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Maryread1

Best way to plan for overnights

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Hi all,

 

I'm almost through my first year as CM and I'm hoping for suggestions in the best way to plan for the non-camping overnights, such as museum or aquarium overnights.

 

We try to plan at least one a year, they tend to be the most popular with the scouts. But we always seem to fall short one way, or another. Most places require a deposit, or payment paid in full, in order to reserve spots. Our issue with this is that spots for these events tend to fill up fast. So we're left with either guessing the amount of tickets needed and not ordering enough, or too many, or risking announcing a date and event in order to have a sign-up and have the spots no longer being available when we have our head count and are ready to order. This past year we guessed, and ended up with a few extra, and expensive at $65 a pop, tickets.

 

Our scouts work hard fundraising and it breaks our hearts to have their hard-earned money wasted on unused tickets, but we would also hate to see scouts miss out because we don't have enough spots for them. I'm sure that there are some more well-seasoned leaders out there who have a better way of doing things, any advice would be appreciated!!

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Plan it well ahead of time, get the families to make a commitment, and then purchase tickets when they become available. Don't try to guess how many.

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Plan it well ahead of time, get the families to make a commitment, and then purchase tickets when they become available. Don't try to guess how many.

 

 

 

You forgot to have them pay for the cost when they committ.  For things like that, our policy was if you say you are going, you make a deposit which you don't get back if you decide to not go unless you find a replacement.

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You forgot to have them pay for the cost when they committ.  For things like that, our policy was if you say you are going, you make a deposit which you don't get back if you decide to not go unless you find a replacement.

 

This is how we do things like Summer Camp.  Each family pays full amount for their scout(s), then get reimbursed on first day of camp.  If they want to be a no-show, it's their dollar.

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Matches my experiences as well.

These "overnights", as I called them were more popular that the camping trips

and we tried to have at least one every year.

I "chaired" one of the largest trips once, before i was CM  to sleep on the aircraft carrier...

we had the benefit of a track record of past trips to fall back on, except that no real records were ever kept so it was all still Kentucky windage... especially since group dynamics change through the years with some groups being very involved and responsible, with other not so much

 

I have found though that these venues are used to working with groups, and they will usually work with you up until a reasonable cut-off time.  The aircraft carrier as an example, they had several different bunk rooms available and would assign groups based on their size.  We started working on best guesses.... eventually we would be assigned a bunk room that would fit our group.  It would sleep x number of folks, and so there's a good chance there would be an extra bunk or two and so they would work with us to fill those spots.

 

I think you've got to just take your best guess in the end

but I think hedgehog nailed one important element...

 

You forgot to have them pay for the cost when they committ.  For things like that, our policy was if you say you are going, you make a deposit which you don't get back if you decide to not go unless you find a replacement.

 

Just about all you can do is

Have an early announcement to save the date

set a reasonable window to give folks time to consider and commit.

set a deadline to commit and pay

and then here's where the guessing comes in, dependent on how loosey goosey your group is... make a decision if you want to round up a bit and reserve a few more spots and take a gamble.

and then there's tough love in the end.

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I agree.  You need to define commitment as having paid or at least having paid the amount the pack would lose if it went unused.  

 

Another approach also is look for overnights that have more flexibility.  Perhaps families that are really dedicated and willing to commit early can still pursue the events that sell out quick.  

 

For the rest of the families ...

  • Choose a date that sells out slower because it is less popular
  • Choose a different venue that might have more flexibility
  • Run your own overnight event.  It's more hassle, but you have the ultimate flexibility.  
Edited by fred johnson

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