Otter Red Paw

How do you work on getting through an otter paw quickly and efficiently? Is there a way to plan a set of meetings to check those boxes faster? Below, I’ve outlined a plan to complete the Red Paw for otters in just 4 meetings, plus a camping trip.

In general, I don’t recommend working to get through the otter paws as quickly as possible. It is ideal to have time to revisit skills and do some things more than once. However, we all do what we can to make our scouting year work out. If you want to follow this plan, make changes that align with how your group works. Add reading a picture book to the opening circle if your raft enjoys that. Choose a different Raft Good Turn. Change up the order in the meeting plans below. Make it your own. This is just an outline, you can add or change anything you like.

I did not list out all that you may want to do as part of an opening and closing circle. I used the opening circle to emphasize the otter law, promise and motto, because those relate well to the activities in these meetings and the Red Paw. You can add several things. Songs are a great way for kids to know that the meeting is starting and ending, as long as you use the same songs each meeting. Here we Sit Like Otters on  a Cedar Log is great for openings. Vespers is a traditional scouting song used for closing a meeting, but Make New Friends but Keep the Old, is also a great song for ending a meeting on a happy note. Ask the leaders in your group what songs they think would be good to sing each week to decide what your group will do.

Red (Helping) Paw Requirements

        • Show how to be nice and help others to feel happy.
        • Learn about caring for your clothes and your belongings.
        • Find three ways to help in your home.
        • Find three ways to help at camp.
        • Be helpful around your home or camp. Help set up or clean up a scout meeting.
        • Play Kim’s Game.
        • Play the Message Game.
        • Do a good turn for a friend, relative, or neighbor.
        • Take part in a raft good turn.



Meeting 1

Supplies- Sets of words to use for message game. Nursery rhymes work well for this.  You can also use the otter motto, law, or promise.

  1.  Opening circle. Review the otter motto- Busy and Bright.
  2.  Ask otters to tell their names to each other (review of blue paw) and then tell a joke to the group.
  3.  Ask otters what they can do to be nice and help others to feel happy. Jokes are one idea. Otters may also say sharing, playing, or singing them a song. Listen for ideas you can turn into a raft good turn.
  4. Play the Message game.
  5. Let scouts free play.
  6. Circle for closing.  Assign homework- Scouts should find 3 ways to help at home and come back ready to share about that at the next meeting. Be sure parents know about homework.

Meeting 2

Supplies: Items for Kim’s Game and Necker to hide items with. Remember to use items a child can name. A spoon, coin, or toy car are good items. A Flint and steel, maybe not so much.

  1.  Opening circle. Review the otter law “An Otter is always busy and bright and helps other people by doing a good turn every day.”
  2.  Ask otters to share what they did to help around the house since the last meeting.
  3.  Have otters help fold socks, wash clothes, or kid-sized clothes. Talk about how we care for our clothes and our things. Tell otters that their  homework for this week is to help with laundry at home.
  4.  Play Kim’s Game with 10 items with scouts.
  5. Closing circle. Remind otters about homework and make sure parents know.

Meeting 3

Supplies: Items for Kim’s game and Messages for Message game.

  1.  Opening circle. Review the otter law “An Otter is always busy and bright and helps other people by doing a good turn every day.”
  2. Discuss with scouts  What is a good turn? Ask scouts to do a good turn for a friend, family member or neighbor and report back next week.
  3. Ask scouts to share what they did to help with their things and their laundry.
  4. Play the Message Game.
  5. Play Kim’s Game with 10 items with scouts.
  6. Closing circle. Remind otters to do a good turn before the next meeting.

Meeting 4

  1. Supplies: Gloves, plastic grocery bags, and trash bags.
  2. Optional: Brooms, other cleaning tools
  3. Opening circle. Review the otter law “An Otter is always busy and bright and helps other people by doing a good turn every day.”
  4. Ask otters what good turns they did since the last meeting. Let each otter tell what they did.
  5. Explain to your otters that today they are going to do a good turn together by cleaning up the park where you meet. Have otters pick up trash, while wearing gloves. The plastic grocery bags are a better size for otters to carry than full sized trash bags. Adults can gather the smaller bags into larger trash bags to make disposal easier. You may also have them sweep side walks or wash playground equipment. Be sure all otters are given a way to participate.
  6. Allow otters to go play in the now clean playground.
  7. Closing Circle: Praise otters for their hard work and tell them what a good job they did making the park nicer for everyone. Point out how much trash they picked up (even better if it is piled where they can see the bags). Explain what parent will be taking that to a dumpster and have the group thank them for their help.


While at camp all scouts will need to help with set up, clean up, and do at least 3 camp chores. You may want to create a list ahead of time to assign chores, or just let all otters help with everything. That usually works well, too.

Every Otter can:

  • Gather small sticks for firewood
  • Unroll and place their own sleeping bag in their tent
  • Help cook a meal- if they make stew each scout can chop and add something.
  • Wash their own dish, fork, etc. after meals.
  • Pick up any trash around camp
  • Roll up their sleeping bag and put their own items back in their bag to clean up the inside of their tent.
  • Pour water on the campfire before leaving camp at end of the weekend.



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