Last night I stepped in as den leader for Flash's Cub Scout meeting. With about 2 hours to plan something, I quickly ruled out campfire cooking, visiting a national or state monument, and anything involving pocket knives. This left the civic education portion of the manual, so I chose the bit about U.S. states. I went to the library and checked out 10 books about different states, threw some markers and printer paper in a bag, and flew to the church. The point of the activity was to learn/teach something new about a state of your choosing* (as long as you chose one from my stack of books) and draw the state's flag. I think the boys were a little bored (one of them kept climbing on top of the table). The nutty bars at the end appeared to make up for it.
I remember LOVING this kind of activity when I was young. Trivia! Brand-new markers! Showing off what I've learned! The result is a life-long affinity for the places that I've studied for school reports over the years. No, I have not visited Ireland but after studying it in 5th grade it's like the sacred motherland to me. (My sister has this same relationship with Switzerland. My whole family knows that Switzerdeutsch is one language spoken there. Sadly, I had no opportunity to use this knowledge when I visited in 2000.)
Because I've lived in Hong Kong and visited China I am the official China representative whenever we have an International Night at church. I try not to abuse my power and fill everyone's minds with bogus information or confuse everyone by serving sushi. I could talk about China for hours, especially my theories about craaaazy government policies and what Mao did to permanently screw up the country. But I'm content to explain a little about the language, demonstrate how to use chopsticks, and pass around shadow puppets. I'm still waiting for my chance to showcase my knowledge of merry old Ireland.
*By the way, we play a fantastic game on road trips where we decide which states should be forced out of the Union. One of us proposes a state that (to us) doesn't add much to the country and we debate its merits. Inevitably the Dakotas are voted out. (Sorry Dakotas! Two people who have never even visited you have decided that you don't contribute enough resources or scenery to stay on.) Hours of fun.