Boy scout meeting ideas

Like Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together” and I think planning is an important skill, but the repetition of the same plan, over and over again, can wear a rut in the floor.

Somewhere in the dim, dark past the Troop meeting plan was created; preopening 10 minutes, opening 5 minutes, instruction 20 minutes, patrol meeting 20 minutes, game 20 minutes, closing 5 minutes.

There’s a lot Scouts can get out of meetings that follow a predictable plan, but there’s also room for breaking the mold now and again. Breakout meetings can be just for fun, but any savvy group of Scouts can build in lots of skill-based elements to help Scouts advance.

With a little imagination your Patrol Leader’s council can plan something new, here’s a few ideas;

Trek Meetings
Get out and about! If your regular meeting place isn’t ideally situated for a trek think about using a local park or other open location.

Challenge Trail
Patrols begin at the meeting place and follow a map that takes them to different destinations where an activity is planned (a skill demonstration, game, or challenge) and loops back to the meeting place.

Scavenger Trail
Patrols are given a list of locations and or objects to find in the area around the meeting place. They can take a snapshot of the item or answer a descriptive question to prove they’ve found it.

Man Hunt
Several people have become lost in the neighborhood of the meeting place. Here’s where they were last seen, what they were wearing and what they were doing, the patrol who rescues them (a couple may need to be carried on a stretcher!) wins.

Covert Operations
Your Patrol must arrive at the rendezvous point marked on this map in 30 minutes without being detected by the agents dispersed throughout the area.You loose ten points each time an agent detects and photographs your patrol. The agents are equipped with cameras, and report to the rendezvous point in 30 minutes to tally the score for the winning patrol.

Beat the Clock
A race to move your patrol (with their backpacks, a stretcher or what have you) from point A on the map to point B.

Maker Meetings
Set aside the whole meeting time to make something useful or something fun. The choices are endless but here are a few suggestions:

1. Paracord bracelets or neckerchief slides.
2. Fire starters
3. Kites
4. Pioneering projects
5. Hiking Sticks
6. First aid/survival kits.

Build fires and cook dinner, end with a campfire program.

Parent’s Open House
Each patrol prepares a couple of demonstrations, games or events that parent’s can participate in.

Inter-Patrol Scoutmaster’s Challenge
Every so often we dedicate one Troop meeting to an Inter-Patrol Scoutmaster’s Challenge; an evening of skill, spirit and leadership competition. Here’s the details.

Do those ideas get the wheels turning? At your next patrol leader’s council meeting ask the Scouts what ideas they have for getting out of the troop meeting rut.

Let me know what they come up with, and share your ideas in the comments below. Caution: once you start breaking the mold, you may never get back in!


Boy Scout Meeting Ideas to Get Your Troop in Gear

Tim Ahern | April 19, 2017

Do your scouts ever seem less than excited about your meeting? As a leader you have a lot of logistics to go through – updates on their next fundraiser, for example. Once you get through the fun stuff, they may start to tune out your voice for the rest of the meeting.

In order to keep them excited, try a few ideas for keeping your boy scout meetings engaging!

Try Fresh Games

It’s tempting to save the games for the beginning of your meeting – to get them excited – or end of your meeting – as a reward for their listening. However, if your troop is tuning you out when you get to the logistics section of the meeting, try interspersing games throughout. That way, you keep your scouts on their toes and they may not have a chance to zone out. Troop Program Resources brainstormed quite a few awesome game ideas. Find activities that will help them work on their skills for…

  • Compass Work
  • First Aid
  • The General Outdoors
  • Knot Tying
  • Lashing

Switch up Location

Do you keep your troop’s location the same each and every time? Try going on a walk for one meeting or taking the boys out for pizza. If they all listen up through the whole meeting, they get dessert!

Create a Challenge trail

Make your meeting more interactive by creating an activity in each room of your meeting location. At the start of your meeting after everyone has arrived, Scoutmaster CG recommends that you hand your troop members a “map that takes them to different destinations where an activity is planned (a skill demonstration, game, or challenge) and loops back to the meeting place.” If you have some more dry information you must cover with the troop, try presenting it at one of the more exciting destinations so they’re fully present.

Stage A rescue

If you have multiple leaders, start the meeting by announcing one of you is missing and needs a rescue! Set up hints along the journey. Once they found their leader, he can talk through any less-exciting information you have to cover.


Before your next meeting, tell the scouts that you have some business to cover and they really need to pay attention. Tell them if you can tell they’ve listened, they’ll get a “maker meeting” the next week. That simply means the entire meeting can be devoted to a project – one that will basically give the scouts a new tool! A maker meeting can entail,

  • “Paracord bracelets or neckerchief slides.
  • Fire starters
  • Kites
  • Pioneering projects
  • Hiking Sticks
  • First aid/survival kits.” – Incentive ideas from Scoutmaster CG

We hope this helps you plan events for your upcoming meeting and can work to get your boy scouts excited about fundraising!

Planning your boy scout fundraiser?

Troop Leader Resources for a Great Troop Meeting

After you’ve been a Scoutmaster a few months and are using Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews, you get into a groove and can deliver a good program. It’s about then you realize you are doing what the boys should be doing, at least when it comes to planning and running troop meetings.

The key, of course, is trusting them to lead, helping them understand expectations, teaching the doctrine and then training them how to take the lead (so you can feel that trust) . A great place to begin is the Introduction to Leadership skills for Troops course but a more immediate solution is to get them into this great new website: Troop Leader Resources. They explain this on the site:

“It’s been said that the weekly troop meeting is the glue that holds your troop together. From beginning to end, there should always be something happening creating a focus, capturing and maintaining your Scouts’ attention, and providing the grounds for rewarding experiences. There should be a period set aside to learn new things that are useful and relevant, moments that are amusing and entertaining, and opportunities to put skills into action in ways that are challenging and fun. Troop members should leave the meeting feeling invigorated, feeling good about Scouting, and feeling good about themselves.”

