Boy Scout troop meetings are planned by the patrol leaders council and the scoutmaster. The meetings are held weekly, or every other week and are presided over by the senior patrol leader. Troop meetings provide time for friendships and bonding between patrols and by the boys within patrols. Innovative and engaging ideas make scouts look forward to the meetings as they learn the skills to earn merit badges and advance in rank.
The scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader start the meetings with opening ceremonies. Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Scout Oath are standard. Make announcements and read the last meeting's minutes using a funny accent and facial expressions. Set up a cartoon-illustrated notice board to avoid too many dull speeches. Fun activities and instructional presentations follow the opening. Employ different ideas to vary the meetings' content and keep them interesting. Good advance planning helps get more boys involved and raises the meetings' attendance levels.
Skills instruction presentations are the meat and potatoes of the troop meetings. These need not be humdrum and boring lectures given by older scouts to the younger boys. Interpatrol competitions add interest to learning by appealing to boys' competitive natures. When it comes to knot tying, have the boys compete to see who knows the most knots. Time the scouts as they tie complex knots to see who's the fastest. Use the knots to accomplish practical tasks. Give out snacks or treats as prizes.
Use games to keep the meeting moving along. Speak in codes or ciphers to foster a secret society mentality. Organize treasure hunts using Morse Code to give the clues. Draw elaborate maps. Devise secret passwords and handshakes. Learn and use bird calls, hand signals and sign language as a form of communication. Try semaphore using flags or burning torches. Miniature indoor Olympics and obstacle courses are a good way to get people out of their chairs and involved in the meeting.
Storytelling is a good way to impart knowledge between scouts. Make the stories instructional, but allow exaggeration and tall tales to make them more entertaining. Tell stories about troop history and recount tales of colorful past troop personalities. Spin stories about experiences at Boy Scout camp and share humorous anecdotes of previous meetings and unusual happenings at other scout functions. Invite guest speakers to give informative talks about subjects related to scouting.
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