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Ideas for making popcorn kick-off fun and exciting?

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  • Ideas for making popcorn kick-off fun and exciting?

    Sorry if this has already been discussed, but I did a quick search of topic titles and didn't find anything.

    What are some things you have done in the past for your popcorn kick-off that have really worked to excite and motivate the boys to participate? This includes pack meeting ideas as well as prizes to reward top sales.

    We usually do the "pie a Leader" thing as a reward to the top sellers, and the boys really enjoy it.

    However, I would like to generate more "buzz" at the kick-off pack meeting...

  • #2
    Everyone that attends gets their name in a drawing for prizes. Prizes are drawn at the end of the meeting. We hit the parents pocket by offering to pay 1/2 their dues if they fill up 1 sheet. The pack pays all their dues if they fill up 2.


    • #3
      We hold our popcorn kickoff at the end of our regular September pack meeting. It always starts with a loud, wild, fun skit by the leaders. Two years ago we did a "Mission: Impossible" skit with the theme music playing loudly while our Cubmaster, dressed in a trench coat, battled bad guys who had stolen the prizes for our popcorn sale. Last year, we played the Indiana Jones theme while our Cubmaster, dressed in leather jacket and fedora with satchel and whip, avoided bad guys to reach a temple and unlock a treasure vault containing the prizes for the sale. We really make these skits into big productions, building up to revealing all the prizes the Scouts can earn by participating in the popcorn sale. It really gets the kids excited.

      Once everyone is all pumped up, we serve popcorn and go over the pack's sales plan, including the prizes and how Scouts can earn money for summer camp. The pack prizes are in addition to the Trail's End prizes awarded after the sale, and we have them on display so the boys can see them and touch them. We make a big deal about each boy coming to Blitz Day and getting a prize.

      The first day of the sale (Saturday) is Blitz Day. Scouts pick up popcorn in the morning and sell for at least two hours sometime during the day. Everyone gets back together in the late afternoon for a pizza party, and everyone reports their Blitz Day sales and turns in the money they have collected so far. Last year, we had 23 Scouts participate in Blitz Day resulting in one-day sales of $8021.

      Every Scout that participates in Blitz Day gets a prize ($5-$20 value), with the Scout with the highest sales for the day selecting first, then next highest, and so on. This seems to work well for us, because every Scout wants to come to the party and get a prize, and once they get out and try, they found out how easy it is to sell the popcorn. By the end of the day, most are well on their way to whatever goal they've set for themselves, so there is incentive to keep selling after Blitz Day.

      Scouts and their families set their own goals, but the pack offers $50 toward summer camp for anyone who sells at least $500 in popcorn. The amount the pack contributes toward summer camp goes up for every $250 sold above $500. This way, not only are the Scouts helping the pack go, they are helping themselves, too. Last year 17 boys earned $2650 toward summer camp.

      Hope you find at least some of this useful!


      • adelight
        adelight commented
        Editing a comment
        This is FABULOUS!!! Thanks for the ideas!!!

    • #4
      Sell hoagies instead!


      • #5
        Mickman Christmas Wreaths!


        • #6
          When I saw the heading, I thought you were talking about the Council Popcorn Kickoff. In our council, this year to motivate attendance at the Kickoff, the unit gets docked 8% commission if they don't send a representative. Since our pack leaders are too busy to waste an evening on a popcorn kickoff, our commission would be less than 20%. Not much motivation to sell popcorn. Though we signed up, we probably won't bother with the popcorn sale and will look for another fundraiser that provides more value.


          • #7

            Speaking as a District Popcorn Chairman, let me first say kudos for wanting to plan one in the first place. A Kickoff is the best way to get a group of scouts motivated.

            If you haven't received one already, speak with your local representation (District P'corn Chair, DE) about obtaining this year's training DVD. We had one for each of our selling units in our Kickoff box, and it has great info on planning one. You can also find good info on the Trails End web site.

            One specific thing I can think of off the top of my head is if you are doing prizes, see if it's possible to have a few examples at your Kickoff. Last year our council had sample prizes the units could borrow for the night. There is a big difference in showing a boy a picture of a prize and holding up the prize itself.


            Please believe me when I say this is not meant in a negative way. But if your leaders consider the council popcorn kickoff meeting a "waste of time", not selling popcorn is probably a good idea.

            The reason I say it is not meant negatively is because I can only speak for my experience. In my experience the units that are not represented are the ones that have the most issues because they missed out on the one or two changes to the process compared to the previous year.


            • #8
              Whew! Am I glad to hear that I'm not the only one wanting to do a different fundraiser. The % of what you earn vs. other fundraisers plus the difficulty in selling popcorn that is approx. $15 a box and that alot of people can't eat popcorn or nuts due to health issue makes for a very good arguement. We had a great kickoff last year with games, prizes, and dressing up but as hard as the guys tried, the sales were low. Alot of parents are not wanting to do the popcorn because our area has the highest unemployment rate in our state and it is easier to sell a $1 candy bar than expensive popcorn that you can run to Wal-Mart and get for 1/5 of the price.


              • adelight
                adelight commented
                Editing a comment

                The reason your packs sales are low is because of the parents not wanting to do it, not because of unemployment or the prices. If the parents (and leaders, from the way it sounds) aren't willing to invest the time to help the boys, the boys won't be motivated to sell ANYTHING, and their sales will be low. I'm saying this from experience, as my son was the #3 seller in his Pack as a Tiger, #1 as a Wolf (beating our #2 by $1500), and is #1 as a Bear (beating our #2 by $2500). The only difference between my son and the boys who are #2 is parent involvement, plain and simple.

                My son sets a goal for himself every year and I work to help him hit the goal. I do not sell for him. I go with him when he arranges his own Show & Sells and I sit thru the Show & Sell booths; I take him from door-to-door doing "Show & Deliver" and "Take Orders". I do not "have the time" - I make the time. I am a single mom who works full time. In addition, I own my business that I do on my own hours, and I have a 2 year old & a 2 month old.

                The difference is encouragement, and the willingness to stretch yourself as a parent to help you son grow into a man. Period.

            • #9
              One of the things that makes popcorn sales an interesting topic for debate is the fact that different councils have verrrrrrrrrry different commission rates. I happen to be lucky enough to reside in a council with a very generous commission rate, so it is a very popular fund raiser down here. If my commission rate were in under 20% like they are where DenZero resides, I might not consider it a wise investment in time, and go wash a few hundred cars.


              • #10
                Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Just to be specific, I was talking about our Pack's kick-off at our September pack meeting.

                I think that popcorn is a good fundraiser here, where our pack gets 30% of the sales. It has typically been our only fundraiser. Our sales have grown each of the past two years, and we are just looking for ideas to continue that trend this year.

                The Trail's End prizes are decent (not fantastic, IMO), but I'm not sure how motivating they are for the boys when they can't see/touch them (unfortunately our district doesn't like to loan out any prizes for the kick-off).

                We are considering the idea of offering two or three special pack prizes this year (a first for us). The thought is a Nintendo DSi, an inexpensive iPod, some kind of cool camping gear (?) as raffle prizes. Boys can earn a raffle ticket by reaching some kind of take-order goal (each 1/2 sheet filled or every $100), and by working one hour at a Show & Sell. The goal for offering the prizes is to give that extra motivation to each individual boy to get those take-order sales or to volunteer to wokr at one or more Show & Sells. Has anybody done something like this in the past, and has it proven worth the extra money spent by the pack?