February Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
Volume 14, Issue 7
March 2008 Theme
Litter to Glitter
Engineer & Athlete
Tiger Cub Activities
Why Should Your Den Do Skits?
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
Why Should Your Den Do Skits?
It builds team work. The Cub Scouts in your den work together to visually tell a story (often amusing) to the rest of the pack. It takes cooperation and exchanging ideas that lead to a common goal.
It creates reasons for other den activities and projects. Building scenery, props, and costumes all make good program ideas. Story telling is a great way to trigger an idea for a den skit.
Putting on a skit at a pack meeting or pack campfire is an excellent way to get the support of parents. Instead of den skits, you may want to try family skits.
A Den skit at a pack meeting can and should be the highlight of the evening. It makes pack meetings better and den meetings more fun.
It's not only fun, and boys just like to show off but getting your den to perform at a pack meeting will help prepare them for Boy Scouts. Communication is one of the set of leadership skills that Boy Scouting fosters amongst its members. The ability to stand up in front of the public and say something is an important part of the program.
Boys of Cub Scouting age can be incredibly shy. We try to help them overcome this by making it fun in the Cub Scout program. Run-ons, cheers and especially skits are all fun ways to help them feel comfortable performing in public.
HOW DO WE GET SKITS?
Canned Skits It will probably best for Tigers and Wolf Cub Scouts to start out with one or two of the old familiar and reliable canned skits. There is a wealth of skits available for Cub Scouts to act out.
The Cub Scout Leader How-To Book has some good ones in chapter 5.
Creative Campfires, that great Scouting standby from the Ore-Ida Council is still available from Amazon.com and EBay.
Web Sites: There are many sites with skits. Some are of questionable taste and have subjects that should be avoided for Scouting events. However here is a few that are especially good.
MacScouter Skits For Scouts. Has a down-loadable Big Book and several Pow Wow Book sections.
Darren Dowling, Assistant Cub Scout Leader at the 9th Barking & Dagenham Scout Group (UK) has an excellent web page on Skits and Stunts. It includes the collection of Jean Poulton of the Eagle District, Otetiana Council, BSA.
As Boys get more comfortable performing at campfires and pack meetings, they should be ready to make up their own original scripts.
Your Den Can Write a Script!
Writing a skit is not as hard as it may seem, though it does basically take some imagination. A basic subject or plot, such as the theme of the month, will get you started in the right direction.
HOW TO WRITE A SKIT:
Let's examine what a skit is.
Basically it represents the following items:
- BOY WANTS SOMETHINGFriendship, a gold mine, a game trophy, to find a lost world, or something else. Stating the goal up front makes it easy for the audience to follow the great plot.
- BOY STARTS TO GET IT By canoe, plane, horseback, on foot, right at home by using his brain, or some other way. The plot unfolds and the main characters are introduced.
- OBSTACLES STOP BOY Crocodile, nature, native headhunters, a secret enemy, a false friend, or other problem. Aha! The villain appears and tension mounts.
- BOY ACHIEVES GOAL Through an act of kindness, bravery, wisdom, magic, unexpected help, or some other way. The happy ending and the cast takes their bows to a cheering crowd!
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS ON SKITS:
Act out a favorite story
Act out parts of a story such as Treasure Island
Use new ideas
Act out poems
Jokes (from Boy's Life even?)
Act out songs
Trip to the moon by astronauts
Make the skit fun for the Cub. To avoid problems in skits, keep the following in mind:
- Keep the Skit Simple- Don't expect boys at this age to understand complicated plots. If possible, have the boys compose the skit. You may give them ideas, but if they compose the skit they will enjoy it more and also better understand it.
- Keep It Short- (3-5 minutes). A long, drawn-out skit will make the audience restless.
- Avoid Long Memorized Dialogue. - Again, boys of this age cannot be expected to memorize long lines of dialogue. Keep the dialogue to a minimum. Have the boys speak slowly and loud. It is a good idea to let the Cubs practice their skit at the pack meeting place in advance of the pack meeting.
- Use Simple Props - Props can be made from cardboard and signs can be put up to indicate scenery. Adding appropriate accessories to everyday clothes can make costumes. Most costumes, intended to be cut from fabric and sewn, can also be cut from crepe paper and glued and/or stapled by the Cubs themselves.
- Let Every Boy Participate. – When a den puts on a skit, every member needs to be a part of it. Create parts for each person. One boy can introduce the skit by setting the scene. Others can be animated scenery, form a chorus to repeat important lines, or create sound effects. Certainly building props and costumes contribute, but make sure the builders get credit.
CAMP FIRE SKITS
Skits are important elements of campfire programs. If your den is doing one remember that things are different out there. The boys will have to use their outside voices. Actions should be somewhat exaggerated so that everyone will see them and follow the action.
If your presentation is between the camp fire and the audience, the actors may be silhouetted by the fire light. On the other hand, if they operate behind the fire, action on the ground may be hidden by the fire.
In any case, safety around a fire is very important so guard against sudden action or commotion anywhere near the fire.
TIPS TO HELP CUB SCOUT ACTORS
Let's face it ... Cub Scouts are not professional actors, but they can have fun presenting skits and pantomimes. The audience should also be part of the fun. Here are a few tips that may help your skit to be the smash hit of the meeting -- simply because the audience could tell what was happening or being said.
- Speak clearly, distinctly, and a little slower than normal. Remember that the people in the back row want to hear you.
- Every action should have a purpose or meaning -- movements should be somewhat exaggerated.
- Events in action should be performed one at a time so that the audience will not be confused.
- It is important to know what to say -- and it is also important to know when to say it.
- If your Cub Scouts understand how a character feels (happy, sad, sorry, angry, proud, etc.) in a given situation, and why a character does a particular piece of action, the Cub Scout will be able to react in a similar manner.
- Two characters engaged in dialogue should not face each other directly. Instead, they should face the audience in a 3/4 position, so that the audience will be able to hear them more clearly, as well as have a better view of facial expressions.
- In Pantomime, gestures and facial expressions are more important than costumes. What is done is more important than what is said.
Acting Games - Practice acting by including games like charades and quick pantomime stunts as regular den activities. A simple example:
Have the boys pretend to open a door to discover:
a funny monster
a big box of toys
freshly baked pie
all your dreams
you are walking through a sea of peanut butter
it is raining marshmallows
you are swimming through a pool of Jell-O
Children’s Creative Theater has more acting games.
I found a few Cub Scout skits on You Tube.
Here are three I liked.
Let’s get some more up there, especially originals. If you do, let either Dave or I know about it so we can let everyone else know.
- Also, be sure to visit Bill’s website
to finds more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.
Have any Comments for Bill
just click right here!
Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.