The Family Dinner is a family event held in March at the Church of the Good Samaritan. It is a time for the entire troop family to get together in a social atmosphere to catch up, meet new people, welcome the new families, and to hear presentations from the adult leaders. Moms, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins are invited and encouraged to attend. Dinner is buffet style, with attendees seated by patrol. Each Assistant Patrol Leader is responsible for creating a table decoration for their respective patrol table. At the end of the dinner, the staff patrol grades the table displays. The dinner sometimes includes a "tap-out" ceremony for the new Order of the Arrow members.
Order of EventsEdit
Depending on their involvement with the event, some arrive many hours early to prepare but most arrive approximately ten minutes before the event is scheduled to begin. The dinner is held in the church's basement (down the stairs, left at the corridor, and then left at the stairs). Families should enter the large room and get situated before the opening ceremony.
Although it is a troop event, the dinner is organized around the patrols. Scouts and families sit at their specific patrol table for the event. Typically the scouts sit toward one end and the parents toward the other end of the table. The tables are arranged in patrol order from right to left (when looking at the front of the room from the kitchen).
The event begins with a procession by the Drum and Bugle Corps and a Color Guard. Once the Colors have reached the front of the room, the SPL leads the assembled crowd in the Scout Oath and Law and then the Pledge of Allegiance.
Every year, the scouts have many memorable experiences on Paoli 1 trips. The Assistant Patrol leader(s) of every patrol is asked to commemorate one of these trips with a table centerpiece for his patrol's table. The only rules for this competition are that there are to be no electronics involved and no Cabins. The Assistants present their center pieces to the Troop, and then the Staff Patrol judges the pieces. The order in which the patrols are ranked also determines the order in which they eat.
PresentationsEditWhile the families are eating, there is a near continuous rotation of adult leaders at the podium giving one presentation or another to the audience. Topics might include: Advancement, preparation of the Cabin Grounds for the Birthday, the First Aid Meet, Camp Horseshoe, the planned Summer Trip(s), and the annual Friends of Scouting appeal for donations to the Scouting movement. In 2014, scouts from the troop were chosen to give speeches. Typically they are staff members who are able to share how Paoli 1 has changed their lives. The SPL will also (informally or formally) share about his experience.
With well over fifty people in attendance, clean up occurs very quickly with chairs stacked, trash disposed of, and equipment loaded into cars. Many linger to talk even after all the work has been done.
In the past, Paoli 1 has done its OA Tapout at the family dinner. Scouts voted at the February Troop Meeting and the candidates would be tapped out near the end of the meal. OA members would dress up and perform a quick and often humorous ceremony, partially due to a lack of practice.
Many years ago, after the dinner, the Troop would have some form of outside entertainment such as a magician. This portion of the dinner was discontinued for several reasons and the time allotted to the meal itself was simply extended.