Troubleshooting your Stockade meeting: Story Circle

“It’s been annoying for us,” started Greg, “and I think it has for the boys, too. We’ve had so many distractions during Story Circle lately. That’s an important part of our meeting and I don’t like to see it wasted. It’s usually just one or two boys who cause trouble but that distracts the whole group.”

All the rangers were aware of this and they were anxious to see things improve. They identified several problem areas and came up with some things to try in order to improve their Story Circles.


CAUSE: Poor Supervision

Just like during games, our supervision isn’t the best. There have been times when the ranger telling the story was the only leader in the room. He needs more support.


Let’s all plan to be present for Story Circle and let’s sit right with the boys rather than in the back. That way we ’11 be right there to spread our “positive influence.” We’ll also be showing we believe Story Circle is important.

CAUSE: Not Sitting Strategically

Since the boys have been sitting on chairs in two or three rows, it is easy for them to “hide.” That’s when the trouble occurs.


If we all sit in a circle, everyone is “in the front row.” And more importantly, this would be a better atmosphere for our kind of program. It would seem much more personal.

CAUSE: Not Enough Variety in Storytellers

We have been taking turns leading Story Circle but it’s always the same four or five men. We need more variety.


Let’s bring in some other men from time to time. While it’s important for boys to hear the message from their rangers, they would also benefit by hearing from other men in the church. We’ll ask the Pastor to tell the story one time next month. It would be good for the boys to see him in their setting and for the pastor to see what we’re doing as well.

CAUSE: Reading Right From The Book

We’ve all been reading our stories right from the book. That’s a lot easier for most of us but it means we can get by without knowing the story as well as we should. Also, it doesn’t allow for much eye contact with the boys.


We should make an effort to improve our storytelling skills. Let’s make plans to go through the Brigade Learning Module called “How to Tell a Story” on a Saturday morning next month .


The men from Anywhere Community Church don’t have a perfect Stockade but they know some important things. They’ve discovered that the things most of us would call problems are merely symptoms and offer them opportunities. When we take time to identify the causes, the solutions become clear and ministry can become fun again!

If you need help in real life please don’t hesitate to contact your CSB Regional Director.

Originally appearing in Brigade Leader Magazine Spring 1987

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  1. We try to make story circle the highlight of each meeting, and we tell the boys that. We always begin with the Stockader song and sing it until all the posts have arrived. The leaders sit with the boys. As soon as the song ends we pray. This has helped set the tone for the story each week. We have about sixty boys and leaders, and we have the tree climbers with us of the story is appropriate for their age, if not, they have their own story time. Leaders take turns throughout the year so they know ahead of time when it’s their turn.

    1. Those are some great ideas Alan! Thank you so much for sharing. Keep the great ideas coming!

  2. Story Telling can be so enjoyable for the teller as well as the audience. Back in the 70s we had the Story Telling book. In the back of it was instructions on how to tell a story. Being New to Brigade and becoming responsible to tell the story I took those instructions to heart. I don’t remember all the instructions but I do remember it being important to know the story. At first I would read the story over a couple time and then try telling it. Sometimes I would put some of it in my own words so that I became more involved in the story. This helped keep the boys attention. I didn’t worry about telling it word perfect. I find it really helps to emotionally become involved in the story.

    1. Orval! So good to see your comment. As a young man 25 years ago who first heard you tell the story “The little old stone” I saw first hand how your effort over the years to hone a well told story has impacted hundreds of boys and men. Thank you Orval for sharing!