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The Purpose of Skits

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Here is a topic that I have not run across. Why do we do skits?? After some thought on the subject, I came up with this answer. We have the boys do skits to give the their first experince at public speaking. It is always easier to do if you are trying to be a little silly. It takes a lot of the pressure off. Does anyone else have a opinion to share??

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Excellent question, one that I have thought of a number of times in the past. I don't have the definitive answer but here are my thoughts on the matter.


Baden Powell became famous after a drawn out military siege of Mafeking in South Africa. He held out for 217 days with 2000 british Troops against Boer (Dutch Colonialists) forces 4 times the size of his troops. The British emerged triumphant from this engagement after reinforcements arrived from Zimbabwe (?). I delve into this brief history lesson to illustrate old BP's thinking as he started scouting. It was a combination of cunning, field skills, and morale boosting that allowed him to hold out for 9 months against overwhellming odds.


BP had regular skits, stunts, and run-ons performed by and for the soldiers during the seige, allowing them to blow off steam, retain their wit and good humor, and keep from descending into dark thoughts and maudlin ruminations. You can see an excellent example of this tradition in the "Great Escape" (I think), when early in the film the Brits are working on a very elaborate stage production (in drag nonetheless) in the POW camp as Sinatra and the others discuss serious matters in the forground


This (IMHO) is the origion of the scouting tradition of entertainment as a part of our program. I agree that it also happens to be great practice for kids to learn public speaking skills, to hone their intelligence as they work out the problems inherent in putting on a production, and to give them a sense of mastery. Nothing is as powerful as making a room full of people roar with laughter on purpose. It also builds leadership skills as boys negotiate their roles and activities within the group . Finally it builds a sense of shared experience and group cohesiveness as children are able to remenisce together about the events that were significant, for good or for ill.


Needless to say, I think they are an important part of the program!


Yours in Scouting,


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Brian...excellent question.

Steve...excellent answer.


I think you guys covered the reasons well - practice public speaking, tradition, entertainment, morale boosting, build wit and intellect, source of humor and laughter, sense of mastery, shared experience and building camraderie - so I hesitate to offer my simple reasons which are...


1. They're fun, and

2. They're a great alternative to singing for tone-deaf people like me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At the Tiger level, most boys welcome the fun, silly songs to perform for their pack. However, nearing the end of our scouting year, I'm finding that the boys would rather do skits. It takes the pressure off of the performance and the older scouts get a hoot out of seeing the ever-so-familiar "invisible bench" skit performed again and again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My WEEBS just crossed in February but I'll relate my experience.


This year at the B&G we did skits. The WEEBSII sang the "if I weren't a webelos a ____________ I would be." They had a great time.


Some others asked trivia.


Tigers and Bears told jokes from the back of boys life.


Other tigers sat around a pretend fire and counted to sixty and said , "there, we just wasted a minute of your time"


A good time was had by all.


One committee member complained that his boy did not want to do it out of fear. The same boy performed in a lip sync comp only a week before. I can't figure that out. Nobody was going to force the boy to do anything.


I recently saw pictures of a skit by Scott's men as he tried to grab the South Pole. He failed.


Skits are good.








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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the 'why' has been covered well.


On shyness, we have had the occasional lad for whom 'stage fright' was far more real than the monsters in the closet. I learned early on they generally could join in and have a great time, provided they had minimal verbal requirements.

More than one played a statue, and played it well, in the 'If I weren't a Cub Scout' song over the years (and loved doing it too).

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Yes, we all know they make the boys more at ease with public speaking but they also make the boys more involved in your meetings. When they know they have a part in the meeting, they may pay more attention to what else is going on.


Skits offer quite a lot more to the Cub Scout program. For example,


If you make costumes and build props, they teach craft and tool usage skills.


They provide the boys with planning and preparation skills. They have to figure out what skit they will do (never tell them they have to do a specific skit, don't give them a choice between doing one or not, give them a choice of different skits to do), who will play what part, what props and materials are needed.


In addition to the public speaking aspect, it teaches them to deal with adversity because not everything goes right and that's okay. They learn from that.


Finally, the boys get a taste of the fundamental skills they will need to participate in and lead a boy-led Boys Scout Troop once they get there.


Just think of a skit as a mini-project that they will have to plan, develop, and execute.


Remember, Cub Scouts builds a foundation of skills useful later in Boy Scouts and in life. The wider the foundation, the higher they will achieve.


Also, if the boys don't do things to entertain each other in a meeting, then leaders have to do it.


Finally, they're fun and the boys are supposed to be having fun.(This message has been edited by MarkS)

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I have my Tigers doing skits. They have 1-2 line parts. I find my skits on-line, and I usually modify them a bit, or combine parts of two skits.


I give them their lines on an index card to take home to practice. We also practice it in the den meeting.


Then when they have to perform it, I have a backup set of cards.


I don't force them to memorize their lines. I have a few struggling readers, and I don't think mom and dad are very interested in helping them. Next year, it will become more difficult with lines that have to be memorized. I will also involve them more in the planning process.


I always have an "extra" part on hand for the Tiger that hasn't been to a den meeting since December.


I do skits because stage fright is hard to overcome as an adult (been there). If I get the boys used to public speaking now, I can hopefully avoid it.

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