Planning the Pack Annual Program is often viewed as a burden of Leadership, when in reality it should be viewed as an opportunity to pull together many resources - published, internet-based and human - to plan an exciting year of activities for all of the families of your Pack. The following subjects are presented with this in mind.
The program as a whole must be build on the collective goals of the Pack Leadership team. Building on the
"Best Practice" model, the Pack Leaders should define the goals of their Pack for the upcoming year, and up to the next five years. Your goals should not change - they reflect the Values of Scouting as expressed in the Cub Scout Promise, The Law Of The Pack, The Cub Scout Motto, as well as the Core Values of Cub Scouting. As we discuss in the Wood Badge for the 21st Century course, your goals are your steps to realizing your Vision; which is your picture of future success.
The goals that your Leadership team establishes become the Key Areas upon which you will build your program. They may be areas defined as advancement, outdoor activities, faith, service, just to name a few. List all of the possible and suggested activities that you have for the year, and measure them against the key areas that support your Pack goals. If the activity directly supports a key area - participation in the Scouting For Food Council service project as an example - then that activity becomes a program priority.
Once you establish your program priorities, you can begin to map our your plan. Remember your hallmark events like Pinewood Derby and the Blue & Gold Banquet, and plan out the other priority activities in a way that will promote and facilitate the highest participation possible. Using the Cub Scouts program delivery method as a skeleton plan, you will be amazed how all of your Pack activities will fit into place.
If you plan your Cub Scout Program year by quarters beginning in September, you can fill in the calender for each quarter - recruiting, popcorn sale and Scouting for Food in the Fall Quarter; the Pinewood Derby and Blue & Gold Banquet in the Winter Quarter. A camping outing in the Spring, along with a Spring Recruiting event; and the big event of the Summer quarter - Cub Camp. Once you have these items in place, fill in the monthly Pack Meeting, the Leaders Planning meeting (also known as the Pack Committee Meeting), and you have a great start. Don't try to plan every detail at this point, just the big events and meetings. The details can be hammered out at the monthly Leaders Planning Meeting.
Planning in this way also allows the Pack Leadership group to define many of the support jobs needed to facilitate a smooth program. Many of the activities planned will require an event coordinator. Many Pack parents will be more willing to accept a well defined discrete job, rather than an abstract titled position. When parents of the Pack see that there is an established plan with well defined goals and a means of achieving those goals, as well as the support of parents filling many of the smaller duties, many will be more willing to accept Den Leader and Pack Leader roles.
Measuring your Pack's success at meeting the established goals can be just as easy. The chief criteria for measuring any Pack's success are the goals detailed in the Journey To Excellence program. That is a great place to start, and it also supports each District and Council goals of quality programing. Other measures of success are the Summertime Pack Award, and the National Den Award. For your uniformed Pack Leaders, meeting the established Leader Training benchmarks for their Leader Training Knot should be the goal.
It is also critical to develop a Pack budget in order to deliver the best program possible. The "per Cub cost" not only helps to determine the Pack fundraising requirements, but is also an indication of a well organized Pack. New parents will want to know the cost to participate in the Cub Scout program, and if families can be provided with this information in a timely manner, it can contribute to higher levels of participation and commitment displayed by more families in the Pack.
The documents listed below are geared toward helping Pack Leaders to develop and delivery a quality program to the families in their Pack.