Posts Tagged ‘skit’


The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 have been performing a little skit/song called Star Trekking since the mid-eighties. (See blog post from August 2, 2006) It has been quite popular with most campfire audiences. In 1990 (wow, eighteen years ago) the troop performed this skit on a local television station station. This video was taped by one of the parents, luckily. Two and a half years ago I placed the video online at YouTube for the world to see. Since then, the video has received over 39,000 views, and averages somewhere around 50-60 views per day.

Well, it seems that several of this year’s Buckskin staff at Many Point Scout Camp has seen the video. Some more then once. One Friday, the last full day of camp, our camp commissioner visited our campsite and asked me if I was the one in the video that was on YouTube. I said I was and gave him a quick explanation how that all came about. He was grinning from ear to ear when he asked me to sign his cap, and then asked me if I would perform the skit with some of the camp’s staff during the Friday night closing campfire program. I agreed, but wondered when we would have time to practice. After all, the staff would be busy all day. He replied that I should meet them at the camp lodge at 9:00 that evening.

The campfire was scheduled to start at 9:30 pm. Not much time to practice.

I was at the lodge at 9:00, which was a one minute walk from our troop’s campsite. Only half of the staff that were to be a part of the skit were there. The rest showed up as they arrived from their program areas. Unfortunately, we did not really have much time to practice. In fact, all we had time to do was to choose who would play what roles, go over each person’s lines once, and practice the refrain. We did not even get to run through the song one time. This could be interesting, I thought to myself as I walked back to my campsite. Luckily, most of the participants had viewed the skit on YouTube and had a good idea how it was done.

I brought my camcorder along to the campfire program and was able to find another staff member to record the skit. When the time came, I left my seat in the audience to join the staff at the side. As we walked out to center stage I could not help but think of the possibility of the train wreck that was about to occur. After all, we really had not practiced together.

I did not have to worry. The staff came through with flying colors. And better yet, the hundreds of Scouts and adult leaders in the audience loved it. The cheering at the end of the skit was overwhelming. We had pulled it off, and pulled it off well.

Once I returned home from summer camp I had a problem with the camcorder. It began eating my tapes. One of the tapes it tried eating was the one that had the footage of Star Trekking. I had promised the staff that I would put this video online for them to see. I needed that footage. I bought a new camcorder, and luckily was able to retrieve the video from the campfire program. In fact, I should be able to get a few podcasts from the footage. Unfortunately, the footage is pretty dark since it was filmed after sunset.

So here is that video of Star Trekking, performed at the Many Point Scout Camp closing campfire program on July 18, 2008. This video is dedicated to the 2008 Buckskin camp staff, and to the camp’s Ranger Scott, who appears in that YouTube video.

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The idea was first discussed in the fall of 1994 (I think). The Boy Scouts of Troop 68 had decided it was time to do a campfire-style program for the local community. The troop had become known in the council for performing at campfire programs. The boys thought it would be a good idea to show people outside of Scouting what they could do.

The school auditorium was reserved for a Saturday in late January, 1995. A few of the boys got together in December to plan an agenda for the program. Various ideas for songs and skits were discussed. The boys chose many of their favorites, but also added several they had not done before. After the songs and skits were chosen the boys decided the order of the performances. They also talked about how to advertise the program. It was decided to place posters around town and in school, and get some coverage in the local newspaper and the local public access television station.

By the time they finished their planning, the troop had a show that would be nearly two hours long. That included a ten minute intermission.

The decision was made not to charge admission. However, people would be asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the local food shelf. Thus, the show was named “Laughs For Lunch”. The audience would provide the lunch for the needy in exchange for the Boy Scouts providing the laughs. Hopefully.

Our three meetings in January were used to practice for the show. The meetings were lengthened from our usually one and a half hours to two hours long. Since many of the songs and skits we had already performed at campfires we just needed to practice them a little to polish them up. However, the new skits needed a little more work.

