Green Bar Bill and Wood Badge

It’s Wood Badge Wednesday time again.  In this post I want to share a bit about my Scouting Hero William “Green Bar Bill”bill_pic Hillcourt.
Everyone knows that William Hillcourt wrote books for the Boy Scouts of America, but few are aware of all of the work that he did for Scouting in America, in fact there in no where in Scouting in America that we can not find Green Bar Bill’s fingerprints.

Green Bar Bill is responsible for Scout Handbooks, Field Books, and resurrecting Wood Badge in America after the Second World War.
You see. In 1948 the Chief Scout Executive Elbert K. Fretwell, commissioned 4 professional Scouters to to get Wood Badge underway as a national training standard. Bill Hillcourt was one of the four, BSA’s first Deputy Camp Chief and by then, also the national Director of Scoutcraft.
Once they created the course that would become the new Wood Badge they held two courses. One in New Jersey at the Schiff Scout reservation and the second at Philmont. They were respectively Course #1 and Course #2. Green Bar Bill was the Scoutmaster for both courses.
The Philmont course was held at Cimarroncito. Thirty-five men mostly from the Western parts of the U.S., assembled at Philmont’s “Big House” at noon on October 2, 1948, to launch BSA’s Wood Badge.
The course started tenuously with Professional Scouters pitted against Volunteer Scouters. SM Bill Hillcourt regrouped his Staff and broke an impasse. Patrol spirit soared and Participants overcame the obstacles of high altitude, physical and mental fatigue, slow and difficult supply deliveries, poor communications with the Philmont Ranch, and bad weather with rain, sleet, snow, and cold!
It was unquestionably a mountain-top experience. Tired Scouters returned home with strong, enthusiastic feelings; the future of Wood Badge in BSA was assured. (source
;As I prepare once again to staff Wood Badge for the 21st Century I look forward to that Mountain Top experience, albeit at the wonderful Oregon Coast!  I always learn something new about Scouting, the people I am associated with in Scouting, and of course myself.
Like I said, Green Bar Bill is one of my Scouting heroes.  His story from a young man that loved Scouting enough to get a job in the mail room of the National Office to creator of the new Wood Badge and countless contributions in writing the literature that shaped Scouting and Scouts for decades.  His impact is way beyond Wood Badge, but his involvement in Wood Badge is clearly one more reason for me to look to him as someone we should try to be.
I am looking forward to carrying on the Legacy of William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, Wood Badge’s first Scoutmaster in America!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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