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How about throwing some ideas out to fun up otherwise mundane tasks. I am looking for things to do at Meetings that the boys will enjoy. Recently I had a knot relay race, the boys ran around to different stations, the knot for that station had to be tied correctly before they could run to the next station. Last camp, I grabbed their stove from their patrol box (before they woke up), left a message in place with coordinates. From one note to another they paced it off until they could find their stove and eat. Amazing how fast it can be done with hungry boys.


Since most of you have years and years of experience, there must be some meetings that really stand out that the boys really enjoyed.

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Last week we had a fish cleaning and gutting demo. The boys all loved the chance to pull out and hold fish guts for a few seconds. We got the fish dirt cheap from a local fishmarket when we told the guy what it was for.

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KISMIF is truly a wonderful idea. Fun is the fuel of Scouting. Fun will keep Scouts of all ages coming back for more. I feel sure that just about everyone will agree on that.

Over the years I have heard people change the wording to suit the point that they are trying to get across. Keep it simple make it fun, has become: Keep it secret make it fail!! I would add to the list; Keep it simple make it fresh.Knot relays are fun, but they tend to get over used. I found that keeping a record of each and every meeting and rating each activity helped me a lot. I kept a written log book which was a very important part of my Scoutmaster equipment. I had it with me at every PLC meeting and every troop meeting.

I also found that having each Patrol have their own Patrol Box made life a lot easier. The box had an assortment of stuff in it:

Tennis Balls at least one per Scout.

Ping Pong Balls.

Good quality rope in about eight foot lengths with the ends melted or whipped.


Pens, Paper and colored pencils (Markers dried out and the lids got lost.)


An extra copy of the Boy Scout Handbook.

Triangular Bandages and old neckerchiefs.

Duct Tape.


Empty Dish-washing bottles about six per Patrol depending on the size of the Patrol.

A Silva Compass.

As time passed more stuff was added.

As part of the inter-patrol competition the boxes were inspected.

When we first started with this the stuff was at times a real pain, bored Scouts would use the stuff when they were to be doing something else.

The Troop also had inside the meeting place a lot of what we called Games Equipment, balls, Scout stave's more rope. This tended to grow and take on a life of its own. In some Troops the Quartermaster tends to only have anything to do when the troop goes camping. Looking after the Games Equipment made sure that he was a busy Lad.

I know that you asked for ideas about making the mundane tasks more fun. I think that games are a very important part of what being a Scout is all about. While on the surface things might seem to be just fun activities and there is no harm in just doing something for fun!! If you try hard enough you can find some educational value in just about anything.

We had an agreement with the PLC that we would not play sports type games at Troop meetings. The Troop met on Friday night and we had a games night on Wednesday. This was in England, over on this side of the pond Basket Ball seems to be the game that most Lads will play if you leave them alone, back home it was Soccer. Our Lads would play indoor five-a-side soccer till the cows came home or I kicked them out of the hall.

When ever possible we would try out any new games with the PLC, we met on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

The Internet is a great place to find games. Troop Program Resources for Scout Troops and Varsity Teams(Supply No. 33588) has a good section on games. I use a lot of the ideas that John Sweet outlines in Scout Pioneering, it isn't published in the USA but is available from Scouts Canada for about $7.00 Canadian.

Almost any of the books by John Thurman who was the Gilwell Camp Chief in the 1950's can be used to liven up troop meetings if you scale them down a bit. These books do come up every now and then on E-bay and are available from Honor Publishing but they do tend to be a little bit pricey.

While I don't think that I have a vast knowledge about Lads of Scout age I have over the years found that some of the things that add to ordinary activities are. Water.Darkness and knowing that behind them angelic little smiles each and every Scout has a dark and dare I say an evil twin!! If we use this knowledge even the most humdrum activity can take on a new life. The Knot relay done in the dark (Scouts blindfolded? or just turn out the lights. Knot relay done outside not in uniform, Scouts bring swimming gear and when they reach the place where the knot is to be tied (A tarp) Member of another Patrol squirts water till knot is tied correctly. Knot relay where the knots are used to tie up ASM'S!!

