Scout Roundtable #3

#3-Themes or No Themes and Hazing in Scouting

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Should you use themes during your Pack/Den Meetings? What is considered hazing in Scouting? We discuss both of these topics. Make sure to send us feedback.

Baloo’s Bugle:
Program Helps on
BSA: ‘Hazing’ in Cedar Hills unfitting – Central Utah:
Youth Protection Online:
Guide To Safe Scouting:

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2 Comments on “Scout Roundtable #3”

  1. Chris & Bob,

    Another excellent Podcast ! Great conversation on themes & planning.

    Thought you might like to hear how others do it as well… Our Pack followed the Program Helps for the first time almost 100% last year. It certainly helped with planning and all leaders knew what was going on each month WAY ahead of time. At the same time, the Pack meetings ended up feeling the same each month – Opening Activity, Opening Ceremony, Announcements, Skits, Awards, Reminders, Closing. At the end of the year, the parents complained that it felt too “schoolish.”

    This year, we created a blend of themes from Program Helps with some of the older traditions, like Halloween party. Essentially, the Pack now alternates between a formal Program Helps Pack meeting and a more informal Pack Meeting with themes we pick. Thus, we can get the “program” to the kids while also making it fun.

    As for planning, as the Committee Chair, I host two “extended leader sessions.” The first is at the end of the scout year in May. At this meeting, I present a full year’s program including themes & dates for meetings and activities. I also pass out a Program Helps to each leader at that time. We then take suggestions from the current year (while we still remember them) and re-arrange the program for the next year based on the suggestions. I hold the second meeting in late August on my back deck and this is 1/2 meeting, 1/2 social event for the leaders. We go over the program year to review (and remember after the summer!) and make any last minute changes. We then “catch up” for the rest of the time.

    Geetting the themes set for the whole year up-front allows our leaders meetings during the year to focus on the details of the month vs. a group discussion trying to pick a theme for the next month.

    How did we get to this point? That I can’t answer. I do think I was lucky to walk into a well established Pack who had strong leaders in the past.

    A question for you two… Who “leads” your Pack? Cubmaster or Committee Chair? My answer is whoever has the drive and energy !!! lol

    From what I have experienced, Program Helps is essential to any Pack. They just need to use/modify it as they see fit to meet their Pack’s specific needs.

    A short description of all Cub Scout Program Helps themes through 2009 (wow!) is available on the BSA website at

    I also highly recommend having an “opening/gathering activity” for each Pack Meeting that keeps the cubs occupied while everybody arrives. Not sure everyone does this. Maybe a topic for a future roundtable.

    Michael Kabot
    Committee Chair – Pack 230 – Penfield, NY
    President – SOAR –

  2. Mr. Bob Says:

    Again, great comment. This is very similar to what we do but I think you are a little further along in maturity than our pack. I would like to see some of what you mention implemented in our pack as well.

    As for who runs our pack I would have to say our Cubmaster. He is very excited and energized for the year. I support him with organization of meetings but he is the skipper.

    If you happen to listen to my personal podcast you will hear me mention our gathering activities. I ALWAYS have some kind of activity for the boys and siblings to take part in prior to the start of the meeting. What this does is get the boys energized for the night, gets the parents seated and allows us to file the boys into the meeting one den at a time instead of them just running around like a heard of elephants.

    Michael, thanks again for your comments and thanks for listening…

    Mr. Bob
    A Cub Scouting Adventure Podcast –

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