Thursday, September 5, 2013

Roundtable Breakout Topics for 2013-14

This is our initial plan for Roundtable Breakout Topics this year.  As always, we may need to make changes due to availability of speakers, new information to share, or cancellations.  We will do our best to announce the changes prior to the meeting.  Click on the image to see it larger.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Patrol Boxes

Demonstration video:




Shaping Boy Behaviors

Techniques for encouraging good behaviors:

Examples of Den/Pack Codes of Conduct

Cub Scout Cheers

Tips for Great Scout Cheers

  1. Keep them short and fun.
  2. Never have a cheer that could hurt someone's feelings.
  3. Do not use cheers to actually belittle.
  4. Use cue cards and scripts if you need to. Rehearse until everyone is comfortable and has memorized their parts.
  5. Speak loudly and clearly.
  6. Avoid gross, vulgar, or un-Scout-Like topics or content.
  7. Keep your program fast paced and get everyone involved!
Consider having a CHEER box with many cards or strips of paper inside.  Larger stores still carry CHEER brand laundry soap, but you will have to look for it.  Alternately, you can make any sort of box or basket and label it as a Cheer Box.

Cheer Lyrics:

Den Yells can contribute to a team feeling among the Scouts in a den:

Cub Scout SInging

Why Sing?  From Roundtable Planning Guide

Icebreakers, Songs, and Cheers
Icebreakers and cheers, such as those found in Group Meeting Sparklers, and songs from the Cub Scout Songbook help get a roundtable off to a good start by creating enthusiasm and a relaxed atmosphere. For the meeting where a song is included, make song sheets available to each participant.

Singing Boy Style
Every Cub Scout leader needs to know a few crazy camp fire songs to liven up a camp out or sing at a Pack meeting.
It's especially important for female Cub Scout leaders to recognize the huge difference between Cub Scouts and their own childhood experience as a Girl Scout. Sure, Girl Scouts like silly songs too, but they also like "pretty" songs, rounds and ballads. Not Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts are boys and boys like songs that are gross, ridiculous or down right crazy.
Songs like "I'm a Little Teapot."
No, no, no, not the cute "I'm a Little Teapot." The rock version. The hard rockin' version of "I'm a Little Teapot" is a perfect song for Cub Scouts because it's both insanely silly and easy to follow. Everyone knows the words, so there's no need to "teach" the song.
The Scout version of "I'm a Little Teapot" is done to the tune of "We Will Rock You" by Queen. Or it can just be chanted. It's best when accompanied by clapping and stomping--something that will get Cubs in the action.
If the song isn't already familiar to your Pack you will need a brave leader (preferably a real ham) to get up and lead the song. Start by getting a beat going--have the scouts follow along with a clap-clap-stomp. When they get the rhythm going, launch into the song and watch the smiles spread.
If you haven't seen this song in action, watch the video below, from a Boy Scout camp fire at Lake George Colorado. It's done as a sing-a-long, perfect for teaching new songs to Cub Scouts.

Song Lyrics:

Song videos:

Cub Scout Skits

Tips for Great Scout Skits and Songs
  1. Keep them short - never longer than 3 to 5 minutes so that they can be easily memorized.
  2. Homemade skits or songs may seem funny to the writers but often are not funny to the audience.
  3. Use cue cards and scripts if you need to. Rehearse until everyone is comfortable and has memorized their parts.
  4. Everyone has to speak or sing loudly and clearly.
  5. Avoid gross, vulgar, or un-Scout-Like topics or content.
  6. Many old topics should never be used today. Ever.
    • Cross-dressing, transsexual, or gay references have at times triggered lawsuits you can't defend.
    • Fat, ugly, ethnic or handicapped jokes, songs, or skits have no place in Scouting either.
  7. A "volunteer" is never chosen at random from the audience. The "volunteer" is pre-selected person, a "shill" or "plant."
  8. Have a Master of Ceremonies to keep skits and songs moving.
  9. Keep your program fast paced and get everyone involved!

Background and tips about skits:

Skit scripts:

Skit videos:


Friday, January 4, 2013

Pack Communications 2013

We were sorry our guest presenter had to miss Roundtable in order to tend to an ill child, but we were pleased that he was prepared and sent along his notes.

