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Scout O Rama ideas

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Every year at Scout O Rama our troop hosts an event that I find to be pretty boring. They make fire starters out of wax. They don't even let people who come to the booth touch anything because of the hot wax. You look at our booth and the lack of people stopping by and you see other booths from other troops and how much fun people are having at those booths and it makes me sad. Our scouts tend to sit in our booth the whole time, so they don't get out to see the other booths and see what exciting things the other troops are doing.

 

I am encouraging them to do something a little more exciting this year and would like to present them with a few ideas. What are some great Scout O Rama or Scout Skills activities that you've seen that would attract a crowd?

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Not much advice but man oh man I wish our council still did these.  They called it Scout/Cub World here.  With membership numbers way down I really think this is something to jump start people's interest in scouting.   I was told by the council that they stopped having them due to insurance reasons and lack of volunteers.  :(

 

I suggested that our district run one for the troops for boys crossing over to see what all is out there so they don't feel they have to go into the feeder troop.  Got a couple blank stares.  Oh well. 

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Twine, string and sticks....  make rope.  Not that hard, everyone gets to take hope a short piece of hand-made rope.

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Best thing I did as a Scout Show was a Boatswain's Chair. Two pioneering towers, one 25'-30' high,  a second  at 15' to 20' high and about 50' to 100' away. String up steel rope between the two, and attach a Boatswain's chair to the steel rope, and Bob's your uncle you got a ride that anyone wants to go on. Unfortunately BSA has effectively banned them since you need a NCS C.O.P.E. director to inspect it, a safety line above the rope, harnesses and brain buckets on participants, etc.

 

Saw the pioneering ferris wheel and would love to make one of those. ;)

 

Low monkey bridges are doable.

 

catapults are doable.

 

Patch TRADING and not DISPLAYING ( emphasis) is doable. We did the displaying, ok one of the adults did the diplaying ;)  and it was OK.  We were ticked off because it was the first year we could not do the Boatswain's Chair, and only did the show because Green Bar Bill was going to be there. Eventually it turned into patch trading, and those into that had fun.

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Who pays for the materials? 

 

If the district, show how to make arrows.

 

If the unit, go low cost with a Dutch oven cooking demo showing some "hacks" of Dutch oven cooking (e.g., using the lid to fry fish or make pancakes, how to bake breads, etc.). Simple camp out meals that are low mess, fun and easy are always good.

 

Or just demo Bubble Ball Soccer.  ;)

Edited by Krampus

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In the past, our Troop has done LED "throwies".  Link to some instructions.

 

We used address labels printed with our Troop website url.  Cost was $0.25 each.

 

The Scouts get to show the visitors how to make them and the visitors walk away with something with our name on it.

 

The website says they last 1-2 weeks, but ours have been last 2-3 months.

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I have to echo Jackdaws... I wish our Council still did these.  I've brought it up with our District Execs, and with two women and a man who wasn't a Scout as a kid, they had no idea what I was even talking about.  I remember our Cub Scout Pack having a booth a few times at one, but I don't remember doing it as a Boy Scout so I wonder if that is when they stopped doing them in our Council.  That would put it about 30 years ago if I'm right.

 

I think it depends on whether you are indoors or outdoors.  If you are outdoors, there are more possibilities.  A few that come to mind:

  • Cast Iron pie makers.  These take a couple of minutes to prep, a couple of minutes to cook, but are yummy and fun.  You'd need to be careful, because these get hot like the wax you are using, but with proper supervision I've seen this done with Cub Scouts.  Be sure to avoid allergens like Peanut Butter.
  • Leatherworking - Good indoor activity.  You can have visitors stamp their name onto a strip of leather and make a bookmark.  Or if you want to get fancy make a neckerchief slide or bracelet.  Bring earplugs or tylenol to help with the headache that several hours of listening to pounding will induce.
  • Tic Tac Toe boards (or the triangle jumping peg game).  Cut off a piece of wood using a miter box and hand saw, sand the edges with a sanding block, and using a non-electric hand drill put 9 holes (Tic Tac Toe) or 15 holes (jumping peg game) into the board and you have a nice game.  You can use a template to make sure the holes end up in the right places.

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The audience can't make the wax firestarters themselves because of the hot wax.  Hmmmm....So much for my suggestion of Hawk Throwing.

 

Have you asked the Scouts for their ideas?  Have you asked the Scouts if they really want to participate?  If they're just hanging around the booth and don't get out an explore before or after their "shifts", that suggests that maybe they're just not interested.

