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Exciting Pack Programs

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I find this hard to believe. In my mind, an exciting Pack program is as easy as a cheer, a skit, a song, and as few announcements as possible. But perhaps there's more to it.

So what's the "this" in do this and it will be fun?

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Every one of my pack meetings is not a meeting, its an "event". Aprils pack event is a "Fishing Clinic" where the boys will learn about types of fish native to Wisconsin, get to cast and catch some fish,  learn about lures, etc.. Yes there is time for announcements and awards, even a flag ceremony. 

September was a bike rodeo. October was a Halloween Event. The troop in town puts on a Haunted Trail and collects canned goods for admission. The pack has a short opening, awards and announcements, then over to the park for the trail where we get a guided tour. Then a halloween skit after. 

November we make centerpieces for a Thanksgiving meal for low income families (troop makes the meal)

February is B&G which is a huge fun event. PWD is March so thats the pack event there.

If your pack meeting is boring, then its what you make of it, its boring because nobody is trying.  Try something different. Nobody says that the pack meeting has to be just awards, announcements, and a game.  Get outside for them if you can, do non-meeting stuff. I get near 100% attendance with this method. The kids enjoy it and so do the parents.

Yes it takes more work, but get other parents involved. I have 3 different stations at my April meeting and I don't even have to run one of them. Don't ask with a blanket request, make a specific request of someone "Rich, do you have a tackle box, can you discuss the contents at our April meeting?" Boom, done. 

Another pack program item that works is Hiking Club, where once a month we go on a hike. Gets the kids and adults outside, and I keep track of mileage and award as appropriate.

Maybe I am fortunate because my parents are always ready to help with whatever I need. But it got that way because I cultivated an atmosphere of fun and family. It took time but it was worth it.

There is no how to or recipe book on how to do this. You just gotta come up with ideas. Have a "Parents Meeting"  in August to plan the year. Ask them to bring ideas. Be unconventional, because all of us know the old tired boring pack meeting does not work. 





Edited by Cubmaster Pete
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interesting topic to me....

When my son joined as a Tiger and I was not a scouter.... From my perspective the pack meetings were mostly announcements...and mostly talking over the scouts and to the parents in the back of the room.  I could see the scouters trying....there was always an attempt at some program or activity....and an effort for award recognition...but that was mostly just the endless baggie handout.  It got better and worse over the years, but mostly it was that.

Again, from my perspective....Den meetings were sometimes fun, sometimes it was not so fun art/craft stuff, and mostly it was a lot of scouts being 'talked to'.  Once in a while there was some fun activity done in the den meetings...and of course it was a lot of chaos...especially after one of the dads took over as DL when the mom DL left town.  By then I was pitching in trying to help as ADL.

Anyway, My son tolerated the den meetings and hated the pack meetings (his perspective)

When I finally migrated into the cub master role, I really made a hard push to get the scouts out of their chairs and when talking, I tried hard to talk to the scouts and not to their parents.  I really tried hard to minimize announcements and such...but I still found myself doing some of that, but I was proud that I talked 99% to the scouts..  Still, it was a struggle.  I couldn't get more volunteers energized, and the scouts didn't really care about awards and such.  I also tried hard to push for skits, but got very little support form the den leaders in coming prepared for any of that.  Awards too... they often did not come prepared despite a lot of effort on my part to try to help them with it.

I tried to make a point of having some game or activity at every meeting, especially if i couldn't round up a guest speaker.   I led lots of very loud meetings and I know the scouts had fun with casual rain gutter regattas, stomp rockets, water rockets, balloon games and relays, etc...  I arranged a few guest speakers, and pretty much all of them flopped....but the activities were fun and there were lots of loud meetings.

In hind site though.... My son looks back and generally says he enjoyed the den meetings but hated the pack meetings.  He says it was because they would show up and generally would have some sort of fun activity organized and didn't have to do anything.

I don't know, I still feel like I was close to a solution in terms of having fun pack meetings.... minimal announcements and such, talking to the scouts and not to the parents, lots of out of the chair stuff....But somehow I missed the mark.

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On 4/3/2018 at 11:22 PM, Cubmaster Pete said:

Every one of my pack meetings is not a meeting, its an "event". ... 

I think that's the key, and for those Packs without a current production staff able to put on really super pack meetings that families really like, I wonder: why struggle to put on pack meetings when you get more fun (for less production effort) out of hands on fun activities with families -- maybe even just weekend activities that more family can attend.   More thoughts about that are in this thought piece posted at a page called "Why Pack Meetings?", or "Minimize Meetings, Accentuate Activities".

Now, for those who say "but we do pack meetings and everyone likes them", that's great!   Keep doing what works for you.  

As noted in the piece, it’s not a binary choice between “do monthly pack meetings” or “no more pack meetings ever”.

  • If your Pack Meeting every month is a fun Pack Party … keep on keepin’ on! 
  • But if you don’t have “meetings” or Pack Parties, and your Pack just goes places to do active hands on fun stuff and programs that Scouts and families like … that is just fine!

But I do see a lot of pack leaders struggle to put on pack meeting program because they think it's required when ... there is a better way.  

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Most of our “pack meetings” are activities or outings.  Cake bake, camp fire, PWD, Blue and Gold - pool party, camping outing, Bear Scout carnival, egg drop are 7 out of our 9 “pack meetings”.  We also have activities in the summer but none of those are traditional meetings.  So we have about two traditional meetings a year. One is the first meeting where we do the initial kickoff of the year including popcorn sales and the other is a standard meeting.   This has worked for us and I cannot imagine having any meeting where we talk to parents.  The CC owns dealing with the parents, pack meetings are for the scouts and Cubmaster.

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