How to Hold the Best Pack Meeting of the Year
You'll Have as Much Fun as The kids!
If you have ever been to a Cub Scout Pack meeting, then you know that there is no better way to have fun with your clothes on than watching kids get awards, do skits, sing silly songs and generally have a good time. What the audience and the non-participating parents see is the culmination of a month of work, laughing, struggling and learning, by the boys as well as the leaders.
I have been a Cub Scout Cub Master for years. I am in my second time around in this organization and I enjoy it more every time I work on a new month’s meeting. I can’t really explain why this is, except to say that any time you see a young person, mom, dad, or kid, accomplish some big time goal, it feels good. Very simply put, but it’s true. It helps to have a fabulous Assistant Cub master and a great committee who are as crazy as I am. I can't wait to see what happens when we all grow up.
I’ve worked with lots of people and participated in many activities as a teacher parent and leader, and there is really no greater feeling for my money, than to see a parent’s face as their child earns their next rank, gets an award or sings a song in front of an audience for the first time.
All of this takes time and planning and effort. The effort is really a task of love. Once you get past the initial “OMGness” of it, the magic begins. For first time leaders and Cub Masters, you need to understand that you are the FUN Master. What does that translate to in the world of jobs, bills, and other big personnessness? It means that for 60-90 minutes each month, you have to take off your adult hat and put on your kid hat.
How Is This Done?
- Rule number 1: Pretty simply, follow the book! Follow the monthly program guides. BSA has been around for 100 years. They must know something about helping kids enjoy their time together. That’s rule number one.
- Rule number two: this really could be rule one A. “If it’s not for the boys, it’s for the birds.” What does this really relate to? Very simply, in any planning or activity, if it helps boys grow and have fun and learn to be respectful citizens, then AOK. If not, use a different idea. These meetings are really the chance for the boys to show off and be recognized for working their hardest. So, if you do some things to look silly, if the kids laugh at you (really with you), if the skits are not perfect, so what.
- Rule number three: The parents are the heart. Recognize them. Say thanks to the moms and pops who bring their boys to activities and meetings. Acknowledge the effort it takes to get off the couch after working ten hours at a job you hate, so that your kid can get the experience of scouting. Greet people at the meetings and look them in the eye. Shake hands with two hands and really encourage them to feel right at home. Expect the parents to help you at the meeting. When the sign goes up say “Parents, can you please help me make sure that the sign is up for all the kids?”
- Rule number four: Have an agenda. I try to time everything out. I know that sounds anal, but better organization makes for better meetings. Look at a pack meeting like playing Jazz music. You have a structure, but individual pieces of art and magnificence happen within that structure. You can only have that occur if you have a plan. Use your Assistant CM to help you. Do your own planning away from the scout aura. Do it at your house or a coffee shop.
- Rule number five: Have lots of crazy things like run ons, silly claps, props, goofy attention getters. You don't know where to get them? Can you say google?And most importantly: Go to in-person training, not online training!
Some Additional Thoughts
- Make the meeting fast! Here’s the truth about fast: Try to have the kids doing something about every five minutes. It could be a clap, a run on, a song, a yell, a demonstration. Just something to keep them guessing. You’ll have at least as much fun watching the kids as they try to figure out what is happening next. Get the parents involved in these things as well. Parents who have never been exposed to this will try to act like big people at first. That’s just what you want. After they get over feeling uncomfortable and especially uncool, they’ll want to do it again and again. I’ve had some of my best leaders join because we asked them to do something at a pack meeting.
- Finally, ceremonies: They should be fun, but meaningful. Advancements should be such that there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Get the moms and the g’mas and g’pas involved if possible. I know we live in an age of one parent families. Get the non custodial parent involved if possible. Especially the dads. So often, after a divorce, these guys are treated as if they have leprosy. The pack makes everyone go in this case. Be gentle, but at least be inviting. Candles, darken the room, special stories… these all make it meaningful. The kids probably will forget, but the parents won’t. Trust me.
A Sample Agenda
- 6:00 PM: Gathering game; make sure parents help out.
- 6:20: Call to order, sign is up, kids are in their dens, with parents as well.
- 6:30: Call the flag ceremony
- 6:35-ish: CM welcome
- 6:37: Skit
- 6:40ish: Awards
- 6:45: Announcements, make this silly
- 6:50ish: Song, crazy thing
- 6:55: More awards, silly claps, run ons
- 7:05: Skit, Song by leaders if possible, something really goofy
- 7:10ish: Announcements
- 7:15: Advancements, achievements
- 7:25: All sing Scout Vespers
- 7:30: Flag is retired, all people follow the flag out quietly
- Use the themes of the month for your ideas.
- Have fun.
- Let me know how you do!!
- Two things to remember: If it’s not for the boys, it’s for the birds.
- Dream dreams and you’ll see miracles.
The BSA Site
- Pack Meeting Plans
Here is the official site of bsa
Again From the Masters
- Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide
everything a CM needs to know and then some!!