How to plan the perfect pack overnighter for new Cub Scout families

Keep it simple, make it fun and remember that some of the families in your pack will be sleeping in a tent for the first time.

That’s just a sampling of the handy advice you’ll find in “Pack Overnighter for New Cub Scouts,” a free BSA resource that’s been revamped for 2018.

A pack overnighter is an essential moment in the life of any pack.

It’s not quite make-or-break stuff, but it’s close. The success of this event will motivate families in your pack to remain involved for years to come.

In these 24 hours — typically Saturday morning to Sunday morning — you give pack families a sense of belonging. You show them the kind of fun they’ll have as Cub Scouts. And you deliver on the joining-night promise that, as Cub Scouts, they’ll get to go camping and do fun stuff outside.

Before your first pack overnighter, check out these seven tips. I pulled them straight from the two-page reference guide, available for free at this link (PDF). (This document and a boatload of other great resources are available here.)

7 tips for your pack overnighter

  1. Keep things basic. This is not the time for an “extreme” camping experience.
  2. Have plenty of gear on hand to lend out to families, and have experts available to advise new campers on how to use that gear. You could even have a large encampment already set up and move-in ready.
  3. Ensure you have a BALOO-trained leader (that’s Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) onsite and responsible for the planning and execution of the event.
  4. Recruit a local Scout troop to help run stations, conduct the campfire program, serve as campsite guides and help new Cub Scouts and their parents or guardians set up camp.
  5. Consider doing adventures that have outdoor elements. This means your Cub Scouts could earn a loop or pin during the event.
  6. Make mealtime simple and easy. Complex, gourmet meals aren’t the right fit here. Meals should require minimal prep and cleanup. This is an ideal opportunity for foil-pack dinners.
  7. Create a schedule, and stick to it. And don’t forget to share it with families the week of the event and upon arrival.

Sample pack overnighter schedule

See the PDF for a sample schedule that runs from arrival at 9 a.m. on Day 1 to departure at 10 a.m. on Day 2.

Share your pack overnighter ideas

How does your pack make its overnighter a success? I invite you to leave a comment below.