Archive for March, 2010

Zulu Toss Game

March 29, 2010

Zulu Toss Game

(“Keep Your Eye on the Ball”)


One tennis ball or other tossable item per team member


Each Patrol forms a circle, with a Troop Guide outside the circle(s).  The Patrol Leader tosses (sends) one ball to Participant B, who receives it and then tosses (sends) it to Participant C, etc., until the ball has been touched once by every individual.  The last to touch it sends it back to the Patrol Leader.

Toss the ball around the circle several more times until everyone is accustomed to receiving from and sending to the same individuals every time.

The Patrol Leader tosses the ball to Participant B again to start it on another trip around the circle.  When that ball is midway through the participants, the Guide (standing outside the circle) hands the patrol leader a second ball, which he or she then tosses to Participant B, Participant B to participant C, and so on.  There are now two balls being sent and received around the circle.  As long as everyone receives from the same person and sends to the same participant each time, the balls will continue to move smoothly thru the system.

The Guide gradually hands the Patrol Leader more balls.  Timing their introduction into the circle to keep the balls moving, until all the balls are in play.


At the end of the game, the Guide should ask the group(s) a few questions that reinforce the activity.

  • What did you learn from this game?
  • What role does communication play in this game?
  • Can you succeed if others on your team don’t?
  • If you had to do this again, what would you do differently?

(Adapted from BSA Troop Junior Leader Training)



Scoutmaster Minute—Court of Honor

March 22, 2010

The Chinese have a saying, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”  There’s a lesson for us in that.

I’m thinking of advancement.  If you come to troop meetings without ever looking in your Official Boy Scout Handbook all week long and if you never ask how to pass a test or who to see about a merit badge, you’ll never advance very far in Scouting.  In Scouting, and in life, the rewards don’t come to those who sit back and wait for something to be handed to them on a silver platter.

I would like to see every one of you set the Eagle Scout rank as your goal in Scouting.  As a step toward that goal, I challenge each of you to pick out some award you can earn for our next court of honor.

Whatever the goal you set for yourself, remember that only you can take that first step toward it.  No one can do it for you.  Once you’ve taken that first step the next step becomes easier.  And the ones after that will be easier still because you’re on the way along the Scouting trail.


(Adapted from US Scouting Service Project)

I did this SM Minute for our Spring Court of Honor.  I like it because it’s a direct challenge to the Scouts.  Also, in the last paragraph, I took a step after each sentence.  At the end, I was MUCH closer to the desert tray than the Scouts. 🙂


Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Helpful

March 7, 2010

A Scout is helpful. A Scout cares about other people. He helps others without expecting payment or reward. He fulfills his duties to his family by helping at home.

Before Chicago publisher William D. Boyce made his fortune in the Windy City, he knew what it was like to live in our part of the country. In Winnepeg, Canada, he co-founded a newspaper.. He worked as a reporter in Fargo, and in December 1882, in Lisbon, North Dakota, he started the Dakota Clipper, a weekly newspaper specializing in political and business intrigues.

In 1909, Boyce was on his way home from an African safari, and lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in 1924.

No one knows what happened to the boy who guided Mr. Boyce through the London fog, but he was one Helpful Scout who will never be forgotten.

You can read more about the Unknown Scout on page 27 of your Centennial Boy Scout Handbook.

(Adapted from BSA Speakers Bureau and the Points of Light Institute)