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Adding Pizzazz With Ceremony Props January 24, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Nothing sucks the life out of a pack meeting like a dry, boring prop-rceremony. I’ve seen ceremonies that were so boring that they put a halt to a pack meeting – they can be like putting a car in Park when you are still driving. On the other hand, fun, exciting ceremonies add life to the meeting, and help keep the fun rolling. The recent Pow Wow training we had here in San Diego was all about adding pizzazz to your meetings. And one way to add a little pizzazz to your ceremonies is by making props that go along with the ceremony.

Recently, my son earned his second religious emblem for our faith.propbase Since he’s already received his purple knot, he was eligible to receive a “device”, which is a small pin that goes in the knot. Now, we could have just brought him up to the stage and handed it to him. But that would be boring. We could have handed it to him and read from a ceremony found on-line or in a ceremony book. Better, but still lacking. So I thought it would be fun to make a large purple knot to go with the ceremony.

It was easy to make. I had plenty of craft wood left over from projects. So I propbasegluingfound the ratio of a knot and cut the wood to fit this (the wood’s dimensions are 11.5″w x 7.0″h). I covered this in some purple fabric from the fabric store. Since I was out of spray adhesive, I took white glue and spread it out with a foam brush, so that the wood surface was evenly coated.

To make the knot, I bought some white nylon braided rope from the home improvement store. I laid it out on my propropeboard to see what length I needed for each section (about 18″) and cut it and burned the edges. I laid the knot out as it looks on the patch, and I then used a hot glue gun to glue the knot together, so it would hold its shape. I had some shiny silver spray paint left over from my son’s pinewood derby car last year, so I spray painted both sides in a water bottle cardboard base, as I’ve blogged about previously . Once dry I glued the knot onto the board with a hot glue gun to create the large purple knot.

As a side note, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as I made this. As I noted before with my giant Webelos Color, you can take anything down to your local copy center and blow it up on a color copy machine. This can be glued to a cardboard back for a quick and easy prop.

If handled correctly, the ceremony probably would have been fine without this. But when planning pack ceremonies, we should always be thinking of ways to make it fun. Handing awards out in a baggie, or just reading from a script is never fun for an 8 year old to sit through (or even a den leader like me). Instead, I’d rather look for ways to add pizzazz to the ceremony. One fun way to do this is to make a large prop of the award you are handing out.

Good luck to you, and may your meetings be filled with pizzazz!

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

Giving the Gift of the Religious Emblem Award November 18, 2008

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Have you heard about the religious emblem program? My son is about to finish the second program offering of our faith, and I thought it would be good to discuss. The religious emblem program is a program that teaches your Scout about your religious faith, at his level. The program exists outside of Scouting – it is run through the particular denomination or religious organization that the Scout is a member of. Almost all religious faiths have a program. Scouting recognizes the programs and has an award to show completion of the program. Here’s a link that gives some more information on the youth religious emblem award:


Your religious organization will award your son some type of award, such as a medal. Upon religiousknotyouthearning this, your son can now wear the purple religious knot offered by BSA. The great thing about this knot is that once you earn it as a youth, you can wear it for life. If your son earns it as a Cub Scout, he can wear this knot on his Boy Scout uniform. And if he becomes a Scout leader one day, he can wear this knot on his leader uniform.

The purple knot cannot be earned as an adult. There is a knot for adult religious awardsreligiousknotadult, for those that go through the adult religious program, offered by many faith organizations. Here’s a link that gives more details on the adult religious awards:



So should you look into this for your son? I would say – YES! I consider this award as one of the best gifts you can give your son. First, anytime we spend time learning about the God that made us and our particular faith equips us for life. Second, as an adult, he can wear his purple knot on his uniform showing his devotion to his faith and knowing that his parents helped him earn it.

So what can you do? First, check with your church or religious organization and see if they offer the program. If they don’t, see if there is someone in your unit that you can talk to about this (maybe your unit trainer, or a religious emblems committee member). Or maybe you can be that person! If you cannot find any resources, check out the links offered through PRAY publishing, to find your faith. Maybe you can take this to your religious organization, and start the process for your son and other scouts. Then you can give him the gift of the religious knot.


“A Scout is reverent”

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff