Once I learned the Scouting Program should be active I changed my strategy as a Patrol Leader. Instead of bottling up the energy of Scout chaos until it exploded, I decided I was going to beat the Scouts to it and lead the chaos.
Here’s the key thing I learned: if I started the chaos I could focus it in a productive direction instead of letting a lack of focus waste valuable meeting time. I became unpredictable! I would show up with crazy new games, activities, and props to change things around.
One meeting I showed up with a giant bundle of thick, 5-foot sticks on my shoulder. When Patrols split up mine disappeared into the little vestibule room where we hung out. A while later everyone in the Troop was astonished to see us reappear carrying a lashed-together platform on our shoulders with one of our members proudly sitting on top.
We didn’t have any peace until at least half the Troop had their turn riding on the platform (and falling off)! Not only was this a fun thing to do; we learned a lot at the same time. My Scouts learned a couple of lashings, the difference between a square lashing and a diagonal lashing, and how to build a reinforced frame that wouldn’t fall apart.
It was unexpected, it looked chaotic, but it was constructive and fun. No one went home bored that day!
Chaos is going to happen, so take charge of it. Channel the chaos into controlled, constructive activities. It’ll take extra planning and preparation, but it will be worth it.
When you see the program start to lag or get boring, shake things up a little. Do something unexpected, plan something new and interesting; make meetings memorable.
It’s easier to give up, it’s a challenge to plan and prepare, but planning and preparing will not only make you a better leader, you and your patrol will have fun!
Instead of letting chaos master the meeting I became a Master of Chaos and turned it to my advantage. It all really boils down to one basic principle: Bored Scouts are chaotic, active Scouts make progress! Sounds simple, but it took me a while to figure this out and learn how to apply it.
Here’s a few ideas that can help you plan exciting, active meetings for your Patrol:
- Try some new games. Here’s some games you may not have tried before.
- If you are teaching a skill make it come alive! Get everyone involved in doing something, don’t just lecture.
- Be unpredictable! You’ll learn that what seems random and spur of the moment to your Scouts is actually carefully planned out behind the scenes ahead of time
- Ask your patrol what they’d like to do and do your best to make it happen. Have a ‘brainstorming’ session and choose some ideas that you can make a reality.
The sooner you start working on this, the more amazing your Patrol can be! So start now!
Plan to make your next meeting an active one and tell me how it went. Leave a comment below or join the discussion on the GreenBar Life Forum