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Lisabob

programs worth doing twice

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One of the things I love about this forum is getting new ideas for activities to do w/ the boys (and girls, as the case may be). So I'd like to know: what really great programs or activities has your unit done lately?

 

Ground Rules:

1. Program should be w/in the BSA (or GSUSA as the case may be) guidelines. Let's not get into sod surfing and paintball here!

2. Anybody - pack, troop, crew, team, ship, girl scouts, etc. - is invited to share their program. I hope I didn't leave anybody out of that description.

3. Let's try to avoid excessively nitpicking each other's ideas!

 

 

With that in mind: My son's troop did a CSI-themed campout earlier this spring where they teamed up w/ state and local law enforcement units to learn about various investigation techniques. They got to work with police dogs, a mobile forensics lab, and (this qualified as "kewl" according to my son) got to use night vision goggles and "follow" a "suspect" on a night chase/hike (really an orienteering exercise as much as anything else). They had several crime "scenarios" set up and they had to act as detectives.

 

Over the course of that month they also had opportunities to work on their fingerprinting and crime prevention mbs with a couple of members of the local and state police, who signed up as MB counselors. Several boys finished at least one of these and will be awarded the badges at their upcoming court of honor.

 

They used the property of a local Christian camp that serves disabled youth for this weekend and in exchange they are doing some service projects (clean up and some building) for the camp as it gets ready to open for the summer.

 

At their planning meeting recently the boys chose this campout as one to do again next year, with some minor variations to keep it fresh.

 

Oh, and they managed to get their pictures in the local paper at least twice for this - good publicity!

 

That's what's going on here. How 'bout you?

 

Lisa'bob

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OA induction weekends ... I have a passion at the moment to inculcate service as a lifetime habit. Even in Scouting, I see too many doing just enough service hours to get by.

 

OA induction overnight at Scout camp sessions. Ditto.

 

Locally, serving the Cub Pack with an end-of-year campfire meeting, where the Tribesmen of Mic-o-Say come out and help put on the show for the Pack, and get the "ooooh, aaah" effect from the 8, 9, and 10 year olds.

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The troop I serve is in heavy-duty rebuild mode so any program that reasonably resembles the planned agenda, holds the attention of the Scouts for the better part of the 90 minutes, and is more or less run by the Scouts is worth repeating!

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Great question (and much more useful than those political discussions). Similar threads have occured in the past. I love getting great ideas here.

 

Our biggest success was our Whitewater rafting trip on the New River in WV. The guys still talk about it nearly a year later. Whenever you do whitewater, you have to make sure you are tailoring it to the level of the scouts you have involved. We went on Class Vs, but later in season after they were a little calmer. We did not take any first year scouts and made sure all were good swimmers.

 

For younger guys, cave camping in the winter was lots of fun. We participated in a program in Indiana. In the wintertime, the cave is still a predictable temperature, which beats risking taking the younger guys out in bad weather.

 

When our district cancelled the camporee last year, our guys decided to put their own on, with patrols competing against each other. Lots of fun, patrol spirit and boy leadership. Simple, affordable and a great scout activity.

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Something that our Pack tried this year for the first time is having a Red Day for catching up (get it? Ketchup Day?). We had different stations set up, some w/ advancement activities that may have been missed during the regular course of events, some w/ beltloop stations, etc. We had a pretty high turn out, some rank was completed that day and several belt loops were earned. It does take some extra planning from the leaders, because they need to know who needs to do what, but ours went fairly smoothly for a first attempt. I definately would run it again next year.

 

YiS

Michelle

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Our unit has recently invested about $1600 in climbing and rappeling equipment. Harnesses, helmets, ropes, belay devices, etc. We have had at least 4 or 5 adult leaders get BSA training to run our climbing program. A few months ago we did our climbing campout at a wildlife refuge where the boys got to climb on actual rock instead of a tower. We had over 40 boys and probably 15 adults go. They had a blast, but due to the number of boys, it was difficult to get more than 2 or 3 climbs and rappels in per boy.

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Our final Pack Meeting was a big hit. The families got to go fishing or play games such as frisbee, catch, badminton, etc. Then we had a cook-out and the Pack Meeting. After that, the families who had chosen to camp overnight got to continue the activities until dark, at which time we had s'mores and fellowship around a campfire. One Mom later told us that her son, who is very shy and quiet, woke up twice during the night with a big smile on his face and told her, "I had SO much fun. I can't wait to do this again next year!" Needless to say, this will be a repeat, and we're hoping to do an early Fall Pack Camp-out in addition to our Spring one.

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Whitewater, caving and climbing at Ohiopyle SP (PA) and Gettysburg are two of the trips we redo every other year.

 

Every fall we hold a Wacky Olympiad patrol competition that includes 30 or so very odd events that challenge knowledge, skills, teamwork and bravery in unusual and fun ways.

