- Coloured pens or pencils
- Scrap paper
- Sign in system (optional)
- Quiet games and puzzles (optional)
Starting a Squirrel meeting
Lots of people find it helpful to have structure and routines in their meetings, including having a set way to start and finish a meeting. This can help everything run smoothly and help everyone to join in.
Having a sign-in system can help everyone feel ready for the meeting and feel connected. There are lots of different ways you could do this. You could:
- Use a welcome board - Everyone finds their picture and places it onto a board. These pictures could be a photo of the person, a drawing they’ve done of themselves, or their name. The pictures will get a lot of use, so if you’re able to laminate them, this will help them stay in one piece. Using Velcro will make it really easy for them to attach their picture, but sticky tack would work too.
- Use objects – Everyone finds the object with their name on, and places or hangs it in a certain place. You can get as creative as you like. These could be pebbles placed in a basket, sticks to lay on a picture of a nest, luggage/gift tags to hang on a model tree or toy building bricks to stick together.
It can be useful to have something for people to do while they’re waiting for the whole group to arrive. A quiet game or activity will be best. This could simply be colouring in or drawing, simple puzzles, or quiet games. These could even linked to what you’re going to be doing in the meeting. Have these placed on the floor or at tables, so everyone can just get stuck in,
- When everyone has arrived, a quick activity that everyone does together, is a great way to start every meeting. This can help capture everyone’s attention and get them ready to listen and join in. It could be a song that everyone sings together.
- You may hear these sorts of activities called ‘opening ceremonies’, as they’re used to open (start) the meeting. There’s no one right way to do this, as long as it gives everyone a chance to come together and say hello.
- This is just one example of something you could do. It’s up to you what you do to welcome everyone to your meeting.
An example opening
The welcome song
- Once the whole group has arrived or it is time to start, everyone should sit in a circle including any adults staying for the meeting.
- The group can sing the welcome song below.
- Everyone should be encouraged to join in the song together and to wave to each of the people as their name is sung.
Adults and helpers may need to support everyone to be involved in the song. Everyone could sing it together, or the person leading the activity could sing the words first, for the rest of the group to repeat. This will depend on how well everyone knows the song and everyone's names.
Share and reflect
- After the welcome song, the person leading the ceremony should ask the group if they can remember what they did during last weeks meeting.
- Everyone should be encouraged to share what they enjoyed about last weeks meeting and what they did if they took part in the at home activities.
Some people might need prompts to remember what they did last week and if they took part in the activity at home. Encourage everyone to try to think about something that they did at home that was related to the meeting activity even if it isn't the activity at home.
This suggested song is to the tune of the first half of 'Goodbye campfire song' with the words changed to be:
Hello (name of young person), hello (name of next young person), hello (name of next young person), we're glad you're here today.
During the ceremony everyone was part of a team and built friendships by welcoming each other to the group.
- How did it feel to be welcomed into the group?
- How did everyone work together to welcome everybody else?
Plan an opening that everyone will enjoy and be able to be involved in. For some people, having actions with the song might help them join in. Some people may not like noise, so think about noise levels in the activity.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.