February is an important month for the Scouting organization. This is the anniversary of Scouting in the United States, and most Cub Scouts celebrate with a “birthday party” called the Blue & Gold Banquet, named for the Cub Scout colors. It brings families together for an evening of fun and fellowship. Blue & gold banquets are a tradition within packs, celebrating the leaders and parents who volunteer to make Cub Scouting such a valuable experience.
To plan blue & gold scouting banquets requires organization and enthusiasm to make this milestone event for the pack.There are many kinds of blue & gold banquets. Some groups have a full catered meal while others have a potluck dinner, and others only serve cake or have an ice cream sundae bar.
Packs may have special games that the boys play or have a fun entertainer such as a magician. Some packs have a blue and gold theme with elaborate decorations supporting the theme, while others decorate with blue and gold balloons and centerpieces made by the boys.
Awards may be given at a Blue & Gold Banquet. Some hold their Arrow of Light ceremony or their crossover for Webelos. Other packs just make this a fun party for the boys.
Because this is such a special event for the Cub Scout pack, it requires the work of many parent volunteers. Blue & gold banquets should be scheduled when packs have their annual planning conferences in the summer or early fall. The pack committee recruits and /or appoints a banquet chairman early in the fall. The banquet chairman then recruits co-chairmen for sub committees (usually food, program, and physical arrangements).
The banquet chairman should be someone who is organized, can work well with other adults, can recruit other adults, and can pay attention to details yet see the overall picture of what has to be done.
The theme should be decided by November or December so that the den leaders have time to plan what will be done at their January and February den meetings. Also, the banquet committee should make it clear what decorations they will make and what they expect the dens to make. If you plan to use
tablecloths, do you want the dens to make placemats? Is the banquet committee making centerpiece(s) or do you want the den leaders to make them? All of this will have to be decided within your pack.
Invitations should be sent to all the families in the pack and to special guest at least one month ahead of time. In many packs, the Cub Scouts make their family invitations, and the banquet committee makes and sends invitations to special adult guests.
Souvenir programs covers may be ordered through the Boy Scouts of America supply catalog or through the council service center. Homemade covers may also be used. Information in the program may include the schedule for the banquet, names of the pack leaders and committee people, special guests, a song, a brief history of the pack…whatever you like.
Details like reserving the building should be done early. Some banquets are held at the regular meeting place of the pack and some are not. If possible, try to arrange the room so that dens and their families sit together. Plan for exhibit and display tables. Arrange for set-up crew and a clean-up crew.
The food plan and cost needs to be decided a few months ahead of time, especially if a caterer or restaurant are involved. Reservations have to be made early. Will the cost be taken out of the pack treasury, or will each family be charged a fee? These are questions that your pack committee must decide.
The program committee should include the Cubmaster and Den Leader Coach, and /or the designated Master of Ceremonies. The Cubmaster and Advancement Chairman should be directly involved with presenting awards to Cub Scouts. The Committee Chairman might take this opportunity to recognize the adults who helped the pack during the past year.
- 4 months before banquet — Select Blue & Gold Committee/banquet chairman; set/reserve date, time, place; select theme
- 3 months before banquet — Dens work on decorations; plan the program; committee meeting report
- 2 months before banquet — Make guest list; ommittee meeting report
- 1 month before banquet — Mail invitations; re-check facilities; print program; committee meeting report.
- 2 weeks before banquet — Turn in award orders; complete decorations; verify RSVP counts; check on food preparation.
- Banquet day — Set up room; enjoy banquet; clean up facilities
Advance preparation for the Blue & Gold Banquet will help ensure that it is a most memorable event for all the pack families.