Blindfolds add a lot to even the easiest tasks. Tent pitching where the Patrol is blindfolded and have to follow instructions from a Patrol leader who isn't allowed to move.

We need to allow our imagination run a little wild but not too wild safety is always number one.

Sometimes the best activities are the ones that go wrong. I have some very painful memories and I still get teased by the Scouts who were around for the worlds worst Knot Relay, one I didn't try out on the PLC. I was looking for a new slant and came up with the idea of not using rope. I decided that Pasta would replace the rope, after some research I found that Fetuchini, worked better than Spaghetti. When the time came I handed each Patrol a pound box of Fetuchini, a pot, and a small camping gaz stove. They were to cook the pasta and tie it into one long pasta rope using as many different Scout knots as they could. The winner was the first one with the longest "Rope" with extra points for each different knot used. All went well until we were just about done - Thats when the evil twin took over, one Lad thought it would be fun to put cold wet and by now dirty pasta down the back of another Lads shirt. The Lad who had been pasta ed returned the complement in a flash we had pasta all over the floor. It took what seemed for ever to clean up the mess and just to complete my misery about then our Group Scout Leader decided to look in.

It was a good idea - It just didn't work as well as I hoped.


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I am all for sports, in my hay day I played Soccer, Rugby, Cricket. I'm still a fairly good dart play.

#1 Son, is captain of his High School Soccer Team, is involved with track and has played Volley Ball on the Girls Volley Ball team. At NOAC last year he was part of the team that made it to the final four.

Nicky Plummer who went on to play professional Soccer for Chelsea and Leeds was a Scout from our troop.

Back home in the UK, we were very fortunate in having our own Scout Headquarters, which was known as the Hall. As well as offering a very active outdoor program the troop had a games night on Wednesday, Swimming on Thursday and the Troop meeting on Friday.

The PLC became aware that if we allowed the Soccer Balls to come out on the night of the Troop meeting trying to get back to doing Scouting type activities was really tough.

For as long as I can remember our Scout District held an indoor five-a-side soccer competition, a swimming gala, a cross country competition, an orienteering competition and a sports day held at the Hurlington Club. Cub Scouts had a weekly inter-pack soccer match. Which was great, many of the little fellows who might not have made on to the school soccer team got to play. Many a time I paid to watch Fulham Soccer Club play at Craven Cottage and they were so bad that I turned around to watch the little guys playing at Bishop's Park. That was when Fulham was a third division team and before Mohammed al Fayed bought the team and Jean Tigana a Frenchman became manager. Brian McBride, forward for Fulham (also with the US Mens National team)comes from the Cobra Soccer Club out of Cleveland, where I have been told he was a Boy Scout.

I in no way am suggesting that sports like Basket Ball and Soccer be eliminated, I am saying that there is a time and a place for everything. I coached soccer in our small town community league (Kids from age 6 -12) I used the time to work on soccer skills, many of the little Lads were also Cub Scouts, other than working on the odd belt loop and my knowing that they were in Scouting I seen what I was doing there as completely different than what I was doing with them in Scouting.

When I visit troops today, I know when I see the Scouts outside the meeting hall playing basket ball, that something is wrong with the program these Lads are being offered or in most cases there is no program. I suppose that having a group of Lads together doing something is better than not having them together doing nothing. Still I think we can do a lot better and we are not keeping all the promises that are made to our Scouts on page one of the Boy Scout Handbook.


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Good points. I agree that it is important that the scouting program does not to a back seat to anything. Scouts should not play football in place of working on advancement or getting the job done. Work first, then play.


The program has to be defined and backed when having sports a part of it. Our troop makes sure it plays one game each week during our meetings for the regular school year. This is not always something like basketball or dodgeball, many times its games of tag, steal the bacon and some games taken from some scout handbook. During the summer, and once every other month we have a meeting at the park or local gym, without uniform, where we play sports and only sports, most often then not Ultamite Frisbee (It was invented here in our local highschool!) We feel a mix of scout skills, work, scout games and sports helps keep the boys interested and frankly, our program tends to attract youth that is very very big in orginized sports. Most of our guys play varsity sports in high school and continue to play college sports.


