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Friday, February 24, 2012

Banquet Table Décor For Under $10

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.

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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!”.

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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.

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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.

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Pretty cool right?

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Another project that the boys were required to do was build and decorate a bird house. Nice!

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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.

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So yeah, we won. The prize was the huge 10ft den spirit stick.

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It comes complete with the remains of dead animals.

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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. :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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Of course everyone knows that elephants love peanuts. I bought two bags at Wal Mart for $1 each and sprinkled them around.

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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.

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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!”

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There was also a Father/Son cake decorating contest.

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The entries were pretty impressive. And delicious.

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The most creative prize went to our den member Keegan and his dad for their pinewood derby racetrack which included zinger and twinkie “cars”.

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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.

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Our boys also earned badges in proper fire starting and finishing, archery, fishing, and many other testosterone fueled activities.

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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. :)

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Boys we love you and are SO proud of Den 2!

Mrs. G.


grammy and papi said...

Great post, we love our scouts!!

Have a God Filled Day

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Congrats on winning...what great ideas, and you did it fair and square!
Love this post son was in scouts and I was the leader when they were little and it was a great experience!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Congrats on holding the torch (or dead animal parts pole! lol!) for 2 years in a row! That is AWESOME!! I loveeeeee the photos!! The kids are so creative!!! LOVE IT!

My Cottage Charm said...

You are SO creative...LOVE it! :) $10 bucks is NOT a lot of money, but you and your den rocked it out! :)
The sign cracked me up....we should all have that sign for our hubbies. lol
Love ya lady

Jane said...

So much creativity...and this brought back so many memories. I was the den leader until our boys were Webelos, then my husband and another guy took over. My sons and husband ALWAYS won the Dad/Lad cake competitions. They were so very creative! Our groups insisted that there would only be EDIBLE parts to the cakes...I cannot tell you how many boxes of spaghetti the guys used to build their creations!

Vicki said...

Wow! What a creative group of young men. Your table decor was so cool, both years. And the cakes were all awesome!

Jill Elaine said...

Cool! I love the decor from both years. I'm sure the judges can also tell who had the most help from adults. If the rule is the kids have to help then the ones that you can tell they didn't shouldn't win.
Love your hubby's 'masks'!! That was too fun!
And I LOVE the cake with the campers sleeping in sleeping bags. Way cool!

laxsupermom said...

Looks like great fun! Congrats to the den for consecutive wins!

I used to coach WD's Odyssey of the Mind team, and every now and again you'd see a skit that you knew adults had a hand in. The original song lyrics, choreography, sets and costumes looked like professional work(these were 3rd-5th graders.) Our team would complain, and I'd reply, "You know that you made every last bit of your skit. You should be proud of yourselves."(the rules for OM are that coaches teach skills, and keep kids on task, but all ideas and items used in the skit must be produced by the kids.)

Glad to see that your den was rewarded for playing by the rules.

Redhead Sadie said...

Lady, you continuously amaze me with what you come up with! And I am so happy that the Den follows the rules and STILL it should be. I miss you....we need to chat, Miss Busy! <3 Jenny

Patti said...

Wow, love the pictures of the scouts. I was a co- leader for many years and remembering needing to do everything on a budget. Gotta love the t-p tubes, so many uses! We would have camp-outs in the back acres of our home so the scouts could get many badges done over the weekend. Boy, I miss those days!

French said...

Laura, you are amazingly creative! What a great Den Mom! I love the way the table looks, and the rocket cake! But most of all, what great skills your son is learning in Boy Scouts! have a wonderful and relaxing weekend~

Mary Ellen said...

Laura this brought back so many memories of Boy Scouts with our boys!

Your tables are fantastic! Never remember having a contest like that !

Little Leslie said...

You are awesome. So creative. Love the Mister with the fake moustache.!

Liz said...

Laura.... no one can say that you don't know how to think out side the lines! LOL! I love the sign! Perfect for a school cafeteria. :) LOL!


Victoria Mische said...

Awesome! You did a wonderful banquet table decor. You're so cool and I must admit you impressed me so much! I salute you!

Victoria -->>

openid said...


You always make me smile. Love that you and Mr Decor are so involved in Scouting and that you get it's about the boys learning and growing, not winning. How wonderful that the judges declared your pack the winners and not a project made by parents. I can't understand why you wouldn't want the 10 foot spirit stick displayed prominently in your home all year! hehehe


Debbie said...

Great Great post! I love the Boy Scouts, and I really love all the creativity that went into this. It't remarkable.

That isn't a surprise to me. I have seen so many remarkable boys from remarkable families involved in scouting. My teenaged nephew is still involved. We're so glad.