Scoutmaster Musings - Storyteller Extraordinaire

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Scoutmaster Musings

Storyteller Extraordinaire
I expect you've heard a great story while gathered around a campfire sometime in the past couple years. Maybe you thought, 'Wow, now THAT was a good story!'

I'll tell you, a good story doesn't just happen. The storyteller puts in some real effort to read, learn, and memorize the story well before casually telling it on a starlit evening as if it just came to him. A storyteller extraordinaire is a gift, a burden, and a curse.

Some people just don't seem to be able to tell a story. No matter how hard they try, it seems a line is forgotten or the sequence is mixed up. That person able to transport an audience to a different place just through his words has a gift. But, it is a gift that can be enhanced through effort. I sincerely believe that anyone can learn to tell at least a few good stories if they really try. The amount of effort needed varies from person to person.

The burden of telling stories is that the next one has to be better than the one you just told. Once you tell 'a good one', people will want to hear another. It's tough work keeping a small collection of good stories ready to tell. It's even harder to cycle in new ones each year to prevent stale stories. The work doesn't end for a storyteller.

When the campfire flames dwindle and the scouts start yawning and you chuckle at a few of the younger ones with their heads nodding around like a bobblehead doll, inevitably someone will pipe up with 'Hey, tell the one about ...!' And, then you're on the spot again to tell that same story you've told umpteen times before but they always like it - that's the curse of being a storyteller. You may be sick and tired of a story, but you still have to tell it again. In my case, there are two of these stories that the scouts which began in my Tiger den and are now in our troop want to hear - The Purple Gorilla and The Medicrin. It got so bad with the Medicrin that I made up The Med and Sin and The Medic Men just so I could have a variety. :-)

Even though being known as a storyteller can be an extra burden, the rewards far outweigh the burden! The most fun is when I hear someone request a story and a scout starts telling one of 'my' stories and the new guys just love it. And, so begins another generation of storytellers.

So, during these slow(?) times of winter, take some time and learn a handful of good stories for next summer. Always have a half dozen ready and you'll be able to fill in a slow campfire or cover for a scout that needs a bit more time to get a skit ready.

Scout On
Posted: 23:50 12-17-2006 105
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