PLC Training: Pre-opening Ideas #1

The following pre-opening activities should be set up well in advance of the meeting time so that early arrivals will have some constructive, challenging and fun activities to do while the remainder of the Scouts arrive prior to the start of the meeting. These types of activities can be done no matter what time the Scouts arrive. The activities should cease as soon the meeting is ready to be started.

  1. Guess That Merit Badge
  • Fill a table with various merit badges and have the scouts try to guess their names. This could be done by obtaining a copy of the poster which has all the merit badges and by cutting out each one, leaving off the name, or covering up the names with masking tape. Have the Scouts number their page from 1 to 120 and see how many merit badges they can name. (Give a prize at the end of the meeting to the Scout who named the most merit badges)
  1. Disaster First Aid
  • Have some adults or older Scouts arrive early to the meeting and with makeup, create injuries on each person showing various first aid needs. As the Scouts arrive, let them react to the injuries as best they can with the materials that are at hand. Provide bandages, splints, and other first aid items for the Scouts to use. (Give points to the Scouts who make the correct diagnosis and points for the correct treatment. Give an award at the conclusion of the meeting for the Scout with the most points. Include such things as hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation, various kinds of Fractures) (Backpacking merit badge requirement, # 1; First Aid requirement, # 3 e & f: & 4 & 5; Camping merit badge requirement # 1; Canoeing merit badge requirement # 1; Cycling requirement # 1; Hiking merit badge requirement # 1; Rowing merit badge requirement # 1; Sports merit badge requirement # 1: Swimming merit badge # 1; Water-sports merit badge # 1; Whitewater merit badge # 1; Wilderness Survival merit badge # 1)
  1. Bowline Races
  • Have rope available and have the boys see who can tie the bowline the fastest. Make sure they learn how to tie the bowline from around their waist as though they were being rescued. At the end of the meeting, give an award to the Scout who can tie the bowline the fastest.  To add a degree of difficulty, have the Scouts tie the Bowline one-handed as if they were holding on to a floating log or a cliff face.
  1. Expert Demonstration
  • Arrange to have an “expert” demonstrate an important scouting skill or tradition to the scouts as they arrive. Try to have some “hands on” involvement during the demonstration.
  1. Is it Edible or Not?
  • Have a table filled with various edible plants. Let the Scouts taste them if they want to. Make sure each plant has a name plate with it. Show pictures of poisonous plants with names.
  1. Tie that Knot
  • Give each Scout a piece of rope when he arrives and have up to twenty different knots for him to tie. The Scout who can tie the most knots without referencing a book will win a prize at the end of the meeting. (Requirement 3 of the Pioneering merit badge)
  1. Find the Article
  • Fill a table with newspaper clippings of auto accidents, crimes, and other accidents. Let the Scouts take the ones they like to be included in their notebooks. (Safety merit badge requirement # 1a and b: Crime Prevention requirement # 2)
  1. Draw that Map
  • Have available several copies of the map of your community. Have the Scouts draw a map of your community marking the points of historical interest. (This fulfills requirement # 1a of the American Heritage merit badge)
  1. Tell a Story with a Picture
  • Have the Scouts tell a story by drawing a picture or pictures. Or have the Scouts draw a picture that promotes a product or an idea. (This fulfills requirements #1 and/or #2 of the Art merit badge)
  1. Sketch the Moon
  • Have available a large picture of the full moon. Have the Scouts draw the face of the moon indicating on it the locations of at least five seas and five craters. (This fulfills requirement #6a of the Astronomy merit badge)