Opening Exercises




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At exactly the appointed hour the "curtain goes up" and the Troop meeting begins.  If it is meant to start at 7:30 P.M., start at 7:30 P.m.  If a Scout comes in late one week he will hurry a little more next week to be on time.

Patrol Line-Up

At the start of the meeting the Patrol Leaders line up their boys in their Patrol corners.  The Patrol Scribe makes a final check of the boys present and the dues paid, and turns the record and the money over to the Troop Scribe.

Troop Formation

The Senior Patrol Leader brings everybody to attention with the silent attention signal, then gives the hand signal for Troop assembly.

The Patrol Leaders lead their boys into their proper position, and stand their Patrols "at ease."

Each Patrol Leader in turn may now give his Patrol's attendance record for the evening ("Beavers all present, Sir" or "Six Foxes present, Sir; John absent, sick; Charlie absent, out of town with his family").  It is also worthwhile to have each Patrol Leader report on the activities of his Patrol during the time since last Troop meeting.  Calling for reports helps to encourage doing something to report.

The Troop then comes to attention.  The Senior Patrol Leader turns to the Scoutmaster, salutes and reports: "The Troop is formed."  The Scoutmaster salutes and tells the leader to proceed.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony is handled by the Senior Patrol Leader or by the Program Patrol.

Make this formal opening dignified and impressive.

You may make it scouty, by incorporating the Scout Law into the ceremony.  There should be no special objection to using the Law regularly in Troop ceremonies, but refrain from using the Scout Oath too often in this manner.  Use the Oath for special occasions, such as investitures and rededication during Boy Scout Week in February.

SCOUT LAW CEREMONIES - (1) The Scout Law is recited by Tenderfoot Scouts only.

(2) The newest Tenderfoot and the oldest Eagle Scout lead the Troop in reciting the Scout Law.

(3) One point of the Scout Law is recited in full by the whole Troop.

(4) One point of the Scout Law is assigned to each of twelve boys. Each boy in turn, takes a step forward, salutes, gives his point of the Law, steps back in line.

The opening ceremony may be given a patriotic atmosphere, by centering it around The Flag of the United States.

FLAG CEREMONIES - (1) Troop in single rank formation.  The Flag is carried to the front, whereupon the Patrol Leader of the Honor Guard Patrol leads whole Troop in Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to The Flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The opening ceremony of the Troop meeting should be short and Scout-like.  It sets the tone for the rest of the meeting.

(2) Troop formed by Patrols in two lines facing each other.   The Flag is marched up between lines with Scouts saluting.  It is halted at the head of the lines and turned about face, whereupon whole Troop gives the Pledge of Allegiance.

(3) Troop in horseshoe formation, The Flag in center.   Each Scout in turn steps forward one step, salutes and steps back.

(4) Troop in single rank.  Bring Scouts to attention, turn out all lights with the exception of a single spot (or flashlight) focused on The Flag.   A Scout from the Color Guard Patrol recites - doesn't sing - first verse of the "Star-Spangled Banner."  The Troop then sings the verse, whereupon lights are turned on.

(5) Troop in line faces end of room where at the top of the wall a small pulley with a flag line is fastened. Troop comes to attention.  The Flag is slowly hoisted while the bugler plays "To the Colors" or the Troop sings one verse of the National Anthem, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," "God Bless America," or "America the Beautiful."

In some Troops, the opening ceremony is tied in with the Troop Flag and with the traditions and history it represents.

TROOP FLAG CEREMONIES - (1) Salute the Troop flag. Give the Troop yell or sing the special Troop song.

(2) The Scouts salute the Troop flag and repeat after the Senior Patrol Leader the Troop's special pledge, along this line: "As a member of Troop One, I pledge that I shall always strive: To be a good member of my Patrol - To take part in all Troop activities - To advance in Scoutcraft - To act as a Scout at all times."

(3) Form the Patrols as spokes in a wheel, with the Troop flag in the center. Patrol Leaders hold on to the flagpole with the left hand. Behind them, their Scouts place their hands on the shoulder of the boy in front of them. The Troop sings an appropriate Scout song, such as "Hail, Hail, Scouting Spirit" or "Trail the Eagle."

The opening ceremony may have a religious touch, with a half-minute silence for silent, personal prayers, or, in a church-sponsored Troop, with the recitation aloud of a prayer approved by the church.

Develop a ceremony that fits your particular Troop and may become a Troop tradition. Or develop several and vary the opening from time to time.

Historian’s Report

The Troop Scribe reads aloud from the Troop log book the minutes of the previous meeting and the report of Troop activities that have taken place since.   Someone makes the motion that the report be accepted as read or as corrected.   The motion is properly seconded and voted upon.

Having the log publicly read at each Troop meeting is one of the best ways of assuring that it is good and up-to-date.  The Troop Scribe will do a much better job on the "glorious history of the good, old Troop" if his work is considered important enough to be a feature of every Troop meeting instead of being "one-of-those-things" that has to be done.

The Troop Log Book contains the history and traditions of your Troop. It should be a vivid account of the doings of Troop, Patrols and individuals-reported ported with tact, humor. impartiality and good judgment. Keep it well illustrated with photographs and sketches, even if a primitive type.


The formal opening may be followed occasionally by an inspection of the Patrols for correct uniforming.  While the Troop stands at ease, the Scoutmaster and other Troop leaders make their rounds.  As they approach each Patrol, the Patrol Leader brings his Patrol to attention.  Or the Patrol Leaders themselves form the inspecting party, the Assistant Patrol Leaders bringing the Patrols to attention.

During the first few weeks of a new Troop, Correct uniform may consist of the Troop neckerchief only.  When it is known that a boy has a uniform, he should be made to feel that he has failed in his obligations if he does not wear it.

GENERAL INSPECTION takes in tidy appearance, clean face, hands, shoes, and correct Uniform, including Badges and Insignia.

SURPRISE INSPECTIONS may be sprung from time to time. Such combinations as "left ear-right shoe" or "neckerchief-hair combed" or "Patrol medallion-stockings" and others add fun to the inspection.

In the course of inspection, give praise where praise is due, and make any criticism impersonally and with care.  Better no criticism than some that might embarrass a boy before his friends.

You will never get good uniforming in your Troop unless you insist upon good uniforming. And you can't insist upon it unless you are correctly uniformed. Again, your example is one of the most important factors- as in everything else connected with the Troop.


At this stage, there may be a few announcements that need to be made concerning the program of the meeting.  Make them short and sweet and to the point.  They can be in the or form of "Orders of the Day" written out in a advance and now read aloud before the Troop by the Scribe.

See: Troop Formations

See also:
Advancement Ceremonies






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Meeting Ingredients ] Before the Meeting ] [ Opening Exercises ] Troop Formations ] Scoutcraft ] Patrol Corners ] Scoutcraft Games ] Recreational Games ] Council Fire Period ] Closing Exercises ] After the Meeting ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.