Pioneering Skills as Unit Activities

I found a very nice blog site today (via Scouting Magazine):

One of the categories of posts at their site is on pioneering projects that can be incorporated into unit meetings for team building exercises, competitions, etc. (CLICK HERE)

monkey bridge 1If your unit’s boys like knots and lashing, it’s easy to incorporate inexpensive staves into the process and make gadgets like tripods and simple towers or bridges.

If your unit goes camping frequently, these gadgets can become highly practical for constructing dish washing stations, kitchens, tables, camp gateways and more.

Some boys develop a deep fascination with knots and learn an amazing number of variations.  Getting them to share that skill with others helps build social skills and instructional skills as the other boys learn the basic ways to use knots and lashings in practical ways.

Tying this activity back to a story circle is also fairly easy.  The Bible uses multiple strand rope imagery and discussions of unity and teamwork to encourage us to work together and trust God more fully.  A few examples:

  • Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) – A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. [when we tie our knots tight and our lashings are made with precision and care, they’re not easily broken — our relationships should be crafted with similar care, trust and respect so that with God’s grace we can support each other in difficult times by looking to God for His protection and help]
  • Ephesians 4:11-16 (KJV) — And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the Simple table and benchessaints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. [everyone has a role to play and we must grow and mature in our knowledge and discipline so that we (like our built up structures) won’t be tossed about by the wind, but we’d be tightly fitted together to withstand temptations and distractions]
  • Colossians 3:12-14 — Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. [Why use the imagery of “binding everything together in perfect harmony” in these verses — is there a parallel to be drawn in that the attributes (staves/staffs) listed in verses 12 and 13 are connected to each other in this common rope of love?  Kindness by itself is good, but when bound together with humility and meekness and patience, etc. by the cord of love then we have a complete picture of how to behave]

If your unit has worked with ropes and knots in the past, try stepping up the fun by adding lashings and staves to a unit activity night.  Starting with something simple like a tripod will help build confidence and deliver immediate results.  Expanding to other lashings and increasing the number of staves sets the stage for almost limitless creativity and fun.



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