Surviving your first Blue & Gold Banquet: The big day

bluegoldlogo_225Your Blue & Gold Banquet is tomorrow and you’re fully prepared. You’ve planned, checked and re-checked every detail. Your committee, den leaders and parent helpers have everything taken care of, and you’re ready to step up and run a successful event.

Or so you wish! Bearing in mind that a visit from Murphy isn’t out of the question, you can still have a successful banquet by doing everything possible to ensure a smooth event ahead of time. And by being quick-thinking and flexible, you can sidestep any kinks and make it look like you planned it that way.

There are some ways to keep those kinks from ruining your day.

Your banquet begins

  • Arrive early enough to set up the room the way you had planned. Your setup committee might need to get in several hours early, but be there before anyone from outside the pack is expected, so you can greet them and explain their participation.
  • Review the plan one final time with your den leaders, committee members and parent helpers. Make changes to accommodate last-minute kinks.
  • Watch for your outside participants to arrive, such as entertainers, public servants who may be participating, members of Boy Scout troops or the Order of the Arrow, and your Friends of Scouting presenter. Make sure you greet them and go over their role in the event.
  • Also be sure to personally welcome invited guests, such as the mayor or town council, school board members and administrators, or those from your chartered organization such as the church’s pastor or governing board members. You may wish to reserve a table for these guests.
  • If your unit or district commissioner or your district unit-serving professionals attend, greet them as well.
  • Watch the clock and start on time. Don’t wait for stragglers – it sends the wrong message and is discourteous to those who were there when they were supposed to be.
  • Try to take time to visit with each family. This is a golden opportunity to get some first-hand feedback on how they and their sons are enjoying Cub Scouting. A good time to do this is during the meal, or as families are gathering.
  • Move things along. Make sure everyone knows how much time they have. If a segment is running long, try to speed it up. Give your den leaders and other speakers an agreed-upon sign that they’re almost out of time. Boys this age have a relatively short attention span – five to ten minutes maximum, so don’t be afraid to push things forward. Few things are more tedious than a slow-moving banquet with a lack of direction and antsy boys.
  • Resist the temptation to throw too much of yourself into the event. As we mentioned earlier, the boys are the stars of the show, and you are there to shine the spotlight on them.
  • Before the event ends, take a moment to thank everyone who had a role in putting on the banquet. I always brought flowers to the people who were involved in serving the meal – even the guys!
  • If you need help cleaning up, be sure to say so before the flags are retired. People tend to scatter as soon as it’s over – sometimes before.

There’s no need to fret! By making a plan, sticking to it and checking it frequently, your Blue and Gold Banquet will be a success.

Experienced Cub Scout leaders, please add your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

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