When I was a Scoutmaster, I’d have each boy with a part in the troop meeting come by, and my wife and I would coach them. Now, when I train boys, I like to use this site. You can teach youth to lead by letting them watch other youth. I especially like how they break things down for your Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leader’s Council to learn:

Preopening Activity Opening Ceremony Group Instruction Skills Instruction
Breakout Groups Activity Leader’s Minute Closing Ceremony

Key to making this happen is planning and preparation. The Patrol Leaders’ Council will find the Troop Meeting Planning Sheet to be an invaluable tool to keep the meeting organized and productive, and Program Features along with the Troop Program Resources website will serve as a useful source of specific troop meeting, program ideas.

If you’d rather show them the whole meeting from beginning to end, then click this:

After you get them to run the meetings, you will have more time to be with them. Adult advisers should give serious and continued thought on how to facilitate strong, genuine relationships between each boy and one or more adults, not on what the next activity is.

Being with your deacons implies that we put time into these assignments, faithfully attending every activity. It is our love, confidence, encouragement and personal testimony that we want to expose them to, as well as, our experience and expertise.

Remember, if you camp, hike or hold a troop meeting, you must find a way to connect them with heaven. The purpose of everything we do is to help a young man develop a relationship with his Heavenly Father and the Savior.

Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He become a Scoutmaster at 26 which lead him to discover the value of the Scouting program.

Troop Meeting Activities – Games & Challenges

As Scout leaders, an important objective is to ensure Scout meetings are fun with positive outcomes. This compilation of Scouting activities is made up of challenges and games which can be incorporated into troop meetings to help satisfy that objective.

An individual Scout, a patrol, or an entire troop can purposely enter into a situation that tests their abilities. In so doing, they’re accepting a challenge! The goal is to successfully complete the challenge in the best possible way. Accepting and completing a worthwhile challenge can be fun, in and of itself.

Under certain circumstances, by adding an element of competition, a challenge can become a Scout game. Many of the activities in this compilation are straightforward games where patrols play against patrols, or troop teams play against troop teams. Keeping score, awarding points, and/or pronouncing one patrol or team a winner is optional.

When properly and appropriately presented, a Scouting activity should contribute to making Scout meetings fun. Good fun can be considered a positive outcome. Underscoring the desirability and advantages of an activity is its ability to produce additional positive outcomes where Scouts:

  • reinforce acquired skills by putting them into action
  • exercise their resourcefulness
  • exemplify teamwork
  • share responsibility
  • experience a sense of belonging
  • nurture their self-esteem
  • feel successful
  • learn a life lesson

Effective Scout meeting activities provide the grounds for both fun and learning. Even when specific Scout skills aren’t coming into play, there’s always an opportunity to participate cheerfully while fostering good sportsmanship. As often as possible, Scouts should come away from a meeting feeling happy, invigorated—feeling good about Scouting, and good about themselves. View: PUTTING SKILLS INTO ACTION VIDEO

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Leading a Girl Scout* troop can be a rewarding experience. When you’re a troop leader, you have the opportunity to teach girls important life-lessons, share fun times with your daughter, and you can learn new things. These are just a few of the perks that come with being a Girl Scout* leader. But how are you supposed to balance it all?

Like many leaders, you might have a demanding work schedule or feel consumed by other commitments. Whether you’re a current Girl Scout* leader, or just considering the idea, there are activities that you can pull together last-minute or will require little prep time. These easy meeting and learning activities will save you time and create an enriching experience for your troop.

The key to balancing a busy schedule and your Girl Scout* troop is to choose time-saving activities for meetings. Here are some activities that you can pull together last-minute and/or require little to no prep work:

Make your own journals

Journaling is a great way to teach young women and girls about the importance of feelings and self-awareness. It is also an activity that is easy to pull together last-minute. All you need is a stack of notebooks that have never been used and pens or pencils. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your scouts how to identify their feelings

Cyberbullying crossword puzzle

As younger generations are becoming more tech-savvy, it’s important to teach them about cyberbullying. It’s become much easier for kids to bully one another online. Teach your scouts how to use the internet responsibly. Once you’ve discussed the facts about cyberbullying, you can test their knowledge with this fun crossword worksheet from the Cyberbullying Research Center.

Meet with first responders

First responders such as police officers, firefighters, and medical personnel are happy to teach others essential tips on safety! Additionally, meeting with first responders will allow your scouts to explore different career options by learning from those already in the field.

Learn the basics of yoga

Yoga is a great method to de-stress and stay fit. Guide a yoga session with very basic stretches that your scouts can use at home. Additionally, you can talk about mindfulness to compliment your yoga session. This is an excellent way for you and your scouts to take a moment to pause, breathe, and engage in healthy activity. Additionally, you might inspire your scouts to teach their family and friends some of the basic yoga poses you show them.

Color for a cause

Scouts can boost their self-esteem when they help others. A great last-minute meeting activity is to have your scouts color for a cause, such as Color A Smile; an organization that distributes cheerful drawings to senior citizens, military troops, and anyone in need of a smile. No expensive materials needed. All you need to do is print the pre-made coloring pages and gather basic coloring utensils such as crayons or markers.

Help our environment

Our Environmental Patch Program® and Animal Welfare Patch Program® is abundant in resources that will help guide your scouts through activities that improve the environment and help our animal friends. No matter the age range or size of your group, we provide you with easy-to-access activities that will teach your scouts new skills and build confidence while working on a worthwhile cause.

