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My Trip into Potluck He!! and Back

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That's a pretty funny story and sort of sad, too. Here are some of my (quasi-random, haven't finished coffee yet this morning) recollections on how we made our B&Gs work better.


After having some similar types of experiences to yours, our pack opted to provide the main course and just have the families bring sides. That way we could be sure that there would be enough of something, at least.


Like some others, we assigned sides by den, giving Tiger families the easiest things we could think of (often, paper products instead of actually cooking).


We seated people by den and called people up by den. We expected the Den Leaders to help enforce this.


We had servers.


We also came to the realization that trying to do anything while people were being served or eating would not work. One year we had a Friends of Scouting presentation during the serving time. I was so embarrassed, because no one ever pretended to listen to the poor fellow. Do presentations and awards at the beginning or the end, instead. We sometimes did ours as a break between dinner and dessert.


We moved to having a "Macho Man Cake Bake" and using the cakes for desserts, rather than the pack buying dessert. (We gave the kids a theme and declared that everything used to decorate the cake had to be edible) Every cub was invited to bake a cake with the help of an adult man in his life (dad, grandpa, neighbor, who ever, just not mom). The first year I was sure that we'd get three cakes for a pack of 40 boys but they LOVED the idea and practically every boy brought a cake. The tradition grew from there. Part of the fun was that we displayed all the cakes all night, and the kids spent quite a lot of time looking and talking about whose was whose, and plotting for what cake they wanted a piece of. It really was a blast.


We ended up removing the "hired entertainment" and other side shows from our B&G in my last year with the pack. Not that magicians and acrobats aren't fun, but our B&Gs were getting ridiculously long and expensive. So we switched to simpler stuff, and the kids still had a really good time. That also put the focus of the night back on our kids, where (personally) I felt it really belonged. You don't need a pony ride at every birthday party!



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Prior to potluck assignment issues, when I was a kid we had a church potluck for a returning missionary to give a slide preso. After about 20 minutes of watching people arrive, it became apparent there was a problem. EVERYONE who attended brought a Jello salad. I would say there were about 100 families in attendance and needless to say a quick trip out to the local chicken place saved the night. They later checked with the local university to see if they could calculate the odds for such an event and they said it would rank somewhere in the high billions to one. :)



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Wow! This is a great and timely thread for our Pack.


We have decided to go with pot luck this year for the B&G. For the last several years we had catering (last year it was simply pizza, salad, and cake), but this year we wanted to keep costs down so its back to pot luck.


There are great suggestions here and Im going to forward this thread to the Committee. I just so happens were meeting tonight to finalize the B&G plans.


My only comment is that I dont see how having the meal catered vs. pot luck will solve the problem of the gluttons. I think having servers is an excellent suggestion and more effective.


The time we reserve for eating is for just for that eating. Awards, activities, and entertainment are totally separate. This does make for a long B&G, but weve had no complaints. The B&G is supposed to be a bigger event than a pack meeting anyway.


We are going to circulate a spreadsheet for sign ups and break it down by type (salads, entrees) to try to ensure we dont get all of the same thing. The Pack is providing a sheet birthday cake for dessert.


Im keeping my fingers crossed we dont end up in Pot Luck Hell.




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We do a potluck for B&G and organize it in a similar manner to many other packs, it seems. We buy the entree, drinks and dessert and assign either starches or veggies to families by den. To cover the cost of the entree, we charge each family a small fee. Our intent is to cover about half our food costs and generally we do so. We call by tables for serving and then everyone who wants seconds is welcome to return to the buffet.


I like potlucks because they accommodate many different eating styles and allergies. We've talked about doing pizza for pack events rather than potluck, for example, but it leaves out our boys with dairy and wheat allergies. With potluck, I know I can bring something my family can/will eat and we will probably find a few other choices to enjoy as well.


We do awards at B&G too. The event can be a bit long. We try to have some sort of energizing activity between the meal and the awards, and we put out theme-related coloring and puzzle sheets for the boys on the tables. We are a smaller pack. If we were a larger pack, I think it would make sense to separate out awards instead.


