THE INGREDIENTS OF THE TROOP MEETINGSCOUTCRAFT INSTRUCTION-By this we mean the introduction of some Scoutcraft that will help each Scout to become better prepared. If you use the idea of planning the program of your Troop around a monthly theme, this presentation will, of course, cover the skill you are concentrating on at the time. This part of the meeting may be put on in several ways:
SCOUTCRAFT PRACTICE-The actual use during the Troop meeting of some Scouting knowledge, for practice in the subject, or for testing. This, too, will be based on the "theme of the month."
FUN-Different program features that will add variety to the meeting and will help to build Troop spirit and enthusiasm:
INSPIRATION-Various means of keeping the ideals of Scouting before the boys in a natural manner:
ADMINISTRATION-Business matters will have to be looked after, but keep the time spent on them at a minimum.
Planning the Details
When the skeleton of the Troop's meetings is once determined, it becomes comparatively simple to lay out the details of each individual meeting. While the program for the month as a whole is planned at the monthly meeting of the Patrol Leaders' Council, the plans for the Troop meeting immediately ahead are best checked at the short get-together of the leaders after each meeting is adjourned.
1. The leaders have the meeting just finished freshly in mind.
2. There may have been weak spots in the meeting that need to be corrected in the future, or good points worth following up.
3. All the leaders are present so that responsibilities for the next meeting may be assigned or volunteered for, and arrangements made for having necessary equipment on hand.
4. Patrol Leaders may get further suggestions for tying the activities of their Patrols in with the Troop activities.
The Senior Patrol Leader, as usual, is in the chair for this planning get-together. He has before him the Troop meeting skeleton, and the general program for the month. Now the specific meeting details are decided.
What ceremonies for the next meeting? What business do we have to cover? Is everything in readiness for the Scoutcraft presentation? What Scoutcraft games and projects? What Patrol corner activities? What fun games? What songs for the camp fire session? [See Philmont Songbook]. Put the details down on paper in a suitable arrangement:
Who will lead what? Some responsibilities are routine, such as: The Senior Patrol Leader in general charge of the meeting; the Scribe reading the accounts of the last hike from the Troop log book, handling dues and attendance, and so on. Other leaders and Explorers may receive special jobs for the meeting: One Assistant Scoutmaster will make the inspection and check on the month's advancement; the other will see how the decoration of the Patrol corners is coming along; the Beaver Patrol will put on the traction splint first aid demonstration; one Junior Assistant will handle the Bandage Relay and the Tourniquet Race, another will take Horse and Rider and British Bulldog. And so it goes. Put the leaders names down on paper next to their subject. (See sample Troop Meeting Program, above).
Many Troops rotate special duties among the Patrols: The Patrol which is the Service Patrol arrives early; puts room in shape; starts the fire, if necessary; has material ready for games; is the last Patrol to leave after tidying up the room. The Patrol that has the job of being the Program Patrol is in charge of opening and closing ceremonies; of the "council fire" period with its songs and stunts, and of the Scoutcraft demonstration of the evening. These duties may be assigned on a monthly basis or from one meeting to the next. Put the names of the duty Patrols down and make sure the Patrols know what is expected of them.
With everything planned in advance, the Troop meeting should run off without a hitch.
Keep your old Troop meeting programs on file. In this way you will have on hand a list of good things which have been tried in the post and which have worked -games and projects requiring little preparation. They may come In handy some evening in a dull spot, when the program planned seems to slip.
The Scoutmaster's Part
You may get a questioning glance from the Senior Patrol Leader, that plainly says "Is the game dragging?", which you may answer with a slight nod: "Better shift, Joe."
A Junior Assistant may come to you: "Bob couldn't be here tonight. Will you be one of the judges in the relay?"
You may spend some of the time examining a new boy in his Tenderfoot requirements.
You may have occasion to say at the close of the meeting: "You did a swell job tonight, fellows!"
And you may catch yourself feeling good all over for the way in which the boy leaders run the Troop!
The Ideal Troop Meeting
The ideal Troop meeting-like the ideal after-dinner speech-is one that runs smoothly and is truly informal. But just as the successful "improvised" speech is the one that has been carefully planned, so the really informal Troop meeting is one in which the informality has been carefully thought out.
Don't be discouraged because every detail doesn't click as was expected. A meeting that looks perfect on paper may not quite work out that way, because boys are, at times, something less than predictable. But, just as often, a meeting will turn out to be infinitely better than it looked on paper-so it more than evens up.
Just keep working and hoping. Some day your Patrol Leaders' Council ... will devise a program for the Troop meeting that will work 100 per cent ... maybe!
THE PROGRESS OF THE TROOP MEETING
In the following pages you will find a great variety of suggestions from which your Patrol Leaders' Council can select the features that will best suit your Troop.
Well, let's say it's Troop meeting night tonight, and let's see what may happen:
See: Before Opening
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Last modified: August 20, 2012.