Meeting Plans & Ideas: CITIZENSHIP

Citizenship Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Printable PDF file of Meeting Plans and Ideas for Citizenship

OBJECTIVES
This month’s activities should:

  • Help Scouts give back to their community.
  • Give Scouts a better understanding about how the government works.
  • Teach Scouts about their local, state, and national government leaders.
  • Demonstrate how the election process works.
  • Let Scouts experience how Congress passes laws.
  • Let Scouts visit a national or state park, historical monument, state capitol, or the U.S. Capitol.

LEADERSHIP PLANNING
As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items during your planning meetings when choosing citizenship as your program feature:

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • What types of service projects can we do as Scouts?
  • What service project opportunities are available in the community?
  • Where can we find information on our government leaders?
  • What local national park, national monument, or capitol can we visit?
  • How can we involve parents?
  • What changes should we make to the sample meeting plans that would fit our needs better?

PREOPENING IDEAS

Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • Find a printable U.S. Constitution quiz online, and print copies. Challenge Scouts to complete it before the meeting starts. Discuss the answers and award prizes to those who do the best.
  • Make a list of all the states you can. As a bonus, include as many state capitals as you can. Prizes can be awarded for the most complete list.
  • Have copies of the U.S. Constitution on hand. Encourage Scouts who arrive early to read the Preamble and find the six functions of government listed there. Discuss how these functions affect families and communities.

OPENING IDEAS

Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

GROUP INSTRUCTION IDEAS

Government and the Rights of Citizens

  • Present the three branches of government and how they work.
  • Discuss the rights of every U.S. citizen.

Roles and Responsibilities of Citizens

  • Present and lead a group discussion on responsibilities of citizens, including: supporting and defending the Constitution, staying informed on issues, respecting and obeying laws.

The Forming and Enforcement of Laws

  • Review how Congress creates laws.
  • Discuss the roles of the executive and judicial branches in terms of the laws Congress creates.

Citizens and the Courts

  • Learn the differences between the federal and state courts, and how they interact.
  • Discuss the roles of the prosecution, defense counsel, judge, and jury. Explore other professions in the courtroom.

SKILLS INSTRUCTION IDEAS

3 Categories

Government and the Rights of Citizens

  • EssentialDiscuss how the U.S. government works (including the
    three branches of government) and how that compares with your local government.
  • Use the Internet or other resources to learn about your federal representatives.

  • ChallengingDiscuss the structures of your city, county, and state governments and how they work together.
  • Using the Internet or other resources, learn about your state and local representatives.

  • AdvancedDiscuss the structures of government from the city level to the national level.
  • Using the Internet or other resources, learn about your local, state, and federal representatives.

Roles and Responsibilities of Citizens

  • EssentialDiscuss the responsibility of actively participating in the community and how individuals can carry out this responsibility.

  • ChallengingDiscuss the responsibility of actively participating in the community and how individuals can carry out this responsibility.

  • AdvancedDiscuss the responsibility of paying income and other taxes honestly and on time, and learn how taxes are filed.

The Forming and Enforcement of Laws

  • EssentialDiscuss some laws that are specific to your city.

  • ChallengingDiscuss law enforcement and how laws are enforced.
  • Learn how people accused of crimes are taken into the justice system.

  • AdvancedExplain the bill-to-law process by using diagrams, videos, etc.
  • Talk about some recent laws that have been passed by Congress.
  • Review the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution).

Citizens and the Courts

  • EssentialExplain and discuss the differences between criminal and civil trials.
  • Discuss the benefits afforded by the U.S. courts, such as fair and speedy trials and the presumption of innocence.

  • ChallengingExplain and discuss how the Supreme Court checks the power of the other branches.
  • Research and review major court cases decided on by the Supreme Court.

  • AdvancedReview some of the most controversial court cases of the Supreme Court, such as Dred Scott, Brown v. the Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, and others.
  • Debate whether the court made the right ruling.

BREAKOUT GROUP IDEAS

Discussion Topics

  • Discuss some amendments that you think should be added to or taken away from the U.S. Constitution, and explain why. Pick the one you think is most important and explain why.
  • Talk about the ways Supreme Court cases affect your life today.

Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning (if applicable)
  • Duty Roster Planning (if applicable)
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event.

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge

GAME AND CHALLENGE IDEAS

Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources

  • Mock Election
    Materials: Poster board and craft supplies (optional), paper for ballots, a ballot box, pens for voting
     Method: The troop divides into heterogeneous parties and selects one member to run for president of the made-up land or country of your choosing (e.g., Candy Land, Country of Sandwich). Each candidate can make a quick campaign poster to display while they present a one-minute speech about the issues on which they are running. Everyone is given a ballot and selects the candidate who they think would best represent the land or country. Each party takes a turn to place their votes in the ballot box. After all of the votes have been cast, count up the ballots, and announce the newly elected president.
     Scoring: The candidate with the most votes wins the presidency.
    Notes: Review the Electoral College and point out the differences between the popular vote, which was exhibited in the game, and the Electoral College.
  • Guess the President
    Materials: Facts about famous U.S. presidents
    Method: Patrols assemble in different corners and are informed that shortly they will be visited by a famous president. They must try to figure out his identity by asking him questions. The famous visitor can answer only with yes or no. The game leader assigns a presidential identity to each “president” (e.g., George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln). The “presidents” go to a corner, and the patrols begin questioning.
    Scoring: The first patrol to identify its visitor correctly receives 1 point. After a set number of rounds, the patrol with the most points wins.
  • Bill to Law
    Materials: Poster showing the steps a bill takes to become a law (optional), paper and pens (to record ideas for new law)
    Method: The troop is divided into two groups (to represent the two houses of a bicameral legislature). Each group is to create a new law for an imaginary country, making sure they follow the bill-to-law process for their respective chamber. After the group passes its new law, groups should trade laws, and try to pass each bill again. Once a bill has been approved by both groups, it is sent to the designated leader (president) for approval or veto.
    Scoring: No scoring for this activity.
    Notes: Explain the bill-to-law process (with a poster or other visual aid) before you start the activity. Assistant leaders help each team go through the steps of the bill-to-law process.
  • Mock Court Case
    Materials: Tables for the judge, prosecution, defense, witnesses, and jury; gavel (or an effective substitute) for the judge
    Method: Decide on a judge, two lawyers, a defendant, a few witnesses, and a jury for the court case. All other Scouts will be observers in the courtroom, or they can be taken to another room to conduct a second court case simulation. Go through a typical court session, and let the jury decide if the defendant is guilty or innocent. Allow the jury to suggest a punishment for the defendant, with approval by the judge.
    Scoring: None.
    Notes: It’s a good idea to plan some of the case details prior to conducting this activity so the Scouts can prepare for the trial. Sample court cases could include stealing a bike or a car, littering, or committing a traffic violation or robbery. You may encourage Scouts to dress for the parts they will play.

CLOSING IDEAS

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Citizenship Information Troop Meetings Main Event

For Adult and Youth Boy Scout Leaders