Binford, you've had some big successes as a CM, please don't let your less-than-perfect potluck get you down. It is definitely an opportunity to teach better skills in courtesy and teamwork to your pack, scouts and adults.

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A few years ago on a district canoeing weekend we did potluck for Saturdays supper. Each patrol in all the troops was supposed to cook the patrol specialty in a large enough qty to feed the patrol twice over. We had about 25 patrols in 10 troops plus the specialty things the adults in all the troops cooked. We provided the desert for everyone. We had a great time, the scouts got to show off thier cooking ability and the adults really tried to out compete each other. besides the 180 scouts and leaders we had a ton of parents and siblings come for dinner and campfire. We had a mountain of food and if you went away hungry it was your own fault.

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the pack my son was in had potlucks for his first couple of years and ran into many of the problems mentioned. they switched to getting a catered meal and selling tickets (made them up using bussiness cards on the computer) still had problems with people showing up not having bought a ticket yet and so caterer hadn't planned for that many people.


with the pack the one thing I tried to get them to do is to hire the local BSA troop to "cater" for a fundraiser for them - we moved on before they tried this so I don't know if they ever did do that.


we hold a potluck with or GS unit and it's been a success the last 2 years. each family brings a main dish and then sides/desserts are divided based on number of girls at levels. This year is was the Daisy's and Brownie's that brought sides and the rest brought desserts. The unit always supplies the koolaid. We have everyone provide their own dishes - though unit does have cups for the drink.


for our potluck we have food scheduled for 1 hour (that includes opening flags and prayer) then we have awards and skits/songs... so those not wanting to come for the food know what time to be there for awards. Also as Service Unit Manager and being the "big dog" LOL before I start sending groups through the line I say "as SUM I'll be the last to eat, if you do not see me in the line or sitting and eating then you must wait for seconds!"

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Lots of good ideas to discuss with the Pack Committee! Thanks, folks!


Don't worry, Sasha. I'm not down. More amused than anything else, in a head-shaking sort of way!


I had intended to do awards before we ate, but things were running pretty long as it was. We had our FOS presentation before we ate (did really well with that, well above goal!) and we also had to make time for a couple Den Leaders to take a few whipped cream pies in the face (anyone who sold $500 or more in popcorn got to put a pie in a leader's face!) By the time clean-up was almost wrapping up, it had been two hours. Meetings are usually an hour; a little longer perhaps during Pack Meetings, but not by much more than 15 minutes.


I'm an ASM at my other son's Boy Scout Troop half way across town which meets the same evenings and I only made it in time for their closing ceremony. Enough time to talk things over with the other adult leaders, confirm a couple of our Eagle Scouts will be on hand for next month's AoL cross-over ceremony, etc. I usually have an hour following our Pack's meetings!


But back to the topic...I'll bring up some of the ideas raised here at our next Committee Meeting so we can use this B&G meeting as a learning experience to make the next one much smoother. And we'll do awards after everyone's eaten.


Again, thanks for the ideas!


-- Tim Taylor

Port Orchard, Wash.(This message has been edited by Binford)

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Portion control


Portion Control


Portion Control


They ate all the food and drank all the punch before the last table was served.



I will bring the dish for the potluck, and also stop at subway for something for me to eat. People come out of the wood work for a pot luck. People I have never seen before......crazy.


Make an announcement before people line up to eat, something a long the lines of.


"We have a large number of people with us today, Please taste everything and wait for seconds to be called before the second trip thru the line."

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For potluck... a greater at the door to "direct people' as to where to place their dish, and where their den will be sitting can also speak to those families that show up empty handed. A brief referal of them to the nearby Supermarket deli to pick up some friend chicken can then be requested.. such as, "Hello Smith family... welcome! So good to see you! Oh.. did you remember that tonight is a potluck ! Goodness nothing huh !?? Mom or dad, we have a few minutes, can you quickly run to Safeway to get something ? Yes? oh good ! The Webelos are over there, thank you so much, this way no one will be hungry."


Also, do what happens at scout camp. "No Seconds until the CM announces as such" Usually giving 5 minutes after the last person goes through the line, to let the last person eat some and give him a chance to also go for 2nds... not merely the food disposal dads !!


You must be a bit of a dictator to keep from being walked over !

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