Golden ticket, who has the golden ticket? With the remake of one of my favorite movies, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a new generation can experience the imagination of Roald Dahl. It's a story of one boys' magical opportunity to tour the world's finest chocolate factory and experience all the joys it has to offer. For me, this dream was better than any schoolgirl's whimsy about being Cinderella.
As we matured, we begin to believe that such chances rarely exist. Plus, living in the world of tooth decay, we realize that no Golden Ticket would appear in a candy wrapper. Unless, of course the candy is sugar-free and its main ingredient is xylitol! But, alas, imagine that you did find the Golden Ticket for your dental hygiene achievements. What would your experience be like?
You would be flown into a city like Chicago on a Wednesday afternoon in July. Upon arrival, you would be greeted during an informal dinner and an opportunity to meet the hygiene version of Willy Wonka, your host, your fellow Golden Ticker winners, and perhaps many past winners. After such a dinner, you would begin to feel the excitement building of the anticipated activities of the coming days, emotions only few can share.
You awake the next morning, not to take a ride on a river made of chocolate, but to a pampering fueled with professional hair and make-up sessions, followed by professional camera shoot. No paparazzi invited; this is a time for you to shine and allow the camera to take lasting memories.
No Oompa Loompas in sight, but after you have indulged in the fine art of beauty, you are escorted on a factory tour of a well-established and prominent dental hygiene company. This tour allows you the occasion to mingle with the chief corporate officers who value and want to hear your thoughts. You are provided with opportunities to share your insights into future products and strategies that will not only affect you, as a practicing hygienist, but your opinions and insights will influence how thousands of fellow oral health professionals and patients continue to strive for optimum oral health.
Building on the energy of your contemporaries, you now have the privilege of attending a formal evening on the 95th floor of one of the most prestigious skyscrapers in the city. Often called "Big John" by locals, it's known by tourists as the John Hancock Center. The meal, breathtaking views, and stellar companions will transform the evening into a memorable experience without exploding blueberries or TV addicted children.
Just when you think you cannot be appreciated any more, you attend a presentation in your honor. You and your deserving fellow participants are recognized and cheered by a crowd of more than 600 fellow hygienists. During the reception, you are awarded the tangible prize, which pales to the inner awards that you have gained. These emotions last much longer than a mid-afternoon sugar rush because now you belong to the "Society of the Purple Ring." You are among the cream of the professional crop. Finally, all of your tireless efforts are realized and acknowledged.
By this time you want to collapse in the memories of the past few days, but it's not time yet; you have one more evening of fun and frolicking, And this evening is special, not just because it is sponsored by the generous benefactor, but because you can share it with a friend or loved one.
Is the dream over, or has it just begun? The reality is, now you can return to your hygiene world a better person — refreshed, enlightened and stronger to go on and continue your professional journey.
This fantasy is not that at all, but real. The events may not make it into a Hollywood movie, but it certainly is an adventure that many will want to emulate. It has been achieved and can continue to be realized for deserving dental hygienists.
What's stopping you from enjoying this utopia? Just one calorie-free step — completing the entry application that can provide you with your own Golden Ticket, and the wonders of being a SunStar Butler Award Recipient. Look for application information for the 2006 Sunstar Butler Award of Distinction in the pages of RDH magazine and RDH eVillage.
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director RDH eVillage