Scouting magazine

Five secrets behind a magical blue and gold

We may never know what makes Harry Potter’s broomstick fly. But that doesn’t stop mere muggles from learning about the magic behind a Harry Potter blue and gold.

Nancy Burke is the Cubmaster of Pack 19 of Dallas, and her pack’s Harry Potter-themed banquet thrilled visitors young and old.

She offers these top tips for blue and gold success. You’ll find they apply to all blue and gold banquets, even those without a theme.

1. Be creative

Use the internet, Pinterest and unofficial Scouting sites for ideas.

“My biggest advice is to be creative and think outside the box to make it one that the Scouts will remember always,” Burke says. “One year, when we celebrated Chinese New Year, we had a large Chinese dragon that all the Scouts actually got to get under and dance around the room. We also had Chinese fortune cookies, but we used tweezers to pull out the messages and replaced them with funny sayings about Cub Scouts and our Pack. Everyone loved them.”

Whatever theme or ideas you choose, don’t procrastinate.

“We began our planning early, and idea after idea kept coming,” Burke says. “We love to use all of our parents, and even assign them tasks if they don’t volunteer. We ask them to dress up, which the kids absolutely love, and they quickly get into the Scouting spirit.”

2. Involve Scouts of all ages

“With our Harry Potter event, we were aware of some older Boy Scouts who had to complete their STEM requirement by teaching STEM science to younger Scouts,” Burke says. “We asked them to lead and teach our Potions Class — under qualified adult supervision, of course. It was great, because the older Scouts were very invested in the activity, and the younger Scouts were able to witness older Boy Scouts whom they admired very much still involved in, and loving, Scouting. It was a win-win for everyone involved.”

3. Have families bring something

Your pack is full of talented parents. Don’t be afraid to ask them to bring a food item or help out in some way.

“We have recently added a new tradition to our blue and gold banquets by asking the Scouts to bring a themed dessert,” Burke says. “The creativity is impressive, and the Scouts enjoy looking at all of the creations made by their fellow Scouts.”

4. Consider other months beyond February

Many blue and gold banquets are in February, but that’s not a requirement.

“We choose to have them at the end of the year, rather than in February, for two reasons,” Burke says. “First, not all of our Scouts are ready to advance in February. Second, we view our banquet as not only an advancement ceremony, but more importantly, as an end-of-year celebration of Scouting. It is our last hurrah before summer begins, and a way to leave the Scouts wanting more at the beginning of school in the fall.”

5. Focus on the little things

“Adding special surprise touches really makes the event magical,” Burke says. “With our Star Wars theme, we gave our Arrow of Light ‘Jedi-Masters’ one final task. They had to ‘use the force’ on an object. So, with their pool noodle lightsabers, we asked them to levitate various Star Wars battleships strategically placed around the room. What they didn’t know was that we had tied clear fishing line to these objects and some older Boy Scouts (who were hidden) raised them when the Cubs “used the force” on them. It was truly transformational and a show-stopper!

“Again, this simple trick involved older Boy Scouts, and was an activity strictly for our Arrow of Light Cub Scouts during the advancement ceremony. I can guarantee you that every single boy that night vowed to earn his Arrow of Light so that he could have a similar experience at his ceremony!”