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Cub Scout overnight at the Drive-In Theater

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Sorry for the long post but one of the other posters on here (I wont mention his name) suggested that I should do some bragging and post something about the Cub event our Pack hosted last weekend. It worked out so well it might give others the idea to try something similar.


The pack I am with had been talking about hosting a Cub Scout overnight camping event for some time and last weekend we finally pulled it off. Our District has units host and plan most Cub Scout Events and Boy Scout Camp-o-rees. The last couple of years another pack hosted a fall Cub event at a local Living History Museum. The county closed the museum last winter, so I gave a call to the organizer asking what his plans were for this years event. He had no idea what he was going to do and I got his permission for us to use the event name and take over putting on the event.


There was an article about an overnight event at a Drive-In Theater in Scouting magazine last year and our Pack thought this was a good idea. Last spring the Pack Committee Chair contacted the owner of a local Drive-In about holding a Cub Scout overnight. He asked how many? 20 or 30 people? Our CC optimistically told him 500! Well he agreed so an event committee was put together which I was asked to Chair.


FYI- Putting this event together I used a whole bunch of things I learned at Woodbadge about team building, communication and setting goals. So for those who think Woodbadge is worthless I can say that after using what is taught it was well worth the time spent going.


Since the Drive-In is in another District the Cub Scout Activities person for that District was contacted and he agreed to be involved. The event was pushed as a recruitment tool as it fell right after recruiting and thought it might be a good event to have new cubs and parents attend.


The registration form was sent out and they slowly started coming in. When registrations got close to 600 it was decided to close registration. But the decision was made if anyone had already mailed in their registration it would be accepted by the day before the event they were 690 cubs, parents and siblings registered. This number did not include staff to run the events.


The day of the event didnt start real well. To handle the amount of people ports-johns had to be rented so I needed to be there at 9am the day of the event. It was a soaking downpour that had started at about 3am. The roads around the Drive-In were muddy and the high temp that day was only going to be 50 degrees. The owner said he would allow Campers and RVs if we put them in the back. One of the staff brought his RV and got stuck in the mud. At 11:00am no equipment for the activites had shown up yet. Not a good way to start things off.


Talk about getting lucky. About 11:30am the skies cleared, the sun came out and equipment for the activities starting showing up. The events ended up starting about half hour late due to the weather. As the afternoon wore on things just starting clicking and falling into place.


Activities were scheduled from 1pm to 5pm with about 15 activities overall. There was a station doing origami boats for a rain gutter regatta, a station giving out kazoos for Music, and a station doing First Aid training. Some of the other activities were Map and Compass, Whittlin Chip, tug-of-war, relay races and knot tying. A Sea Scout Ship helped with knots and the Skipper showed up in a pirate costume and handed out gold doubloons (gold covered chocolate), all unexpected. Our councils portable BB Gun range finally showed up. It is always a big draw and popular. Another very popular activity was fishing. There is a small pond at the far end of the Drive-in lot where Bass, Trout and pan fish were caught. Chess was going to be offered but I couldnt find anyone to run the event. One of the participants had brought 3 or 4 Chess boards with him set them up at a table and some of the Boy Scouts that had come to help setup were playing and teaching Chess to the Cubs.


The owner of the Drive-In said people could cook food as long as everything was picked up and put away by the time the Drive-In was open to the public. A small section of the Drive-In had to be roped off for his regular customers. The owner had agreed to open the concession stand during the day for us so if anyone did not want to cook they had an option for food. It was put out that the Drive-In didnt make a lot off of the movies but made most of his money off of concessions. Since the event went so well many of the Packs that had planned to cook didnt and went to the concession stand so the owner make enough money so he would be willing to have it again next year. The owner said to me later that he hadnt expected to be very busy during the day but the lines for food were out the door. He almost ran out of food. I can say that he was very happy with this event!


Each Cub was given a glow stick, not only because they like them but for safety reasons. They could be seen at night running around. At about 7:30pm three first run movies were shown then followed by some old cartoons. I would have to guess about 200 stayed the night. It was pretty chilly and down in the low 40s overnight.


On Sunday morning there was Coffee, Donuts, Fruit, Milk and juice for anyone staying over. After a Scouts Own Service, getting the tents down and policing the area I was on my way home by 10am. The owner was shocked that we picked up garbage for the entire Drive-In, even the area open to the public that was roped off. He was told Were Scouts. We leave a place better than we found it. His only complaint was his cleaning person now had nothing to do.


I think the most satisfying thing for me was all the smiling faces I saw. I had one Dad with his son come up to me and introduce themselves. He and his young son were totally new to Scouting and they were having a blast. This was exactly the type of response we had hoped this event would have. Not everything went as planned and there were a few glitches but these were expected with never having done something like this (or as big) before.


Two thumbs up having a great crew of people to work with to put this event together. It's great when everyone is working and making things happen. It really shows how smooth things can go if you take the time to plan it out in advance.


It has already been asked if the event will happen again next year. The owner of the Drive-in was willing to give a date before we left as he was so happy about how things went.


