Blue and Gold banquets are an important event in the Cub Scouting world. Part ceremony, part potluck, and part celebration, these Blue and Gold events invoke a sense of community, bring fun to the group, and often are used to recognize the progress of individual Cub Scouts!
PS. This article is a guest post collaboration between Cub Scouting volunteer Jaci H and Cole 🙂
What makes the Blue and Gold event really fun is that it’s essentially a big party. If recognition is included, it’s typically Cub advancement and leader appreciation. By the end of the night, the goal is for everyone to spend some quality time together and feel even more awesome about Scouting!
My son is now working on his Eagle Scout project, so it was quite a few years back that we attended a Blue and Gold event. Still, it was memorable because everyone was working toward the big celebration. Even though one particular group hosted it, we all chipped in before and after the ceremony.
There was a lot of community feel just with that, In between the “work,” I felt a lot of energy as our boys earned their ranks and we celebrated the entire Cub Scouting year.
In this article, I’ll first describe what a Blue and Gold banquet is, and then how to plan one so that it runs smoothly and stays on schedule. Planning is everything when it comes to holding a successful Blue and Gold, so I put together these tips to help you and your pack be better prepared for a fun time!
Below you will find a quick table of contents in case you want to skip to a certain section:
- What Is a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet/Ceremony?
- Planning the Ceremony
- Choosing a Venue
- Whom To Invite
- Decorating for the Event
- What Happens at the Ceremony
- Keeping the Blue and Gold On Time
What Is a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet/Ceremony?
To recap my intro, a Blue and Gold ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the birth of Scouting, which was on February 8, 1910! You can think of this like a party, birthday, or anniversary. Often, the Cub Scouts will go home with a new rank to earn, but not all packs choose to include advancement in this party.
So what is the significance of the Cub Scout blue and gold? According to the 1961 Cubmaster’s Packbook, “Blue stands for truth and spirituality, steadfast loyalty, the sky above. Gold stands for warm sunlight, good cheer, and happiness.”
If you’re new to the Scouting world and want to learn even more about Blue and Gold events, watch some (or all) of this Cub Chat video (37:02). The video covers planning, themes and decor, publicity, recognition, entertainment, and challenges!
Planning A Blue and Gold Ceremony
Planning the date for this event should be easy as the goal is to connect to the February Scouting anniversary! Try picking the date at your annual pack meeting so you’ll have a month or two in advance to prepare. Most packs choose to have the event replace their normal February group meeting.
When deciding who will take the lead, look for that person in your pack who has an eye for detail. Your main planner should be organized, task-oriented, and efficient. Someone who loves to plan parties would be an awesome fit! The event lead can then delegate tasks and keep things running smoothly.
Delegating Tasks to Pack Parents: Questions To Consider
If you’re not sure who might fill different roles, a simple Google form might help you find out. Below are some questions that you can ask to figure out where your pack’s resources are. This information can also be used to plan pack and den meetings. Be sure to share the results with all the leaders! 😀
What is your profession or occupation?
I remember watching a Scout video where they talked about one of the parents being a cake decorator at a grocery store. They described how she brought supplies to a meeting once and taught the kids how to decorate cupcakes. (This is an example of how you can use the information you collect later!)
Do you have a connection to a facility/large event room we might use?
Space is a key aspect of planning any event, and it isn’t always easy to come by — connections make a huge difference. My son is now in Scouts BSA, and we have a personal connection that allows free use of an elementary school cafeteria for regular meetings!
Do you have contact with any food venues/restaurants that might offer a discount for our party?
As we’ll discuss below, it’s important to stick to a budget! If you can find a discount on food, that will really help your bottom line. In our community, there are certain food places — like Jersey Mike’s Subs — that are often very supportive of school and nonprofit events.
Do you have any talents you would donate or share?
We all love to brag on our talented kiddos, but parents have talents too! You never know who might sing, tell stories, juggle, or do magic within the group. Of course, talents go beyond entertainment. For example, you might find an artistic parent who could design programs or invitations!