Communication avenues include:
  • E-mail
  • Direct phone calls
  • Calling trees
  • Text messages
  • Twitter
  • Web sites / Blogs
  • Facebook groups
  • Weekly Den Meetings (announcements, handouts)
  • Monthly Pack Newsletters
  • Monthly Pack Meetings (announcements)
  • Monthly Roundtable (announcements, handouts, discussions)
  • Twice-Monthly Council Mailings
Each Pack has its own culture, how they relate to one another.  This culture can change from year to year as leadership changes; most families participate in Cub Scouts for only five years.

In preparing for this topic, our guest presenter, a Cubmaster, asked his Pack families for feedback about Pack communications - too much or little?  Not timely?  Poorly formatted?  Too formal or casual?  Inconvenient meeting days/times/places?  Meetings too long or short?  Meetings too informative or not enough?

As of Thursday afternoon, there were no replies, though another e-mail that same day, about popcorn prizes, had about half of the families replying.

Discussion questions prepared:
  1. How do other Packs handle communication?
  2. Do any Packs have a communication policy?
  3. Do any units experience communications related issues?
  4. Is there standard boilerplate text that Packs use to elicit feedback?
  5. Do Packs follow up emails with phone calls? All the time? Certain instances, only? When?
  6. Has a Pack found success using 1 (or more) means of communications?
  7. What kinds of positive and/or negative feedback have you received?
  8. Are there lessons that have been learned that can be passed on to other Packs? The Council at large?
Ideas shared include:
  • Cozi calendar: to keep a central online Pack calendar that everyone can consult
  • Scoutlander free website:
  • Weekly News: One Cubmaster took an idea from his child's coach and he sends out an e-mail to his Pack families once every week about the activities for that week.  He shared that having a calendar of a full year's activities is too much for many of this Pack's families, but focusing on just the week ahead works well.
Last year, we also addressed Pack Communications.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dealing with Food Allergies

The number of children with food allergies is growing and Scouts with food allergies need to have their conditions taken seriously.  Best outcomes for everyone will occur when Unit leadership:
  • Works with the Scout and his parents to understand the specific triggers and reactions for this Scout's allergies.
  • Communicates to parents and Scouts in the unit so everyone understands the seriousness of the situation.
  • Allows the Scout to participate in activities that he is capable of doing
  • Finds alternatives to snacks, meals, and food crafts that avoid the allergens.
The video "It Only Takes One Bite" explains many of the possible allergic reactions and treatments and ways to work around the allergies.  This video is on YouTube and can be shared with adults and with Boy Scouts.

National's "Guide to Safe Scouting" advises Scouts with allergies to have appropriate treatment with them at all times and to alert leadership prior to an event so that precautions can be on hand.

If an incident happens during a unit event, National has an Incident Information Report form that can be filled out online and printed to document the incident.

Food allergies should guide the decisions abut Scout treats and snacks as well as at meals, whether at a Troop campout or a Blue & Gold banquet.

One Cub Scout Pack developed their own Food Allergy form.

UFAN - The Utah Food Allergy Network - offers a patch to Cub Scouts who learn about food allergies, with many age-appropriate activites.

FAAN - The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - has good suggestions with their Be a PAL: Protect A Life program.  They have a very helpful booklet designed to earn a PAL Girl Scout badge.

Food allergy considerations for Jamboree are made known well before the event, so alternatives can be prepared.

Some Camps have practices in place for dealing with food allergies and other good related issues (managing diabetes, religious diet, vegetarian)

Troops are encouraged to manage risk and include allergies to their Emergency Response Plan.

Parents can get involved in Unit leadership as a way to monitor and to educate, as this parent tells:

Snacks for Dens and Packs

Today's Roundtable will include Share and Tell snack time, for leaders to tell about their favorite Cub-pleasing snacks.

In my own den, the Cubs have always enjoyed Goldfish Bubbles, which is so easy to make.
Cub Scout requirements encourage young chefs to get a start in the kitchen.
Tiger Elective #25: Snack Time  Make a snack and share it with your family or den.
This site argues in favor of snacks at den meetings:
Snack time is a good time to make announcements, because (in theory) the boys are quieter due to chewing.

Do Your Best to encourage healthy snacks.

Other sites for Cub-friendly recipes:

See our entry on Food Allergies for more information about group snacks.