These are just a few easy and last-minute meeting and activity ideas that will help you save time while providing an enriching experience for your scouts. Interested in seeing how our program can make life a bit easier as a Girl Scout* leader? Check out our organized activities in the Youth Squad Community Service Program.

* and MakingFriends®.com are not affiliated with, endorsed by or a licensee of Girl Scouts of the USA.

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30 Boy Scout and Girl Scout Game Ideas

Resources / Groups & Clubs / 30 Boy Scout and Girl Scout Game Ideas

A group of kids, young or old, can always be re-energized with a fun activity or game. Try one of these unique games, perfect for scouts of ANY age!

Daisies and Tiger Cubs (Ages 5-7):

  1. Introduction penny bingo. Print out bingo boards on a piece of paper. Have participants walk around the room and get signatures on each bingo square. Put their names in a hat and play bingo, as you would with numbers. Use pennies to cover the bingo boards.
  2. Laser beam streamers. Find a small room and tape streamers from one end to the other. Position them high, low, and crisscrossed. Pretend the steamers are laser beams. To win a prize, participants must get to other side without touching or ripping streamers.
  3. Garbage guy. Split into pairs and give everyone a garbage bag, a pair of tongs and a particular zone. Clean up a yard, church or school. Talk about being good stewards of the earth. Give an award for most garbage collected.
  4. Nature hunt. Give participants a list of items to collect in a bag from an outdoor area. Show examples of items beforehand. Maple leaf, elm leaf, pine needle, holly leaf, berry, pinecone, gumball, wild onion, clover flower. The first person who completes the list wins.
  5. Freeze dance. Turn up the music and dance. Stop the music and freeze in place. Hold that position for a couple seconds and then turn the music back on. Repeat. This is a great activity to get energy out in the beginning, or kill time at the end! The silliest position wins.
  6. Cake walk. Tape as many numbers to the floor as you have kids in the group. Write those numbers on strips of paper and put them in a bag. Turn on the music and walk in a circle. After a few seconds, stop the music and have participants stop on the number closest to his/her foot. Pick a number from the bag, and the person standing on that number is out. Repeat until you have one person left, the winner! The prize can be anything: cake, doughnut, piece of candy, trinket.
  7. Scrapbook. Print out 3-4 pictures for each participant highlighting the past year’s scouting activities. Provide art supplies and construction paper or cardstock. Decorate each page, punch holes in the corners, and tie some yarn through the holes to bind it together. Design stickers to award for silliest, most creative, or beautiful page.

Use SignUpGenius to create snack schedule sign ups! SAMPLE

  1. Limbo. Download a beach music playlist and use a swimming noodle as the limbo stick. Line up and take turns going under the noodle to music. Get creative and call out crab walk, crawl, dance under, forward bend, and limbo. As stick gets lower, do the limbo only. A winner is determined by who can limbo under the pole at its lowest point, without touching the ground.
  2. Drawing puzzle. Go outside and draw something in nature on a large piece of paper. Participants color and decorate, then cut paper into 12 puzzle pieces. Swap puzzles and assemble. The first person done wins. Provide a sample to demonstrate.
  3. Floor memory game. Cut out or draw 12 matching pictures or words (for a total of 24 pages): tree, flower, earth, cloud, leaf, bird, fire, recycling symbol, bear, deer, rabbit, hiking sign. Spread the pages on the floor, blank side up. Older children can turn over two at a time and then flip back to the blank side, repeating until all pages are matched. Use a stopwatch to see who does this in the least amount of time. Young children may leave pages turned over as they play, taking turns collecting matches as a group. Time the activity and see if you can improve each round.

Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, Cubs, Boy Scouts (Ages 8 & up):

  1. Photo booth. Provide silly props and an old sheet as a backdrop. Participants draw scenery on the sheet. Use your phone and take pictures of the kids. Email them to mom and dad.
  2. Sentence scramble. Select a motto, like the Girl Scout Promise. Write a sentence on paper and cut words into separate pieces. Place in a bag and each participant selects a word. Group the participants by how many words are in the sentence. The first group who lines up left to right in correct order of the sentence wins. It’s a great way to hammer in a concept like: “Cub Scouts are Good Stewards of the Earth.”
  3. Minute to Win It games. Minute to Win It Games are popular and many versions are available. “Junk in the Trunk” is a fun one. Thread a belt or long piece of fabric through the bottom of an empty tissue box. Reinforce those holes with duct tape. Put eight ping pong balls in the tissue box. Participants strap on the box and try to get the ping pong balls out of the tissue slot in less than a minute, without doing flips or lying down. Use a stopwatch. Make two boxes and race.
  4. Tic Tac Toe trivia. Write a list of trivia questions about previous lessons. Split into two groups. Group members collaborate on each question, with a designated spokesperson announcing the answer. A wrong answer means the question goes to the other group. A right answer means the group gets to put an “X” or “O” on the Tic Tac Toe board. The group who wins Tic Tac Toe wins the game.
  5. Fashion Show. Ask participants to bring their favorite American Girl doll, Barbie doll, or stuffed animal. Provide boxes of Aluminum Foil and have each participant make an outfit for her doll. (Trust us! Aluminum Foil TOTALLY works). Show them a sample beforehand. Host a fashion show at the end and give every “doll” an award: Most creative, sporty, pretty, fancy, casual, and unique.

