After the announcement from the church came out last May, there were a few months of “What are we going to do now?” and “How do we stay fully engaged?” along with other questions of course. I was glad that we already had a plan in place for the rest of 2018 and could easily continue to follow those original plans. But what about 2019? What plans would we make and what did we want to do for our final year of Cub Scout pack meetings?
Our #1 goal is FUN!
By about August of 2018, we knew what we wanted to do – all our favorite things. At our September pack meeting, we announced our plan and asked for input from our pack families. Some of our families are new to the pack and didn’t have much experience but others are on their 3rd son in our pack and have been to quite a few pack meetings through the years. We decided that our goal for 2019 was to make sure that all our boys, and their families, have fun. Here’s what I wrote to the families:
“We want to make 2019 the most fun Cub Scout year Pack 80 has ever had! We, as leaders, are compiling a list of our favorite activities and we would love input from the boys and families as well. What would you like us to plan for next year? What have been your favorite pack meetings? What have we not done in a while that you would like to see us do again?What have we never done that you have heard of other packs doing? Or what would you like us to not do again? We will be having our annual planning meeting soon and would love to get ideas from you before that date.”
After we got input from leaders, boys, and families we sat down for our annual planning meeting to decide which activities we could plug into which months of 2019. We started with the activities that we do every year and plugged them into the appropriate months.
Here are some of the activities that we always do:
- Feb is always the Blue & Gold Banquet, of course – party!
- May is usually our Pinewood Derby
- July we always attend the Flag Ceremony & Military Tribute at the SF fairgrounds
- September we have our campfire program (outdoor w/real fire, real smores etc.)
These “regular” activities take up 4 of the 12 months and so then we only need to decide on 8 more to finish out planning our year. Some of the ideas can even be combined into one night or combined with the blue and gold banquet. There is SO much you can do! I bet there are favorite things that your pack has done that are not on my list. To tell you the truth, It was harder than I thought it would be to pick our favorites.
Other things we have done or considered:
- Bike Rodeo – Utah County Health Department has some cool signs they let packs borrow.
- Talent Show – anyone in the family can participate or show off collections
- Cubannaoplis – race indoors or out w/cars made from boxes
- Genius Kits – random bags of recyclable stuff, 30 mins to create – go!
- Carnival – where each den has a booth and each family plans a game
- Board game night – each family brings their favorite board game
- Pack Kickball game -we’ve done kids vs adults
- Raingutter regatta – or vegetable derby etc.
- A night full of “Minute to Win it” type games
- A swim party – we have a leader with a pool
- A wild west/cowboy night – with lassos and stick horses etc.
- Our bishop leads a fun drum circle activity
- A pack hike – learn about Leave No Trace Principals & the Outdoor Code
- Service projects – (Christmas Caroling, tree planting, leaf raking, garbage pickup etc.)
- We did an “Escape Room” type activity last spring that was great
- I have a fun “Water Cycle” game/activity that’s fun
- Your pack’s favorite activities…
So what should YOU do?
If you were hoping I would give you a specific plan to follow… sorry! You and your boys, your families, and your leaders need to decide for your own pack. What have been your favorite pack meetings in the past? If you want to focus on a point of the Scout Law each month and or follow the themes from BSA you can find them here. In fact, you might just want to pick 12 of the 36 ideas provided online and start from there. Or you may do like we did and just pick your favorite activities.
What about den meetings?
There are a lot more meetings than just 12 because den meetings, as we all know, are weekly. However, if you plan to complete one adventure each month that’s still only 12. Which adventures? Again, that depends on your boys. You, as always, need to find out what your boys need/want to accomplish during this last year of Cub Scouting in your pack. Are they trying to complete a rank? Are they done with their current rank and can just have fun? Do they plan to continue Cub Scouts or move into Scouts BSA with a community sponsored unit? Will they be dual registered for part of the year? Are they in a good position to move into a community pack smoothly? Do they have their own personalized transition plan? (I’ll be writing more about that soon) Are they having fun and feeling like an important member of your den?
Are you fully engaged?
My number one plea? Just keep holding pack meetings. 2019 is not the year to quit or get complacent. When the church leaders asked us to remain “fully engaged”, to me that means we continue. I think that those who have the attitude that “It doesn’t matter anymore because we are quitting soon anyway” have it all wrong. I believe that it just might matter more now than ever. 2019 could be a boy’s last exposure to Scouting. His last chance to learn what it means to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Some of our boys will continue Scouting after 2019 is over and some will not. We want to make sure that all boys look back on their time in our pack with fond and happy memories.
Author Annaleis Smith is a “stay-at-home” mom of 5 (3 boys 2 girls). She has been a Cub Scout leader since 2003. She has also been involved with district roundtables since 2008 and various council committees (including Akela’s Council) since 2010. Annaleis currently serves as a Cubmaster, Assistant Roundtable Commissioner, and president of the Commissioner College Cabinet for UNPC.