It’s difficult to tell who’s having more fun at the Pack 19 Blue and Gold Banquet: the Cub Scouts or the grown-ups. But one thing is clear: All the time spent planning, crafting and decorating paid off in a big way.
For its latest blue and gold, Pack 19 chose a Harry Potter theme, turning Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas into Hogwarts School of Scoutcraft and Skillery. Leaders dressed up as professors, boys ran through a simulated wall at Platform 9 ¾ and a Sorting Hat helped present awards. The year before, the theme was Star Wars, with pool-noodle lightsabers for each boy.
Adding a kid-friendly theme — Minecraft or medieval times, pirates or Pokémon, Star Trek or superheroes — is just one way of improving your blue and gold. Here, your fellow Scouters share their top tips.
“My biggest advice is to be creative and think outside the box to make it one that the Scouts will always remember,” Cubmaster Nancy Burke says.
What is blue and gold?
It’s how Cub Scout packs celebrate the anniversary of Scouting each February. The banquet is often the highlight of the Cub Scouting year. Pack parents and siblings join Cub Scouts and their leaders for an evening of fun and cheer. Most packs start planning at least two months in advance.
Whether you splurge for catering or make everything from scratch, food should taste good. It should look good, too. Gabe Cole of Florida helped plan a banquet where all the food was colored blue or gold: blue chicken with yellow rice, blue potatoes with yellow gravy. “We even had blue green beans,” Cole says. “The Scouts still talk about it today.”
Invite a magician, balloon artist or juggler to do his or her thing. Whatever you choose, make it interactive, says Carrie Setzkorn of Kansas. “Instead of just having him make a bunch of balloons to hand out, he taught the Cub Scouts the basics of balloon bending,” she says. “They each had a chance to make a dog.” And don’t forget about “passive entertainment” — a TV with a slideshow of pack events, or a Pinewood Derby track for just-for-fun races.
In Pack 14 of Modesto, Calif., pack alumni who have become Eagle Scouts in the past year are invited to the blue and gold as guests of honor. “It’s such a short trip from Arrow of Light to Eagle — say, five or six years — but the changes are amazing,” says Dan Machado, the pack’s chartered organization representative. “Having Eagle Scouts at the blue and gold promotes a strong vision to parents and Cubs that there is much more to the adventure.”
Keep it focused
In some packs, the blue and gold banquet also includes the crossover ceremony and Arrow of Light presentation. But when Tracy Babington’s pack in North Carolina moved those events to later dates, the blue and gold became more of the Scouting celebration it’s supposed to be. “We will give out awards for things like religious knots, NOVA or World Conservation,” she says. “But we keep it simple and fun!”
Involve the entire family in the fun. Steven Rood’s pack in Nevada turned the blue and gold into a family game night. The fun started outside with giant Jenga, cornhole and a blue-and-gold Connect 4 game that Rood painted himself. After dinner, everyone played bingo. “The prizes were board games to take home to play with their families.”
Nancy Burke shares secrets behind her pack’s Harry Potter-themed blue and gold at scoutingmagazine.org/hpblueandgold