Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author and Speaker, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
I’ve been writing about the program planning process – and have used some specific plans and programs established with my Varsity Scout team. I talked about the annual program planning conference and then most recently about organizing the group – adults and youth – to make the plans happen. With the plan in place and the group working together, the remaining action to take was just having fun with the planned program.
We had a great time in Varsity Scouting that year. We had a variety of fun activities which we all enjoyed. One time the guys came to my house for ice cream and to celebrate the birthday of one of the boys.
We went to Salt Lake City and toured the new Jordan River Temple. We served at a Christmas party put on by the Kiwanis Club for kids of the community. We held our own competition in many of the Varsity Games events. We went to the Elk’s Club and presented a flag ceremony at one of their meetings. Once we went and heard a live broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
One time we got all of our Varsity Scouts and their dads together. We all went down to Salt Lake City again. We first went to the Spaghetti Factory in Trolley Square for dinner. Then we all went to the annual general conference of our church. This was a very special experience for everyone.
One boy received his Eagle Award while on our team so this was exciting. We held a special recognition for him.
On some other occasions we went ice fishing on a frozen lake and attended the district’s Klondike Derby. We all froze on both occasions but looking back it it, we can say that it was fun.
We had a service project one night and we did a clean-up of the yard surrounding the council service center. Another time we did the same thing in the yard of a widow lady in our area.
One experience was a real eye opener for our guys. We decided to visit a church service of a different denomination. Before visiting the church, however, we called the minister to make prior arrangements. I found it interesting that three different ministers all told us that they did not want us to come to their church.
Finally though, we found a minister who said they’d be pleased to have us come to their services. So one Sunday evening we made the visit to a very small little church on the other side of town. It was an all-black, Pentecostal Church. The boys were a little apprehensive about the coming experience but I assured them that we’d have no problems.
As we arrived at the little church, we were met by the Black minister. You would have thought that we were all his long-lost sons. He welcomed us with open arms. He was obviously thrilled to have us there.
All of the other members of the congregation also came up and said how pleased they were that we’d come to their church. As the minister started the services, he again made a big deal about our presence there. He had each one of us stand to introduce ourselves.
The boys soon felt at home and we had a great experience with those special people. My guys really enjoyed the evening. We left with a new appreciation for our black brothers and sisters and the beliefs of this particular group. The boys talked of that experience for many months to come.
Another fun activity that we had as a team was a mother and son progressive dinner. The boys planned the menu and were all excited about the scheduled “dates” with their moms. The mothers too, were excited since they’d never had an activity of this type with their boys. We decided to have spaghetti as the main course.
Altogether our group of boys and moms numbered about ten people and since we had so few boys, we all had food assignments. Also, one of the courses of the meal was scheduled to be eaten at each home. One family was assigned to bring hors devours, another the salads, another had snacks for during the movie and another family was assigned dessert.
One family had twin sons. Since they had two sons, we thought they could handle two assignments, the garlic bread and the spaghetti. The family, whom we’ll call the Doles (and the names have been changed to protect the innocent) were outraged at this extreme unfairness we put upon them. Though they were fairly well off, they claimed that it would be a financial burden on them to provide “so much”.
Finally I volunteered to have the bread and spaghetti at my own home even though it was not real convenient to do so. My wife was pregnant and due at the time the activity was to be held so I had purposely held off planning for any of the meal to be at our home. As it turned out, my wife and our third daughter came home from the hospital the very day of the event. She graciously made the bread and spaghetti for us.
The night of the big event came. All of the mothers and sons participated. The Doles (appropriate name, huh?) were, of course, there to help eat their fair share of the food even though they now had it arranged perfectly so that they didn’t have to bring any of it. All three Doles “pigged out” and acted unaware of the inconvenience they had caused my family.
Anyway, we all had a very pleasant evening. The boys and mothers all had a great time and got to know each other better through the activity.
The program I have outlined will work just as well for the Venturing program (or any youth group – for that matter) as it does for Varsity Scouting. The only difference is that Venturing has experience areas rather than the five program areas of Varsity Scouting. The principles, however, are the same.
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
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!
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