Debates and Trials


A good way of spending an evening in the camp or clubroom is to hold a debate on any subject of interest, the Scoutmaster or a Patrol Leader acting as chairman. He must see that there is a speaker on one side prepared beforehand to introduce and support one view of the subject, and that there is another speaker prepared to expound another view. After their speeches he will call on the others present in turn to express their views., And in the end he takes the votes for and against the motion, by show of hands, first of those in favor of the, motion, secondly of those against. The best way to choose a popular subject for debate is to put up a paper some time before on which Scouts can, suggest the subjects they like. The proper procedure for public meetings should be used, such as seconding the motion, moving amendments, obeying chairman's ruling, voting, according votes of thanks to chair and so on. In place of a debate a mock trial makes an interesting change. The Scoutmaster or Patrol Leader, as before, appoints himself to act as judge, and details Scouts to take the parts of prisoner, police constable, witnesses, counsel for prisoner, counsel for prosecution, foreman and jury (if there are enough Scouts). The procedure of a court of law must be followed as nearly as possible. Each makes up his own evidence, speeches, or cross examination according to his own ideas. The prisoner, of course, is not found guilty unless the prosecution proves their case to the jury. The story in Scouting for Boys ("Winter's Stub") makes a good subject for a trial, or one of the stories in The Scout.

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