According to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, shelter is a basic human need, along with food, water, and warmth. It’s pretty important to Scout troops, too. In many ways, where you meet affects how your program works. My first meeting place as a Boy Scout was a concrete-block Scout house about the size of my current living room. My next troop met in a National Guard armory and two surplus city/county buildings. When I was Scoutmaster, we had exclusive use of an old farmhouse on our church’s property. That house eventually gave way to parking, so we moved into the church building proper, where part of the old fellowship hall was built out to our specs, complete with a meeting room office, conference room, four patrol rooms, and storage.
All of these spaces had their good points and their limitations, but as I think about them, I’m reminded of one thing: shelter is just a basic need, for humans and troops alike. The important thing about a meeting place is that it support, not detract from, your program and allow your Scouts to climb Maslow’s hierarchy to the top: self-actualization.
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a Scout hut.
That’s the term for a standalone building whose sole purpose is hosting Scout meetings and storing Scout stuff.
Growing up, my troop met every Sunday in a large conference room on the second floor of the city municipal building where my dad worked. We were lucky to have such a large, well-appointed, easily accessible space for our meetings. But it’s impossible to make such a space feel like your own when it’ll be used the next day for government business.
That’s where Scout huts like the one owned by Troop 228 of New London, Minn., really shine. Their building once was the train depot in the town that sits two hours west of Minneapolis.
Some old buildings get a second life as a Scout hut, while others are built strictly for that purpose. Some Scout huts, like this unique…
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