Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Truth About Ticket Timelines

In my article on Tickets I explained that sometimes the time frame you had in mind can end up being thrown out the window.  Often goals get pushed aside due to other needs within your unit and you're left scrambling.  If you think your ticket has become unattainable get with your mentor IMMEDIATELY and start working on an alternative ticket.  It's a fairly simple process and will prevent you hitting 17 months and 15 days and having a nervous breakdown.  We don't want to have to explain to the ER doc that you had a heart attack because you realized you procrastinated too long on your Wood Badge Ticket.

Often your ticket items are going to end up linked to your unit's calendar. Offering a merit badge needs to be slid in, developing an event can get bounced around.  Get ready to be flexible and embrace chaos or, as we say in our home, "Semper Gumby!" 

While it appears that most people who take Wood Badge have their ticket items unexpectedly bumped back, mine...well.....they took a leap in the other direction.

The goal I'd planned to do in July (1 month away) has been rescheduled for 2 weeks from now.  The goal I'd planned to finish in August was requested to be presented at a meeting this upcoming Sunday. The goal I'd planned to finish in November due to some tweaking will now be finished within 2.5 weeks.

So....I asked our Scoutmaster if I could get bumped up in the merit badge schedule to July and it looks like I may finish my ticket in record time.....2 months or possibly a bit less from when I finished the course. 

The good news is I am going to make this happen - no matter what.  The bad news is I'm going to be making huge personal and family time sacrifices to get it all done.  The best news is that just as I promised I am embracing the chaos, rolling with the punches, and truly living "Semper Gumby" as my family watches me race to the finish line.

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Ticket

So, now that you know what Wood Badge is and more importantly what a ticket is, let's talk about tickets, my ticket, and what resources you'll eventually find here.  In "What is she doing???" I told the story of what a ticket is. Now I want to share more information on this concept. 

A ticket is 5 goals you set for yourself.  They should be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely).  Before I went to Wood Badge, I spent time talking with other participants about what makes a goal "acceptable".   Your ticket *MUST* include at least 1 goal that encompasses some kind of diversity (which is a W-I-D-E range of options including religions, cultures, backgrounds,etc) and in our class one goal *MUST* (usually optional) be a personal goal.  The remainder of your goals focus on your current position in Scouting. Your ticket *MUST* be completed in 18 months.  Extensions can be made available but are granted by the council and require extensive information on what happened that you were stuck. 

Here's some tips if you're working on your own ticket development:

1. Keep your goals SMART and also have an answer to the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How for every single goal.  It will look redundant on paper if written correctly - that's okay!!!!  It means your goal is concise and organized, not "too little".

2. Think about that goal - would you accept this goal as a project from one of your Scouts?  Do you think your Wood Badge mentors will accept it?  Is it too much?  Too little?  Does it feel slightly overwhelming but also super exciting to do?  Then it's probably the right goal for you!

3.  When juggling the elusive "A" in SMART, remember that when we keep a goal attainable we also want to refrain from shooting ourselves in the foot.  Don't rely on labor you may not have, weather that may not cooperate, or kids that might not want to help with a project.  Get feedback BEFORE Wood Badge on the needs and interest in your ticket and make adjustments accordingly.  "Offer Merit Badge ABC" instead of "teach Merit Badge ABC to 5 boys".  "Propose _____ to the troop committee and then plan Event X if approved" vs "plan Event X".  The boys might not want Merit Badge ABC.  The Committee may have to postpone event X for another year! 

4.  Almost everyone struggles to write at least one of their goals.  Sometimes it's the diversity one that you just can't decode.  Other times it's the personal that is the most difficult.  It's okay if you're ready to beat your head against the wall.  Stop, breathe, and contact your mentor or find a local Wood Badger to sit down and go over your ticket to help you get out of the rut.  Sometimes a 2 minute conversation is just the enlightenment you need.

5.  Aim EARLY for your goals to be done.  They might take MUCH longer than you think.  Don't get caught in that 18 month trap!!!  The first day you start working your ticket should be NO LATER than the day after you get home.  I set all of my tickets to be done early so if I get bogged down in paperwork, logistics or other issues, I'm still CLEAR and safe!

Now that you understand more about the infamous "Ticket", we can talk about my ticket, which has already been approved and gone through the entire process, minus execution.

This is a summary of my Ticket's 5 goals:

Goal 1: Offer to conduct an in-troop Trail to First Class event to help boys achieve rank.  Recruit older boys and parents to help teach skills. 

Goal 2: Offer to organize an Honor Guard for our troop.  If approved, recruit and train boys and help them develop a training program to train future interested Scouts.

Goal 3: Offer the Signs, Signals, and Codes merit badge.  For all attendees of the class, extend an invitation to continue learning to achieve the Morse Code or American Sign Language Interpreter Strips. (Diversity)

Goal 4: Develop a new popcorn reward system for our troop and propose it to the Troop Committee. 

Goal 5: I like you all a lot, but my personal goal is....well.....personal.  ;)  Sorry - not sharing this one but I promise it's approved and honestly one of the hardest things I am trying to learn to do. (Personal)

So.....there it is.  5 goals, 1 ticket.  Next article....how your ticket is truly often out of your control....

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What is she doing???

Since agreeing to participate in Wood Badge after being (insert your favorite form of coercion here), I started to get a constant question from people outside the "Gilwell World".  It came in one form or another but it always amounted to "What on EARTH are you doing!?!?!?!?!"

In order to better understand the rest of the posts on Working My Ticket, you have to understand what Wood Badge is and what I have done so you can figure out what I'm doing.

Wood Badge is a premier training course in the Boy Scouting world. It's taught worldwide in a variety of countries after beginning in Gilwell Park in 1919.  One commits to a 6 day long training that includes camping, hiking, class work, and metric TON of fun.  You had no idea you were still allowed to have this good of a time after you had children! ;)

After completing your training at Gilwell (all Wood Badge courses are held at Gilwell, no matter what the sign might say as you enter the camp!) you begin doing what is called "working your ticket", a custom that dates back to military service in England prior to them paying for you to come home from war.  You would try to find jobs closer to home as your career came to an end to subsidize the cost of your trip back.  This as called "working your ticket". 

After we leave Gilwell (or can one truly leave?) we begin to work our ticket, a list of 5 goals designed to benefit our scouting units, the world around us, and ourselves as we continue our adventure at home.  This blog will focus (at first) on me "working my ticket".  4 of my 5 tickets will be shared with you along with photos of them being completed giving you a glimpse into "the world after Wood Badge". 

I promise to share as much as I can and be as honest with all of you as possible as I go through the process of finishing my ticket and finally get my Wood Badge beads.  Where this blog will go after?  Unknown.....

Someday, perhaps, I'll get to be a "good 'ol staffer too" and have the chance to invite others to share their ticket workings on this blog.