Hosting a fun community event is a great way to introduce Cub Scouting to new families. It’s a way for kids to have fun while parents get information in a more relaxed environment than a traditional round up. Last year, my pack hosted a geocaching event.
This year, we decided to do a Rocket Academy. I envisioned having different stations with rocket-related activities. Here’s how we planned and executed our Rocket Academy.
After searching the internet, I came up with the following activities:
- Air Rockets using soda bottles, pvc pipe and old magazines to make rockets and a launcher
- Film Canister Rockets using Alka-Seltzers
- Water Bottle Rockets using vinegar and baking soda
- Toothpick and Straw Rockets
- Balloon Rockets
- Estes Model Rockets – Our District Executive brought these!
- Rocket Snacks
- Craft Station
- Information Table
The first part of any successful event is promotion. Folks need to know about it in order to attend. I wanted to have a very nice, professional flyer, so I used the website, Fiverr (that’s my affiliate link). On the site, people advertise the jobs (called gigs) that they’ll do for $5. I’ve used them for quite a few things including making this Rocket Academy flyer.
We printed quarter page flyers and handed them out at our school’s “Popsicles on the Porch” event where students find out who their teacher will be. We also printed full page flyers that were hung in area businesses. Our local weekly newspaper published our event. I also posted it to many of our local Facebook groups. I used the image of the flyer which was very eye-catching.
We are fortunate to have a good relationship with our local Boy Scout troop. The boys are always willing to lend us a hand when we need volunteers, and the Rocket Academy was no exception. Six Boy Scouts came out to help us man our stations.
We also asked parents to volunteer. I used an online sign up called Volunteer Spot which really helps organize volunteers for any event.
Layout of the Event
Our charter organization is a church, so we held our event in their parking lot. The stations were placed so that they weren’t too close together. While none of the activities were too dangerous, we didn’t want to take any chances. The volunteers at each station made sure that the boys were well away from the “launch pad.”
Our event was held in August in Tennessee, and it was HOT! We set up some pop up canopy tents so that the boys could build their rockets under a shade.
Air rockets – This had to be my favorite activity! The boys were amazed at how high a simple paper rocket could fly. You’ll need to build a launcher and have the supplies to make the rockets there. I wish we had built a few more example rockets to have on hand that day.
Film canister rockets – There’s nothing like watching these little rockets pop! The boys were so cute as they placed the rocket and ran like crazy. The trick to making these successful is only putting a small amount of water in the film canister.
Water bottle rockets – For all of these activities, I looked for something that would be consistent so that the boys’ launches would be successful. I had to go through lots of water bottle rocket designs to find one that was fairly consistent.
There were three things that I think helped: 1) We used a rubber stopper instead of cork, 2) We rolled up the baking soda into the paper towel and put the entire thing inside the bottle with vinegar and 3) We only shook the bottle once.
Toothpick and straw rockets – I included this activity because I thought it would be easy for the younger kids. While this was a fun activity, I don’t know that I would include it again. The rockets didn’t seem to fly as well as we thought they would.
Balloon rockets – We hung two strings so the kids could race their balloons. They blew up their balloons (sometimes with the help of a balloon pump) and held the opening tightly while an adult taped the balloon to the straw. You could also put a binder clip on the end of the balloon. When both balloons were in place, the kids let go and watched them fly across the string.
Estes model rockets – Our District Executive brought the launcher and rocket kits. He gathered a few boys at a time to help build and launch the rocket. This was very popular!
Rocket snacks – We kept these simple–just rocket-shaped rice krispy treats and bottled water. We used these cute rocket-shaped cookie cutters. One of our parents shared a great idea with me a couple of years ago. Instead of buying the full-sized, 16 or 20 oz. bottles of water, buy the small 8 oz. bottles for the kids. There is a lot less waste.
Craft table – I brought construction paper, crayons and these fun foam outer space stickers so kids could make their own creations.
Information table – At our information table, we had a printed pack calendar for the year, applications and medical forms. We also had some brochures and flyers that our council provided for us. Current Cub Scout parents were there to greet the new parents, answer questions and encourage them to sign their boys up for Cub Scouts.
There were a few things I wish I had done or had done differently.
- I totally forgot to have a sign in sheet for those families who aren’t already Cub Scouts. I could have collected email addresses to send follow ups to them.
- We needed more signage. A big “Welcome! Start Here!” sign could have directed families to the information table. I also wish I had made signs for each station.
- While none of the activities were hard, it would have been a good idea to show the volunteers how to do them prior to the day of the event. Having step-by-step instructions is another possibility. Instead, I was running from station to station showing the volunteers what they needed to do.
- I wish I had taken more pictures or asked a volunteer to take them! I normally take quite a few at events, but I just got too busy that day.
- When you have a cooler full of ice and bottled water in the back end of your SUV on a hot day, make sure the drain plug is closed. 😉
Our Rocket Academy was a blast! The boys enjoyed it, and we introduced Cub Scouting to quite a few new families.
What has been the most fun recruitment activity you’ve ever done?
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. If you liked this Cub Scout activity, sign up below for more cool ideas!