Canadian Traditional Scouting Association logo

The Canadian Traditional Scouting Association is one of many Scouting organizations around the world which follow Baden-Powell's Scouting vision. Together we carry this vision into Scouting’s second century, keeping true to the original purpose and values of Scouting while being leaders in safety, child protection, environmental responsibility, and outdoor skills.

We believe that Scouting should be available to everyone. We do our best to keep costs reasonable and provide financial support where it is needed, to ensure that all are welcome and able to join Scouting. The CTSA is run entirely by volunteers, with no paid staff at any level of the Association, so you can be sure that everything we do is in the best interests of our youth.

Our Mission Statement

Traditional Scouting uses outdoor recreation to promote strong values, build self-confidence, and promote healthy, active living, developing the next generation of leaders.

The History of Scouting

In the Beginning

In 1907, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell led the first Scouting camp on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, England. At the camp, he tested his educational ideas. That fall, he started writing the book Scouting for Boys which was published in six parts starting in January, 1908. The book outlines his training scheme to help develop young people into happy, healthy, useful citizens. His revolutionary educational ideas quickly spread around the world, both throughout the British Empire and in other countries. Young people enthusiastically took up playing the Game of Scouting. Adults saw the value that Scouting provides, teaching them skills and values that help them develop into well-rounded, capable, caring adults ready to the take on the challenges of the modern world.

Taking Roots

In 1919, Lord Baden-Powell felt that Scouters who completed a training course should receive recognition. Originally, he envisaged that those who passed should wear an ornamental tassel on their hats, but instead the alternative of two small beads attached to lacing on the hat or to a coat buttonhole was instituted and designated the Wood Badge. Very soon, the wearing of beads on the hat was discontinued and instead they were strung on a leather thong or bootlace around the neck, a tradition that continues to this day.

The first Wood Badges were made from beads taken from a necklace that had belonged to a Zulu chief named Dinuzulu, which B-P had found during his time in the Zululand in 1888. On state occasions, Dinuzulu would wear a necklace 12 feet long, containing, approximately 1,000 beads made from South African Acacia yellow wood. This wood has a soft central pith, which makes it easy for a rawhide lace to be threaded through from end to end. The beads themselves ranged in size, from tiny emblems to four inches in length. The necklace was a badge conferred on royalty and outstanding warriors.

When B-P was looking for some token to award to people who went through the training course, he remembered the Dinuzulu necklace and the leather thong given to him by an elderly African at Mafeking. He took two of the smaller beads, threaded them onto the thong and called it the Wood Badge. The first sets of beads issued were all from the original necklace, but the supply soon ran short. One exercise in the early courses was to be given one original Acacia bead, and to carve the other from hornbeam or beech. Again, in the early days Wood Badge participants received one bead on taking the practical course at Gilwell, and received a second bead on completing the theoretical part (answers to questions) and a certain length of in-service training.