Please share some things you like to do and that you are good at that might be helpful to the pack.
This question is a catch-all that encourages parents to really think about what they can contribute. Possibilities include planning, decorating, making slideshows, designing T-shirts, maintaining websites, creating brochures…and so much more!
Does anyone in your family have a food allergy or other dietary restriction? If so, please describe.
You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe at your Blue and Gold banquet. Asking about dietary restrictions like allergies will help you make the right food options available at your special event — you don’t want anyone feeling left out!
Choosing a Venue For A Cub Scout Blue and Gold
Your Blue and Gold banquet could take place in the same location as your normal pack meeting. If you’re looking to go elsewhere, your options will depend on local resources as well as your event budget. Consider some of these options:
- Local banquet rooms
- BSA Council campsites
- Your charter organization
- Places of worship
- Community event spaces
- Somewhere you learned about from your Google parent form!
Be sure to review all of your needs before selecting a venue. Do you require speakers and microphones? Are there tables and chairs? Is there a kitchen facility? Is there a stage? Where are the restrooms? Of course, you can always bring in items to supplement what might be lacking from a preferred event site!
Budgeting For A Blue And Gold Event
When you have your annual fundraiser (typically popcorn for many packs), set aside money for the Blue and Gold event. Depending on how you wish to celebrate this annual party, the potential costs are venue, food, and entertainment. Some packs charge a per-person price to help cover the expenses.
The Blue and Gold ceremony does not have to be costly. If you are looking for low-budget ideas, consider holding the event where you typically have your pack meeting. Ask parents to contribute to a potluck for the event. Pizza is another low-cost option! 😀
Fun Tip: An article from a 2019 Scouting magazine described how a pack in Missouri switched to dessert-only after many years of dinners. The group was able to complete the event within 90 minutes and had a lot easier setup and cleanup. There’s no harm in trying something new!
Whom To Invite To A Pack Blue And Gold Banquet
This annual celebration of Scouting should involve people beyond your pack family. You can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, or family friends. Think about who you would love to know about your pack and invite them!
The banquet is also a great time to thank all of those wonderful people who’ve supported you. Invite the folks who provide your meeting space. Don’t forget school principals, church leaders, veterans, community leaders, your unit commissioner, former pack families, and members of other Scouts BSA troops!
Decorating For A Blue and Gold Ceremony
Just as with a party, themes for this event can be wild and crazy or quaint and simple. You may have decor for the large room, the stage, and tables. To save money and really involve the Cub Scouts in the process, you could ask each rank to come up with a different part of your decorations!
Den leader Candice B. from Dallas, Georgia, recalled a few of her pack’s themes — red carpet, barnyard, space, and camping! She added that they kept their Blue and Gold banquet simple, having a potluck and skipping formal entertainment. Arrow of Light crossovers helped add interest and excitement!
Helpful Link: Get inspired by this former Scout volunteer, who came up with more than 50 ideas for themes!
In my son’s pack, we had a Western theme one year and served BBQ food. Our camping theme for another year featured actual tents as part of the decor as well as miniature tents on the tables. All of the decorations were a big hit and got everyone involved! 😉
Entertainment For A Cub Scout Blue And Gold
Have I mentioned that the Blue and Gold banquet is a party? Because it is a party, you might choose to do something extra special and hire an entertainer. If you want free entertainment, the Scouts always seem to love an opportunity to perform a skit!
In my experience, the most common paid entertainment for Blue and Gold banquets is a magician. I suggest you do a search online for Cub Scout magic shows + your city name and see if you find any local contacts. If not, ask around, or call on one of those talented parents!
A quick web search found the following magicians who have special shows for Cub Scouts:
- Clean Comedy Guys (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Brian Hoffman (Santa Clarita, California)
- Bonaparte Magic (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Jeffini the Great (Gainesville, Georgia)
Fortunately for my son’s pack, Brian H. in the list above is my son’s dad and he loves to entertain the Scouts. That’s part of why he became a Cubmaster! Watch the first few minutes of this video (5:30) to see some silly Cub Scout magic fun 🙂
What Happens At A Blue and Gold Ceremony
This sample schedule is from my son’s pack. At our Blue and Gold banquet, we always had someone present from Friends of Scouting. According to ScoutingWire, Friends of Scouting is the “council’s largest source of income.” A representative attended our event to explain the group’s purpose and ask for monetary support.