I, the scoutmaster, became the director of the show. After our three practices I began to wonder if we could really pull this off well. I was thinking we could use another couple of meetings to get the kinks worked out. Alas, we were out of time.

Saturday night had arrived. It was time for the show. Approximately one hundred people were sitting in the audience. The boys were excited, and a little nervous. I have to admit, I was too. I was the master of ceremonies. I would also be performing with the Scouts in a few of the songs and skits.

The curtain opened. The show began. And so did the laughs. The audience had a great time. So did the Scouts. The show was a success!

This year we held our tenth “Laughs For Lunch Show”. We now hold four practices instead of three. People still enjoy coming to the shows, and we have had a lot of fun doing them. The boys receive a lot of compliments after the shows. I think the best part of the show is seeing the smiles on the Scouts when they realize they have done well.

Some of the skits from the Laughs For Lunch Show can be scene on this troop’s website at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/campfirestuff.html

Star TrekkingIn the mid-1980′s one of the Boy Scouts from Troop 68 happened to record a radio program called Dr. Demento. One of the songs on the tape was called “Star Trekking”. He knew I enjoyed Star Trek so he brought it over so I could listen to it. I thought it was a great spoof of the television show.

A couple of years later I was with the troop at summer camp. We needed a “new” song or skit for the campfire program. Our troop had become known for its “original” songs by this time. For some reason I thought of the song “Star Trekking”. I thought we could work it out where each person would take one verse and we would all sing along on the refrain. We came up with actions for each character, and added a verse for Chekov.

It took time to practice and get it just right. The hardest thing to do was to keep a serious expression throughout the song. I thought it would be funnier if we did not smile or laugh during the performance.

We invited several members of the camp staff to our campsite one evening to see the new skit. One staff member, Paul, and old scouting friend of mine, was a big Star Trek fan. I thought he would really enjoy the skit. Unfortunately, Paul was not able to come to our site that evening. The staff that did attend really liked the new skit. They told us to follow them as they led us to were Paul and other staff members were preparing for a campwide activity. We performed the skit again. Paul and the staff roared with laughter. It was then decided that we would do the skit during the Friday night closing campfire for the whole camp.

We practiced hard over the next two days. It had discovered that it was tough to keep a straight face while other people laughed at us.

The campers loved the skit Friday night. Hearing the laughter of a couple hundred boys and their leaders was fantastic. The standing ovation we received at the end of the skit really made the boys and I feel great.

The “Star Trekking” skit became Troop 68′s most popular skit. We performed it at summer camps, district and council camporees, and our own Laughs For Lunch Shows. After a few years we knew it had reached “cult” status when another troop spoofed us and the skit during a campfire at a district camporee.

Those Scouts of the 80′s and early 90′s have all moved on with their lives. The current Scouts still do the skit once in a while. I know I will never forget the fun we had performing it through the years.

In 1990, the Scouts and I performed the skit during a local television show. You can view this performance on our troop’s website at:
http://www.melrosetroop68.org/campfirestuff.html

campfire45In previous posts I have written about the Scouts of Troop 68 performing at campfire programs. Usually, the Scout do quite well and everyone has a good time.

But not everything always goes as planned….

We travel back in time to the mid 1980′s….

We arrive at Crow Wing Scout Camp in Minnesota. It is Wednesday night and the area campfire programs have begun. A young patrol from Troop 68 walks to the front of the campfire to perform the song “I Wish I Was A Boy Scout.” They have practiced. They are ready to perform.

The patrol starts singing the refrain, and then things begin to fall apart. As the boys act out the song one Scout forgets his lines. The Scout next to him tries to whisper to him to help him out but the whisper is loud enough for everyone to hear. Another Scout does the wrong actions to his verse. One Scout starts to sing off beat to the rest of the patrol. Before the song reaches the fourth of the six verses the skit is beyond saving.