Invite parents to help with your meetings! Schedule volunteers with a sign up. SAMPLE

  1. Remote Control Car Race. Ask participants to bring remote control cars. Draw a road on your driveway with sidewalk chalk. Set up plastic cups or cones along the course. The fastest or cleanest “run” wins.
  2. Capture the flag. Best played at night with older teens. Divide into two teams and pick geographical zones for each team divided by a path, stream or long piece of rope. Each team places its flag within their zone. Participants sneak into the other zone, trying to capture the other team’s flag and return it to their own zone. Players tag intruders and send them to “jail.” You may choose Nerf or squirt guns to tag. There are many variations of this game.
  3. Kick the can. Fun to play at dusk. Place a can in middle of the play area. The person who is “it” counts while people hide. When “it” finds and tags a player, that player goes to “jail,” a designated area near the can. Anyone who is not “it,” or anyone who has not been tagged, may sneak up and kick the can, thus releasing prisoners from the jail. If “it” can get everyone in jail, a new person is designated as “it,” usually the person who has been in jail the longest. Variations of this game exist.
  4. Night Sky. Print out a constellation map for your geographic location and time of year. Participants lie on their backs and draw the nighttime sky on a piece of paper/clipboard, highlighting and labeling the constellations. A strong effort on this activity gets double the normal amount of S’mores at the campfire!

Having a big campout? Use SignUpGenius to organize all of your troop needs for the campout. SAMPLE

  1. Birding. Spice up an ordinary hike! Ask participants to bring a pair of binoculars. Review pictures of birds native to the area. Identify as many birds as possible along the way. The player who identifies the most birds wins. Bring a “birder,” aka “birding expert,” along for the hike!
  2. Nighttime hike. For older teens only. Take a hike after-dark. Have hikers turn off the flashlights for awhile to experience the darkness. Give a surprise award at the end to the person who showed a quality like: bravery, sacrifice, or citizenship. (Note: It is best to talk about rules before leaving camp and post a chaperone at the beginning, middle, and end of the line.)
  3. Flashlight tag. Armed with a flashlight, the person who is “it” stands by the “jail” and waits for everyone to hide. The “it” flashlight remains on at all times. When “it” shines the flashlight on someone and calls out his/her name, that person goes to jail. That person can then become “it,” or they can wait in jail until everyone is caught. Play this game in reflective clothing/orange or camouflage. Discuss safe hiking/hunting practices or guerilla warfare, depending on your group, LOL. Variations of this game exist.
  4. Catch and release fireflies. Hand out plastic containers with lids. Kids run around and gently see how many they can catch. Clear plastic containers light up better, but make do with what you have on hand. This one is just for fun. No prize needed!
  5. Head bands. This game is sold in stores, but you can make your own. Write out words on pieces of paper and tape one to each participant’s head: maple tree, snake, hydrate, canteen, and backpack. Participants mingle around room and ask yes/no questions to figure out the word. First person to figure out his/her word wins.
  6. Squirt gun war. Hot summer day required! Supply squirt guns and large “re-loading” bins full of water in the yard. In winter, squirt guns could be replaced with silly string or Nerf guns. No prize needed, just have fun!
  7. Teach a craft, game, or survival skill. Ask two scouts to teach a favorite craft, game, or survival skill at the next meeting.

Plan a service project or fundraiser easily. SAMPLE

  1. Photo scavenger hike. Go on a hike and have each participant bring a phone, camera, or tablet. Provide a list of items to find: mushroom, centipede, cardinal, worm, lichen, buttercup. If safe and possible, take a selfie photo next to each item! All participants with a completed album get a prize.
  2. Make a public service announcement (PSA). Using a cell phone or tablet, divide into groups and produce a PSA about a topic of concern and write out a plan on how you would use or distribute it. Give awards for silliest, creative, persuasive. (Note: Get parental permission first before sharing these publicly!)
  3. Make a commercial. Need to sell Girl Scout Cookies or Christmas trees? Using a cell phone or tablet, produce a video with a “sales pitch.” Email it to family and friends if the group agrees! Get parental permission first. Give awards for silliest, creative, persuasive.
  4. Pin the National Park on the State. Show a video or movie about the national parks. Put a map on the wall. Give each person slips of paper with a different national park on each one. Take turns placing each park on the right state. The winner is the person who gets the most right!

With these great ideas, you’ll never have a scout meeting without a healthy does of FUN! Enjoy!

Emily Mathias is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC

Posted by Emily Mathias

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Posted by Sandra Davis on Mon Oct 7, 2019 7:55 PM EST
Thank you. We have so needed this. As a small BSA Troop we do not always have access to volunteers or money to come up with ideas that we can carry out. I can’t wait to try out some of yours listed here.

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I want you Patrol Leaders to go on and train your Patrols in future entirely yourselves, because it is possible for you to get hold of each boy in your Patrol and make a good fellow of him (Baden-Powell).

The regular meeting of members of a Patrol under the leadership of their Patrol Leader is one of the most important features of the Patrol System. Patrol meetings provide natural settings for the boy “gang” to operate under its own leader. The more closely the boys in a Patrol are allied, the more natural it will be for them to meet together.

Real Scouting is done in the Patrol – real from the boys’ point of view because they are doing it by themselves; and real from the Scouters’ point of view because it is through this method that the Movement endeavours to achieve its Aim.

Troop meetings are simply the meeting together of Patrols for combined operations, and it has been said that one well-run Patrol activity is worth two Troop activities.

For Patrol meetings to be successful from the boys’ point of view they must be fun, and that usually means doing what the “gang” wants to do at any particular time. Thus, if Patrol meetings are to achieve their immediate purpose, namely helping boys with their personal progress and preparing the Patrol for combined operations at Troop meetings, these two ideas must be combined. If Patrol meetings merely consist of tying knots in a corner or drawing compass cards on pieces of paper, interest will fade very quickly. Patrol Leaders must use their imagination to ensure that Patrol meeting programmes present attractive activities for the boys.