 

Here's a radical suggestion (but it will take some tech wizards to help set it up) - Set up a big screen TV hooked up to a wi-fi enabled computer in the booth - man it with some of the parents - in the meantime, take the Troop camping - then live-stream the camping trip right to Scout-O-Rama.

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The audience can't make the wax firestarters themselves because of the hot wax.  Hmmmm....So much for my suggestion of Hawk Throwing.

For 'hawks and any other range device (sling shots) you need a trained and certified RSO and Instructor. Most units don't have one that I know of unless they do that stuff a lot.

 

Trebuchets, on the other hand, do not require any certified person to run or manage the "range". I'd do that. Tons of fun to build and set off.

 

Water rockets are another fun activity. Use the bicycle pumps for the first few rounds, then get a compressor to amp up the last round. Wet, clean fun....and currently not on the BSA Forbidden Activity List.

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Thanks for the great ideas! Unfortunately, some of them are already taken by other troops. I should have mentioned that this year they are holding the Scout O Rama outdoors at a public park. Our troop would pay for supplies, so some of the other ideas are a little too pricey for us. The water rocket idea sounds fun. I wonder if the Council would allow that. I have the leatherworking tools, so that's an option too, if we can find cheap strips of leather. Catapults are good too. Keep the ideas coming. I want to give the scouts some choices.

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Thanks for the great ideas! Unfortunately, some of them are already taken by other troops. I should have mentioned that this year they are holding the Scout O Rama outdoors at a public park. Our troop would pay for supplies, so some of the other ideas are a little too pricey for us. The water rocket idea sounds fun. I wonder if the Council would allow that. I have the leatherworking tools, so that's an option too, if we can find cheap strips of leather. Catapults are good too. Keep the ideas coming. I want to give the scouts some choices.

 

They should. Cubs in my area do this all the time.

 

You can find the designs online. They look like the picture below. We built six launchers (one for each patrol). The PLC figured out how much the parts costs (under $60 as I recall for everything). They build the launch pads at a meeting, then the rockets at another meeting. Each patrol volunteered a heavy duty bicycle pump and we were done! One dad is a general contractor and brought his air compressor for the "amped up" round. Don't forget a source for water (water jugs, hose is easier). Lots of duct tape.

 

Just Google "pvc water rockets" and you'll find plans for a launcher and rockets....even YouTube videos.

 

PVC-Rocket-Launcher-Finished.jpg

Edited by Krampus

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Outdoors opens a lot of other possibilities.  Using some hog pans set on a couple of bricks (I'm assuming they don't have firepits for you), you could do fire building using interesting tinder.  Give the visitors a choice of dryer lint, corn chips, etc. and some small kindling and demonstrate how even these unusual types of tinder can be used to start a fire.  If you want to make it more interesting, instead of matches use other methods of ignition.

 

You could demonstrate how to build an emergency shelter using sticks and branches, a poncho, etc.  This takes a bit more time to do, but with a group of people can still be done in a reasonable amount of time.

 

You could do a geocaching booth, explaing what it is, showing an example of what they will find, and hopefully there is one in the park that people could find using their smartphone (or you could start one).

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**Low rope monkey bridge ("  Over the Mighty, Piranha infested AMAZON!!!" )  . For this, you need "lifeguards" on each side as they walk across. 

** Two signal towers, as tall as is allowed and convenient,   send a message to each other by semaphore or wig wag.   Signaling Merit Badge?   Have a race with Texting??  See Jay Leno's show:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64tfnG77Nl8

**  Dutch oven brownies....

**  Set up a HOT fire, use a branding iron to create coasters on "cookies"  cut from a log (get old broken round fence post from Home Depot) cut by Cub Scouts on two (person) saw.   ("Scout symbol and Troop xyz")

**  Pioneering set ups of various types...

**  Nature Merit Badge set up with tracks in plaster of paris,  woodpecker holes,  scat pictures,  work with your local parks ...

**  Movie theater?    Show home movies of Scout campouts, etc.  :  "Down and Derby",  "Troop759 of Harlem" ,   CSDC promos of the Council,   etc.

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Do you have a range master ? Slingshots with paintballs at targets.

 

We do rockets for ours.

 

Blast car demo ?

First aid?

 

Magic tricks demo where the scouts use explain demonstrate guide and enable to teach simple magic tricks

Human fooseball

 

Woggle making using patacord and knots like the turkshead

 

Since your boys just sit there like lumps of coal find something that is interesting to them and have them show others..

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