Scout Skill Activities as presented in Bryan on Scouting

Here are some ideas to put outdoor skills into action at Scout meetings

Outdoor skills aren’t just for the monthly campout. There are plenty of ways your Scouts can hone their outdoor skills on a regular basis, like during unit meetings.

Here is this week’s tip that the BSA’s national camping subcommittee shared with us. Special thanks to Larry Green for the tips and text below. For previous camp hacks and tips from the subcommittee, click here.

Once Scouts can demonstrate an acquired skill, they should be given opportunities to do something fun with it that provides a challenge that illustrates how the skill is used, and an opportunity requiring them to rely upon the skill in order to complete the task.

When properly planned, well-prepared, and effectively presented, these kinds of engaging activities contribute greatly to making a Scout meeting fun with positive outcomes.

Putting skills into action keeps Scouts involved, requires them to use teamwork, and provides the grounds for experiencing success. Bringing skills to life during a troop meeting in a manner that nearly simulates the way they’re used in the field, is always a good way to reinforce what Scouts learn, while honing their skills to keep them sharp.

Here are some fun activities and games your Scouts can do while incorporating skills they’ve learned:

50-Foot Rescue Relay

Hitching Race

Taut-line Hitch Race

Reactor Transporter Challenge

For more team-building activities and skills challenges, click here.

Pioneering Program Curriculum I: Knot-Tying Terms and Open-Ended Half Hitches

This is the first post in a series that will eventually comprise an activity-based, unit pioneering program curriculum.

I. There are numerous terms pertaining to knots and working with rope, but the four presented here, along with some simple “moves” requiring a minimum amount of dexterity, will be useful when learning and applying some of the basics that follow.


  • Through hands on experience, Scouts will become familiar with and demonstrate the following knot-tying terminology: running end, standing part, overhand loop, underhand loop.   
  • Using the materials provided, Scouts will also demonstrate they can tie Half Hitches over an open-ended pole.


  • Suspended horizontal hitching post or similar setup, to accommodate the entire class
  • Enough vertical hitching posts (or uprights with a 15-foot attached length of 3/16 or 1/4-inch nylon cord) so there is at least one for every two Scouts
  • 6-foot x 1-1/2-inch diameter spar set up as a crossbar with a 6-foot length of 1/2 inch nylon or polyester cord, attached in the middle, to serve as a large visual aid
Horizontal Hitching Post Lashed Between Two 6' Uprights
Horizontal Hitching Rack Lashed Between Two 6′ Uprights


  1. With each Scout standing in front of a dangling cord, using the 1/2-inch cord as an illustration, the instructor explains where the running end, and standing part are. Scouts are given an opportunity to point to the corresponding part on their respective cords.
  2. The instructor explains what an overhand loop is, illustrating the “right-hand-twist.” Scouts review the maneuver and form the loop with their respective cords.
  3. The instructor explains what an underhand loop is and illustrates the “left-hand-grab.” Scouts review the maneuver and form the loop with their respective cords.
  4. The instructor calls out each of the above terms in mixed orders and Scouts, race to point to the correct part of the cord, or form the loops in response.
The Right-Hand-Twist to Form a Right Overhand Loop and the Left-Hand-Grab to Form a Right Underhand Loop
The Right-Hand-Twist to Form a Right Overhand Loop and the Left-Hand-Grab to Form a Right Underhand Loop
A Hitching Post with a Series of Half Hitches
Half Hitches
Vertical Hitching Post
Vertical Hitching Post


  1. With Scouts gathering around a vertical hitching post, the instructor demonstrates how, by making an underhand loop, a half hitch can be placed around an open-ended pole. He then demonstrates that many half hitches can be placed around the pole, one on top of the other.
  2. Pairs of Scouts, each at a vertical hitching post, try to lay half hitches over the top of the pole. Scouts coach one another and further instruction is provided as needed.
  3. Races are conducted to see how many half hitches can be laid over a pole in 20 seconds.

VIEW VIDEO: Hitching Race