Boy Scouts of America was founded on February 8, 1910. Every year the scouting organization selects a birthday party theme and each pack selects a day in February to celebrate. The dens that make up the pack are responsible for decorating their table, which is usually held in a church or school cafeteria setting. The rules are simple:
The boys must be involved in the decorating.
The budget is around $10. (I am not kidding.)
Bonus: decorations are made up of 90% recyclable elements reinforcing the scouting principle of “leave no trace”.
Last year the theme was “Your outdoor environment”. For whatever the reason I never showed you the photos.
Our pack/den is located in Phoenix, AZ so the outdoor environment is of course the desert. I began thinking about the Aqua Fria river that runs very close to our home. But how to create table décor for under $10~ well, let’s just say “I love a challenge!” Paper and paint seemed the best answer. I had a roll of craft paper and acrylic paint already on hand so the cost was deemed “FREE!”.
While I did draw the outline of where the river should flow, the boys did the painting. They also created napkin rings from cut up t.p. rolls covered in beans placed in a Native American pattern that met the requirements for one of our badges. (I love the idea of knocking out two birds with one stone!) Note also the artwork/placemats done by the boys.
Did you know that the native environment for the saguaro cactus is a very small area located in the Sonoran Desert? The largest specimen ever was over 45 ft. in height. I created our cactus on a slightly smaller scale with cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, paper towels and bathroom tissue. The boys did the paint job.
Pretty cool right?
Another project that the boys were required to do was build and decorate a bird house. Nice!
We surrounded the “river” with rocks from the rock pile in our backyard as well as some rubber creatures from Sweet Boy’s toy box.
So yeah, we won. The prize was the huge 10ft den spirit stick.
It comes complete with the remains of dead animals.
The stick sat in my living room until the next den meeting~ which is once a month. By the time the 30 days were up I wanted to beat someone with that ugly stick. :)
So this year the theme was the circus. I told the boys I would help on the condition of IF we won, the spirit stick would live in someone else’s house. They eagerly agreed.
I cruised around Pinterest for some inexpensive circus décor ideas. Remember, one of the rules is that the table decor really shouldn’t exceed $10. I found a template of a circus tent and characters HERE. I then enlarged it on my computer and the boys colored and cut it out.
As the boys are now the Webolos rank one of their badges is to create a puppet and a stage, as well as write and preform a puppet show. Remember my love of knocking out two birds? We glued the circus characters to t.p. rolls covered in white craft paper and voila~ finger puppets/standing décor.
The train was our Christmas train repurposed and still more animals from Sweet Boy’s toy box. (Similar sets are available at the dollar store.)
Of course everyone knows that elephants love peanuts. I bought two bags at Wal Mart for $1 each and sprinkled them around.
I won’t lie, the competition to win is pretty high. Sadly, it was quite evident that some tables were decorated by adult hands only. Boo! What does that teach the boys? “To win at all cost?” In our den we play by the rules and hopefully instill a far more valuable lesson.
But guess what? We still won! Yeah! It might have had something to do with the fact that when the impartial judges came around to the table our fearless leader welcomed them to “The Greatest Den On Earth!”
There was also a Father/Son cake decorating contest.
The entries were pretty impressive. And delicious.
The most creative prize went to our den member Keegan and his dad for their pinewood derby racetrack which included zinger and twinkie “cars”.
But lest you think that the scouts have turned into mamby pamby’s, here’s Sweet Boy waiting for his turn to show off his pocket knife safety skills.
Our boys also earned badges in proper fire starting and finishing, archery, fishing, and many other testosterone fueled activities.
I’ll leave you with one last thought. (I have to wonder what prompted the janitor to clarify his request.)
Also, not to worry, I know you will want to “Pin” this one so I watermarked it. :)
Boys we love you and are SO proud of Den 2!