Surviving your First Blue & Gold Banquet: Final preparations

bluegoldlogo_225OK, the big day is approaching and you’re hoping your Blue & Gold Banquet turns out all right. You’re concerned that the boys will have fun and the parents won’t be disappointed.

The good news is that by following the Scout motto – Be Prepared – you can improve your chances of having a smooth banquet with enthusiastic boys and impressed parents.

First, be sure to review the steps I discussed last week. Check to make sure everyone knows their role and that you’ve given them the support and encouragement to ensure they can fulfill their parts.

The days leading up to the banquet

  • It’s a good idea to have a meeting with your committee, leaders and your parent helpers a couple weeks beforehand to go over all the details, find out where everyone stands and decide how to handle any problems or issues they might have encountered. It’s best not to leave these things to chance or to the last minute.
  • Be sure to have an agenda for the banquet, just like you have for your pack meetings. Do this the way you’d plan any agenda, listing each element (gathering, flags, advancements, dinner, entertainment, closing, etc.). Show who is responsible for each one (and you don’t do everything – remember!) and, most importantly, how long each element will take. (If you’d like an example, here’s my agenda from a Blue & Gold when I was Cubmaster.) Review the agenda with all stakeholders and give them copies.
  • As important as the agenda is the budget for the event. Check in with the treasurer. You should have set aside money for the things you need to purchase, such as food, prizes and entertainment. How are your expenses stacking up to the budget?
  • If you can, you and your committee might want to visit your banquet venue a few days beforehand to plan where everything’s going to be set up – the food, the stage, the awards, the activities or entertainment. Find the tables and chairs, make sure there are enough, and find out if and where they need to be put away. Check to see if there are any restrictions, like parts of the building where you can’t go, the location of restrooms, any rules for serving food or using the kitchen, and what you’ll need to do to set up and clean up.
  • You might even consider a dress rehearsal to run through as much of the event as you can. You won’t necessarily have the Scouts or guest entertainment on hand, but you can step through each element of your rundown, plan your transitions, and refine procedures. These can include seating arrangements and the order of the meal service.
  • If you don’t have a run-through, make sure everyone knows their part. Confirm individually with your den leaders about their den’s skit or their potluck assignment. Your food committee should know when they can get in to set up and your target time for dinner to begin. Who will be presenting awards to the Scouts – you, the den leaders, your assistant Cubmaster or the advancement coordinator? Iron out all these details as far ahead as possible.
  • Your advancement coordinator needs to firm up your awards soon enough to go purchase the needed insignia. Remember, an advancement report is normally required in order to purchase rank badges (but not the Adventure belt loops, thankfully). This will mean setting a cut-off date, so be sure you publicize that date so there are no misunderstandings. Parents can get quite hot under the collar if their son doesn’t get an award he may have earned.
  • Check in with anyone outside your pack who has a role, such as hired entertainment, the Order of the Arrow and your Friends of Scouting presenter. Confirm the date, time and location – I’ve encountered date and location changes as an FOS presenter that were caught only because I checked in with the unit.

Please leave a comment with anything I might have forgotten to mention, and come back next week for what to do to keep the big day moving along.

Other articles in this series:

Image: Akela’s Council


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