Tuesday Talkback: How do you get Scouts to settle down at meetings?

Tuesday-TalkbackAfter loading them up with snacks and sugary drinks at the beginning of the meeting, it’s no wonder your Cub Scouts are bouncing off the walls right when you want them to settle down for a serious activity.

Boy Scouts, too, have endless energy, and getting them to focus on planning patrol menus for this weekend’s campout won’t be easy after they just came inside from 20 minutes of a high-energy game like capture the flag.

A young person’s energy level is a tricky thing to tame, but it can be done with proper planning.

You can start by creating a better meeting schedule — or, for Boy Scout troops, having your youth leaders do it. Does it make more sense for snacks to be at the beginning of the meeting or the end? What about high-energy games?

Once the schedule’s perfect, you’re still not done. Writing a den or troop code of conduct puts enforceable rules in writing. Even better if you have the boys create it themselves. Ask questions like, “What are some of the things you are not allowed to do in your home?” As boys respond, have them adapt home rules for the den; as they agree on rules, write them on the piece of paper. When they agree on the entire list, post it at all of your den meetings.

I remember my den growing up had a conduct candle. An adult lit a large candle at the beginning of the meeting and put it out at the end. If someone misbehaved, though, it was extinguished early. Once the candle fully melted away (usually after a few months of meetings), we got a pizza party or field trip or some other kind of treat.

It was a visual reminder to the boys that breaking the rules ruins things for everyone.

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, I’m interested in your experience with conduct at meetings. Specifically: How do you get Scouts to settle down? Leave some ideas below.

Ideas from Scouting magazine

We wrote about this topic in our September-October 2009 issue. Find those ideas here.

Past Tuesday Talkbacks

Other discussions on a range of topics are still ongoing. Join those conversations here.


Illustration by Darren Thompson