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Without a doubt, white water trip in August is the favorite annual event. And, for some reason, the guys seem to look forward to our annual cold weather trip. Maybe it's because actually HAVING cold weather for the weekend scheduled is such a gamble around these parts.

 

Lisa'Bob - your CSI Themed campout sounds like a great idea. Mind if I share with the troop?

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With my Crew that two things that the kids are repeating or have repeated is the a weekend "cabin" camping in January, and the summer "Watersports" campout.

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One of our Packs activities that is a BIG hit with everyone, is our annual Halloween Haunted House Foodraiser.

 

Each Den plans, puts together & "haunts" & section of the Haunted House. Most of the Den meeting time in Oct is used for making props. The boys & their families love working in the Haunted House. The entry fee is an item for the Food Pantry so our church's Food Pantry ends up well stocked right before the holidays!

 

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The big summer hit for our Pack is the Cubs on Subs program.Parents and cubs traveled to the Bay Area.Not to long of a drive from here.Considering any where you go in Nevada is a bit of a drive.Anyway they all spent the night on the USS Pampanito a WWII Sub. It was great. This year the trip was opened up to the Troop and they will all be doing the Live Aboard Youth Program on the USS Hornet.The Troop boys will have the chance to work on the Aviation Merit Badge and also the Radio Merit Badge if they choose.Last year was such a big hit that the # of boys and Parents has doubled for this years trip.

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One of the things that holds our Sea Scout Ship back a little is me.

While I like to think that I'm good (OK maybe a little better than good. - Hows that for ego!!) At Scouting type outdoor skills. I don't have much know how when it comes to boats, sailing,and even basic Sea Scouting skills.

While other Sea Scout Ships and Sea Scouters have gone above and beyond to help the Ship and myself. I have to admit that when I read the Sea Scouting manual I found a lot of the material very dry.

Sure I seen that it was needed but I was over whelmed by it and this led to maybe me being a little scared of it, which led to me not looking beyond what was on the printed page and not looking for imaginative ways of getting the material off the page and into events that would hold the interest of the Scouts.

Throw in the fact that we started in November when there wasn't much opportunity to put the theory into practice.

We as a Ship found the Sea Scout Training weekend offered by Chesapeake Sea Scout Flotilla really useful. Not only for the training but also as a way of allowing our Sea Scouts to see that they belonged to a family of Sea Scouts.

I'm a little unsure why but it somehow seems that Sea Scouters and Sea Scouts seem to be more friendly and more willing to reach out and help each other than in the other program areas. Of course that might just be us. We are a friendly group who are not afraid to ask for help.

Chesapeake Sea Scout Flotilla holds Henry I. Nygard Regatta, sponsored by the National Capital Area Council Sea Scout Squadron held over Memorial Day Weekend each year tests the seamanship skills of Sea Scout Ships from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. Sea Scouts compete in: Life Ring Toss, Heaving Line, Navigation, Sailing, Bos'n Chairlift, Scuttlebutt, Canoeing, First Aid, Knots, Splicing, Pulling Boat, Drill, Inspection, Powder Monkey Race, Swimming, and Signaling.

We took the regatta boarding manual and the instructions for each event and used it for our weekly meetings.

This in it's own way gave us something to work toward.

Over the holiday we participated. The standard was very high. Some of the things that the other Ships could do in some of the events was just mind boggling.( I thought our Scouts were fast doing the Bos'n Chairlift in 24 Seconds, the team that won were under 15 seconds!)

What was really nice that even though it was a competitive event, the competition didn't prevent the Scouts from being Scouts. Even before events Scouts from other Ships were helping our Scouts, giving them pointers and helping them practice.

The even was very well organized.

The location and facilities were just great.

We did place in a couple of events but didn't come home with any trophies.

At the next Quarterdeck meeting I will find out if they want to return next year. So far every Scout I've spoken with has said that they had fun and can't wait to return.

Details of the event can be found at:

http://www.seascout.net/chesapeake/special_events/Regatta_Boarding_Manual_2005.pdf

Even if you never plan on attending, we found it a very useful tool in presenting the program to our Scouts.

Two weeks from now we off to Ohiopyle and then we travel to Georgia.

Eamonn.

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Once upon a time, Our UC organized a visit to the USS Constellation, a civilwar era sloop-of-war. Not a frigate, I won't go into the distinctions here. Berthed in the Baltimore harbor, the USS Constellation runs ovenight programs for Scouts, Cubs and school groups. You bunk down as a "powder monkey" or (adults) a "Landsman" and are signed on as a 1855 crewman. The accomodations are similar (hammocks or deck, biscuits and beef stew for dinner and since we're in port, some fresh fruit) to the period. The Quatermaster and Master at Arms takes no guff from landlubber conscripts. You work the rigging, run cannon( one is fired in the morning), stand night watch. After you are mustered out, the troop or pack can tour Fort McHenry, visit the Civil War sites in the area and the B&O Train Museum.

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