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Do you really need extra beads?

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"tiny small OA sash on button"


Those "tiny small OA sashes" are not official, but could be worn in place of a temporary patch, I guess. Official would be the red/white ribbon dangle with the metal arrow on the end (aka, "pocket rocket").

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"Technically, you only wear the extra beads during the course. Once it is over you're supposed to go back to the two beads."


FWIW, I have been told that per the rules of the prior WB course (Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge during the 70s, 80s, and 90s) was that 3 & 4 beads were to be worn only for a short period of time after a course (18 months?) unless one staff another course.


I have no idea if this was truly a policy of the old course or yet another WB 'urban legend'. Keep in mind that under the rules of this course, it was very hard to get new people as staffers/CD, so it was many times staffers repeatedly staffed.


Such a rule/policy does NOT exist in the current course. I know, as I have the syllabi.



"Those "tiny small OA sashes" are not official, but could be worn in place of a temporary patch, I guess. Official would be the red/white ribbon dangle with the metal arrow on the end (aka, "pocket rocket"). "


FYI- be careful of slang terms. I ran into someone on-line who used the term 'pocket rocket' NOT for the ribbon dangle, but for the mini-OA sash patches. Several of us had a hard time figuring out what he was refering to. Go figure.


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A few comments...

In days gone by, an assistant course director was authorized to wear 3 beads for the duration of the course. The 2 beads and 4 beads were (are) permanent. Most who'd earned 3 wore them permanently, too, and the new standard has changed to accomodate that.

To the original question ... do we really need extra beads?

No. Do we appreciate the recognition they represent? Yes. Should we wear them? That's totally up the the individual who earned them (Thank you, by the way, Brent.), just as with any other recognition. If people have reasons for wearing or not wearing recognition, that's up to them. Personally, I don't care what the reasons might be. I consider it phony to read, "I don't wear my 7 knots" for the following humble reasons.

Wear what you want ... just wear it properly.








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As CD of our councils last course I wear my four beads. I worked hard for them; as Im sure all CDs have and will in the future. With that said, Id be OK serving if no additional recognition was awarded and I only know a few Wood Badgers who wouldnt. Beads are an outward recognition of an accomplishment in Scouting. To me they are conversation starters with new leaders who ask what those little wooden beads are for; and I get to explain what Wood Badge is (and isnt) and how it made a difference for me and others.


The satisfaction of Wood Badge whether as participant or staffer comes not from beads; but in knowledge gained.




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As far as the number of beads I have two sets one from Philmont WB and one from Gilwell WB classes each of these sets represent very special experiences so they are both in a case with other momentos from those classes. I have never felt the need to wear them to prove anything to other scouters, and since both sets are made from wood from those locations if they were lost they are not easily replaceable. However I am still proud of completing both courses and the friends I made in each.



Brent, excuse the comment I made to you in my previous post, it was unscoutlike, even though made in jest it was uncalled for.

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I really didn't intend to resurrect the much debated discussions that we have had here in the forum about wearing or not wearing knots and dingle-dandies.


I have never served on a WB course staff in anywhere other than here in the USA. I have noticed that back in the UK, WB Staff members do not receive the extra beads.


As I have posted in the past.

Back when I was first invited to serve as a staff member. I really wanted that third bead.

Yes!! I now see that I was wrong and hope that I am maybe doing a slightly better job of keeping my ego in check?

Still I still meet and have met some people who think that having that extra tiny bit of wood is the mark of having made it.

Many of these people are really wonderful people and fantastic Scouter's. If they didn't have that "Something?" They wouldn't have been invited in the first place!


Maybe deep down, I feel that Wood Badge is a little over rated? Don't get me wrong! I have really enjoyed the times I have spent on courses, I do believe that people who do attend come away with a lot of really good stuff. But there does seem to be a lot of hype about the course.

So many people seem to go on about it as if it really was /is the best thing that they ever did!

Maybe this "Best thing ever" plays a part in the need to have an extra bead?

Or maybe I'm just seeing something that isn't there?


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To me, that third bead represents both the personal and team effort that went in to producing the course. In the courses I staffed, we all worked our rearends off, and pushed each other to do our absolute best. I worked harder on preparing those courses than I do at my job! Making presentatations and memorizing, getting critiqued on everything we did - all the while knowing it was all done to improve, not to tear anyone down. It was a very rare environment of teamwork that we reached that high performance level - all seeking to achieve the same goal. And all done for no pay, except for a little wooden bead that I could carve in a couple of minutes.


Anyone can call me an egotist if they want. Those beads remind me that achieving high performance as a team is possible, with the right leadership. And when things get chaotic, as they often do in Scouts, I need that little reminder.

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Would I do it without the third bead. Sure! Staffing a course is an absolute blast. That being said, we are a uniformed movement with various patches that serve to identify certain aspects of our scouting. We all wear a CSP to identify what council we are from. Adult and boy leadership wear patches for their position. Boys wear patrol patches to identify the patrol they belong to. Members of the OA wear flaps. People who have hiked over the Tooth of Time at Philmont can wear the bull on their shirtjac. A uniform shirt reflects who and what you do in scouting. It isn't.....or shouldn't be.....for ego or bragging purposes, but a means of quick and easy identification. Would we think a boy is bragging for wearing an NYLT belt buckle or his Eagle rank patch? No one is forced to wear any patch or scout bling on their uniform, but why wouldn't they? If you're a minimalist, more power to you. No one should belittle you for being too lazy to sew bling on your uniform. If you like bling, no one should belittle you as a egotistical banana republic general. Scouting provides for recognition. Always has, probably always will.

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