This is where you will have to give special guidance to your Patrol Leaders. Patrol Leaders will get many ideas from the activities they have with the Arrow Patrol.

Ideally, Patrol meetings should be held once a week and normally last from one to one and a half hours. Where, for some good reason, this cannot be the case, one of the following arrangements should be adopted:

  1. Alternate Patrol meetings and Troop meetings
  2. Three weekly Patrol meetings followed by a monthly Troop meeting
  3. A period of at least half an hour set aside during Troop meeting for Patrol meeting, planned and executed by the Patrol Leaders. (See page 41 The Troop Scouters Handbook.)

They probably will be held in the Patrol Den, although the type of activity may dictate the place. Apart from an opening and closing ceremony, which each Patrol should be encouraged to develop for itself, the content of the meeting is likely to vary considerably from week to week, although a short period should be set aside at each meeting for Patrol-in-Council to discuss planning. These Patrol meetings should provide opportunities for each member to exercise his special responsibility – and a wise Patrol Leader will see that some of the members contribute something to every programme. Patrols should be encouraged to keep a record of attendance at Patrol meetings and if Patrol dues are collected, proper records must be maintained.

In Troops where, for one reason or another, the boys in a Patrol are not very closely allied, it may be necessary to have rather a special type of Patrol meetings to begin with in order to give them a feeling of belonging and wanting to do things together. For instance, if they all enjoy swimming, it may be a good idea to organize a couple of Patrol swim meetings and perhaps some artificial respiration or lifeline throwing could be included as a related side activity. It is important that the boys develop a team spirit, as Patrol meetings are not likely to be very successful until this happens. The discovery of what they want to do will most likely come as a result of discussion by Patrol-in-Council.

As Patrol Leader of the Arrow Patrol, you must be sure to provide a variety of types of programme for training meetings, so the Patrol Leaders gain plenty of ideas and an understanding of the different types of meetings possible. It is important to explain that, because of their age and experience, activities at Arrow Patrol meetings will likely take far less time than they will in their own Patrol meetings. Therefore, the programme of an Arrow Patrol meeting will probably provide sufficient material for two or even three ordinary Patrol meetings. Many of the training activities at Arrow Patrol meetings will be in preparation for the future Troop activities. You and your Assistants will prepare and train the Patrol Leaders for these activities and they will work on the skills to attain some measure of efficiency. In the learning process they will gather how to instruct and discover interesting activities involving the skills they are learning. All this they will pass on to their Patrols, tinted with the colour of their own personalities and imaginations, and adapted to the interest of their own Patrols.

Arrow Patrol meetings may be held after Troop meetings and before Court of Honour meetings, say for half an hour – or, one hour every two weeks – or one evening a month, whichever is most convenient. It is the practice in some Troops to train the Patrol Leaders for half an hour during Troop meetings, leaving the Patrols in charge of Seconds. It is not necessary for Arrow Patrol meetings to be as long as ordinary Patrol meetings, and obviously it is important not to be too demanding of Patrol Leaders’ time.

The success of Patrol meetings in a Troop will depend almost entirely on the opportunities, training and enthusiasm brought to meetings of the Arrow Patrol by you and your Assistants.

Here are some suggestions for simple Patrol meetings. They are in no way connected and no attempt has been made to provide a time schedule.


1 Patrol-in-Council decide plans for Patrol’s part in Troop wide game. Patrol Leader and Second teach the Butterfly Knot to other members. Test knots by throwing rope over beam and hauling each boy up in his own loop. Stage an accident – one boy’s finger caught between rope and beam – get Patrol to take necessary action; Patrol First Aider sums up. Go out and look at the stars. Find the Pole Star and try to tell the time by the star clock.

2. Work on the Den – make new Patrol Progress Chart

repair knot board

paint bulletin board

clean out Patrol box

while working, play phonograph records of songs and try to find some suitable for campfire.

Patrol-in-Council to discuss:

more furnishings for the den and some new books for the library

what to do next week

Mother’s Day Good Turn at home.

3. Instruction by Dad on how to make Pack Board, explaining type of wood, tools required and how to use the plans. Each boy to prepare wood for the first stage at home and bring to the next meeting for checking and advice on the second stage. Spread a blanket on the floor and do some Indian wrestling. Some instructions on map reading by the Patrol Hikemaster related to the route the Patrol will take on the next Troop hike. Patrol-in-Council to decide other details of the hike.

4. Patrol-in-Council to discuss:

Patrol’s poor performance at last Troop meetings

work out plan of advancement for each boy and set targets.

Patrol Leader gives a yarn on courtesy as he feels this is another reason why Patrol is not working well.

Patrol Second thinks Patrol is in poor physical shape and suggests some setting up exercises to be done regularly. While each boy takes his personal measurements – height, chest expansion, bicep, length of span, etc., Second draws up record chart. Members practise exercises and record performance; measurements and records to be checked every two weeks at Patrol meetings.

Play Jenkin’s Kim’s game; each boy produces a small object in each hand which he shows. After a minute the Patrol Leader calls ‘away’, hands are clenched and put out of sight. Patrol Leader then calls upon the boy to say what David has in his right hand. If he can give the right answer he asks someone else the next question – and so on.

Perhaps the thought for tonight’s prayer could be to ask God to help the Patrol to be more thoughtful of others.


1 Meet at the bridge over the creek.

Float a piece of wood under the bridge, time it and calculate the flow of water. Take samples of water and let settle in the Den for a week then analyze the contents. Go down the creek a little way to the rocky area and have a ‘boat race’. Collect signs of spring and prepare report for Troop meeting. Do at least one simple Good Turn.

