“Troop meetings are the glue that holds a troop together.” This is a familiar quote, and quite true. The measure of the glue’s holding power is how successful these troop meetings are.
What follows is one account of a troop meeting, as seen from the perspective of a young person who had never been to a Scout meeting before and knew next to nothing about Scouting:
It was their first troop meeting. They were young and eager, but also a little uneasy. They didn’t know what to expect. Their mother dropped them off at the back of the church about fifteen minutes before the meeting was supposed to begin. Getting out of the car, to their surprise they saw there were Scouts already gathered in the grassy area outside the entrance making a lot of noise.
Most were in some kind of circle, and one was standing in the middle, on top of a big bucket. This Scout had a stick in their hand and it looked like they were using it to keep the others from hitting the bucket with a rubber ball. One of them threw the ball at the bucket, and the Scout in the middle whacked it away! A couple of others began chasing after it laughing and hollering. They all seemed excited, and Scouts in the circle were waving their arms like they wanted the one who retrieved the ball to pass it to them. The next thrower hit the bucket and took the place of the Scout with the stick. As the new person approached, they were invited to join the circle. They got into the action and even got to take a couple of shots at the bucket. It was fun. Before long, an older Scout stopped the game. Hit the Bucket
Everybody noisily went into the church, climbed some steps and entered the meeting room. There, inside, were some adults talking with one another. There were also some other older Scouts. One of the them was standing up front between two flags. Their uniform looked real neat. They seemed to be watching everybody as they entered, and also seemed to be waiting for something. When the Scouts were all in the room, the Scout in front held up three fingers of their right hand high above their head. Somehow, in a few seconds, the room got quiet. When it did, the Scout out front stretched both arms out from their sides, each pointing down at an angle. There was a scuffling as all the Scouts quietly and quickly formed into smaller groups. The whole troop was facing the Scout up front, in a half circle. The new person remained standing near the door, and soon, one of the older Scouts ushered them over to one of the smaller groups.
The Scout up front, led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and some kind of promise, which was followed by a series of brief announcements and directives. There was so much going on, the new person found it difficult to take it all in. Then, it seemed like everybody scattered. Before they knew it, the new person was sitting at a table across from the older Scout who had led them over to the smaller group. They introduced themself as their patrol leader, and began sharing some information about their patrol. A few minutes later, for a short time, the Scoutmaster joined them, and soon most all of the new person’s uneasiness disappeared. Their patrol leader continued sharing some new and interesting things, frequently referring to a book on the table between them.
Before long, all the patrols were back and each assembled in what appeared to be their own portion of the room. The new person’s patrol leader seemed to know exactly what was happening, like they had some information that the rest of the patrol members didn’t. They went over some things that obviously interested everybody. The patrol members were enthusiastic and had a bunch of questions. Everyone seemed cheerful and satisfied, and soon one of the other older Scouts came by and told them it was time. The new person followed their patrol downstairs.
Outside, spread over one side of the grassy area, there were some long poles and ropes. On the other side were some orange cones. In the middle was the neat-looking older Scout, now identified as the senior patrol leader. Once again this older Scout seemed to be watching and waiting. As soon as the troop was gathered, the senior patrol leader silently got everyone’s attention, signaled for the patrols to form a half circle in front of him, and in a loud voice, explained what they were about to do. A whistle blew and each patrol hurried to carefully join together three of the poles into a triangular-shaped structure using three of the ropes. When ready, one patrol member climbed aboard the triangle and held on tightly. The rest of the patrol then lifted the triangle and carried it along with their patrol mate to an orange cone on the other side. There they all turned around and raced back to the starting line, accompanied by lots of yelling and cheering. It was quite a scene! When it was over, a whistle blew, and the senior patrol leader again held up three fingers. Instructions were given for each patrol to take apart their “A-frames,” carry the materials to the storage area, and then quickly head back up to the meeting room. A-Frame Chariot Race
Once upstairs, patrols again gathered in their troop half circle. The Scoutmaster was invited up front and told a short story, a closing ceremony was conducted, and the troop’s chaplain aide delivered a closing prayer. The meeting was over.
The new person’s mother was waiting for them in the parking lot. When asked how it went, they remarked that lots went on, that the time went by quickly, and that it was good.