AKELA VERSUS MR. DRUG ABUSE
An Anti-drug Advancement Ceremony
by Edward A. Haluska

People required:

  • Akela, the leader of the wolf pack (Cubmaster)
  • Mr. Drug Abuse (non-Scout associate)
  • Police Officer (a real one)

Props:

  • A candle log (with enough holes for each boy)
  • Candles for the candle log (one per boy)
  • Hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes, with the ends twisted to resemble marijuana cigarettes. Use fewer cigarettes than candles.
  • A log drilled to hold the fake marijuana cigarettes like candles
  • A camp-stove lighter (one that makes a flame, not just a spark)
  • An ugly-monster costume with a mask for Mr. Drug Abuse
  • Handcuffs (just make sure the police officer brings his set)
  • Sheet to cover candle and cigarette logs

Hints:

  • For the monster costume, the uglier, the better. I used a monster mask that had stubby red horns that contained flashing lights.
  • Ugly monster costumes are easy to obtain around Halloween. However, there are so many "monsters" around during the Halloween season, it is better to conduct this ceremony during some other time of the year. So plan ahead and pick up the costume during October.
  • Don't use a monster that the Cubs would already know, such as Dracula or Frankenstein. Otherwise you will have trouble establishing the monster as the personification of drug abuse.
  • Just a mask will do for the ugly monster costume, but the costume must include a mask! The mask is important so that the Cubs will not know the real identity of Mr. Drug Abuse. We do not want the Cubs to confuse Mr. Drug Abuse with the person playing that character. Make sure that the person playing the monster is not wearing any part of the adult leader uniform. Mr. Drug Abuse is such a heavy character that he should be played by someone from outside the pack if at all possible. Although a parent from within the pack is OK, Mr. Drug Abuse definitely should not be played by anyone from the current adult leadership.
  • If you are using this ceremony for the first time, practice the wolf howl and wolf growl by using them as a spirit cheer at the beginning of the pack meeting.
  • Dim the lighting at the beginning of the ceremony for better atmosphere and so that the candles will show up better.
  • The camp stove lighter called for is basically just a butane cigarette lighter that has been fitted with a trigger mechanism and a long extender tube so that the flame is about 4 inches from the hand. These lighters may sometimes be found with the Barbecue grills in some stores. Tigers and the younger Cubs are usually more comfortable with this than matches or trying to use a larger candle to light the small ones.
  • You can use a candle log that is made for standard size candles. However, if you are going to have a large number of Cubs in the ceremony, you may want to consider using birthday candles in the log.
  • Instead of hand-rolled cigarettes, the fake marijuana cigarettes can be made from commercial cigarettes. Break of the filter, pull a little tobacco from each end, then twist the paper shut.
  • The first time I tried this ceremony was during a Blue and Gold Banquet in a school lunch room that did not have a stage. Within five minutes after the arrival of Mr. Drug Abuse, all the Cubs who were not in the ceremony had left their seats and were kneeling in a semi-circle around the front of the candle logs. They were all actively involved in cheering for the Cubs in the ceremony and heckling Mr. Drug Abuse. This was great! So try to use a physical arrangement that will allow the Cubs in the audience to participate in this manner. Avoid an elevated stage that would cut them off.
  • Don't try to maintain military discipline over the Cubs during this ceremony. Allow them to shout and jeer at Mr. Drug Abuse. Even if it is just symbolic, you will probably never again see them so actively and enthusiastically reject drugs while among their peers.
  • Because the Cubs will be making a lot of noise during this ceremony, microphones for Akela and Mr. Drug Abuse are extremely helpful. Wireless mikes are even better as they allow Mr. Drug Abuse to interact better by being able to actually approach the Cubs. If you only have one wireless mike, give it to Mr. Drug Abuse.
  • Don't feel that you have to stick closely to this script. Ad lib as needed and respond to remarks made by the Cubs. However, to also make this ceremony an effective tool for recruiting adult leaders, Mr. Drug Abuse should be sure to deliver the "wait till next year" challenge at the end of the ceremony. However, if he doesn't have a microphone, he may have trouble making himself heard at this point in the ceremony.
  • Having a real police officer arrest Mr. Drug Abuse at the end of the ceremony works very well. However, police officers may be called away without warning. If the police officer is unavailable, just have the pack growl at Mr. Drug Abuse to get him to leave.

Akela: The moon is full, just as it was long ago on that night in the jungle when Mowgli first joined the Seeonee wolf pack. It has been many years since Mowgli returned from living with the wolves. After he returned, he taught us many of the lessons he learned while in the jungle. The most important was that the strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf. That is why we are here tonight in this council ring. Tonight we have many young boys who have earned new rank badges. As these boys have grown, the strength of the pack has grown. So let us begin. Parents, bring forward these man cubs.

(Akela calls out the names of the Cubs who have earned the new rank badges. Parents and Cubs come forward and face the rest of the pack.)

Akela: First, to earn your rank badges, you boys have learned the Cub Scout promise. Are you boys ready to make that promise again in front of your parents, these other Cubs, and the rest of the pack?

(Akela shakes head in yes motion. Boys should also shake their heads yes.)

Akela: Then please make the Scout Sign and say the Cub Scout Promise along with me.

I promise to do my best,
To do my duty to God and my Country,
To help other people,
And to obey the Law of the Pack.

(Mr. Drug Abuse now makes his entrance.)