2. Visit museum and study local Indians in preparation for Troop’s display on “Life Here Three Hundred Years Ago”. Each boy to sketch an Indian implement or other equipment and make a model of it at home.

Patrol-in-Council in Sam’s Snack Bar:

finalize preparations for display

plan next meeting

decide to join Community Square Dance Club and take girl friends.

3. To Mr. Walter’s cottage for afternoon of water skiing. This will include artificial respiration, mooring a boat and throwing a lifeline as well as the skills and precautions of handling the boat and water skiing.

4. Stalking. The help of a Dad who will be a secret agent will be needed. He passes a chosen spot within agreed short period of time. Patrol’s job is to shadow him without being spotted and to discover his ultimate destination. The Patrol is to prepare an accurate description of the man, what he is wearing and what he does. Patrol and agent meet at agreed spot about an hour later. Agent describes who he saw, where, and why his attention was drawn to him. This is good practice in Patrol organization, stalking and tracking.

Patrol-in-Council afterwards to discuss the activity and to note the mistakes they made in organization and stalking and to emphasize the points they have learned.

A list of Patrol activities may be found on Pages 95 to 99 of The Troop Scouters Handbook. For more, refer to the Patrol Series booklets and devise your own list with the Arrow Patrol-in-Council.

It should be noted that most of the learning in the above programme is achieved through participation in activities and situations meaningful to boys – some of which, on the surface, appear to have little relationship with Scout training.


If a Patrol is to meet regularly, it needs a place of its own in which to meet. Such a haven, to which the Patrol or any member may go practically at any time, is called a Patrol Den and for the boys, is a priceless possession.

The Patrol Den does not have to be a fine room in a building, but can be an old shack in a back yard, a corner of a basement, an old box car or farmhouse building, a small room in the Troop Headquarters or, as a last resort, a corner of the Troop room. In some respect, the more ramshackle it is, the more challenge there will be to the Patrol to make it into a Den worthy of its members. Also, there will be less restriction placed upon them. A room where you cannot knock a nail into the wall without giving the janitor or owner apoplexy is not really suitable for a Patrol Den. Ideally, a Patrol should find its own Den but if this proves too difficult the Group Committee may help.

Within reason, a Patrol should be encouraged to decorate its Den in its own way, and probably it will be furnished with old furniture from members’ homes. The Den may also be the storage place for the Patrol’s equipment, such as cooking pots and tools. It will certainly be the resting place of the Patrol’s log book, Patrol progress charts, hiking and camping records, charts of Scouting activities, knot boards and so on; the Patrol museum containing model bridges, camp gadgets, camp layouts, items of handicraft made at camp or Patrol meetings, plaster casts and trophies collected such as rocks, fossils, arrowheads, etc.; Patrol library of Scouting and adventure books; pictures and photographs; the Roll of Honour of past members and any award won by the Patrol in Troop or District activities.

If the development of the Den is fairly free and it is open to the members of the Patrol, it will become a favourite haunt and will contain other items which reflect the hobbies and interests of its members such as record player, photographic equipment and so on.

Each Scout will have his own particular interest and this will provide areas for responsibility in the Den, e.g., Patrol Librarian, Curator of the Museum, Quartermaster, etc., and some Patrols may even have a Patrol Janitor.

While a Patrol will want to maintain some items of traditional value, it is important that each generation decorate the Den after its own fashion and display the gadgets and trophies it has made. Ideally, a Patrol Den should never be completed, so the incentive to make it their own is with each generation.

The development of Patrol Dens can be stimulated by inter-Patrol rivalry and competition.

You should visit Dens from time to time and, by arrangement, drop in occasionally at Patrol meetings.

If, as a last resort, corners of a Troop room have to be used as Patrol Dens, then some form of screen or collapsible screening should be made, and a definite period set aside for Patrol meetings.

Patrol Dens are important to the operation of the Patrol System.


While proper discipline must be maintained and respect shown for property, if you and other adults demonstrate you have faith in the boys’ ability to use the Den Property you will not usually be disappointed.


Make good use of the Patrol-in-Council situation in Arrow Patrol meetings. Have a system of rotation of Chairman so that all the Patrol Leaders have the experience and the advantage of learning from the constructive criticism of their fellow Patrol Leaders. The Patrol-inCouncil is simply a discussion group and some useful advice on discussion group leadership may be found in books on this subject in the local library. However, it should be emphasized that the Patrol-in-Council is very often only a brief informal gathering together of the members of a Patrol.

The Patrol-in-Council plays an essential role in the life of a happy Patrol. It is the time when the Patrol gathers to talk things over and every member has an opportunity to speak. Successful activities are the result of concerted planning.

The Patrol-in-Council is usually quite an informal gathering, although minutes may be kept if the Patrol wishes. At Patrol-in-Council the boys discuss what they have done and what they wish to do; ideas are suggested, accepted or rejected, and plans formulated. It is a time to discuss the Patrol’s part in Troop activities, to plan hikes, camps and other events in detail. During these discussions, the Patrol Leader gains the feelings, recommendations and ideas of his Patrol for presentation at Court of Honour meetings.

The Patrol Leader must provide firm leadership and not allow discussions to get away from the subject or to degenerate into an argument. At the same time, he must be particularly careful not to impose his own ideas upon the Patrol simply because he is the leader.

Patrol-in-Council may be called at any time the Patrol is confronted with a problem. For instance, if the Patrol is on an obstacle hike and comes to a ravine which they have to bridge, the first thing to do is to call a Patrol-in-Council to decide how it is to be done. In this way, each member knows the agreed plan – who is to do what and how. Also, and perhaps most important of all, because each boy has been consulted, he has a personal interest – in a sense he feels it is his bridge.

