Saved by Happy Birthday

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I’ve been researching Scout-led troops recently for a Scouting magazine article, so I’ve been thinking a lot about tricks successful Scouters use in working with youth leaders. My favorite–perhaps because I live in the hometown of Patty and Mildred Hill–is what I call the Happy Birthday Solution.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say it’s 7:33 p.m. and your senior patrol leader has failed to start the troop meeting on time. Perhaps he’s chatting with another Scout or–horror of horrors–checking his texts on his cellphone. Rather than publicly chastise him and undercut his already shaky authority, stand in the back of the room sing “Happy Birthday to You” to yourself while you try to catch his eye. Chances are good that he will get his act together and get the meeting started before you’re done.

If he still doesn’t act, you might need to sing a second verse. If that fails, sidle up to him and remind him of the time. In most cases, however, a verse or two of “Happy Birthday to You” should do the trick.

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