By Nicholas Goldrosen
You walk into your lodge’s fall fellowship and everywhere you look you see Arrowmen playing iOS and Android games. In one area, members of the lodge executive committee (LEC) are playing Angry Birds. Outside the dining hall some recent Ordeal members are wrapped up in a game of Flappy Bird. This is a Scout leader’s worst nightmare, right? A Scouting event where everyone is just wrapped up in their phone?
Actually, it could just be Pachachaug Lodge’s fall fellowship, The App-Tastic Adventure. For this event, the lodge, which is located in central Massachusetts, translated well-known iOS and Android gaming applications off of the screen and into real life challenges for Arrowmen to enjoy with their fellow brothers. Angry Birds, for example, involved teams with slingshots taking aim at physical targets, not just individual Arrowmen being hunched over their phones.
The idea for the event, which was held from September 19th-21st, 2014, came from the need for an innovative theme for their fall fellowship according to former Pachachaug Lodge Chief Nick Keyes. “Other ideas we were considering included a beach party at Treasure Valley [Scout Camp] with beach games since it has a really cool waterfront. Some more ideas included Pokémon, Harry Potter and Olympics-themed events,” said Keyes, “The fall fellowship always has a higher attendance because we elect our lodge officers at it, so we wanted to make sure that everyone could enjoy the weekend. We needed an awesome theme to get the most out of the crowd that came.”
The idea, said Keyes, came from the lodge’s events chairman, John Button. “After we talked about it for a little while in the [LEC] meeting, everyone really seemed to like it a lot,” said Keyes. For the planning process, Button and Keyes then looked at popular apps that their Arrowmen enjoyed playing and tried to come up with ways to turn these into real-life, physical challenges that could be played in groups to foster an atmosphere of fellowship and brotherhood. Besides Angry Birds, another such game was Draw Something which is similar to the board game Pictionary. “Normally in Pictionary, you would draw the image on your phone and send it to a friend to guess. At the event, though, Arrowmen drew the pictures on the ground with chalk and it could be played with many people at once,” said Keyes.
Keyes classified the event, which also included a Brotherhood Ceremony and lodge officer elections as an “absolute success” and “a lot of fun.” He said, “many people came because they were interested to see what we were going to be putting on, rather than coming out knowing what to expect. There was a lot of uncertainty for event attendees. They were saying things such as, ‘what do you mean you're going to turn our favorite apps into real life games? I’ve never heard of that before.’ It was great to hear the feedback from the people there, such as ‘I can’t believe how creative they were,’ or ‘I’m surprised that this was more fun to play in person with my friends than on my phone. It was definitely a big success.”
The next time you are facing the challenge of how to drag Arrowmen’s attention away from their mobile devices, perhaps Pachachaug Lodge has the answer: translate what is on the screen into real life fun.