The Patrol-in-Council may also be used for disciplinary purposes. The Patrol Leader may consult the Patrol on what should be done about Joe who just won’t work on his Second Class, or the Patrol may ask the Patrol Leader what he intends to do about Joe, since he is obviously letting the Patrol down.


Generally speaking, boys do not enjoy keeping records or writing logs – perhaps it savours too much of school work. For this reason it is wise to reduce record keeping to a minimum but to encourage any initiative shown by individuals, e.g., boys taking a Commercial High School course may have a special interest in this sort of work.

The purpose of keeping records is to provide factual information for reference and future use. To be useful they must be accurate and kept up-to-date.

There are many ways in which records may be kept. The choice in any Patrol should be left to the Patrol Leader in consultation with the person keeping any specific records.

Progress charts and other visible evidence of achievement often act as incentives to personal advancement. If they are not kept up-to-date they can have the opposite effect.

A Patrol should maintain at least:

1) a progress chart of each member’s advancement;

2) a record of attendance and dues;

3) an inventory of Patrol equipment.

Golden Arrow Patrol Leader Training

The BSA has provided a tried and true format for successful Scout meetings. It’s an excellent point of reference, and the unit’s planning team can adapt it in accordance with their needs. All segments of this meeting plan can be presented in ways that add to the unique fun a Scout meeting can provide, but the one section that invariably contributes to making the overall meeting fun is the “Games” section. Click here for further information and access to an extensive library of categorized Scout Meeting Activities.


Steal the Bacon is a traditional, troop-wide Scout game that enjoys tremendous popularity.

  • It’s easy to play.
  • The materials are very simple.
  • It can be played indoors or outside in a large open space.

—View Video—

Blindfolded Steal the Bacon
True or False Steal the Bacon
Tug of War Steal the Bacon

GOOD RETENTION is one of the Boy Scouts of America’s most important keys to healthy membership. As important as it is to utilize the BSA’s eight methods to achieve its aims and carry out its mission, and, as impactful as it is to have great monthly outings and provide rewarding long-term adventures, doing so in and of itself does not necessarily translate into good retention.

It has often been said, the weekly meeting is the glue that holds a unit together. When Scouts leave a meeting feeling elated and enthusiastic—happy about Scouting, and happy about themselves, they’re going to keep coming back and stay in Scouting. In other words, in order for a unit to be the most successful, Scout leaders need to have fun meetings with positive outcomes.

Webelos to Scout Transition

WEBELOS to Scout Transition

WEBELOS Scouting prepares boys for the change from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. While they technically still are members of a Cub Pack, WEBELOS Scouts become more involved in planning their activities, and performance approval begins to move from parents to unit leaders.

The two-year WEBELOS experience is a time of transition from Cub Scouts toward crossing the bridge to membership in a Boy Scout Troop. First-year activities are directed toward earning the WEBELOS Badge.

WEBELOS II Scouts concentrate on achieving the Arrow of Light. The prestigious Arrow of Light Badge advances with the Scout and is worn on his Boy Scout uniform.

Leaders and parents who understand the transition role of WEBELOS Scouting help boys have a more positive move from Cub Scouting to a boy-run Troop. WEBELOS are encouraged to do more hiking and camping. This often is facilitated by developing a relationship with a Boy Scout troop.

WEBELOS transition involves the Cub Scout Pack, the Boy Scout Troop, the Unit Commissioner, and the District WEBELOS transition Chair. Each plays an important role in helping the Scout to become aware of the exciting experiences of Boy Scouts, to choose the “right Troop” and to be prepared to make the change from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

From this

To this

WEBELOS transition is more than an annual WEBELOS Woods or WEBELOS Ree. These important weekend campouts are the culmination of two years of growth toward becoming a Boy Scout.

Improved WEBELOS Transition.
This is the official Boy Scouts of America page on WEBELOS Transition. Be sure to view all four sub-links for an excellent overview of individual leadership roles for effective WEBELOS Transition.

For additional information, type “WEBELOS Transition” in your web search engine, such as This will list dozens of sites. Many are local units, districts or councils promoting their program, but you’ll find a wealth of interesting information. NOTE: While these sites are hosted by committed Scouters from across the country, they may or may not reflect the official position of the Boy Scouts of America. They will, however, help to provide additional understanding of WEBELOS Transition.

BOY SCOUT LEADERS – Ensure your Troop’s future with the easiest recruiting you’ll find anywhere. Get your unit linked to one or more Cub packs. Encourage your Scouts to gain leadership experience by volunteering to be Den Chief of any Den in the Pack. Invite WEBELOS dens or patrols to visit a Troop meeting. Invite them to join you on a tailgate campo ut or Camporee (WEBELOS Scout camping rules apply). Offer to help with the Bridge Crossing of boys coming into your Troop.

WEBELOS DEN OR PATROL LEADERS – Investigate all of the Troops in your area. Find out about their program. Choose those whose activities are most interesting to your WEBELOS Scouts and set up a visit for the boys to see them in action. Ask to join them at their Camporee.

PARENTS – Get involved! That doesn’t mean becoming a unit leader. While that certainly is a great thing to do, you can be involved in your son’s Scouting experience by helping his den or patrol leader with activity lessons, attending a Troop visit with him, and, talking at length with him about his choice of Troop. Your guidance and adult perspective can provide him with invaluable counsel as he makes his decision.

WEBELOS to Boy Scout Transition
“A critical step in the journey of Scouting”

You must plan ahead for what you are going to do, to recruit WEBELOS Scouts into your Troop or (from a WEBELOS Leader’s point of view) what you are going to do to get the WEBELOS sent on to Boy Scouts. You must then prepare for this transition with activities built along this plan. You must complete all of these activities, not just part of them, in order to achieve success.

