As you begin to think through your ticket items you may begin to ask yourself “does this really mean anything?” The answer is yes it does! History shows us that you will most assuredly come up with items that will benefit and change your unit right now. Some items may take a bit longer to see the effects and some may actually set up a successful change both now and into the future. What you won’t know until much later is how far reaching a change can become….even if you did not expect or intend it to happen that way.
When I wrote my own ticket in SR501 (2002), I centered all of the items on ways of improving basic scouting skills in a troop with very young, inexperienced Scouts. One of my items was to improve cooking skills. I set about organizing a series of outdoor cooking classes for six of our youth. They would learn how to plan better meals, cook those meals using differing methods for their parents and other leaders, and in turn, pass the knowledge gained to the other boys. At the end of the classes, I presented each of these young men with a cook book I had created for them.
The idea was a huge success and immediately the boys no longer feasted on hot dogs and Pop Tarts while camping. Instead, good food, cooked well, filled their hungry bellies. Many years have passed and the boys in our troop continue to use this resource. It has also been passed to other troops via the boys themselves and through our Troop’s website.
About a year ago, I happened to run into a couple of young scouts and one of their dads in a Food Lion one Friday afternoon. They were obviously in a panic and running out of time. I introduced myself to them as a Scout Leader and offered my assistance. One of the boys told me they were leaving for a camping trip in a couple of hours and that he was responsible for making a Dutch Oven desert for the patrol cooking competition. He said his Senior Patrol Leader had given each patrol a copy of this really good cookbook and that they were going to make Everett Winn’s Peach Cobbler. He asked me if I had ever seen the book and did I know how to make a cobbler. He was amazed to find out that yes, I did know how to make this desert, and that I was the author of the book in his hand.
What struck me as I left these boys was that they were probably 1st year scouts or about 12 years old. They would have been toddlers at best when the cookbook was created and Scouting was far from a thought in their developing minds. They were also members of a Troop that I was unaware of. So, something that was so much fun to put together years ago had spread around and was standing the test of time. It was still fulfilling the intended purpose of my ticket item…help young scouts learn to cook better. I still get a grin on my face when I think about that.
Wood Badge can be magical!