I'd be interested to hear ideas of how people have still accomplished things like FoS presentations, but kept the meeting fun and lively.
Anyone ever tried sending the Scouts outside for a game while the district folks did the FoS presentation?
As a former Cubmaster who later moved on to a role in a Boy Scout troop - I really like this suggestion.
When I was a Cubmaster I didn't get it. Our meetings had a formula. Yes, I tried to keep announcements to a minimum. Yes, I tried to add fun into the meeting. But, we had a very traditional flow of announcements, a skit or two, some awards, a skit, and then an activity. Watching a troop and realizing that a troop is "essentially" an older version of the pack, I'd get rid of pretty much all announcements. I'd make awards short and sweet - only presenting cloth awards. The meeting ought to be almost entirely Scouts doing stuff. Working on a project, playing games, having an activity. Opportunities for Scouts to do fun stuff - skits, jokes, etc. - but not so many as to have Scouts sitting the entire time. Keep it active, keep it fun.
I agree with keeping pack meetings fun. There is a lot that can creep in that gets boring for kids. If advancements are taking too long, figure out a way to shorten them up. Don't let all those boring district or council people try and come give presentations to the parents, lol.
I don't agree with constant noise though. They definitely need to move and be engaged but it can't be a maelstrom. I don't think that's what Eagledad is recommending but I just know that while some kids love to scream and be loud, there are also a lot of quieter souls who will just stop coming if it's too crazy. It's good to be mindful that there are usually all types in a pack.
If you have access to a camp site, a park, a field, or a camp fire ring, try to have some meetings outside. We did corn mazes, flashlight hikes, camp fires, flag retirement ceremonies, rocket nights, etc. You get your leaders to organize things like that on a rotating basis. Good luck and have fun! You sound like you'll be great!
A lot of what you do depends on your personality. I’m a big picture person and for me pack success depended on the den leaders. So I supported the den leaders by listening to them and helping get what ever they needed. Each has their own personality and style, so there isn’t a one size fits all answer. It sounnds like a lot, and can be the first month as everyone is starting. But if you nip problems in the budd, your pack will be on cruisecontrol by November.
As for pack meetings, make them an hour of pure fun. Move announcements to a news letter and never go more than a minute without giving the scouts (and their siblings) an opportunity to jump, scream, yell, cheer and laugh. The more laughs the better because parents love laughing too. If you see scouts talking to each other because the are bored, then you are doing it wrong. So change that part of your agenda.
One last suggestion; have the CC find volunteers for all the pack activities like Pinewood, Blue &Gold, and so forth by the end of September and have them report their progress every month.
As a former cub myself, I can only give you my memories which may or may not help guide you.
When I think back I remember next to nothing about pack meetings. I have a vague recollection about a dinner banquet (prob the B&G). All I recall is tables in the gymnasium, some adult stuff and us kids playing afterwards. All my memories are from the den meetings/activities. Even the pack campouts I have no memory except for what we did as a den. My memories of the pinewood derby are of my den working in a basement making our cars together.
Are my memories typical? I do not know. But if they are, then as CM, I would focus on helping the den leaders put forth a quality program at the den level and keep the pack stuff at the bare minimum.