The importance of a good WEBELOS Leader.

  • The leader must accept the need for a good outdoor program
  • Must have knowledge of outdoor skills, fire building, cooking, wood tools and knots, camping, sanitation, tents and equipment.
  • Should be Scoutmaster Fundamental trained (outdoor program section)

The WEBELOS Den Leader’s Role

  • Most influential in the boys’ preparation
  • Should have the WEBELOS function as a patrol
  • Ensure the boys attend camp
  • Verify the presence of the necessary Scout Skills
  • Attend Roundtables and get to know Scoutmasters
  • Attend troop meeting and recruit a Den Chief
  • Plan the graduation/bridging ceremony and promote Troop summer activities
  • Verify the transfer of documents (the boys’ records)

The Scoutmaster’s Role

  • Include the WEBELOS in summer camp reservations
  • Discuss camp and troop activity costs with the WEBELOS parents
  • Have WEBELOS and their parents attend troop meetings
  • Become part of the Pack graduation ceremony
  • Assist in finding Den Chiefs for WEBELOS Dens
  • Ensure all forms are completed
  • Invite the WEBELOS Den Leader to become part of the troop
  • Hold a pre-summer camp orientation for Scout skills

The Assistant Scoutmaster’s Role

  • Helps to form the new scout patrol
  • Makes sure the WEBELOS feel welcome and they belong to the troop
  • Works with the Troop Guide in planning instruction of scout skills and patrol learning
  • Assist with advancement up to the Star rank
  • Verify and reinforce the basic scout skills

The Den Chief’s Role

  • A resource for scout skills
  • Helps form the patrol and patrol spirit
  • Helps to operate the patrol
  • Assists in the Arrow of Light and Cross Over ceremonies
  • Counts as Leadership time

The Cub master’s Role

  • NOW –Search for Scout Troops; develop point-of-contact for the Troop; examine membership levels and activities within the Troop
  • OCTOBER—Confirm the February Graduation; invite the Scoutmaster(s) SPL(s) and ASPL(s) to the Blue and Gold Banquet; encourage visitation to Troop meetings
  • FEBRUARY TO APRIL—Conduct the Graduation; ensure the boys’ funds get transferred

The Unit Commissioner’s Role

  • Determine which Troops can accommodate more Scouts
  • Contact District Executive to start more Troops, if necessary
  • Ensure graduations are planned
  • Track graduating Scouts and ensure they get registered as Boy Scouts
  • Attend graduations
  • For those WEBELOS who do not join a Troop, determine why
  • Family moving?
  • Parent problem?
  • Scout problem?
  • Troop problem?
  • Transportation?
  • Finances? (be discreet)

A good WEBELOS Den Leader will:

  • Train the boys to be good scouts
  • Enforce the requirements for camping and troop visitations (at least two and three best)
  • Enforce the importance of the Arrow of Light Award (it’s as important as the Eagle Award)
  • Work for February to April graduation plan (to keep them interested)

Why a two year WEBELOS plan if they are going to graduate in February to April

  • Better retention
  • Early transition is important so they are ready to go to summer camp
  • 70-80% of Boy Scouts were WEBELOS
  • 300% better chance of retaining a scout if they attend summer camp their first year
  • the boys are looking forward to summer time fun
  • May is the end of the year for school and sports
  • WEBELOS is really a 22 month program
  • 1st year – 4th grade, 12 months
  • 2nd year – 5th grade, 10 months
  • Arrow of Light in January of the second year
  • Join the troop in February
  • Graduate as a patrol and stay as a patrol in the Troop
  • The SM and SA get to know the boys before they go to summer camp

Second Year WEBELOS Leaders

  • Have the boys begin functioning as a patrol and not a Den
  • Choose a patrol name
  • Make a patrol flag
  • Wear a patrol emblem/patch
  • Elect patrol officers
  • Rotate patrol positions

Use of Den Chiefs

  • Resource for scout skills and help training
  • Assists in operating the patrol
  • Assist in the patrol graduation
  • Counts as leadership time

Find a troop early

  • Contact Commissioners, Scout Executives and professional Staff
  • Ask other Scouters
  • Ask at Scoutmaster Fundamentals
  • Ask at WEBELOS Overwinter Training
  • Plan joint activities
  • Summer camp funds savings
  • Build a good relationship with the boys of the troop
  • Makes the transition natural and fun

Planning the Transition

  • The Scoutmaster and the WEBELOS Den Leader should meet in November or December to:
  • Share rosters
  • Plan the transition graduation (bridging ceremony)
  • Review camp plans and fees
  • Set a date for the scoutmaster to meet with the WEBELOS parents

Troop and Pack Committee‘s Role

  • Share the responsibility for the graduation ceremony
  • Transfer Cub Scout Camp accounts
  • Ensure the transfer of records and transfer application is completed

Graduation Briefing to WEBELOS

  • Remind the WEBELOS that Activity Badges are like Merit Badges
  • Accuracy is important
  • Neatness is important
  • Timeliness is important
  • The Arrow of Light qualifies the WEBELOS for the Scout Badge
  • The WEBELOS Badge required them to earn Fitness and that has the requirement of the course for substance and child abuse, which is part of the Scout Badge requirement
  • The Arrow of Light Ceremony equates to the Eagle ceremony for Boy Scouts. Ensure that the AOL ceremony is just as nice
  • An impressive ceremony will instill in the boys the desire to continue
  • Shows that the Scoutmaster and Troop junior leaders really want the boys in their Troop

Thanks go to John Lerch (of the Orange County Council) for this article.

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