First, let me gripe. The biggest thing causing scouts to leave BSA is boring troop meetings. There are 10,000,042 online questions of people asking for good ideas for troop meetings. I’ve counted them. The answer is always the same:
Our Troop meeting at Troop 666 in Spokane go like this:
- Flag Ceremony
- Scout Skill
- A Special Program
- Patrol Corners
- Circle Up/Scoutmaster Minute
This is a useless answer – because the problem is #4 – A Special Program. Lame. There is a consistent dearth of ideas. I’ve never really understood why. I’ve had lots of ideas and seem to be able to spur the PLC to generate ideas, too.
Here is one that I came up with: Fire Extinguisher Training!
Most people, much less scouts, have never used a fire extinguisher of any kind. Much less understand the differences between the different kinds. Our Troop is sponsored by the local volunteer fire department so our Charter Rep is a fireman. We meet in the parking lot of our school, light some old rags and let the scouts take turns putting them out. Our fireman explains how to find, un-dock, unlock, and quirt the fire extinguisher. I won’t go into the details here because you’ll want to find a local fireman to do it. Make sure they include a compressed water extinguisher which are tons of fun and can be reloaded cheaply. It is worth the expense for a couple of small extinguishers.
Also, find and Indian Can fire extinguisher and include it in the exercise. Keep it with your troop camping gear for putting out the campfire.
A word of clarification: the PLC should be coming up with ideas like this but, in modern scouting, they often lack the background or people skills to make it happen. Whisper the idea to the SPL and let him run with it. Soon enough he’ll believe he thought of it which will make the next idea come to him more easily.