Still working my ticket
This past weekend marked six months since 43 men and women left Camp Alpine and Wood badge course N2-640-17 exhausted and inspired ready to take on the world with tickets in hand.
I was lucky enough to staff that course. I helped my Bears craft their visions and goals (it was all them I just helped with some wording) sitting in that big conference room till way to late. I was pretty confident that they all had the ability to fulfill their goals for themselves and their units.
And a few months ago the first course I staffed (n2-388-16) closed and all 35 participants completed their tickets. 175 mini projects that helped strengthen the scouting community. I'm glad my Buffaloes contributed 30 of them.
Then I look back at my own ticket and I think I could have been more ambitious. I should have pushed myself harder rather than push myself just enough to get my beads first. I ended up getting my beads fourth in my class (after two of my fellow eagles and a bear). My five goals in retrospect don't fit in together as one seamless ticket. They don't focus on one of my many hats but it is a little bit of committee member, a little bit of training team member, a little bit of merit badge counselor and a lit bit random scout guy looking for a diversity item.
I'm not blaming my troop guide or the aprovers on my course who were great and I am so thankful for the wisdom and inspiration they bestowed on me. But I'm not sure that I wouldn't advise a participant to be more hyper-focused on one of their roles. My goals were good and I'm sure I made a good argument about how they are all connected, but honestly when I was thinking about this essay I couldn't remember one of them. It's not like I took the course decades ago, I got my beads in February of 2015. I remembered that one eventually and it wasn't very good.
Of my five one really stands out. I wanted to be the lead instructor Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops. I had previous lent my assistance to this training. But I was ready to step up. I taught the course to a dozen or so scouts over two months worth of roundtable meetings. Then I taught the course for the youth leaders for my ticket counselor’s troop, and then again at our council training expo. All these years later, I am still teaching that course at those expos.
The others were ok, the committee members I recruited have since moved on. None of the boys I presented the Reading merit badge to decided to take the badge (even though it's the easiest merit badge if you have to read for school). The website I set up evolved into our Facebook group, I guess that stuck around. And the Coptic Christian church I reached out to about scouting opportunities decided they were not interested.
The entire ticket was uninspired. It was very much what can I do to get this done. In all honesty the only person I cheated was myself. The ticket is about growing into your leadership role more effectively, not about getting that taupe neckerchief, leather woggle and two beads hanging on the end of a leather thong.
You don't get an extra bead for a top five finish. Perhaps if I choose more difficult items that portion of Wood Badge would have been more fulfilling for me. Staffing and being an advocate for Wood Badge had been a much more satisfying part of the process.
I always tell people that you continue working your ticket. Even after you have your beads. Whether it's staffing Wood badge, helping with a training team, encouraging others to get trained, working on improving your unit, it's all working your ticket. So I guess that I'm still working my ticket and that's good.