How can we make our event special, fun, memorable to get the scouters out?
A few quick ideas…
- Good Food - It doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive banquet. Our district switched to a breakfast a few years ago. It’s cheaper, and a breakfast event is easier to fit into busy weekend schedules. It also made it easier for families to come, which was a problem especially for Pack leaders. I also know many districts do a picnic in lieu of a Roundtable.
- Program - We usually have a keynote speaker, ideally with a compelling visual presentation or story. Trick is to find someone inspiring and engaging. But keep it short, like less than 20min.
- Slideshow - Put together some photos from District Events to show during the meal. We also include the list of awardees in the slideshow, and have found that a lot of folks like to take a picture when their name shows up on the big screen.
- Year-in-review - You might also include a short presentation that highlights the district’s and units’ accomplishments, e.g. membership, fundraising, advancements stats, community service hours etc. But don’t just show numbers, tell stories too!
Recognition - Obviously the main purpose of the event. Besides presenting the District Award of Merit, I know many districts have created other awards to recognize all kinds of scouters. For example:
- Cubmaster/Scoutmaster of the year, and similar awards to recognize outstanding scouters (both new and long-term)
- Pack/Troop of the year - Or you can also recognize those units with significant Community Service, JTE levels, the Summertime Pack Award, etc.
- Let each unit select 1-2 people to receive a special District award. (We call this the “Munsee Knot”, and a neighboring district calls theirs the “Fishawack Finest”, both I think come with a patch.) This provides a more formal way for units to recognize leaders or parents for their efforts. It’s also a great way to increase attendance, as each unit generally brings a small group to recognize their selected recipients.
- Eagle Scouts - What not? We usually have a few every year, and invite them to share what they did for their service project. Having scouts involved is a great reminder of why we’re all there. That said, it’s important to note that the primary purpose of the event is to recognize adult volunteers. (Scouts have plenty of their own opportunities to be recognized.)
- You can also use the opportunity to recognize (again) those in the district who’ve received the Silver Beaver and other significant national/council awards. We also include a list of those who’ve received Training and Key awards in our slideshow we show during the meal, but don’t take the time to recognize those folks as they typically get their awards at RT.
For some more ideas, you might check out Staging Recognition Meetings, though it is a bit dated and probably overkill for many district events.
Always curious to hear what others do.
Thank you so much. Some great thoughts here…hope other will read and comment!
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