The time has come again for scouters to recognize and be recognized. By this time we have had a few months (hopefully) to begin the preparations for the annual Blue and Gold Banquet and Ceremony that scouts have been working so hard for. For some of us, we also plan for the Pinewood Derby to take place on the same day. YEAH!!
So what goes into planning a Blue & Gold Banquet and Ceremony? Well, months of planning and lots of help. Normally, we give ourselves 3-4 months until the big day to prepare.
The first thing to decide is when and where. Think about how many you need to accomodate. Do you have enough tables and chairs? Will there be entertainment? If so, do we need a stage? Can we have it at our regular meeting place, or do we need to rent another facility? Do we need a kitchen? Think about what other events are happening at that time within the scouting organization or the school to determin what day and time. Some have held their banquet on a regular pack meeting night and simply has added a potluck dinner. Give yourself plenty of time to set-up and clean-up and factor that in the timeframe.
Second, think about what theme you want for your banquet. The scouts always have a monthly theme and many of these make wonderful banquets. We have even taken the theme a step further because the theme itself was a little vague. This year being that type of situation. Be creative! This is when you can do just about anything and you are only limited by your ideas.
The Next big thing to think about is the dinner. Will there be a dinner? Packs are famous for potluck get togethers. This may be the one get together that you cater your dinner. We have done both. A few years ago we had a bad potluck experience. We ended up with 2 small main dishes and close to 10 pounds of store-bought potato salad. Needless to say I ended up spending over an hour and a half picking up fried chicken, which was gone in less than 5 minutes. I even missed my son receiving his award. So what we have done is the pack caters the main course and the dens each bring a potluck side. Normally we break up the categories by den for a little more variety. This has worked very well and we have continued every year since. You’ll want to work with your committee on a budget that works well for food and decorations, etc. In order to off-set the cost of the food, we have sold food tickets. You may sell them by the family or by the individual. Or just have the pack hold an extra fundraiser, maybe in the summer, to pay for the Blue and Gold Banquet and Ceremony.
The decorations help tie everything together. Consider clean up when planning. Having the dens make a centerpiece for each table is a way to show off their creativity. Add balloons, streamers and banners that are related to the theme. If you want the dens or families to sit in a particular place, try adding place cards to the tables. You can always leave the planning for the stage area that will be used for the awards ceremony until you can coordinate with the Cubmaster.
Another thing to consider is the transition between events. For us, we are having our Pinewood Derby on the same day. So, consider a game to allow for finish preparation of the dinner.
Last, but not least, are the invitations. Everything is planned, now who’s going to come? Besides scouts and their families, you may want to consider other scouting personnel as well as those who are in the organization that charters the pack. You can designate someone to prepare the invite information and send them to the dens. Let them put together their own invitations for family and friends. It’s another way for scouts to show off thier creativity.
So there we are. A run down of many of the things neccessary for planning a Blue and Gold for your pack. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!