A Week-Long Wood Badge is Hard!

I am excited to be heading to the Wood Badge course held annually at Philmont in August – hosted by Circle Ten Council but available to Scouters nationwide!!

But in seeking out folks to come with me, everyone seems to say the same thing:

  • I want to do Wood Badge, because I know it will benefit me
  • Doing it at Philmont sounds awesome!
  • But taking a week off is hard…

And I admit that it can be hard – but admittedly, I chose the week-long version instead of two weekends strictly because it would be easier logistically.  Here is my reasoning:

Wood Badge is designed around a six day experience, which can be divided into two three-day weekends – but the reality is that it ends up being a 23-day deal – here’s why:


The first work week — you’ll likely have your regular day-job Monday-Thursday (and squeeze in those Friday commitments early) … and then you’ll drive Thursday evening to your camp, or kick off extremely early Friday morning.

Either way, you’ll spend three great days doing Wood Badge part I on Friday, Saturday, Sunday (they are full days) – and then drive home Sunday night.


The second week, you will have a full week of work, but without the restful weekend in-between.

Most Councils then have an off weekend, but there is some project work to do with your patrol … so plan for a half-day of collaboration during that weekend with your patrol.  Throw in some honey-do’s, maybe church and two weekends’ worth of errands and those 48 hours will fly by.


For the third week, you are back to work for Monday-Thursday … before driving back out to the campsite.

You’ll finish the second amazing part of the Wood Badge experience over Friday, Saturday and Sunday … drive home that night.

And then have another regular five-day work week…. all of which has been consecutive.



In all, you’ll likely have taken four vacation days = two Friday’s off and hopefully two Monday’s afterwards to rest up.  Your heart will be full … your mind will be spinning … but your body will be tired.

OR … take a fifth vacation day … go to someplace where you’ll need a light jacket in August … and do the entire experience uninterrupted.


To be clear, regardless of the location or format, Wood Badge is an amazing experience that will make you a better employee, a better Scouter and likely a better teammate in all of life’s journeys.  The hard part is simply deciding when to go – and some folks can’t take that many days in a row. 

But as for those vacation days, while most folks take personal days for the Fridays & Mondays, you’d be surprised by the number of employers that will support you going for a week as “Personal Leadership Development” instead of as vacation.  Here is a leadership overview which may help in your conversations at work.

I hope that this was helpful – and maybe I’ll see you at Philmont in August,

One comment

  1. Gary Miller says:

    I have been to three different wood-badge course all week long courses and I would not trade the experience for anything. A week course is the way to go you by the third day in the woods your ready to listen to the spirit and the experience is a whole lot more edifying. The last course i took gave me time to reflect and opened my eyes to something that I had been doing to others that was not in the spirit of scouting. I don’t think this awakening would have happen on a weekend course.

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