Make a Calendar of Fun Activities - Your Pack Program

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What Sounds Better: “Meetings” or “Adventures”?

Cub Scouting is Fun, Family and Friends.  Cub Scout Handbooks are full of “Adventures” and your Pack and Den should be full of adventures too. Families want to be Active and have Fun and have Fun with Other Families and they need to know they can do it safely

If it’s Fun for Kids, Fun for Families, and Safe -- it’s Cub Scouting!  That’s the essence of Cub Scouting activities.  What can your Pack and Den Do?  Here’s some ideas:

  • Here's an Atlanta Area Council Program Kickoff Presentation on "Build Your Best Year Ever in Cub Scouting" -- resources referenced are found here.  This will give a great overview of annual planning for Pack activities and operations.
  • More great ideas for a program year are found in the Program Planning Guide.
  • Want more activities? 
  • The Cub Scout Handbooks are full of Adventures. 
    • There are almost 100 Adventures in the six years of Cub Scouting.
    • The Atlanta Area Council has developed great resources to help families, Dens and Packs deliver the promise of Cub Scouting, through the nearly 100 resource pages found at the Council Cub Scout Advancement page at www.atlantabsa.org/CubScoutAdvance.
    • Those Rank by Rank and Adventure by Adventure pages have Adventure Plans – with “family-led” plans that are more simple and accessible than the multi-meeting Den Leader Guide plans, plus extra links and many videos, tips and other ideas that will help parents do Adventures at home and Dens do Adventures in person with more parental help, including the unique resources developed through the Scouting on Demand program. 

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A Possible Activity Calendar

  • If You Build it, They Will Come.  If you build a calendar of fun activities, Scouts and families will come.  Great program plans are built around going places and doing things, like this outline of an ideal program year – pick the activities you like::
    • May:  Starting in the Spring, close out the School Year and start the Summer with a “graduation” picnic party, maybe a cookout or field day with games, as Scouts advance to a new Handbook for the coming year.
    • June:  Many Day and Twilight Camps are available for Dens, Packs and families – while it’s more fun to do with your Den, a Scout can attend on their own.  This is a great time to join Scouting, so bring a friend.  Also: everyone into the pool!
    • July:  Locally, Dens might participate in 4th of July festivities or other summer fun, plus Dens and Packs or individual families can attend Cub Scout Summer Camp overnights.
    • August:  Back to School, but not before final summer fun like swimming and boating and more – maybe a “back to school” bike rodeo or just a fun family bike hike?
    • September:  The start of a Cub Scout program year is often a time to apply the Six Cub Scout essentials for hiking – and your Den or Family Hike might be around a local park or recreation center or be a longer and more adventurous hike like one of these.
    • October:  If you’ve started outdoor activities with hiking, you can take it up a step with the program found at Cub Scout Family Camping Weekends – most at Bert Adams Scout Camp, and some at Woodruff Scout Camp.
    • November:  A great time for Veteran’s Day events or service projects to help your school or church or community – for fun, maybe Den or Pack bike riding, maybe even District events like shooting sports or rocket launching.
    • December: The holidays are busy, and a time for celebration, and many Dens and Packs try to schedule events that share the season and connect with family traditions.  Maybe also a service project to help those in need at the holidays?
    • January:  Many Packs pick a winter weekend for a “big trip” like – pandemic permitting – overnights at places like the Patriot’s Point Aircraft Carrier in Charleston, Zoo or Museum overnight events, maybe Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama, or cave camping in Tennessee.  Often this is the start of Pinewood Derby season and car building.
    • February:  Many Pinewood Derby races are run, plus Dens and Packs can celebrate the birthday of Scouting, perhaps with a service project like Scouting for Food, perhaps with a Blue & Gold Banquet.  (Note: if you plan to recognize Rank and other awards at your Blue & Gold Banquet, you can make it easier for all to have that event later in the school year – you can still celebrate Scouting then – your Arrow of Light Scouts can be recognized early so that they cross over to Scouts BSA Troops.)
    • March:  Warmer weather will bring your Den and Pack families outside for more hiking, kiting, biking, games and Scouting out new places you haven’t been before.  Getting outside and doing things is a great way for new families to join you.
    • April:  More options for Spring Family Camping during Cub Scout Family Camping Weekends or on your own – maybe fishing or rockets or more.
    • May:  And the year wraps around to another graduation to another rank and another summer of Cub Scouting.
  • Those are just one set of ideas – substitute your ideas in what you’d like to do – change up the order of events as you like for fun with your Den and Pack Families.  See the attached Word Document flyer that you can revise as you like with your activities and pictures of your families.
  • Share Your Plan!  After you make a Calendar of Fun Activities, let people know by sharing your plan, using multiple media methods.  See Step Two of Sustainable Recruiting: Let People Know: Promote Your Pack.

