Troop/Pack meetings with ZOOM
Methods to do entire troop and break out skill development and patrol meetings.
How to conduct a troop meeting with ZOOM
We’ve been handed a challenge with the COVID-19 ‘Shelter at Home’ practices that have been thrust upon us. How do we continue to ‘Scout’ when we cannot meet? Sure, may of us have started using video conferencing to conduct our committee meetings and our PLCs. We’ve seen online merit badge sessions and boards of review. These are all pretty focused meetings and it is working out pretty well.
How do we conduct a Scout Troop meeting, or a Scout Pack meeting over a video conference? With potentially 50 to 100 people? How does the leader make presentations, skill demonstration, EDGE method teaching, break out into patrol meetings and then come back together again? What about inter-patrol competitions?
In this post, I’ll go over how this can be accomplished using ZOOM Conferencing.
First, let’s look at the agenda of a meeting:
- Opening Ceremony
- Flag ceremony
- Scout Oath
- Scout Law
- Outdoor Code
- Announcements - Use screen share to
- show slides of each upcoming event
- show a calendar of the upcoming month
- Use engaging pictures
- Change up the scout who is doing the presentation of the event.
- Skill instruction – break out into Break-out rooms based on level
- Basic skills for younger/newer scouts
- Advanced skills for older/higher level scouts
- Round robins for longer meetings
- Patrol meetings – break out into Break-out rooms for each patrol.
- Inter-patrol game
- Closing ceremony
- Scoutmaster minute
Looks pretty familiar to most troop meeting agendas. Now, how do we do this through video conferencing?
Gathering and Starting the Meeting
As with your normal meeting, you’ll want to be punctual with the start of the meeting. So, schedule your video conference to start about 5 minutes before the actually meeting time. This gives everyone time to connect and be ready for the opening. When you send out the meeting invitations, let everyone know that the video meeting will be started 5 minutes before to enable everyone to connect and that the meeting will start at your meeting time as normal.
I believe it will be best not to engage the ‘waiting room’ feature. Let your Scouts gather in the meeting and interact as the join. That way, you’ll have less distraction when you’re ready to start the meeting.
Flag Ceremony: Start the meeting with a flag ceremony. You can make this simple by showing the flag on your scout uniform. Or bring in a full-size flag, or a small table flag that you hold in front of the camera. Or use an image of a flag that you screen share with the troop. I’ve included a royalty free image of the flag that you are free to use.
Scout Oath and Law: It is important, in my opinion, to keep as many traditions from your regular troop meeting. You can either simply ask a scout to lead everyone in the Scout Oath and then ask another Scout to lead everyone in the Scout Law. You could also present an image of the Oath and Law as they are being recited.
During the announcement time, you can spice these up in a couple ways.
- Share with your troop the list of upcoming events in a list with Date, time, name, location, etc. and talk through them each one by one.
- Make a ‘flyer’ image for each event and share them individually as you talk about them. This makes each more interesting and keeps the focus on the event which you’re talking about. Make the ‘flyers’ fun and engaging with clip art, a picture or background.
Invite the Boy leader in charge of the event to present the event. This gives more scouts an opportunity to present and gets them out of their comfort zone. It also keeps it more interesting for the rest of the troop.
The skill instruction component will likely be the most challenging. Yet, this is possible to do. Like your troop meeting, you could have a single presenter, or a team of presenters. The presenter may need to elicit help from a sibling or a parent if s/he needs to do the skill on or with someone.
You may wish to have multiple presentations going on at once: a basic skill presentation for your new/younger Scouts and an advanced skill or different skill for your older Scouts. This can be achieved with ‘Break-outs’ in Zoom. I recommend setting up your break out rooms a head of time. The meeting host can assign the scouts to the break out rooms while the opening ceremony and announcements are going on. This way they are ready when the SPL needs to push the Scouts into their specific skill break out. The meeting host is able enter and exit the break outs to check in on how they are going. Break out rooms are able to request help from the host when/if they need it.
When the SPL is ready to call everyone back into the main meeting, the break outs can be ‘closed’. The members of the break out will get a 60 second warning. At 60 seconds, the break rooms will be closed and everyone will return to the main meeting.
The Patrol Method is the heart of Scouting. And the Patrol meeting is its life blood. These can be conducted in the same fashion as described in the Skill Instruction section above. Break out meetings can be created for each patrol. When creating the break-outs, change each rooms name to the name of the patrol for ease of assigning members.
Tell the patrol leader the amount of time they’ll have in their patrol meetings and send them in. The system allows the host to broadcast to all the break outs a message. You can use this feature to give them all a 2-minute warning. Then when 1 minute is left, close the break-rooms. The system gives them a 60 second warning and closes the breaks when the 60 seconds up. All members are returned to the main meeting.
Now this… this… will take some creativity. Scouting is a game with a purpose. What game(s) that could challenge the patrol, develop teamwork, leadership, skills and be FUN! And, we’d love to hear what you up with. Share with us!! Inspire others.
How a troop closes a meeting is a tradition for many units. Closing announcements, recognitions, the closing flag ceremony and of course, the Scoutmaster minute.
How to use Break Rooms
Break rooms need to be enabled for your account. To do so:,
- login to the http://zoom.us website
- Click on ‘Settings’ in the ‘Personal’ section in the left column
- Choose ‘In Meeting – Advanced’ in the 2nd column
- Turn on ‘Break room’ by sliding the on/off switch.
Next time you launch a meeting, the Break-Room options will be turned on.
When in the Zoom meeting, click the Break-out room button in the control bar on the bottom. This will display the break out room configuration dialog where you can create the break rooms, rename them assign participants to a break out room, launch break outs and close them.
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