Make a Calendar of Fun Activities - Your Pack Program

What sounds more exciting and appealing: “meetings” or “adventures”? 

  • Cub Scout Handbooks are full of “Adventures” and your Pack should have adventures too
  • Families want to be Active and have Fun and have Fun with Other Families

If it’s Fun for Kids, Fun for Families, and Safe -- it’s Cub Scouting!

What can your Pack Do?

  • Some great ideas for a program year are found in the Program Planning Guide for the Atlanta Area Council. 
  • That’s just a start because even more ideas are listed and linked at this Activity Ideas page, including A Giant List of Places to Go and Things to Do Around Atlanta posted at the bottom of that page.
    • The Cub Scout Handbooks are full of Adventures.
    • There are over 95 Adventures in the six years of Cub Scouting, and we have separate pages for each Adventure collected here, with each page having both Den Leader Guide plans plus extra links (many videos), tips and other ideas that will help parents do Adventures at home and Dens do Adventures in person with more parental help.
  • If You Build it, They Will Come:
    • If you build a calendar of fun activities, Scouts and families will come.
  • And after you make a Calendar of Fun Activities, Let People Know: Share your Plan, using multiple media methods. 

How can your Pack Make a Calendar of Fun Activities? 

Use your resources, starting with your current registered leaders but invite the participation of all parents. 

Meet to Make a Calendar of Activities

Meet with all Pack Leadership to prepare your plan including; Cubmasters, Den Leaders, and Assistants, and anyone of the Pack Committee need to be part of the planning process. 

  • Invite all parents to participate.
  • 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 some meetings can be done over the phone or “virtually” by email and sharing documents. 

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 like to do things or used to do things. 
  • 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
    • 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.

Keep the “Outing” in “Scouting”

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.

  • 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.
    • 2020 Update:  When group meetings can come back, meeting outside appears to be safer anyway!  Bring your camp chair as a way to help keep physical distancing in force.
  • 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 they meet for 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).
      • 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.)
    •  2020 Update:  It is more likely that small gatherings will be allowed sooner than large gatherings, during times of physical distancing, Pack activities may be less common than Den or family gatherings. 
      • Sharing photos and videos of what Scouts and Families do will be great for the entire Pack.
      • Scouts will like seeing other Scouts and siblings.
      • Families will get ideas about what to do, and realize “we can do that too”.
    • Have lots of “hands-on” Pack Activities where you go to fun places and do fun things.
      • Don’t worry about calling it a “Party” or “Fun”:  between Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Leader Minutes, Recognitions and more – even at a field trip event – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build character and promote the values of Scouting.
    • 2020 Update: Here's a parent tip about family-led activities: even if it's just you and your Scout doing an activity, your Scout (and you) can still wear the uniform (or the Pack T-shirt) and begin and end the activity with the Scout Oath and/or Law as a simple opening and closing. 

Spring and Summer and Fall Family Joining Events

Fun Events Can Be Joining Events Too!  You can invite new families to join by attending fun 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 and more.
    • If you’ve had one already and liked it, you can do another, Just For Fun!

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

  • 2020 Update: Especially if you're doing family-led activities, called Plan "B" on the "What Does Cub Scouting Look Like Now?" page, families can still invite other families to also do family-led activities like hikes and backyard campouts and bike rides and fishing and service projects and more.
    • Those families can see the photos and videos of what other families in your Pack or Den are doing.
    • They can share their photos and videos with your Pack or Den too and hopefully join you as a member of your Pack!

For places to go and things to do on your Calendar of Fun Activities, use your resources – like the Program Planning Guide for the Atlanta Area Council posted here.  And you don’t have to just do “BSA branded” events like Council and District organized events.

  • 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!