One of the secrets to a successful campfire sing along is having a leader who isn’t afraid to be foolish. Sing some ridiculous tunes. As guys go through puberty, they may become self-conscious about activities like singing. This is particularly true if they are attempting to project the image of a “tough man.”
The greatest approach to get scouts singing camping songs is to jump right in and do it before they have time to think about it. Most scout groups will have one or two lads who aren’t self-conscious about their singing voice and will just start singing with you. Once you have two or three going, the majority of them will ultimately sing.
Don’t be too concerned if one or two of your students refuse to sing. Simply have fun and allow those who are singing have pleasure. Those who aren’t singing may eventually join in, but occasionally youngsters (and adults) simply want to listen. That may be the nicest campfire experience they’ve ever had.
Some of my favourite Boy Scout songs are as follows:
- Clementine: Most lads already know this. Singing familiar and simple songs is one of the keys to teaching kids to sing. If you must provide music to them, do it after you have determined that they will sing; maybe after the second or third night of singing.
- I’ve Been Working on the Railroad: Another well-known tune.
- Chumbara: I offer this for almost every age and demographic. It’s simple to learn; just one word. It’s simple to create new verses. Anything that has three syllables. Names like E-mi-ly or Bob-by-Jones are acceptable. Foods such as spa-ghet-ti and blue-ber-ry may be used. You may go to Del-a-ware or Camp-Brad-ley. You don’t have to limit yourself to three-syllable tunes; experiment with one, two, four, or even more and see what occurs!
- My Bonnie: This is a good one to keep kids entertained. When you sing the letter “b,” alternate between standing and sitting.
- Taps: If performed reverently, this song may be a very powerful way to finish a campfire. To make it even more powerful, have a kid or leader who plays the trumpet play taps as the others chant. If no trumpet players are available, you may ask someone to perform it on another instrument.
- On Top of Old Smoky; Home on the Range O, Susannah; and many more are excellent for boy scouts.
When I wrote The Great American Campfire Songbook, I had scouts in mind. I don’t believe there is a single song in the book that would be unsuitable for boy, girl, or cub scouts. Scouting has been a part of my life since I was a child. I am honoured to be an Eagle Scout. I’ve worked as a scoutmaster and varsity scout coach. Our unit’s unit commissioner is presently myself.
I also teach music, so the mix of scouting and music is a perfect match for me. But don’t think you have to be a brilliant musician to teach scout songs. Teaching songs to children requires 95% excitement and 5% expertise, which you may fake if your knowledge is limited. I’ve seen folks with no musical training lead hundreds of people in campfire singing. How do they manage it? They like what they do, and it shows in their passion.
Make sure to check out The Great American Campfire Songbook. It’s a fantastic resource, including over 80 of the greatest and most requested camping tunes.
Best wishes for your campfire singing! Most importantly, have fun!
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