I dont know if the event is going to happen again next year. I got a call from one of the DEs at the council office. He asked for all the money made from this event to be given to the council. Our pack took all the risk. The Pack fronted all the money for printing and the patches. Someone from the Pack handled all the money and registration. The council did help with insurance and gave us the use of the BB gun trailer so making sure they are compensated for this is OK, but personally, I think asking for everything was way out of line.


It seems that they have a Family Halloween event at the council camp this week and very few have signed up. The council is saying this is because of our event. I have been to this event and its not very good. The DE said that the money for their event was going to help fund cub camp. I have to admit I dont have much sympathy for them because they canceled the week of Cub Camp last year that most of the Cubs in our Pack were going to attend.


There was also a rumor that council wants to take over and run this event as a fundraiser next year. Funny thing is we went into this thinking to end up with enough money left to start up next years event. We were not worried about making money and just putting on a good fun program. The council saw the overwhelming response and figured that we are making a bunch of money from this and they want it all.


There is a wrap up meeting in the next couple of weeks to figure out What Next


update: I wrote this before all the issues with this site earlier this week. Our council posted on it's Facebook page yesterday that 400 had signed up for this weekend....mmmm...20 to 400 in a weeks time? This is well over what they usually get for their event.

The council still wants to take this event over next year. They are under the impression that the Drive-In didn't charge us. Wait until they find out how much work this is. The Drive-In charged on a per person basis with different amounts for different ages (this was recorded as each car entered). We have decided to at least get a date for next year scheduled with the Drive-In. One of the organizing committee is going to the Drive-In tonight to see the new Clint Eastwood movie and talk with the owner. We figure if the event is already booked with the Drive-In it will be tougher for the council to come in and take over.



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Don't totally write off council. They may be able to negotiate a fixed price which will at least ease your paperwork burden.


If nobody makes profit, but bunches of boys have fun, it's a win either way, right?

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Oh, I do like this. Unfortunately, I only know of one surviving drive-in movie in Maryland, and it is waaaay across the state from us. I will mention this idea to my buddy in that District, tho.

I say you work your organizational magic with Council and help them with CSDC and the Halloween event. Maybe next year combine the two? Maybe an old fashioned 1950's movie fest. You know, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula with Lugosi, that sort of thing.


A sleepin/lockin with a PR bent (public showing? wow!) I hope you got somemedia , newspaper coverage, even TV!

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When we first started planning this we asked the Drive-In for a set fee to rent the place for the evening

According to the owner he couldn't do this due to his contact with the movie distributor


We actually have 3 Drive-n left in our council. The owner of this one is part owner of another one about an hour north of here. He may have to close this one because its so small they can't afford to upgrade it to show digital movies (by next year almost all movies will be in digital format)


The Drive-In had it on the radio in there adds but unfortunately the local media isn't very pro-scouting and publishes very little. i did send press releases to all the newspapers but none showed up.


It must be great to be in a council that will work with it's volunteers.


Ours micromanages things so much most volunteers only last working one or two events (or seasons for Cub Camp)


The last event I did my DE cut the program budget down to almost nothing and put it into "overhead"


District/council events are expected to have 50% "overhead" to go into the councils budget.


The same last event I headed up they screwed up registration. People called up and registered their units. When they paid they wrote them down again. I didn't find his out until after the event when we ended up with a bunch of extra supplies.


Because the council collects the money you need to buy supplies out of your pocket and submit a recept/PO. It took 4 or 5 months to get the money back.


So having our council involved is not a good thing



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I know the campout that was in the scouting magazine, I've been to it 4 times now.

I don't know the details of how they pay the drive in, but I know it is a district event. The drive-in officially closes for business the week prior to the cub event so that at the cub event, it's only us. They don't allow cooking. The event runs from 5pm until the next morning and the snack stand is open for us and we pay a per person fee to the district for attending. I can get you in touch with the contact person at that district if that would help you, let me know. The are now running one event on Fri night and one event on Sat night. So they can get in double the scouts. I think this past one was $9 a person.

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Congrats on a fantastic and successful event......


I hope it survives the vultures from council and district circling.


I wouldnt give them a penny. They will just blow it on executives salaries.


I do like the idea of a halloween themed drive in movie experience like the old frankenstein and werewolf and dracula.....


I still dont like woodbadge but i am glad you found it helpful.

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The Distrct that does the Drive In featured in the magazine is one District over from me. Its billed as the oldest Drive in in America, but living in the Lehigh Valley one gets used to hearing about "AMericas Oldest" if not the Moravian Book store as the longest operating book store in the COuntry to while its not the oldest, but the most often played COllge football rivary in the US, Lehigh vs Lafayette but I digress


A good acquaintance of mine helped plan the first couple, it had its roots in the District doing it while they did not have ab DE or perhaps it was a very weak DE so the Distrct just acted as if they didnt have one. They are a very strong Distrct with dedicated Distrct workers who seek to provide a program to Distrit Then again, the same guy wanted to establish that unless a scout was wearing a full field uniform he could not sit for an Eagle Court of HOnor and when I opposed him he told me I was responsible for lowering Eagle Scout standards, we dont talk much now

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