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
- Keep things basic. This is not the time for an “extreme” camping experience.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Consider doing adventures that have outdoor elements. This means your Cub Scouts could earn a loop or pin during the event.
- 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.
- 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.