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Boy Scout Troop 23
(Dormont, Pennsylvania)
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History:  In years past, we found that scouts would be signed off on a skill and then not practice, and therefore, lose that skill.  We instituted a Patrol Competition to reinforce those skills.  The game is called "Skill of the Week" which is sometimes slurred to "Skill o' da Week" or simply "SODA."

The Game:  Each quarter, the Patrol Leaders Council members select a skill to be tested each week.  This could be as simple as "Scout Motto" or as complex as "Diagonal Lash.''  The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (if we have one) creates a schedule for the next three months.  Next week's skill is announced at the end of the meeting and via email from the Senior Patrol Leader.  During the meeting, each scout is tested on the skill.  The game is scored by the percentage of the patrol who were correct, so attendance is important as well.  At the end of the meeting, the JASM announces what patrol won that week.  At the quarterly Court of Honor, he announces what patrol won for the quarter. 

Okay, but does it work?:  Initially, not very well.  At one Court of Honor, I lamented about our lack of success.  One of the other leaders retorted, "Sure it works, Mr. Kelly.  You are learning your skills!"  He was correct, and, over time, the boys have learned theirs as well.

What if a boy says, "I don't know how to do that one?"  Does he get to just sit down?:  Nice try, although many do try that one.  If a boy doesn't know the skill or gets it wrong, the tester will coach him through it.  Obviously, he doesn't get credit, but hopefully it will help him learn. 

How can I find WHAT the Skill of the Week is?

The best place to look is to check out the Event Calendar. Look for the upcoming meeting date and click on the item in the calendar.  The skill should be listed under the meeting information.  The troop makes every effort to include that information. If it is not there please contact your patrol leader to find out them him.