But the Scouts and leaders watching the performance are laughing hysterically. The harder the young Scouts try to do things right, the more they screw up, and the funnier the song becomes. The laughter drowns out the other sounds around the campfire ring.

The boys of the young patrol are feeling terrible as the sit down with their troop. How could they have messed up that badly? But guess what, the best was yet to come.

One song or skit from each of the three area campfires held that night will be chosen to be a part of the Friday night closing campfire program. The Scout campers of this area laughed so hard during the “I Wish I Was A Boy Scout” song that they chose the young Troop 68 patrol to be in the Friday night program.

During the next two days the young Scouts work hard to perfect the song and actions. It actually looks pretty good Friday afternoon.

Friday night has arrived. The young patrol is ready. They are called down to perform their song…

and it is Wednesday night all over again…

and once again the audience roars with its laughter.

The young patrol members feel bad about screwing up for the second time. But you know what? Who cares? The Scouts from the various troops and the camp’s staff enjoyed the song, the patrol members did their best, and everyone goes back to their campsites with a smile on their face.

The Scout Oath states, “On my honor, I will do my best…” That’s all anyone can ever ask of you. And sometimes, your best might even be better then perfection could ever be.

summercamp1990The Boy Scouts of Troop 68, of which I am the scoutmaster, have been entertaining Scouts and families with their campfire songs and skits for nearly 25 years. The boys, and myself, have had a lot of fun doing them. And I hope they have learned a few things along the way.

One of the skills I hope they learn is what I like to call adlibbing. Anyone who has been involved with a campfire program needs to know how to adlib. After all, something is bound to go wrong during the program and a person needs to know how to cover for the forgotten line or the mistake that was made.

Here is an example of Scouts not knowing how to adlib….

Troop 68 attended summer camp at Crow Wing Scout Camp during the 80′s and early 90′s. On Wednesday nights the camp would hold area campfires involving 4-5 troops. Each patrol was supposed to do a song or skit. One or two skits and/or songs would be chosen from these area campfires to be in the Friday night closing campfire program.

One year, two boys from another troop got up to do the “Ugliest Man in the World” skit. One boy would be the caller and the other boy would put a towel over his head and be the ugliest man in the world. I had seen this skit done so often that I had actually started to dislike it. But, it was an easy and popular skit for Scouts to perform, just like the “Lawnmower” skit.

Several boys from my troop turned to look at me and ask me if they could volunteer to be called up to look at the ugliest man in the world. I had my suspicions as to what they had in mind to do but I nodded my head and said to go for it. It happened that one of my Scouts, Tim, was called up to be the “last” person to look at the ugliest man in the world.

Now, if you know how the skit works, you know that the last person called up to look under the towel will not join the earlier volunteers who have “fainted” after looking at the ugly man. No, this time the ugly man falls to the ground and the other Scout of the skit will declare the last volunteer to be the new ugliest man in the world.

Needless to say, things did not go as planned for the two boys doing the skit. When Tim got up to the ugly man he looked under the towel and immediately dropped to the ground before the ugly man had a chance to fall to the ground himself. The two boys just stood there. They did not know what to do. Finally, when the boy who was not the ugly one said “That was not supposed to happen,” the audience roared with laughter. An old skit suddenly had a new and unplanned ending.

In one way, I felt sorry for the two boys who had done the skit. Tim’s little prank had messed up their rehearsed skit. But you know, the one boy only needed to call up one more volunteer to make things appear to be alright. An opportunity to adlib had been missed.

I have always told the Scouts of Troop 68 to keep going and work around any mistakes made during songs and skits. (I have even made several of my own over the years.) If you do not draw attention to the mistake most people will not catch on that a mistake has been made. Sometimes the adlib will even make the skit or song funnier. I know that has been the case several times during Troop 68 performances.

So next time you are doing a skit or song at a campfire and goof up, keep going, work around it, and have fun. After all, that is part of what Scouting is about… just having fun.