by Rick Clements
This is a collection of
stories that I have found. I found many of them on Scouting related discussions
on different computer networks. I have used some of them at campfires
and as part of Cub Scout ceremonies. - Rick Clements
These are general guidelines
to try. It will take some trial and error to find what works for you. I've
seen things work great for someone, but I have been unable to make them
work. I have been able to adapt them and make them work.
The following suggestions are
from Blair Madore.
-Only do it at camp, and
not all the time. It keeps them wanting more.
- Never repeat a story.
Never read a story (exception: the diary story that was posted earlier-
great idea!). [At Webelos Resident Camp, I saw a story read with very
good results. It was Cub Scouts by Patrick F. McManus. This is an other
case of what works for you.]
- Wait for it to be very
dark and the campfire to be nothing but embers. Insist on complete silence.
When the story is over end the campfire. Send the scouts to bed immediately
(or after a quick mug up).
- Never tell them "it's
just a story". If they ask if it's true, try lines like "What do you think?"
You can write your own story,
use one that's written or modify a story that's written. But, the final
story needs to fit both you and your audience. As the workbook The Entertaining
Speaker from Toastmasters International says, "It should suit your personal
style and outlook on life. If you aren't comfortable with a story or a set
of funny lines, your material won't go over well as part of an entertaining
If you are writing an entertaining
story, your personal experiences are a good starting point, but you don't
have to stick to the facts. You can stretch the facts, combine different
events or even modify a joke to fit. Also, a story doesn't have to funny
to be entertaining; the ghost stories and the "Winter Cub Story" are entertaining
by being dramatic.
If you are using an existing
story, the workbook Storytelling from Toastmasters International offers
the following points to consider.
- The age of the audience.
Are your listeners adults, teenagers or children? Different age groups
prefer different types of stories.
- The type of audience.
Are your listeners boys, girls, men women?
- The social and intellectual
levels of your listeners. Generally, younger children enjoy stories with
plot and action. Older children and adults like stories with more humor
and interplay with characters. All ages enjoy rhythm and movement of event
in stories. Stories should be well paced, with few slow and no dull spots.
You also need to consider
how your story will fit with other events. For example, if the story will
be used at the beginning of a campfire, it should have a lot of excitement
and energy. If the story will be used near the end, it should be quieter
and more thoughtful.
Stories are usually better
told than acted out. If you act them out they become more of a skit. I
had the instructor at Pow Wow (a Cub Scout leader training session) tell
us that it's better to just stand than incorporate any movement. My experience
tends not to agree with that; gestures -- if the are natural -- add to
The gestures also depend
on the audience. A friend of mine, who is a seminary student, said he
was taught that elementary school age children like more gestures and
movement. That agrees with the following statement from Gestures: Your
Body Speaks from Toastmasters International.
You may, on occasion, have
to adapt your gestures to fit the size and nature of your audience. The
larger the audience, the broader and slower your gestures should be. Young
audiences are usually attracted to a speaker who uses vigorous gestures,
but older, more conservative groups may feel irritated or threatened by
a speaker whose physical actions are too powerful.