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First, I would like to say that in my experience Wood Badge and Sea Badge are worth attending and are both rewarding and fun.  To validate this point, I have attended 3 Wood Badge courses as a participant: one was "the old course" in 1982; the next was "WB for the 21st Century"; and the third was a course provided by the National Council.  They were all very different and they were all great.  I've also helped with several courses, and attended Sea Badge. In each case ther were those who really agonized over their Ticket or Logbook.  I would suggest to all that you keep your goals simple and fun.  Look at things that you enjoy doing and meet a specific need.  Big projects are great, but only if YOU would enjoy it, and usually involve others.  Smaller items can be completed relatively guickly, and usually only depend on yourself.  Most importantly, have fun doing it. People used to say "it's all for the boy" and my response to that is "bolderdash", because if the grown folk aren't having fun and are miserable,  the kids won't have fun and will be miserable,  too.  

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I put a lot of thinking into my ticket before WB. Some said don’t, I said why not. I was open to change and actually had 7 ideas. Based on more thought and the course, I winnowed it down to 5. I choose 5 things I wanted to have or do, but hadn’t had the time to do them due to priorities. They then became my priorities. Most I wanted, but would have never done. So, a detailed orienteering map and course at a council camp - I would have never made it had it not been required. Who required it? Me. I felt great doing them as each was a “it would be great if we had X”. So, I did X5. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/19/2021 at 3:22 PM, mrjohns2 said:

and actually had 7 ideas. Based on more thought and the course, I winnowed it down to 5.

I took Wood Badge a few years back.  I did't get much guidance on designing my ticket.  Staff was leaving it all rather vague-I think as a way to encourage participants to be creative and devise a ticket that wasn't influenced by WB staff (they did suggest refinements to my ticket items).  It wasn't until into the second weekend that an off hand comment from a staff member finally showed me the reason they encouraged more than 5 ticket items though only 5 had to be completed to fulfill one's ticket.

What if you only had 5 ticket items and for reasons beyond your control, it could not or ever be completed?  Then you fail because you don't have a 6th, 7th, 8th...fallback item(s).

Such as:

"Form 5 new units in Americas 52nd state."  That's great if 2 more states are added to the Union.  But if not, you are done.

"Have your troop's cub feeder pack Webelos attend 5 troop meetings (in preparation for crossover)."  What if you invite the Webelos and they never show up?

"Conduct a Klondike derby with sled racing, igloo building, ice fishing..."  And you don't get sufficient ice or snow? (Plus there are only so many winter weekends, and even those are reduced by weekends available to the units you seek to invite. Just lots of conditions beyond your control.)


So, your ticket ought to include more than 5 ticket items.

Include the 5 "Grand Slam" ticket items you really believe will advance that part of the Movement in which you volunteer-and craft each item to reduce or eliminate conditions controlled by others and over which you have no control and which might cause you to fail to complete them.  (Such as, "Help Tom put on 3 Round Table presentations."  Tom gets run over by an errant Klondike sled and laid up.  Hmmm.  Better:  "Assist with 3 Round Table presentations."  Now, you are not limited by Tom's availability, nor are you limited to Tom's Round Table in Tom's district.  You can assist with ANY Round Table in any district in your council, and any Round Table in the country for that matter.  Not entirely what you had in mind, but at least can accomplish a ticket item doing something useful-and that's the point of it all.)

Also include 4 or 5 items that, though they may not be as dear to your heart as your Grand Slammers, but which you can clearly complete without relying on anyone but yourself.  Such as, "Write out a complete Eagle Scout Court Of Honor Ceremony and make it available to 5 troops."  You write, you photocopy, you email or hand deliver it to 5 units and you are done.  If you add the element of "and have it performed at an Eagle Court Of Honor," now you have to persuade a unit to actually use it-that is out of your control and adds a huge measure of uncertainty.  What if the 5 units don't have an Eagle who needs a ceremony during your ticket window?

Finally, a word on complexity and difficulty of ticket items.  Your "Grand Slammers" should be items you know in your heart-of-hearts, will advance the Movement.  Things that make a difference.  That doesn't necessarily mean dozens of hours, or lots of expense.

Your backup ticket items, No. 6-10± could be items that are less time-consuming, less complicated, involve fewer folks having to get on-board, perhaps even simple compared to the Grand Slammers.  You'll have to obtain your WB staff approval, but having a simple ticket item or two in reserve is reassuring.

Try to do all your Grand Slammers, but if you can't get them all, fall back to an easier one.  I am sure WB as a concept would rather have an enthused, successful Wood Badge graduate than a disappointed and unsuccessful Wood Badge candidate. After all, this is a volunteer organization, and nothing is perfect.

By way of examples:

One of my items was to help my troop have better troop meetings, so I prepared a troop meeting planning form, put several dozen forms in a 3 ring binder clearly labeled, and then worked with the senior scouts to plan 12 meetings.  Each month 4 meetings were planned.  The scouts recorded their plan on the meeting forms, and then executed the meetings.

To coordinate with meeting planning, one of my ticket items was to devise a number of troop activities (this reinforces my other goal of troop meeting planning by providing some of the activities to be used at the meetings they planned.

 For the disability awareness ticket item, I devised some games involving "impaired" scouts.  I bought a bunch of safety glasses, then taped the lenses with electrical tape to restrict vision.  Half the glasses were somewhat obstructed, and the other half were very restricted.  So, I'd tape off a pair of glasses to leave a very narrow horizontal slit on one lens, and a very narrow vertical slit on the other. the scout would have to use the horizontal slit to watch things moving left and right, and the vertical slit to watch things moving up and down.  Another pair I completely covered the lenses with tape, except for a single paper punch hole to look through-however, I intentionally offset the holes so that the scout could only look through one at a time.  And there were other patterns.

So, thus outfitted with these glasses, the scouts formed up into buddy teams and played a number of games involving tossing and bouncing tennis balls between them, their performances being scored by a couple of scout scorekeepers.  The first set of games were played with the somewhat restricted glasses, and scores tallied, and then the games were replayed with the very restrictive glasses, and those scores tallied.  The results were discussed with the scouts.

The scouts had fun-pretty much chaos.  Perfect.  They were challenged-did something hard they could not have practiced for.  Data was taken and discussed: scientific method. And they experienced a disability, safely, and learned how valuable good vision is.

(I used to be a Bobwhite...")


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  • 5 months later...

Thank you. That is a lot of great information.  I wish I would got that suggestion about 3 years ago when I first took Woodbadge.  I was not able to finish because my ticket was to help with a dinner for our new girl scout troop that had just started.  Well COVID raised its ugly head 2 weeks before the dinner and we had to postpone it over a year.  Well by that time it was 36 months later and the committee would not accept it.  So I'm taking Woodbadge again this Spring.  And I'm more excited this time around.

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On 2/11/2022 at 10:15 PM, EagleScoutLuger said:

I was not able to finish because my ticket was to help with a dinner for our new girl scout troop that had just started. 

Due to the GSUSA lawsuit, we have been directed to never put girl in front of scout like that. I assume you are talking about a Scouts BSA girl troop and not a Girl Scout Troop?

Anyway, I feel like you were let down by your ticket coach! Was that your only uncompleted ticket? With Covid, we were told you could get your item changed to something that could be done. That stinks they didn’t work that with you!

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