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Blue and Gold Overload Make your annual banquet enjoyable, not unendurable.

Prepare Properly To spend less time at your blue and gold banquet, spend more time plan- ning it. Gaidos starts the process after Christmas. By the time she’s finished, every leader has an agenda of how long each segment will take. “I break it out by den,” she says, “so I know that I’m going to allow this much time for this den and that much time for that den. They really appreciate it because I’m not hurrying them.” Preparing properly also means

ensuring that workers set up the room and place all recognition items long before the program begins. And to save time, she puts each boy’s awards in a labeled, zip-top bag.

Prune the Program Next, Hebenthal says, decide what needs to take place at the banquet and what could happen in another setting. For example, “Some packs will have the Webelos crossover separate from blue and gold, maybe at the March pack meeting or maybe even some- thing entirely separate,” she says. Also, don’t hand out every arrow

THE BIGGEST CUB SCOUT event of the year doesn’t have to be the longest. After all, families shouldn’t have to bring a late-night snack to survive their pack’s annual blue and gold dinner. Yet some blue and gold banquets

last longer than Gone with the Wind, testing the endurance of boys and parents alike. This happens because leaders try to cram everything into the event: advancement ceremonies, Webelos Scout crossovers, leader recog- nition, skits, slideshows, songs, outside entertainment, announcements, and—


oh, yeah—a three-course meal. So how can you get everything accomplished and still get the boys in bed on time? Elaine Hebenthal, pack trainer for Pack 23 in Tallahassee, Fla., says, “You can’t do it all and not have it take a long, long time.” But that doesn’t mean you should

consider marathon blue and gold ban- quets inevitable. Hebenthal and Kathy Gaidos, Cubmaster of Pack 382 in Nashville, Tenn., suggest three simple steps to avoid blue and gold overload.

point, bead, and belt loop at the blue and gold banquet. When her boys earn participation patches, Gaidos presents them at a regular pack meeting. “I’ll have all the boys come up together and say something about what they’ve done or where they went,” she says. If you take that approach, consider

listing the awards in the banquet’s printed program. “That makes it visible so that everybody can see who’s earned what,” Hebenthal says. Pruning the program allows you to give activities the attention they


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