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  • Doug Cook

Wood Badge Historical Tidbet and Guthrie’s Scouting Touch

Updated: Feb 27

The first course director of Wood Badge courses in the United States was

William Hillcourt (aka Green Bar Bill).  He authored many publications for the BSA including an edition of the Scout Handbook.  He is known for his Boy’s Life articles under the pseudonym “Green Bar Bill” offering advice for patrol leaders.

Ray Matoy published a local history of Scouting called “Thunderbird Tracks” when Guthrie was a part of the Will Rogers Council before moving into the Last Frontier Council.

I interviewed Ray Matoy in 2003 when he was retired in Stillwater.  Ray noted he took the top image below which I scanned from his book.

He mentioned this campout was setup for Bill just north of Guthrie in fall of 1948 to demonstrate “tarp tents” which were an improvised tent made from materials local Oklahoman’s could adapt from farm and ranch products.

Take a closer look at his community strip “Gilwell” and Troop “1”

Wood Badge was adopted as an official course in 1948 with it’s second course taught at Philmont Scout Ranch (October 2-10, 1948).

It seems likely that Green Bar Bill stopped by either to or from his Philmont course director job to take photos for future publication.

A photo I took of William Hillcourt at a book signing at the 1981 National Scout Jamboree.

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