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  • Meeting Ideas

    I didn't find anywhere like this in the forum already, so link me to it if I missed it. I previously posted about my troop becoming boy lead and thankfully it is almost there because of advice we've all received. However, now my troop is facing another dilemma; we're running out of productive ways to organize our meetings (90 minutes). We've been trying to have 20 minutes of patrol time, 30 of instructional, and 20-30 of a group activity, opening/closing too. For the past 4-5 months, the SM and SPL had the troop going off of the Troop Program Guide but everyone has noticed that it isn't working well in our situation. The SPL, SM, and I are about the only ones (boys and adults) who offer any help though there are plenty of ASMs, PLs, and APLs. (The PLCs are mainly the three of us talking because the PLs "forget" to ask what their patrol members want or just don't show up. We're slowly getting better leadership though (so that is sorting itself out), we just can't keep up with everything--committee doesn't help much either). The responsibility falls to the SPL, but since no one could expect him to plan for the troop and patrols with no help, I have been sending him every source I could possibly find for ideas--I now have a bunch of folders within folders within folders, etc. on my desktop of information I've found and made too. I'm hoping that everyone can just post the general activity of your troop's meetings, including activities, here so that everyone gets fresh new ideas and mainly because I'm running out of ideas to share with him (they'll go right into a folder ). Website links would be greatly appreciated too.

    Thanks in advance. And I'm hoping that this helps others as well.

  • #2
    Knot tying competition: Set up a bar (?lashed to chair backs?), and label it's length with knot names. Each patrol lines up and each boy ties ONE knot on the bar to fulfill that name. Time the time to tie all 4 or 5 knots, divide by the number of boys to get the Patrol average. Award something to the winners, candy bars, free time at camp, trophy ribbon for flag, something.

    Blindfold the boys in teams of two. Set up a tent blindfolded. Same time competition (if they get finished!).

    Set up a scavenger hunt, inside or out, use nature theme or any other theme. Patrols meld the individual boys answers for a Patrol answer.

    Neckerchief slide workshop: learn how to make a turk's head , or carve some kits and paint them.
    Have a contest with awards and prizes during/after the next CoH. Ask the local school's art teacher to be the judge (impartial). Ask the local ice cream place to donate some coupons as prizes. McD's will do this, too. (PM me for our Troop's rules).

    Camp cooking: out in the parking lot, set up the stoves and cook dinner for the Troop parents. Make it an annual thing. Boys only, no parents allowed.

    Kim's game. Patrol cmpetition. Set up a display, large or small, of many various items. Cover it so it may be revealed and then covered again. Each Patrol is allowed to view the display for 15 seconds and write down what they saw. Winner is most accurate record of what is really there. (one tie was broken by remembering if the pocket knife was engraving face up or down).

    Now you see it: Like Kim's game, but in reverse. Set something openly, but in a different place or setting, in the Troop meeting space, and when the meeting is over, ask if anyone has SEEN it.

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    • #3
      Have you looked at the troop program features? http://goo.gl/PJbiV

      Your PLC picks an activity they want to do, it gives you plans(about 75% complete) leading up to the event. There are several references to the Troop Program Resource book, which can be found here, http://goo.gl/Ej2Ir

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      • #4
        Running a programme I think it is very easy to concentrate too much on core scouting stuff, there is, I firmly believe, a place for doing something completely different now and then. No problem that it doesn't feature in any award scheme or provide training, just do something that is completely different. A few examples of what my troop have done in that vein....

        A fashion show (done very tongue in cheek I hasten to add)
        A trip to the ballet
        A night dry slope skiing
        Local monopoly run (now a firm fixture in the calendar such is the popularity)

        All in all don't be scared of doing something unexpected, you might just be surprised at the reaction you get and how broad minded your scouts are!

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        • #5
          While I dislike Merit Badge classes there are many MB activities that make for good activities even if boys are not going for the MB. For example we had ice skating as part of our meeting. (there was a temporary rink downtown around the holidays). There was an Occupy Tampa encampment at the same park and some of the lads enjoyed talking to some of them--it was a "spirited exchange" but led to good discussions of citizenship. A Tampa Police officer joined as well.

          Cops, Fire Depts, Military-type visits are fun. Emergency drills, building safety inspections, auto repairs, all these can be parts of meetings if the boys want them. If they do we adults will let them make the arrangements as much as is practical.

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          • #6
            Gosh, I love this site! I come here mostly for help with particular problems and always find an answer.

            Today I was looking for how other Troops do their meetings. My son has just crossed over to Boy Scouts, and I am finding the meetings a waste of time. The SM insists on it being "boy lead", and his own kid is the main kid (I don't know what his title is, Senior Patrol Leader? It's a very small troop.). So they have a couple of scattered announcements by the boys, no info for the parents, and then the boys run outside and throw a football. I spoke with a parent whose boy crossed over last year, and she said that is a typical meeting. It's no wonder the Troop doesn't grow and new kids don't stay; if you aren't into throwing a football it is a very boring meeting compared to Cub Scouts where we always had an activity.

            Another issue is that the SM's kids are home schooled, and I know their mother incorporates merit badges and stuff into their curriculum. (They actually live across the road from me.) So the SM seems to think that that is how Boy Scouts is. You do everything on your own at home and come to meetings to have your stuff signed off. Campouts are even less organized. They don't even cook breakfast, and just do hotdogs every supper time. I mean, aren't you supposed to at least attempt new things? The campout we attended as the Arrow of Light requirement saw the kids running wild with more football throwing. No planned activity. One kid was trying to set up an orienteering course, but he and his dad received no assistance from anyone, including the other adult leaders. The "hike" they took consisted of running on the trails and not even looking at anything. I mean in Cub Scouts, we always stressed slowing down and taking time to look at things along the way. This hike just seemed like a foot race with no finish line.

            So how does your troop handle being "boy lead"? Boys essentially have no networking, so they don't know what resources are out there. Do you suggest activities and let them vote? Who sets it up? Who calls in the "expert" who will do a demonstration and teach a new skill? Also, our Troop consists of fairly young kids. I think there are only one or two high school age boys. With the recent crossover, they added six boys, which is probably a third of the membership now. I think another third are the boys who crossed over last year. So you can see how easy it is to descend into chaos without a little more adult guidance.

            As far as choosing another troop, we live in a rural area with only one troop in town. We'd have to go to another town to find another troop, with kids that go to different schools. I'd like my son to stay with his friends, and I'd like to help see this troop grow and become more fun for the boys. (Okay, more fun for the parents, too!)
            Thanks for any advice.

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            • #7
              YOU don't have to eat the hotdogs. While everyone else is eating the dawgs, you could be cooking something in your Dutch oven. Show by example.
              Volunteer to lead a nature walk; some will be interested & some not.

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