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Pack Planning Tips

  • Meet to Make a Calendar of Activities.  Use your resources, starting with your current registered leaders. Meet with all Pack Leadership to prepare your plan, including Cubmaster, Den Leaders, and Assistants, and anyone in the Pack Committee should be part of the planning process.
    • Invite all parents to participate.
    • Many of them will have ideas of places to go or things to do that you’ve never thought of before.
    • This might mean an increase in involvement, possibly getting new leaders.
  • Meeting Methods.  Don’t put off planning because you can’t get everyone to meet at the same time.  Do Your Best! get as many involved as possible – but don’t put off planning.
    • How you meet is up to your Pack – in person is the best, but many meetings can be done over Zoom (or even the phone) or “virtually” by email and sharing documents.
    • If you meet in person, make it fun and festive.  Pack Parents will enjoy the process more if there is social time.  No need for uniforms – Cubmasters and Den Leaders dressed like parent make it more inviting for other parents to share ideas and help.
  • Activity Planning – What do Parents Want to Do?  A brilliant idea from one Atlanta Pack is: set your “weekend fun activity” calendar by asking “What do the Dads and Moms like to do?”
    • The Pack knew that most dads and moms didn’t want to be “leaders”, but lots of dads and moms like to do things -- or they used to do things that they want to take up again.
    • They found that some dads liked tailgating BBQ, some liked fishing, some liked bowling, some liked golf – some moms liked running, some liked skiing, some biking, some swimming.
    • When the Pack found out what dads and moms liked to do, they built a fun activity program around it:
      • The “tailgating BBQ” dads were asked to lead an Iron Chef contest between families at campouts,
      • The “fishing” dads were the leaders of fishing trips, first locally, then a big trip in the spring to fish in the Gulf of Mexico,
      • The “bowling” dads led bowling outings,
      • The “golfing” dads did mini-golf and driving range and then 9 and 18 holes.
    • By asking what the parents wanted to do other parent program ideas followed
    • When you engage the "Tailgaters", "Fishermen", "Bowlers", "Golfers", "Skiers", "Swimmers", "Bikers" and more, the Pack got a core group of adults to organize those events, once those parents succeed at those, they were more inclined to participate in other leadership roles.

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Keep the Outing in Scouting! 

Get Out and Cub Scout!  The Cub Scout program is much more outdoor, active, and hands-on than it once was. Den “meetings” should be more active – they are called “Adventures” in the Handbooks, so make them adventurous.

  • Outdoors is Better!  The 2021 Voice of the Scout survey tells us that the Number One driver of satisfaction was “we have great outdoor activities in our Scout Unit”.  That’s what kids want – that’s what Cub Scouting can give them and their families.
  • Den Adventures Outside.  Almost every Handbook Adventure is more fun and memorable if done outside, whether on weekdays or weekends at events like campouts or day hikes ending with an evening campfire or field trips.
    • Cub Scouting is not Cub Schooling – den meetings in a classroom or around a table might be too much like school and not fun.
    • Kids want to have fun and adventure!
    • To have more fun, and get more family participation, Dens and Packs might do more weekend activities (you can invite new families to join you!).
    • If you’re only “meeting”, you’re not “Scouting” to the fullest.
  • Pack “Meetings” or Pack “Activities”?  Did you know you don’t need monthly pack meetings? The BSA Pack Meeting Resources page says: “Packs meet several times during the year – there is no required number.  Some packs meet monthly, others less often.”  Most Packs do “meet” monthly, but many meet to do activities, like camping or Pinewood Derby or hiking or fishing or biking or bowling or what your families like to do.
    • For anyone worried about Pack JTE scorecards and a requirement that to earn points in Category 9 (“Pack and den meetings and activities”) a Pack must “hold eight pack meetings a year”, note that the second page fleshes that out with this statement: “Have at least eight pack meetings or activities within the past 12 months” (emphasis added).
      • So Pack activities count and are probably more fun.
    • And if you do have a “classic” Pack gathering, here’s a thought: don’t call it a Pack “Meeting” – aim higher.
      • If you are gathering your Pack in a room, call it a “Pack Party”, and aim for fun, not work or agendas.
      • Great Pack Meetings are fun. (Yes, you’ll make it inspiring too.)
    • Have lots of Pack Activities where you go to fun places and do fun things.
      • And a Pack field trip, day at the park or other event will have plenty of opportunities to build character and promote the values of Scouting:  you can have Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Leader Minutes, Recognitions and more anywhere, not just in a “meeting”.
  • Did you know? – You Can Camp as a Family.  On most weekends, a family can go camping at the Council Camp Properties (so long as there is no District or Council event using the whole facility).
    • See www.atlantabsa.org/campproperties for more information and how to make reservations.
    • Day visits to the Camps are usually fine too, so long as make email contact with the Camping and Program Assistant listed at www.atlantabsa.org/campproperties -- that advance notice is needed to be sure that the Camp Ranger will know you’re coming.

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Spring, Summer, and Fall Family Joining Events

Do fun activities year round for this primary reason:  it’s fun for family and friends.  You can invite new families and friends to join by attending fun den and pack welcoming activities like these:

  • Have one or more “end of School Year” pack fun events like a Pack Party to welcome new Lions and Tigers and classmates and friends and “graduate” your Scouts into their next rank levels.
  • Promote easy summer events like Day and Twilight Camp and Cub Scout Summer Camp even if you (as a leader) can’t attend.
    • These events are easy for “first-time” parents to attend with their children.
  • Invite friends and families to fun events like Pack Pinewood Derbies, Rain Gutter Regattas, Bike Rodeos, Kite Flying, Rocket Launches, STEM activities and more.
  • Look at those places to go and things to do, and you’ll find lots of great activities and destinations for your families.
  • Remember:  if it’s Fun for Kids, Fun for Families, and Safe – it’s Cub Scouting!

Repeat this idea in the spring, over the summer, and as you go back to school. When you recruit families to attend Day and Twilight Camp and Cub Scout Summer Camp or Fun Fall Camping Events, those families will have a good time, be “sold” on Scouting, and might be new leaders or assistants or New Member Coordinators.

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File Name Description
Cub Recruiting Flyer Template | Replace Images With Ones From Your Pack | Word Document Download