Welcome (recognize special guests)
Friends of Scouting presentation
Dinner (with slideshow playing)
Advancement: Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos
Recognition of Committee Members and Leaders
Advance Arrow of Light (AOL) Troop Bridging
A slideshow is always a nice addition to a Blue and Gold ceremony. It helps everyone remember all of the fun events that took place over the past year! If your group posts photos within a private community site like BAND, it should be easy for someone to access the photos and create a slideshow.
For the advancement part of the ceremony, our pack set up a bridge so all the Scouts could cross it to symbolize their transition. With the Arrow of Light Scouts, I always found this moment powerful as it marked the completion of Cub Scout days!
In addition to crossing the bridge, our pack also had a nice visual display that was symbolic for the Cubs moving up in rank. In the photo, you’ll see my son is in his Bear uniform next to his dad. He is moving the clothes pin from his Wolf rank to the Bear level!
Keeping the Blue and Gold on Time
Mr. H. knows how to keep the kids engaged and make sure the “show” is running on time. He shared the following tips: make the Cubmaster the emcee, keep to the agenda, and present group awards. More explanation for each tip is coming up down below to help you out!
Cubmaster Serves as Emcee
The Scouts are already familiar with the Cubmaster, who should also know how to get the kids’ attention! One of Mr. H.’s tricks was to ask the kids, “Who is sitting criss-cross applesauce?” Or he would simply hold up the Scout sign. The Scouts know when they see the sign to quiet down and pay attention!
Keep to the Agenda
Make sure you set reasonable times on your agenda for each section. Tell each presenter ahead of time what that limit is. Also let them know how you’ll signal that they’re going over time. My husband used to shine a flashlight in the direction of the speaker. This is a subtle way to let them know to wrap it up! 😉
Announce Group Awards
If I were to emphasize one tip about staying on time, it would be this one. Call the awards by groups, not individuals! If you call each individual Cub, you end up waiting for them, along with their parents, to walk to the podium, and then you wait for clapping to cease. Multiple this by several Scouts, and it adds up to a lot of time!
Instead, call the entire rank. For example, say, “At this time, would all of our Lion Cubs please come to the podium with their parents.” After they have arrived, you can verbally name each of them. If the group is really large, consider a slideshow page to list all of the names at that time.
Scouting Tip: While the Arrow of Light Scouts don’t all transition to the same troop, this time-saver trick can still be used. You can announce the names of the Scouts going to a particular group, then let them walk one at a time across the bridge. Then announce the next Scout(s) and corresponding troop, and so on!
Planning a Blue and Gold event is never a simple task, but it’ll be 100% worth the effort! Plus, as each pack is unique, so too is its Blue and Gold celebration of Scouting. Some packs have a tradition of including rank achievements and AOL crossovers. Other packs keep it more like a birthday party. What remains the same is that a Blue and Gold is a celebration of Scouting!
Thanks so much for dropping by, and for being an awesome part of Cub Scouting! If you enjoyed learning about how to plan a Cub Blue and Gold, I’d highly recommend also checking out any of the following articles:
- The 3 Biggest Benefits Of Cub Scouting (Also Written by Jaci H)
- How to Plan Cub Scout Meeting Activities (With 16+ Ideas)
- What To Expect At A Cub Scout Pack Meeting (To Be Prepared)
- Cub Scouting Costs: Uniforms, Fees, Gear, And More
- Everything To Know About Cub Scout Ranks And Advancement
I hope your Blue and Gold ceremony is fantastic and full of celebration! The next time you’re looking for inspiration or background in the Scouting world, be sure to come back to ScoutSmarts. Until next time, I’m wishing you some amazing Blue and Gold banquets ahead! 😀