actually shows 24 Skills in total, but only 14 are needed for WB1.  So why does it show 24?  I have no idea.  Not only are six of the WB2 requirements NOT included in this Scouter Development Map, but there are four new ones that have WB2 requirements that are NOT in the WB2 Guide.  What sense does this make?

In their defense, all four of the new “Skills” are covered in several other WB2 skills in the 58-page WB2 Guide.  They just aren’t separated out in the WB2 Guide so I don’t know how they can say that they are requirements per se.

They missed the obvious opportunity (again) to track everything online but that would have cost them $10,000 to roll out… and who has that time and money to piss away?  I mean now that they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year flying every GC to Ottawa for training, I mean development, there can’t be much money left.

Confusion Leads to Disillusion

I am not disillusioned with Scouts Canada but I am very used to them.  New scouters going through this new WB1 program might be very disturbed when they see what is required for WB2 in their future.  That is, if they can even figure out what actually IS required.

Going through both WB1 and WB2 documents at the same time is even more confusing because they moved everything all around and numbered nothing in either program.  At least the WB2 documents have Skills as headings and then a Scouter Development Card for each set of Learning Objectives.  

Remember the simple setup I described above:

  • 156 Learning Objectives from
  • 26 Scouter Development Cards in
  • 3 Program areas

Well prepare from much less detail or organization in the WB1 system.

So what am I going to do about it?  The same thing I did for the WB2 program roll-out and the BP&P updates.  I am going to do everything in my power to help scouting volunteers by trying to make their journey easier and more clear.

Here is where Scouts Canada gets all pissed at me again…

Now I am going to tell you my opinions.  Be clear, this is not instructions from Scouts Canada.  The WB1 manual is a 4-page PDF which I give the following instructions with…

Page 1

This is your guide.  Keep it handy but ignore all the WB2 columns (I might re-build this page without the WB2 claims in the future).  They are not relevant to your WB1 journey and most of them are incorrect.  Nine of the 14 are wrong and one doesn’t even exist in the WB2 Guide (see edit below).

I have since found correlating WB2 entries for all the WB1 “Competency Statements”.  It is clear that the WB1 documentation was written by someone who had never read the WB2 documents.  They changed small words in 11 of the 14 skills.  WB2 says “Engaging Parents” and the WB1 skill is called “Engage Parents”.  There is no reason to make this change except to confuse people.  See image below.


If someone at SC could make sense of the renaming of these sections I would love to hear how that logical conclusion came about…

Page 2

Delete page 2.  It doesn’t pertain to WB1 at all and won’t help you in any way.  Seriously.  Don’t even print this page.  Don’t even look at it.

Page 3

Print a few copies of this page.  It will help you figure out where you need to start working and help track your progress.  These pages will be the basis of how we document our meetings and as your mentor I will appreciate you having them.

Page 4

Print it and read it a few times.  It might even come in handy as a reference in the future.  It lacks a lot of details but they really tried to dumb-down the WB1 program.  I am okay with their intention and can work with it because I am so familiar with the WB2 program.


While I struggle with my desire to take the WB1 Scouter Development Map and re-tweak it so that it makes more sense, and my desire to take the WB2 personal-assessment spreadsheet and add WB1 to it, you can enjoy the stuff that is available to you right now.  You would think that it would be hosted on the Scouts.ca site for “Training & Development” but you would be wrong.  

Don’t worry if you downloaded your WB1 documents before the May 16, 2019 date in the image above.  I have gone through both WB1 docs and found zero change since I downloaded my first versions on April 30, 2019.  Clearly SC has issues with tracking revisions.  *smile*

WB1 Scouter Development Map
This 4-page document will help you plan your WB1 development journey.

Scouter Development Model
This 3-page document will help guide you through the new self-assessed training model… sorry, development model.

WB2 Guide
This 58-page book has everything you need to start and complete your Wood Badge II journey.  All 26 Trail Cards are included and explain the 156 Learning Objectives that will guide your development.

Third Party downloads:

Woodbadge Self-Assessment Spreadsheet
WB1 & WB2 Self-Assessment Spreadsheet is now available here and on the old WTC site.  As of version 3.0 it now includes Summary pages to track both Woodbadge I & II progress at the same time and has a notes column in each summary page to help you track progress and plan your adventure.

This simple spreadsheet will guide you through the 156 learning objectives required for Wood Badge II and help outline where your next steps should be in progressing toward Wood Badge II certification.

Don’t be confused… be prepared.

6 responses to “Wood Badge 1

  1. Sorry about all your difficulties with crazy policy for something that is suppose to be more fun !! than confusing – this hopefully will end up as learning how to battle the crazy policies. Cute baby tells the story too!

  2. I agree with your analysis. Response from the help desk on the inconsistencies was no help at all. Voyageur also worked out a spreadsheet for tracking WB2 after the guide came out and before or simultaneously to the Western one, our thought was a logbook or passport, in colour. It was ready before the AGM two years ago and we were told not to release it then because SC had work in progress. (Our last in-person proposed Canadian Path WB2 was also cancelled because somebody here asked national and were told to not approve the course). Our spreadsheet was the pet project of our Council Commissioner at the time, but he was terminated and its dead in the water. So far, workshops in support of WB anything are being very poorly attended. Only our outdoor skills training events remain in demand, but we have been running those since before CP WB.

    • Sorry to hear about your problems. It might be time to try to run something outside of the SC umbrella. Adults need training and if SC isn’t willing to help facilitate that training… as for the spreadsheet. I asked if there was one already… they said they were looking into it… I posted mine two days later. It is ridiculous that the tools aren’t available and then they get mad at volunteers for building them.

      They are still pissed at me for publishing my PDF version of their BP&P but it needs to be done and they refuse. Another one is coming out within the hour.

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