Erik Jason Oakley essay

Raffles Saved Boy Scouts

From the time I was in fifth grade to when I was 18, I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and I eventually earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout. Many people know of the scouts and their community outreach efforts but not many people are aware of the financial struggles within the individual troops. Although it is a national organization and governed by both central and regional boards, the local troops are not allocated any money for their individual endeavors. This means all fundraising must be done by the boys and their families, and over the years we got pretty creative with our fundraising efforts.

Some examples of fundraising include donation drives, Christmas gift wrapping services, selling popcorn, and of course raffle tickets. The last was particularly fun because it allowed the boys in my troop to select bizarre prizes that many people were excited to win. Examples of prizes that encouraged people to buy tickets were fake poop toys (which the younger boys were excited about), water guns, signed footballs and baseballs, a skateboard that pro skater Tony Hawk had broken during a previous X-Games event, a complete Star Wars box set, and many other prizes which were donated by the families and local community members or businesses. All the prizes were very exciting and everyone was wanting something that was available.

The Scoutmaster, the leader of the troop, had devised a few simple rules:

  • People could purchase as many tickets as they want
  • They could only win one prize before being eliminated
  • Whoever’s raffle ticket was drawn could select any remaining prize they wanted

This was a very popular event and had maybe as much as 300 people in attendance, who each either bought 5-10 tickets for $1 each–some outright donated cash to the scout troop.

This was a very successful fundraising campaign and was a great experience for the scouts, who were excited about working with businesses in the community and asking if they were able to make a donation to our fundraising efforts. This taught us about fundraising, community outreach, and, of course, the importance of raffles! Without the funds raised from the event, the troop may have had to dissolve, so it was incredibly enlightening when the money was counted and we were able to pay the yearly fees, buy troop supplies, and send all the boys off to camp for the summer, with hundreds of dollars to spare. Although it may seem a little silly and superfluous, raffle tickets saved my scout troop and allowed me this great experience.


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