By Kevin V. Hunt – Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger , Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director
Hey, Cub Scouters … Are you tired doing the same old Blue and Gold Banquet year after year. Are you getting tired of the spaghetti and all the work for the cutesy place mats and other decorations? Do you think that “do one blue and gold … done them all?” If so, here is an idea you might want to try.
Like many of you, I have been to my share of blue and gold banquets over the years. In fact, because of my previous Scouting roles, I have probably been to a lot more of them than the “normal Joe Scouter or Parent”. Well, this year, I attended a blue and gold event that got my attention – and a big WOW from me.
It was another windy but very beautiful Saturday morning in our sunny Mesa, Arizona. And that same LDS Stake (that had the innovative pinewood derby races) staged another fabulous event for all of the packs within the stake boundaries. There were eight or nine packs there. The leaders from each of the packs worked together to plan and stage the big event. It was a Blue and Gold circus or fair held out in the parking lot of one of the churches. And it boasted of FUN from the moment one entered the area. It was fun for the Cub Scouts, fun for their siblings, parents and the leaders – for EVERYONE!
Now I admit it wasn’t your usual banquet. It was actually kind of non-traditional … but that sometimes makes for great events. It was a great thing that day – even in the wind.
Each pack had selected one theme or activity for their own booth. And each participant was given a full color “Circus Bingo Chips” card to make sure that he or she got to experience each booth.
So, one pack staged bowling and yet another let kids create a simple rocket. Then with a fancy (but simple) machine, a few of the rockets (at a time) were launched off into outer space. Of course the Scouts had fun watching it climb to the clouds and then excitedly raced toward it when it began to come down. The “Whirliegig swing” was fun for all. I’ll leave that one to your imagination – but you probably know a grandpa or someone who might create such a thing! Yet another booth lured kids and families in under the guise of “face painting” but then they hit you upon entering about recruiting neighborhood friends to come join the Cub Scout fun.
Another booth featured what must be now “trending” for Cub Scouts (families and others). I had seen it recently at another Cub Scout event with a new Cub Scout grandson. It is called “Hungry Hippos”. For this event, you lay down on your chest on a small platform built with wheels (can be home-made – or even now bought on-line). And then with legs sticking out – to help the hands propel around – one moves about trying to gather up as many blown-up balloons as possible – and to get them back to the starting point. (This can be an individual event or can be a relay with groups of people. And it is great fun as a “cartwheel” with one guy chested on the deal and the other holding his legs in the air as they quickly swirl around the floor for balloons.). And do the kids ever love it!
The Cup Cake Walk was a great hit. They had a wide variety of cupcakes – in decoration and flavor. And at the end, they had a problem … too many cupcakes left. Wow! I did my part to assist them with this one! And the fish pond was a definite hit. The stake leaders made sure that there were real special “fish” for each Cub Scout.
As noted previously, my daughter is the Cubmaster in her pack and her husband is her assistant. She is a photographer so naturally, she thought of something along that line. So, Kaylea and JD came to our house – and raided “Momma Lou’s costume closet” for costume parts for folks to dress and pose in as their photo was taken against a fun background. JD and Kaylea dressed as clowns and fit in with their roles.
Now these were not just ordinary photos. The photos came out of a super mini Poloroid-type camera – that came with its own printer. And once printed, there were materials with which to create or craft a small frame to “house” the picture. Kids thought this was cool and fun – and of course all moms were ecstatic with yet another – and even an instant – photo of their handsome Cub Scout (and siblings or family). Lou and I donned Mexican outfits and we got our own photo taken. Cool! (Or we thought so!)
Well, now, … you ask, “So, where does the banquet part come in?” Glad that you asked. Of course it was there! No such event is complete without FOOD. “Food, glorious food …” (You have probably heard that song from “Oliver”.) And yes, one of the squares on the Bingo card (to make sure you went there) was for food. Here at this booth there were hot dogs and a couple of kinds of soups. (White chili … yummy!) And after you got your food, you could make your way to one of several tables – all gaily decorated in the traditional blue and gold – but maybe not in the traditional way. And the wind played havoc a bit with the decorations and tablecloths. And that is probably why I found and photographed one decoration holding down a chair – or vice versa. Wow! That’s when it hit me … There it is! This is their blue and gold “banquet”. Why didn’t I think of that? Such a great novel idea!
It truly was a wonderful event. Novel and different, but so much fun for everyone! I’ll bet with a bit of imagination and creativity – and teamwork – your pack families – or a group of packs working together as these did – could come up with your own new twist on the old traditional. Blue and Gold … have fun with it and celebrate it … in a new and fun way!
Best wishes along your Scouting trails!
See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger. Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”, and others at his Scoutingtrails website. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read! Find Kevin on Facebook at: Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.
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