CUB SCOUT PACK MEETINGS
The monthly Pack Meeting brings together boys from every den, their leaders, and their families, to participate in a large-scale event that serves as a showcase for everything the boys have learned and done in their individual den meetings. The pack meeting gives the boys a larger experience beyond their own den, and helps them to connect their individual activities to the entire Cub Scouting program.
The Pack Meeting Location
Pack meetings are usually held at the chartered organization's facility or at another location provided or arranged by the organization. The meeting space will need to be large enough to accommodate all Cub Scouts and leaders in several dens, along with their families, and provide space for exhibits of den projects, presentations, and pack ceremonies.
Pack meetings are generally held in the same place and at the same time each month, except when they involve outdoor activities. Blue and gold banquets, derbies (Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, or Raingutter Regatta), and other special events may also require a different meeting place.
Pack Meeting Attendance
Cub Scouting is a family program. Pack meetings are for families—parents or guardians, brothers, sisters, and other family members—as well as all the Cub Scouts, den leaders, and pack leaders. District Scouters, such as the unit commissioner, should always be invited to attend, along with members from the chartered organization, community leaders, or anyone the pack leadership wishes to invite. Visitors from another pack, a troop, or a crew may also be present.
The Pack Meeting Agenda
Cub Scout pack meetings have seven parts:
- Before the Meeting. Adult leaders in the pack gather to be sure the meeting place is prepared: the room is set up, exhibits and displays are prepared, equipment is ready, and the agenda is distributed.
- Gathering. A gathering time provides interesting things for boy and families to do while waiting for everyone else to arrive.
- Opening. A brief ceremony marks the beginning of the meeting. Pack ceremonies often consist of a flag presentation, a brief prayer, or a song.
- Program. The program section of the meeting may include presentations and performances by the dens that demonstrate things the boys learned during the month, activities that involve the entire audience, or a featured event.
- Recognition. An important part of the pack meeting is formal recognition given to the Cub Scouts who have earned badges, arrow points, beads, or other awards, and the leaders who have earned training awards, religious emblems, or other community awards.
- Closing. The closing begins with announcements about special events, coming activities, the theme for the next month, and the date of the next pack meeting, followed by a closing ceremony.
- After the Meeting. After the pack meeting, many packs provide refreshments for an informal fellowship session, and the leaders and boys help to put the meeting space back in order.
The outline above describes a typical pack meeting but is not mandatory. The pack meeting can be varied and adapted to suit the needs of the pack or those of a specific activity.
Pack Meeting Activities
The activities at a pack meeting can vary widely but typically include an activity, den skits, group activities, and 'run-ons' (one line jokes told by boys). So long as an activity is safe, age-appropriate, and fun, it should be possible to include it in a pack meeting. Here are some common activities.
Simple ceremonies open and close pack meetings and mark important events or accomplishments in the lives of the boys and families. These are some typical kinds of pack ceremonies:
- Opening ceremonies set the stage for the pack meeting and can relate to the monthly theme.
- Opening Flag ceremonies teach boys how to handle and display the American flag.
- Induction ceremonies welcome new boys and their families into the pack.
- Advancement ceremonies celebrate the completion of requirements for Tiger Cub, Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos ranks and the Arrow of Light Award.
- Graduation or transition ceremonies can be used when boys transition from one phase of the program to another on the Scouting trail.
- Recognition ceremonies are used to recognize leaders, den chiefs, boys, or family members for special service, activities, or tenure.
- Closing ceremonies bring the meeting to a close and send everyone home with inspirational ideas to remember.
- Closing Flag ceremonies give another den a chance to handle the American flag.
Dens may present skits at the pack meeting. These can be pantomimes, sketches, or short plays. The main purpose of skits is for the boys—and the audience—to have fun. But as boys practice performing in these informal skits, their confidence and leadership skills begin to develop as well.
Playing is an important part of the Cub Scout program. Boys enjoy playing games, and games teach boys important values such as good sportsmanship, self-confidence, and fair play in an environment where taking part and doing one's best are more important than winning.
Demonstrations and Displays
During their den meetings, Cub Scouts will have learned skills that they can demonstrate at the pack meeting. They will have worked on craft projects that can be displayed. These demonstrations and displays give boys a sense of pride in their own accomplishments. The Cub Scouts are also able to see what goes on in the other dens and how their den activities are a part of the bigger picture of what the pack, and Cub Scouting, is all about.
Planning Pack Meetings
While the Cubmaster is responsible for leading the pack meeting, he or she plans and conducts it with the help of other leaders. Every den shares the responsibility by doing its assigned parts. The challenge is to conduct a brisk, fast-moving meeting that will hold the interest of boys and family members. The secret to a good pack meeting is planning carefully to include a balance of seriousness and fun, the involvement of many people, and a lively pace.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for planning and conducting pack meetings. Each meeting must be planned individually, keeping in mind the business items to be covered, the ceremonies to be held, and what is necessary for balance in the way of games, songs, and other fun. Some elements of a successful pack meeting are these:
- A detailed, well-planned, written program is conducted without delays.
- All equipment and materials are on hand before the meeting begins.
- The meeting place is safe, clean, and large enough.
- A good seating arrangement is provided.
- The meeting is orderly. It opens and closes on time.
- Announcements and speeches are not too long.
- The meeting is planned so that every den participates in some way.
- Families are involved in the meeting's activities, such as in games, songs, and stunts.
- Impressive recognition, advancement, and graduation ceremonies are held.
- The meeting lasts no longer than an hour and a half.
Resources helpful in planning successful pack meetings include the Cub Scout Leader Book, Cub Scout Leader How-To Book, Cub Scout Ceremonies for Dens and Packs, and Group Meeting Sparklers. Leaders will also learn the techniques of successful meetings from training courses and the monthly roundtable held by the district or council.