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ItsBrian

How do you end your Troop meetings?

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I’m curious how other troops have their traditions.

In my troop we have a regular closing then a scoutmaster and SPL minute then “down the line”, where a scout can say anything Scout appropriate. We also have one scout day a saying that’s been passed down for about 6 years. (The scout who came up with it just made Eagle and passed it down to a new scout).

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9 hours ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

We circle up and sing vespers, joining hands right arm over left, and end with three shakes.

We also circle up joining hands right arm aver left then sing the first verse of Taps which are:  

Day is done, gone the sun,
 From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
 All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Then we say this short prayer.

Now may the great father of all good scouts be with us till we meet again Good Night.

 

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After SM minute and recap of upcoming dates, we say the outdoor code then retire flags and dismiss.

 

 

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I think its called the Scoutmaster's Benediction

"May the great Scoutmaster of all true Scouts be with us till we meet again."

It works well for us because it's non-denominational and is said by our troop Chaplain aide or the Scoutmaster when the Chaplain aide isn't there.

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Two troops I know of end with the above benediction, all within a circle. 

One troop has everyone in the circle; scouts, scouters, and everyone else that might be in the room. They are holding hands and pass the squeeze to go around the circle. Newbies are instructed before the proceedings about the squeeze. 

Another troop has their scouts do the benediction circled up in the dark with scouts only, adults staring into the darkness wherever they may be in the room. At the end the scouter in charge of the adult side, typically the SM, says "Goodnight scouts". They respond with a "Goodnight (sir or m'am)" and the lights come back on.  

 

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In our Webelos den, we gather everybody up and quiet them with our den shout followed silently by the Scout Sign. Then, if there are any that week, we pass out fliers, hand-outs, newsletters, etc. while I or another leader shares a brief thought or saying. Following that we retrieve the colors and have a closing prayer. At this point the meeting is considered over.

If there is a treat (which is only occassionally), these are distributed as they leave, and parents have time to come and ask me questions or bring up concerns while my assistant and I tidy up the room. Then I either check on the Troop in the adjacent room, or I walk the three blocks home. Den dismissed!

Edited by The Latin Scot

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17 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

In our Webelos den, we gather everybody up and quiet them with our den shout followed silently by the Scout Sign. Then, if there are any that week, we pass out fliers, hand-outs, newsletters, etc. while I or another leader shares a brief thought or saying. Following that we retrieve the colors and have a closing prayer. At this point the meeting is considered over.

If there is a treat (which is only occassionally), these are distributed as they leave, and parents have time to come and ask me questions or bring up concerns while my assistant and I tidy up the room. Then I either check on the Troop in the adjacent room, or I walk the three blocks home. Den dismissed!

I find these actions interesting. Your posts are usually well thought out and purposeful. Gifts I wish I had. I'm curious to what you are trying to teach your scouts with applying the scouts sign after the shout? My observation over the years is that the Scout Sign is misunderstood and over used, but I don't get that feeling here.

Barry

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Our SPL makes final announcements , we do a scout master minute then retire the flags

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

I find these actions interesting. Your posts are usually well thought out and purposeful. Gifts I wish I had. I'm curious to what you are trying to teach your scouts with applying the scouts sign after the shout? My observation over the years is that the Scout Sign is misunderstood and over used, but I don't get that feeling here.

Barry

Because I am working with a group of active 10 year-olds, three of whom have learning disabilities, I have to make my transitions clear and routine - consistency is one of the most important parts of my meetings (as much as a Cub Scout meeting can be consistent at least :rolleyes:). As we gather the boys up for closing (always with a 5 and 1 minute warning), the shout is used as a kind of "last chance" to vent their energy for the evening. It's a short, call and reply shout - I yell "Archers aim high!" to which they respond "Bull's eye!" (we are the Merry Archer den of course lol) - and it lets them feel, physically, like they are getting out that one last bit of enthusiasm. 

That is when we all make the sign as a clear indication that the time for activity is closed, and a time for listening has begun - the strong visual cue of the sign reminds them that we are making that transition to a different tone for the last few minutes, when I can share a thought with them and we can have a dignified closing flag ceremony and prayer without worrying about "the wiggles" making it difficult or inappropriately silly. That's what the two fingers of the Cub Scout sign represent - the ears of the wolf ready to listen to Akela (even if they are Webelos!). And when the boys are old enough to start preparing to enter the Troop, the three fingers of the Scout sign represent our three duties - which are manifest in respect during the final thought (duty to others), the flag ceremony and the prayer (duty to God and Country), and learning to control one's self (duty to self).

I try not to use the signs without purpose - they are important physical gestures which help boys grasp ideological concepts, and I remind the group of their meaning often so they don't become casual or complacent. But I do use them frequently, so that the lessons they are meant to impart have opportunities to sink in. Transitions are always a challenge for younger boys, but when the sign is used properly, the benefits go both ways - the sign helps the boys prepare to make an appropriate change in behavior, while the change of behavior it signals helps them understand the value and significance of the sign itself. 

Mind you - these are 10 year-old boys. Rarely does it go as smoothly as I describe, and the enlightenment I dream they will achieve is slow and rowdy in coming. But it comes eventually, and we have fun working to help make it happen. :D

Edited by The Latin Scot

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Good stuff. Our Scouts started the tradition where the Color Guard shouted something short  when they we commanded to "Present Colors". The yell was generally made up just before the meeting. Usually something like "LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY", "PANTHERS NEVER REST",  or something along those line. Not a big deal in the meetings, but pretty impressive when the troop performs the opening and closing at summer camps.

I've struggled over the years with adults and the scout sign. I have seen so many adults over use it to control the scouts when they are just being normal for their age. I have often seen adults punish behavior by holding the sign up well past controlling to the point of a form of abuse. I once saw that happen at an OA meeting. I'll bet that adult (at an OA meeting!) stood for at least two minutes holding up the sign and staring down every scout the room. I was ashamed to be an adult.

I taught our scouts, and Scouters at adult training,  and NYLT participants that the Hand Sign represents the Oath and Law. The Oath and Law are Servant Actions, not dictatorial directives. Or in one word, it says "Respect". It's a way of respecting the moment, whatever that moment is. It's mostly used to respect the group by paying attention. But it could be used to another of showing respect and for performance. 

We created a policy in our troop that adults are forbidden to raise the Scout Sign first in the presence of scouts. If they an adult presenter feels the need for more respect while trying to talk to the scouts, they walk over and request the group youth leader to get control. Or they can just wait. Often I would just wait for the leader to realize I needed a little more respect or quiet. The rule accomplishes a lot of things as well like adults never taking a leadership role over the scouts and the practice of patience with scouts. But it also forces overzealious adults from interfering with the boys program just because they are personally annoyed by level of disruption. 

Thanks for the explanation, I can't wait for you to become a troop leader. So much to experience, so much to share.

Barry

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12 hours ago, oldisnewagain1 said:

I think its called the Scoutmaster's Benediction

"May the great Scoutmaster of all true Scouts be with us till we meet again."

It works well for us because it's non-denominational and is said by our troop Chaplain aide or the Scoutmaster when the Chaplain aide isn't there.

We say the same thing and have been for 6 years.

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