Troubleshooting your Stockade meeting: GAME TIME


The Stockade leadership team from Anywhere Community Church has gathered in the home of Chief Ranger Al Thompson. This is their monthly planning meeting but he evening’s agenda includes more than assigning the responsibility for games and Story Circle. They have a few problems to solve.

Before getting down to the fine points of planning their weekly meetings, the rangers decided to tackle three problems they’ve been facing. Chief Ranger Al suggested the rangers most closely related to the problems describe them to the group. Then they’d all add their perspectives and try to identify some solutions.

Ranger Ted spoke first. ”Last week was typical of the way it’s gone lately. I had just begun explaining the first game of the evening and even before I had finished describing the object of the game we all heard a muffled, ‘This is boring,’ from the back of the group. As the action got underway I noticed the group had dwindled slightly, Bill and Alex had disappeared … again. I knew they’d be found; probably just ‘getting a drink’ or ‘going to the bathroom.’ But this happens every week!”

As the rangers discussed the problem further, Al listened and made a list of some of the causes and solutions that were suggested. Here is Al’S list:

CAUSE : Not enough Leadership

We’ve been leaving game leadership up to just one ranger each week while the rest of us have been standing off to the side, discussing last Sunday’s football game. We haven’t been providing much support for the ranger in charge.


We’re supposed to be a leadership team. It’s tough for one man to be a referee and at the same time watch what’s happening on the fringes. We should all help by keeping our eyes open. We should participate ourselves in the games unless we have another task.

CAUSE: Longwinded Explanations

When introducing new games we often give long and detailed explanations. The boys want to play, not just listen, so they get impatient.


Let’s keep our explanations short and to the point. We should clearly state the object of the game, define the boundaries, give a couple of the basic and most important rules, give a quick demonstration if it’s needed and then begin playing. Playing the game is the best way to learn it.

CAUSE: Poor Discipline

Part of our problem is poor discipline. Bill and Alex have decided it’s more fun to be off on their own. We haven’t been setting clear standards.


We can’t physically force a boy to participate in a game, but we can insist that his only other option is to sit and watch. If there is a genuine need to leave the room, boys may go only one at a time and may be gone only a couple of minutes.

CAUSE: Not Enough Variety

Sometimes we play only one game for the entire period. The boys get tired of it. We’ve even done this with games that obviously aren’t working, as if we feel we have to make it work or we’ve failed.


We should play a variety of games; at least two, probably three. We ought to cut them off when they’re most exciting so the boys will have a positive memory of the game. When the game turns out to be a dud, we can quit playing it and move on to another one. Leaders should have four or five games in mind even though they may not all be used.

CAUSE: Too Much side-line time

We’ve been playing a lot of elimination games lately. Boys spend too much time sitting on the sidelines after they’re out. Then they get restless.


We’ll limit ourselves to one elimination-type game each week. All the other games should keep boys involved.

At this point Al suggested they try these ideas in the next few meetings and then evaluate the situation at their next leadership team meeting. Al then introduced the second area for discussion … Achievement. That part of the conversation will be in the next issue of Brigade Leader, but if you need help in real life please don’t hesitate to contact your CSB Regional Director who is here to help.

This article originally appeared in Brigade Leader Magazine Spring 1987

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