Dont let sports replace anything in scouting. Its just another tool.

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You can take those fish before you gut them, roll them in the right kind of ink and then make fish prints on clean t-shirts. Sort of a personal memento of the event. Takes a bit of practice, though. Then while you're gutting the fish, the shirts can cure and you can wear them, smell and all, home.

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Our Troop always has a gathering time before meetings.I started thinking (being a jeopardy fan) this could be a game that could be used to review Scout skills.After a short time surfing i found a site that had just a game.www.danandsherree.com on the quick like for Boy Scouts you can find the game questions and all. I printed the questions. and the boys played it the next meeting and it was a hit. The boys set it up one patrol against the other.

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I coach a HS rugby team. I wonder why they do not have Youth Rugby as a Belt Loop/Pin option for Cubs. The IRB has a great flag/touch rugby system. I figure if they can have a program for Ultimate Frisbee, why not rugby.


That is actually another good idea for Scout Troops for something 'new'. Find a game that is not too common for your area like Rugby or Cricket and give it a go.

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Exactly. Have a sport thats your troops, make it a tradition. For us, Ultimate is part of our identity. Since i was 10 the troop would always have a disc at the ready and even if there wasnt a large enough field we could still do drills. Then, every year we went to summer camp we would challange the camp staff, its got to a point where the camp staff would look forward to our troop arriving to play us. It was an annual event. We challange any group we come across, especially rival troops in our area. Our alumni have gone on to play it in college and even coach it. Scouts reach first class they get an offical weight disc along with their patches.


But it doesnt have to be sports.


Here is another thing we do. We have the troop olympics. We do it on a long weekend, but it could be used at meetings.


There are a lot of events, some have to do with scouting some just plain sports. The events are broken down to Patrol events (The patrols compete against each other) and individual events where the scouts are broken into three levels A, B and C, determined by age and ability. Scores are tallied for the champs.


Some of the Patrol events are Tarp set up, Patrol cooking, relay races and frisbee games. Some of the solo events are races, a sled pull up a hill, a jerry jug toss, jerry jug hold up, frisbee long distance throw and a mattress lift. (This is my favorite to watch- two tables are set up about ten feet apart and single military mattresses are placed on one table. It starts with two. The scouts in turn have to pick up the mattress pile and transport them to the other table without dropping it. After everyone has a turn another mattress is added to the pile until each scout but one in each catagory of A,B or C has been eliminated.)


We have a trophey like the stanley cup that the winners' names are added. Its something everyone looks forward to.

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I take digital photo's - they always get stage presence when I do that. Got to look right.


to keep things fair you might allow a losing patrol to chose a Scout from a winning patrol for every goal scored. Goes each way of course. Everyone loses track of who started where and they just have fun.


You guys are very competitive. I try to avoid that - cooperation being more useful in my book.


For this reason I never play any recognised sport.




All Scouts have fairly equal abilities when playing and using unpracticed skills


less showing off


less boasting


less hogging the ball/bat etc


they don't worry so much about the score when trying to master a new skill. The object of play being fun and learning - not winning and losing.


I am not a sports coach - there are sports teams for that and if I, their parents or they wanted more sport - they would go and play a sport.


A new or different sport or skill I have no problem with at all - they are learning and probably there will be no stars showing off.


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I believe T487Scouter is looking for ways to make scoulike activities more fun. He used the 'missing' stove to practice orienteering. I think he is looking for other ways to incorporate scouing skills into games. I am a scout, and it is fun to play games every so often. Usually we play our traditional Key game, where a scout is blinfolded and put in the center of a circle of scouts. You put the biggest/clankiest set of keys under the chair and select scouts 1 at a time to rescue the keys without being pointed at.

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