Mr. Drug Abuse: Cub Scout Promise! Do your best! What a bunch of sugar-sweet garbage! Akela, you goody two-shoes, why don't you just give up? These boys are going to be mine sooner or later.

Akela: Oh, no! It's Mr. Drug Abuse! What's a scum bag like you doing here tonight? Go crawl back under a rock.

Mr. Drug Abuse: I just came by to let you know you're wasting your time. Do your duty! Obey the law of the Pack! HA! These boys don't really care about all that. Why, I'll bet that at least a couple of them are ready to come and follow me right now!

Akela: Oh you think so, do you? I guess I'll just have to prove to you that these boys have the flame of the Cub Scout promise burning within their hearts and would never be stupid enough to follow you. Let me show you.

(Remove the sheet that covers the candle and cigarette logs.)

Akela: I have here two logs. On this log are candles. The flame of these candles stands for the fire of the Cub Scout Promise. But on this log are some of your nasty marijuana cigarettes. Now I am going to give each one of these boys a choice. I'm going to call them forward one at a time. If they believe in the Cub Scout Promise and want to remain in this pack, then they can light one of these candles. But if they want to leave the pack and stand in your evil shadow, then they can light one of the marijuana cigarettes. What do you say to that?

(Mr. Drug Abuse counts the marijuana cigarettes and then counts the Cubs.)

Mr. Drug Abuse: I think you don't have enough of my marijuana cigarettes on my log. That's what I think.

Akela: Well, we'll just see about that. Let us begin.

(Call each boy forward one at a time and ask the following...)

Akela: boy's name , I have here the (rank) badge that you have earned! If you want to accept this badge, and remain with the pack, then light one of these candles. But, if you want to leave us and follow the wicked ways of that (insulting name) , then light one of these marijuana cigarettes. Choose!

(Akela should try to use a different insulting name for Mr. Drug Abuse each time he uses the above lines. Some good ones are maggot face, fungus face, toad face, worm face, sleaze bag, slime ball, sewer rat, garbage head, scum snake, and rotten meat.)

(Hand the Cub the camp stove lighter. While the boy has the lighter, Mr. Drug Abuse may ad lib and try to get him to light one of the cigarettes. For example, Mr. Drug Abuse could say...)

Mr. Drug Abuse: Come on kid. Light one of my cigarettes. It will make you feel ten feet tall.

OR Hey kid, don't be a nerd! All your friends are doing it. Be cool like them.

(OR Mr. Drug Abuse can ad lib other similar lines.)

(After the cub has lit a candle, Mr. Drug Abuse may ham it up and make a big show of his disappointment and anger. Or he can act as if the lighting of the candle actually inflicted pain on him.(Take back the camp stove lighter.)

Akela: You have chosen well young man-cub, and the Pack is proud! (Hand the badge to the boy's left hand and give him a Cub Scout handshake with your right hand.)

OR

Well done young Cub! You have chosen wisely! Here is your (rank) badge that you have earned!

(If you have a lot of boys, make up minor variations on the above lines to keep the exchange interesting.)

(During this part of the ceremony, there will always be at least one smart aleck in the audience who starts cheering for Mr. Drug Abuse. This can be squelched by having Mr. Drug Abuse suggest that his "friend" should become a drug pusher for him. Akela can then ask the other Cubs how they feel about drug pushers. Akela can also lead the pack in growling at this boy. You just may have a boy who decides to light one of the marijuana cigarettes. If he does, tell him he is a disgrace to the pack. If he is wearing a scarf, remove it, then hand him over to Mr. Drug Abuse. If he later seems penitent, you may give him a second chance with the lighter. If he does not, you may consider asking him and his parents to leave with Mr. Drug Abuse.)

(After all the Cubs have received their badges..)

Akela: So Mr. Drug Abuse, each boy has chosen, and their choice has been guided by the fire and wisdom of the Cub Scout Promise. None will follow you tonight. Officer (officer's last name) , will you please take care of this maggot for us?

(Police officer makes entrance.)

Police Officer: Mr. Drug Abuse, in the name of the Cub Scouts of America and the State of (your state) , I hereby place you under arrest.

(Police officer handcuffs Mr. Drug Abuse and begins to lead him out of the room. But before they exit, Mr. Drug Abuse turns and shouts...)

Mr. Drug Abuse: You may have won tonight Akela! But I'll be back! And I know your weakness. The year is almost over, and you will need new adult leaders for next year. Without any adult leaders there won't be any pack, or any Cub Scout Promise. And all of these parents have good excuses not to volunteer: "Too busy! Shift work! Working mothers! Just don't want to! Can't be bothered!" But I have plenty of time. I'll be back for these boys next year!

Akela: Silence and be gone evil one! These boys know better than to follow you. Cub Scouts and parents of Pack ___! Let's show Mr. Drug Abuse what happens when he makes a pack of wolves really mad.

(Akela leads pack in growling at Mr. Drug Abuse. Policeman leads Mr. Drug Abuse away).

Akela: Look well, oh parents of Pack ___! Look well, and know what a strong pack can do. Your young cubs have chosen wisely tonight. Look well and be proud. But soon you too will have to make a choice. You parents will have to choose whether or not the pack continues. Heed Mr. Drug Abuse's warning, parents of Pack ___! May you choose as wisely as your own children. But for now, let us celebrate the wisdom and the accomplishments of these Cubs with a good wolf howl!

(Akela leads pack in a wolf howl.)


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